Patience vs. Presence

palm lined road

On my morning commute, I was listening to a talk given by Eckhart Tolle. In it, he spoke of the concepts of patience and presence. He said if you are practicing patience, you are not being present. You are white knuckling through the now, to get somewhere else. If you are present, you do not need patience.

This felt important, and I rewound to hear it again. It applies to everything. The commute. Parenting. Standing in line. Holding a yoga pose. Not knowing where we will be a year from now. Anything I am waiting for.

Perhaps patience isn’t as virtuous as we’ve been led to believe.

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9 Responses to Patience vs. Presence

  1. Carrie Link says:

    I love ET and everything about ET. I am going to “be with” this, thank you!!!

  2. Meg says:

    I miss you, Ilonka! You always seem to come bearing the message I needed to hear. Thank you, friend.

  3. Hollye Dexter says:

    Great point. I will keep that in mind. What if you are exercising patience so you don’t go ballistic on your kids? I wonder about that one… ; )

  4. Jamie says:

    I’m going to confess that I really don’t like Eckhart Tolle….. BUT I do REALLY like this…. it does make some amount of sense and I’m for sure going to spend some time thinking about it…… I wonder if the definition we think of for patience is the same as long ago?? Something to look into…. Thanks for this.

  5. kario says:

    I learned a long time ago that when the phrase, “If I can just get past/hold on until _______” starts playing through my head, it’s a red flag. It means that I’m not in this moment and setting up expectations for the future that may or may not come to fruition. Often I’m setting myself up for a giant disappointment and it’s important to look at why what I’m doing right now is not serving me and whether it’s a good idea to jettison it altogether. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. So, so interesting and provocative. I know that I wait, patiently, all the time. I know that I have never looked on that as being something other than present. Wow. I’ll be thinking.

  7. Tanya Savko says:

    Wow, good stuff. I definitely need to work more on being present. I’ve been getting little reminders of that lately, and this one isn’t so little! Thanks for posting this. Glad you were listening; I will too.

  8. rhemashope says:

    Thank you. I needed that.


  9. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Michelle, thank you for sharing Tolle’s wisdom. It seems to me–I’ve never before thought about the conjunction of patience and presence/present–that this insight is profound. I’ll hold on to it as I stand in the Christmas line ready to check out and as I begin to wrap the gifts for those I love and cherish. Perhaps staying in the present as I wrap the presents is the gift I’m giving to myself. Peace.

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