P A T I E N C E
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, April 3, 2012
1. Truly, creative patience and cheerfulness are the two wings of the worker.… One may succeed in arresting the consciousness upon a step of creative patience and to sing like the birds, for whom song is an expression of being, but one has to remove scarecrows set against the song. The quality of the song is equal to the quality of the labor. It is necessary to proceed briskly, as in the ancient simile of the arrow in flight.
New Era Community, 163
2. Brotherhood, 56: Patience, patience, patience--let this not be an empty sound, let it protect one on all paths. When it seems that all forces have been exhausted, such an illusion is most dangerous. The forces are inexhaustible, but people themselves try to cut short their flow. Also, the path to Brotherhood requires much patience. The same power of thought must be applied in order to draw close to the consciousness of the three worlds.
Commentary on Brotherhood, 56: Patience is in itself great knowledge or, rather, great knowledge is born out of great patience. The wise one knows that all comes at an appointed date, cosmic combinations cannot be hastened. It was said long ago that the greatest man is he who is most patient. Thinking more often about Infinity we learn to understand the great patience which must lie in the foundation of each structure. Besides, having before one’s eyes the heroic example of the inexhaustible patience of the Great Teachers. who, during incalculable millennia, labor for the benefit and salvation of humanity, which in its ignorance impedes and destroys in every way Their labors, it becomes easier to endure our misfortunes and difficulties.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, April 23, 1938
3. Much has been indicated about the necessity of developing patience; but wherein may there be discovered such a touchstone? It is useful to begin a conversation with the most bigoted denier. Let him expound his improbable devices; the patient thinker surmounts all ignorance without having recourse to denial. In the creativeness of his thinking, the thinker guards against irritation, during the lesson in patience one is not irritated. Let the ignorant lose their tempers, for they have no other answer, but the probationer in patience will not debase himself with the methods natural to the ignorant. Even in schools, tasks in patience should be proposed. Without a realization of patience it is impossible to reflect on Infinity. The dimensions of the tasks of the Higher World require tests of patience.
4. It may be noticed that patience is developed to the extreme in certain people while others are totally lacking in this quality. What is the reason for this? Such a basic quality cannot be a matter of chance. Know that the possessor of patience has built it up in many lives. A patient man is a worker of vast experience. Only in great labors does a man cognize the worthlessness of irritation…. One should not assume that patience is a distinction conferred without reason; on the contrary, it belongs to the qualities that have been earned with special difficulty, both in the earthly and in the subtle sojourn. Hence, the patient man is rich in experience while the impatient one is a novice in life. Thus let us remember, for the Path.
5. Urusvati knows that impatience is an undesirable trait that is frequently confused with other qualities. For instance, it can be compared to aspiration, but is quite different in its essence. Constant aspiration is harmonious and generates beautiful rhythms, while impatience is discordant and acts fitfully, disturbing the rhythm. Impatience demonstrates ignorance of the basic law that the essence of Being is in a state of constant motion. Only patient, alert, ardent observation can reveal the power of energy. Therefore find the balance between action and patience; without this equilibrium you will find no rhythm and no true cooperation. An unbalanced person will say, “I can wait no longer!” and in these words reveals his impotence. The lack of power is lack of will, because will is developed through human power. If we examine all these traits, we shall come to the conclusion that they are subject to human power. One will exclaim, “I am impatient by nature.” Let him rather say that his habits have brought him a loss of will. Then let us take the other extreme, those who understand patience as inaction, and in this error engender new sufferings. Truly, the most assiduous patience can be combined with intense activity. If people cannot discern the constant motion of the Substance of Being, they can still perform good work within the limits of their abilities. The ancients used to say, “Let us work while we wait.” Skills are the best discipline for patience and are within reach for all humanity. Let our labors serve as a reminder about active patience. Patience gives accuracy to our work, and in the high quality of labor we shall understand the meaning of harmony.
Supermundane II, 411
6. Let us apply patience as well, for without patience nothing can be achieved. Verily, very often people give up a brilliant beginning only because of lack of patience. They forget that all great tasks are accompanied by difficulties, but by shunning those difficulties they condemn themselves to a fatiguing and endlessly reiterative course. One cannot skip over the following steps without mastering the first steps.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, October 21, 1931
7. You are right in asking how to acquire patience, for without this quality it is impossible to begin self-perfectment. Patience lies at the core of all achievements, therefore it is the greatest quality. It is easiest of all to acquire patience through love for service and for the Great Teacher. Of course, it is also affirmed in us during straight-knowledge, or in better words, when being spiritually enlightened by the lofty meaning of this particular concept—patience--but such attainment is far more difficult. As in everything, the path of love is the shortest and the most beautiful, and for him who knows what love is, it is also the easiest. Thus, my advice to you who have felt the fiery burning of the heart toward the Teaching will be to strengthen yourself in patience through love. … Patience is one of the most difficult qualities; not in vain is it said that the truly great man is he who is great in patience. However, that which is difficult is truly valuable, therefore it is right to apply all one’s forces to the mastery of this treasure.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, January 26, 1939
8. If you are planning to establish a community, do it as simply as possible without binding yourself by any obligations, and mainly by practicing the most intense labor—and arm yourself with infinite patience and tolerance.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, January 17, 1936
9. If the Teacher does not show patience to the first steps of a disciple, he is not a Teacher. … Patience is the gem of the Crown. It testifies to the approach to Infinity.
