How can we achieve mindfulness in an impatient world? We live in a world of instant gratification. We can get our food fast at a drive thru. We can watch movies on demand before they come out on DVD for sale. When I was a kid you had to wait until six o’clock to watch the evening news, now you can get news 24/7.

“Impatience turns an ague into a fever, a fever to the plague, fear into despair, anger into rage, loss into madness, and sorrow to amazement.” Jeremy Taylor, author.

I am always amazed by drivers who recklessly try to cut in a car or two ahead as if a gain of a couple car lengths will make all the difference in getting them quicker to their destination. I particularly find it funny during the morning work commute; do they love their jobs that much that they can’t wait to get to work?!

“There is no need for you to be impatient. If you can achieve something very easily right from the start, you will find no sense of fulfillment or joy. It is in making tenacious, all-out efforts for construction that profound happiness lies.” Daisaku Ikeda, President, Soka Gakkai International.

One of the main symptoms of such an impatient, hectic world is anxiety. We are anxious and nervous when we don’t get it now. Technology like faxes and email were supposed to give us more free time but instead have caused us to work faster and harder. In the past when snail mail was the only way to send documents or letters, people would have to patiently wait. But now we impatiently ask why it’s not here yet.

It is ironic then that the way to overcome our impatient anxiety is by being patiently mindful. We need to take time to sit and be quiet. We need to calm our galloping minds; stop thinking about what we need to do next and listen to the present.

Here are some simple tips for achieving mindfulness for the impatient:

  • In this exercise there’s no need to sit quietly with your eyes closed; it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing.
  • Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself; inhale and hold for three seconds, exhale and hold for three seconds; repeat a few times.
  • Stop thinking and start observing; become aware of your surroundings; look, see, hear, smell; observe without judging.
  •  If you are not able to keep your mind from racing thoughts of the past or future, then either slowly count or repeat the mantra, “Right here, right now.”
  • Your goal here is to achieve mindfulness for only 10 to fifteen seconds.
  • Do this often throughout the day; the more you do it, the easier it will become.

This is a simple exercise to achieve a few seconds of mindfulness throughout your day. Having just an instant of peace in your life will make a marked difference.


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