Be Patient We’ve All Been There

September 6th, 2013

love and compassion

An 85 year old man was sitting on the sofa with his 50 year old son. Suddenly a crow perched on their window.

The Father asked his Son, “What is this?”

The Son replied “It is a crow”.

After a few minutes, the Father asked his Son the 2nd time, “What is this?”

The Son said “I just told you “It’s a crow”.

After a little while, the old Father again asked his Son the 3rd time,

What is this?”

Then the son got impatient. “It’s a crow, I told you, a crow, a crow”.

A little after, the Father again asked his Son the 4th time, “What is this?”

This time the Son shouted at his Father, “Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again. I have told you so many times ‘IT IS A CROW’. Are you listening?”

A little later the Father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had kept since his Son was born. He opened a page, and asked his Son to read it. The following words were written in the diary-

“Today my three year old son was sitting with me on the sofa, and a crow was sitting on the window. He asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a crow. It made me smile so much. I hugged him  each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times, smiled and told him again. It was a beautiful moment to share.”

Remember that if someone is annoying you, they are doing the best they can.

And remember that you were once an innocent child, asking naive but beautifully open questions.

And remember that you were once a self preoccupied teenager, thinking the world revolved around you.

And remember that you were once a naive twenty year  old with poor judgment but incredible resilience.

And one day you will be a forgetful 85 year old, doing your best to find your way.

We’ve all been there or will be there. The only appropriate response is patience, compassion and forgiveness.

Frederick Buechner said,

Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.

Try this compassion exercise on people who annoy you:

With your attention on someone who annoys you, say to yourself:
Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in their life
Just like me, this person is trying to deal with suffering in their life
Just like me, this person is doing the best they can
Just like me, this is a person with a story and struggles and so much goodness to share.

With your attention on someone you have disagreement with, say to yourself:
Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in their life
Just like me, this person is trying to deal with suffering in their life
Just like me, this person is doing the best they can
Just like me, this is a person with a story and struggles and so much goodness to share.

With your attention on someone you  dislike, say to yourself:
Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in their life
Just like me, this person is trying to deal with suffering in their life
Just like me, this person is doing the best they can
Just like me, this is a person with a story and struggles and so much goodness to share.

Life empowerment mentor, Erin Lanahan, said it well-

Right away I begin to feel compassion because I know that you hurt, just like me, and you feel joy, just like me. You worry and feel scared sometimes, just like me. You have bad days, just like me, and you have amazing days, just like me. You are seeking, just like me. You want to believe in love, just like me.

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  1. This is such a beautiful story and it’s so true.  People only annoy us because we don’t realize that we’re trying to avoid feeling like bad people on autopilot, and so we end up behaving like bad people because we don’t simply walk away from the annoyance.  ie:  “I don’t want to be rude…but he’s driving me crazy!”  *giggle*  Don’t avoid being rude, and instead, ask yourself why you avoid being rude.  Because when avoiding being rude is no longer a distraction, we can easily create polite or silly reactions instead.  “Dad, why are you asking me 100 times about that silly bird?  If you ask me again, I’m calling it an eagle – just be aware!”So, at the end of each of those compassion exercises, I would encourage everyone to add one more step:  Ask yourself why you think they are annoying, contrary, or difficult.  Sure they are, but why does it matter to you enough to react?  Get to the root of what causes the reaction so that you understand how the pattern of reacting to others in this way began, then bravely face it, and let it go for good.  We naturally do not react to or become distracted with what we understand.  :)Thank you, soulseeds.  I love your posts.  <3

  2. Norma Jean Barker says:

    Thank you Ian, 

  3. Nashreen says:

    Dear Ian, Meg:First, I would like to say, I am a first time “poster”  I am always leery of these kinds of things.  But, I put my fear aside and decided that, since all the articles I read on your site not only inspire me but guide me, I would let you know.  So, I’m letting you know.  :-)Thank for sharing your most intimate stories with us.  And for always saying what we are all thinking… helping all of us to build/create and live in a better, peaceful world…outside and inside.Nashreen

  4. ian says:

    thank you Nashreen, what a beautiful message. So glad to be connected to you. Much love, Ian and Meg

  5. Heather L says:

    Thanks, Ian (and Meg, who writes amazing things, too!).I have a friend who is at times difficult to have as a friend. He is passionate about things that I do not consider important, like a certain brand of luxury car. His political views are very different from mine and sometimes I feel not only annoyed but rather disappointed when he seems to be living in such a different world.  (Which I guess means that I am passionate about things that HE does not consider important.) However – he is my friend. I care about him as I do all my friends. He does care about people; he is available as much as humanly possible if someone he knows needs help.  His sense of humour is infectious and he is very generous. He and his lovely wife are both good friends, actually, and their focus and self-discipline rub off on me. I like to think that my moments of “human rights-and-rainbow-sunshine-hippy-greenie” kinda person rub off on them a bit, too. We’re good for each other.As time goes by and I learn more about several friends’ personal histories, I can understand more about what has shaped them so far. My at-times-infuriating but much-valued friend has his own reasons for his views. His many stories are worth hearing.Just like me, this person and all people around have “…a story and struggles and so much goodness to share”Even when I know they’re wrong! :-)

  6. ian says:

    Love it Heather, “even when you know they’re wrong” :) Sounds like the sort of friendship where you can tease each other a bit to keep the ice broken.

  7.  We give birth when we came to this world as a small kid and again we become child at the age of eighty