10. On the path of transformation remember the Instruction of the Thinker, “Learn to find the patience to listen to others speak of their pain. Find the benevolence to give wings to the joys of others. You do not know the source of their sufferings. You do not know the cause of their joy, but learn to offer warmth and encouragement to others.”
Supermundane IV, 756
11. You should be careful in your answers… it is always necessary to remember the principle given by the Teacher: "The answer must be as the ray of a physician, not as the nail of a coffin." It is necessary "not to interfere," taking into consideration the level of people's consciousness. By carefully broadening it, it is possible to achieve the true understanding; but often this is a very long process, and then it is necessary to show the same kind of patience as the Great Teacher shows toward us. In the beginning, everyone needs encouragement and recognition of his abilities. It is easy to scare away and much more difficult to hold, but the Great Teacher instructs us to retain the newcomers.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, September 11. 1929
12. There are people who, though unacquainted with the laws of psychic energy, are sometimes able to admit beneficial sendings. We rejoice when someone, even unconsciously, comes to the right path. Such unknowing people should be treated with care. They can easily be lost to Us, but a light, friendly touch can open their sealed treasury. Great patience is needed, and also great tolerance. These attitudes are of help in everything, including mental healing. A good physician knows the ways of caring for his patient.
Supermundane III, 552
13.Urusvati knows that patience is the parent of tolerance. Intolerance is the offspring of ignorance. Nothing obstructs achievement as much as does intolerance. One must become attuned to an attitude of tolerance from one’s earliest years. And compassion is akin to it. Tolerance is the best way. Those who argue should not be dismissed if their words contain just one particle of truth. This particle could serve as a bridge for unity. But patience is needed to discover such particles of truth.
Supermundane IV, 752
14. “Mighty, valiant, firm in His steps, not rejecting the burden of an achievement for the General Good….There are three joys of Bodhisattvas: the joy of giving, the joy of helping, and the joy of eternal perception. Patience always, in all, and everywhere.” (Mahayana-Sutra)
Letters of Helena Roerich I, December 20, 1934
15. In the simplest handiwork, and in music, one can have most instructive experiences. Sometimes one finger alone is not firmly applied at the correct place and thus the full tone is lost; but even then such a misapplication does not at all mean that the fault is irreparable. Some centers harmonize quickly, but others, for many reasons, require far more protracted cooperation. Patience, that great constituent of success, will be tested in such adoptions of the centers. Often, precisely the slower adaptations serve for the good; they not only combine the centers, but, as it were, they unite energy to the future. Thus patience is an adornment of the heart. Each one who is inexperienced in patience will not know how to adapt himself to the Fiery World.
Fiery World II, 326
16. Patience is a conscious systematic understanding of what is taking place. Patience needs to be cultivated as a promoter of advancement. It is absurd to represent patience as an inner atrophy, on the contrary, the process of patience is intensity. Thus energy takes part in events, contributing to them and not making erroneous premises in advance. Thus one should accustom students to patience in its true meaning.
17. We place our confidence in the power of patience. Asserting courage, We will not forget patience. It is a solace to know that patience overcomes any irritation. In the intensity of patience a special substance is created, which, like a powerful antidote, neutralizes even imperil. But of course, patience is not a lack of feeling. During criminal indifference, benevolent reactions are not evident. Patience is a conscious tension and an opposition to darkness.
Yet patience is the source of Bliss. Nothing so tests the heart as conscious patience. You know the essence of that which now occurs. Can you resist the tensity of the spheres without the experience of patience acquired through many ages?
18. The human spirit advances slowly--let us remember this. Hence, patience alone is not sufficient, let us apply joyous patience. Let us even consider that each instantaneous illumination is not applicable, and in this way we will become convinced of the need for timeless labor in the education of the heart.
19. Patience is the gift of heaven; thus spoke the ancients.… How shall we exert patience without knowing the Higher World? Only when the silver thread shall be drawn from the heart to the Higher World, will the understanding of patience come. We revere that quality; it is close to tolerance and containment, in other words, to the opening of the Gates.