I am writing this at a time when a viral pandemic has girdled the earth. Lately there seem to be hopeful signs that its virulence is easing, we can only hope that this is so. But what is certain is that many have been affected, either in their employment, their family life, their health and, of course, many have died. Each such death is a tragedy to be mourned.
So perhaps we can take the time to ask what the wise have to say that can be helpful in this time of world-wide fear and disruption?
There are many virtues appropriate to our present circumstances that are extolled in the Sanskrit wisdom traditions: Abhayam (अभयम्) fearlessness; Balam (बलम्) strength, Buddhi (बुद्धि) reason, Kshamā (क्षमा) patience and forbearance, and so on.
When I reflected on these words of wisdom, I felt that it was the theme of Patience that lit up for me, that Kshamā—patience and forbearance—would be the most helpful. This beautiful word is full of deep, practical wisdom. It is derived from a root form which relates to remaining calm and composed and allowing events to take place and not resisting the reality of the moment. It also carries the sense of having the strength to bear any burden.
In its ordinary meaning Kshamā simply means patience. The ability to wait upon events without judgment, criticism, or requirement that the universe serve us up a different reality. This requires an inner steadiness, an ability to find rest, satisfaction and fullness within ourselves. This is certainly an important part of mastering Conscious Confidence.
One easy way to discover the beauty and power of Kshamā is to change your story about the events that come your way, from judgment and requirement, to gratitude and acceptance. This acceptance is not a passive inert condition, but a starting point to see the situation clearly so you can apply intelligence and reason, allowing yourself to respond in a full-hearted, effective and fruitful way
This feeling of gratitude and acceptance can be cultivated and practised. Start by realising the universe is a great giver of gifts, and that anything presented to you is for your benefit, even if it is in the form of a lesson that you need more patience!
So, in this current climate let’s work together to meet fear, distress, and grief head on, by cultivating Kshamā in ourselves, a positive feeling of gratitude, patience, and peace. This will leave us free of some of our own burdens, so we can be ready and willing to give our love, our compassion, and our support to the many friends, family and even strangers who are in need of some strength and comfort.
April 27th, 2020