The Six Perfections: Patience
In our Awakening Your True Self Series we are exploring the Six Paramitas or Six Perfections. The intention behind cultivating the six perfections is for the development of compassion. It is considered a path of the Bodhisattva. Today we are reflecting on the third paramita or third perfection which is ksanti paramita or forbearance, tolerance and patience.
Ksanti Paramita teaches that life is difficult from time to time. We will all experience the suffering of illness, financial hardship, difficulties in relationships, addiction, and emotional despair. There is even the everyday suffering of small annoyances from frustrations, to setbacks and situational depression. With ksanti paramita, we have the option to meet our resistance, our “I can’t believe this is happening to me,” with patience, tolerance and forbearance. Instead of refusing to accept and blaming anything, anyone even ourselves and becoming bitter we can ask for patience. May I be patient.
Today we are going to talk about creating inner space through our yoga practice. Through yoga, meditation and breath practice we can create an inner space large enough to hold all of our feelings that come up in life – the big ones and the small annoyances. As spiritual aspirants, when difficulty arises we know that as painful as they are, they offer us an opportunity to increase our strength and resilience. As difficult, painful and heartbreaking as it is, we have opportunity for growth.
According to ksanti paramita there are three kinds of hardships that we will face.
- Personal pain and hardship both physical and emotional
- Pain caused by our personal relationships or interactions with others
- The painful truth about our life
With personal pain, there is a completely natural knee jerk reaction to say anything but this when we experience pain – whether it be physical or emotional. We immediately try to fix or change the situation. Often the adjusting can be in the form of self soothing with food, alcohol, drugs, social media, television, but some way of disconnecting from the pain of the situation. We can even use our spiritual practices as a way to bypass pain.
With ksanti paramita we are turning towards the discomfort and breathing with more strength. We are learning how to endure our pain with grace and composure. This does not mean to stay in a yoga pose or meditation position if it is injurious, that would go against the first rule of ahimsa or non-harming. But it does ask of us to stay with uncomfortable feelings and emotions and to breathe into the discomforts that come up all the time. That may mean that you are asked to stay in a standing yoga posture a little longer than you are comfortable and you can feel your leg muscles trembling. It may mean confronting your loneliness instead of turning on YouTube. Notice when you avoid and adjust to disconnect from discomfort, because when you can get beyond this and bring and inner spaciousness, you will experience a deep inner wisdom as a human being.
I think I am going to have to save pain caused by relationships with others and the painful truth about our lives for the next two subsequent Namaste Yogas.
Today we will focus on creating inner space through our breath and our yoga postures.
Resources: Upaya Zen Center The Six Perfections Dharma Podcast Series with Norman and Kathie Fischer (link)
Thank you to Sounds True for Mark Nepo’s book Inside the Miracle
I read the poem “Willfulness” from Inside the Miracle in savasana today (link)
Marsha asked about mudras in the testimonial. Here is a link to a blog post on mudras:
Also Mudras of India is another great resource that I used for today’s yoga class
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Through that practice we are taking the fruits of our yoga practice and offering them out into the world. We have taken the spiritual goodness we have generated through our yoga practice and given it to those in need. This is a highly valued and incredibly important and generous practice.
Props Needed: yoga blocks, bolster, meditation cushion or folded blanket for seated positions
Yoga Postures/Asanas: Square Breath or Sama Vritti Pranayama, Shoulder Release, Keyhole Stretch, Bridge pose with a block or setu bandhasana with a block, Reclined Side Bend or Supta Ardha Chandrasanq, Seated Revolved Easy Pose or Parivrtta Sukhasana, Chaturmukha Mudra, Goddess Victory Squat or Utkata Konasana with Chaturmukha Mudra, Side Angle pose or Parsvakonasana, Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Balancing Pose, Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog, Sphinx Pose or Salamba bhujangasana or Seal Pose, Front Facing Leg Reach Twist, Wide-Legged Child’s Pose or Balasana,Savasana or Corpse Pose
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Today’s question to answer in the comments is: What is something you have brought patience to in your life?
The intention behind cultivating the six perfections is for the development of compassion. If you would like an infographic of 4 easy and practical ways to incorporate compassion into your life then put your email address into the box below and we will send you 4 easy and practical ways you can incorporate compassion rituals into your life.
If you would like more support in developing patience in your life then I would highly recommend a seated meditation practice. We have a meditation group in our membership community. This can provide ongoing support for your meditation practice.
Namaste Yoga 327 Photos of Yoga Pose