Waiting sometimes seems to take forever. And what do we do while waiting for someone or something to happen? Eat, drink, talk, listen to music, watch tv, bite the nails, send messages, get annoyed, pick an argument with someone, stare aimlessly at whatever is in sight - anything to relieve the boredom and frustration.
These days we are in such a hurry to know, to feel, to hear, to see - and modern technology can often provide us with instant satisfaction. We get things done, we feel relieved, happy and relaxed....ah, peace at last! But not everything can be achieved at the touch of a button. Waiting to get better, or, for an insomniac, waiting to fall to sleep cannot be rushed. In writing, sometimes words pour out so fast your hand can't keep up. At other times nothing emerges. Nothing. Feeling desperate, you scribble a few paragraphs to fill the vacant time only to find that you have to delete them the next day.
If waiting were a game, how would you play it? Would you...
• Think, think, think on what to do because you are a good thinker and planner?
• Push for things to happen because you are a mover and shaker?
• Let yourself be distracted by some form of entertainment?
• Complain and take it out on someone?
The first option works to a certain point. Over-thinking, however, clouds and confuses the mind and leaves you with a headache. Wise solutions come with a clear mind that is free from thoughts. The second option is also risky - you may jump into action too soon without sufficient research and evidence. The third option, you rely on others - things and people - to keep you cheerful. Devoid of entertaining distractions, boredom and frustration resume.You learn nothing about yourself nor from the waiting experience! The last option is not recommended, yet we may go for it because it's the easiest.
There is a far better option: develop patience! Often when something has gone wrong, we fear the pain. We try to fix it fast. Our mind is in such a hurry, we do not notice the beauty of waiting. Imagine a winter scene where the branches of the trees, once clothed in gold, bronze or red, lay bare. Their dark snarled shadows stretch over the opaque pond, replete with algae, like a piece of art. With a certain angle of sunlight, the shadow seems longer, stronger and darker; and with another angle, it is barely there.
To take a good photograph, we need to wait for the right moment, for the right amount of light, the right angle, the right movement, or absence of. In the meantime, we observe the natural changes through our lens. The lighting and shadows alter with the passing clouds, creating different expressions on the camera. The colours may be brighter, darker, more sombre or obscure. The changes occur constantly. These changes are captured by the eye of the camera but are often not as obvious to our eyes. As for the angle, a scene may be well lit but a bit empty in the foreground; another may have a natural decorative foreground but insipid lighting. Waiting for the cloud to move away could add a more artistic touch to the picture but one which many amateur photographers will ignore.
We learn what is happening around us when we observe. Better still is to observe how these happenings affect us deep inside: how our mind dances with glee when things are going well; how it becomes glum when things turn sour; how the mind can change from one moment to the next when nothing seems to happen. We need to understand that things are always changing, externally and internally, including this mind that is currently experiencing agitation. This will soon go without us taking action to relieve it. Simply observe! We don't need to get involved with any state of mind that is floating by like a dark cloud.
The art of waiting lies in being mindful of our thoughts, emotions and actions, and having the patience to watch and learn. Whatever is happening outside or inside, the mind takes note, understands and remains at peace - allowing us to wait contentedly without losing our heart, mind and temper.
Are you an amateur or a master at the waiting game? See for yourself next time you need to wait!