Hurry up and wait: spiritual impatience as a sign of progress

I hate to wait. I don’t like waiting in lines; I’m not a big fan of waiting for company to arrive. As a child, the wait on Christmas morning was almost unbearable. How can I just sit here when there are tons of great presents sitting right in the living room, ready to be unwrapped? But as an adult, I find an even more difficult beast plagues me: spiritual impatience.

Spiritual impatience is the result of putting your foot on a spiritual path. It’s a sign that you’re beginning to understand the lessons that are important to you and that those lessons are starting to sink in. Impatience is a clear sign that you now see what is possible on the horizon…and that you’re not there yet.

You know that a better, more fulfilling life exists and that there are steps you can take to get there. You’ve read about them. You’ve seen examples of others who have arrived at a new plateau after years of struggle. You’ve been inspired by readings, by teachings and by endless examples. Your mind starts churning new concepts and sprinkles ideas upon your consciousness at various times throughout the day and in your dreams.

Up until this point, you’ve been working with inspiration. Inspiration usually follows a period of sadness, confusion or longing that prods you into the search for something better. Whatever it is that has caused you to ask for more: health issues, relationship problems, spiritual emptiness, has pushed you over the brink and set you on a journey filled with promise. Those first few days, months, or even years are an exciting part of your transformation. The learning fuels you. It’s like you’ve stepped on the accelerator and flown up the highway at top speed. But suddenly you look around and wonder where the hell you are.

Now, you start to compare your current experiences with your daydream experiences. You become acutely aware of the gaps. You’ve unknowingly adopted a new model for yourself, one that’s very solidified in your subconscious, yet barely recognizable in physical reality. That’s where anguish and longing come into play. Spiritual impatience has made itself known to you and it is a good sign.

Impatience is the handmaiden of the ego. As the part of your consciousness that interfaces with the physical world, the ego wants to be in control. Working with the intellect, the ego sees the goal ahead—the “new” you—and thinks its job is to get you there. It feels it must do this alone, or at least with some general feedback and information from the intellect. The ego’s purpose is noble; its methods are not. What it forgets is the fact that it doesn’t know everything. In fact, the ego knows very little. It’s not its fault; it has simply succumbed to the conditioning you’ve placed on it for years and years.

There’s a flip side to the ego’s valor: fear. In addition to wanting you to move ahead at warp speed, the ego also fears what will happen if you don’t get there. Now you’ve got two opposing mechanisms fighting for control of your whole identity. Your ego wants you to become this perfect, whole person and yet it fears more than anything that you won’t get there. It’s time to help out the ego.

There are two main tools to help fight spiritual impatience and put the ego at ease, allowing it to assist your whole identity in Honoring Your Sprit.

The first tool is presence. Developing presence is akin to eating an apple a day for your health. It’s one of the easiest ways to access your inner being and return you to a state of wholeness. Your intellect has a hard time focusing on two things at once, even though we’ve become a multi-tasking society.  Returning to the present moment shifts your perception to the immediacy of your self and the environment and automatically puts space around your ego.

To return to the present moment, stop and direct your focus. First, look around at your surroundings. What do you see? Notice small details, such as the leaves on a nearby tree or the way the light reflects off the blender on the counter. Next, employ your ears—what are you hearing? Can you detect the hum of the refrigerator? Can you hear the children playing down the street? Listen also for the sounds you don’t hear and you’ll sink into the present moment. Now, what do you feel physically? Can you feel the chair beneath you? What’s under your feet? Is there a breeze on your face? Can you feel sunshine on your eyes? Use all of your senses: what do you taste right now? What sensations are meeting your skin? Gently move back and forth between the senses to immerse you into the present moment.

When you get good at developing presence, even for just a few moments, you’ve begun to train your mind into “allowing.” When you get your mind away from your thoughts and when your ego isn’t swallowed up in progress reports, you begin to allow space to flow into your spirit. That space is important for your inner being to flex its spiritual muscles. Your intuition, telepathy and clairvoyance skills sharpen with the allowance of the present moment. That allowance is key to combating spiritual impatience.

The other important tool in combating impatience is trust, and that’s a biggie. Trust is a necessary part of any spiritual practice; you can’t proceed without it. The good news is that you already have trust if you’re experiencing spiritual impatience. Part of the impatience stems from knowing that something better exists “out there.” If you can’t see or believe in a better life, you can’t trust that it will manifest.

As I mentioned earlier, the ego always wants control and there’s no exception when it comes to trust. The ego wants to dictate how and when you move ahead and the pace you’ll need to get there. Trust doesn’t have any of that. Trust is also a practice of allowing: allowing the universe to deliver your dreams to you in the best way possible and on a timeline that works for everybody. It’s about allowing things to unfold without unnecessary resistance and it’s about allowing room for change.

Trust is a difficult trait to cultivate and it demands frequent check-ups by your conscious mind.  One of the most effective methods for developing trust is simply to remind yourself of trust through affirmations. “I trust that life will bring to me exactly what I need at the right time.” Or, “I trust my inner being to direct me in my life.” Find wording that feels comfortable and is memorable and repeat your affirmation many times throughout the day.

Let impatience be a good reminder that you’re moving in the right direction. You are developing spiritually and that’s precisely why you are feeling resistance. It’s there to serve you and while it may be a little annoying, take comfort in the fact that it’s signifying some great things to come. When you find yourself immersed in spiritual impatience, first get present and then gently remind yourself of your trust in the process.