The Courage to Wait

from Practicing Peace in Times of War
by Pema Chodron

Then the path of peace depends on being patient with the fact that all of us make mistakes.  And that’s more important than getting it right.  This whole process seems to work only if you’re willing to give yourself a break, to soften up, as you practice patience.  As with the rest of the teachings, you can’t win and you can’t lose.  You don’t get to just say, “Well since I never can do it, I’m not going to try.”  It’s like you never can do it and still you try.  And, interestingly enough, that adds up to something, it adds up to appreciation for yourself and for others.  It adds up to there being more warmth in the world.  You look out through your eyes and you just see yourself wherever you go–you see all these people who are escalating their suffering just like you do.  You also notice people catching themselves just like you do, and they give you the gift of their fearlessness.  You begin to be grateful for even the slightest gesture of bravery on the part of others because you know it’s not so easy.  Their courage increases your trust in the basic goodness of yourself and all beings throughout the world–each of us just wanting to be happy, each of us not wanting to suffer.