Most of us strive hard to reach our true, full potential. But, for as fast-paced as life is, it often feels as if the journey to fulfilling your potential crawls at a snail's pace. Instead of feeling excited by the process, you're left feeling frustrated by the "hurry up and wait" phenomenon. This is why Buddhist teacher and best-selling author Jack Kornfield says that the path to unlocking your full potential begins with one big thing: patience.
Yet, patience doesn't come naturally to many of us. So, how can we develop it?
As Kornfield explains in a visually stunning video from the "Gratitude Revealed" series by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, it all begins with trust.
"Patience is really about trust," Kornfield says. "I see trust as like planting a seed. When you plant a seed in the garden, there [are] droughts that come, there are insects that come, so you have to tend the seed. But if you tend it, it wants to grow, and it will produce amazing things."
"So, you choose your intention; you plan a beautiful seed. You direct yourself ... to a community, a family, a part of the earth, to something that is a gift that's given to you, that you can give back," Kornfield continues. "And then, you see what happens."
That waiting period, however, can leave people feeling helpless, as if there is something more they're supposed to be doing. To be comfortable in this space, Kornfield says you must understand what patience is actually about.
"Patience sometimes can be misunderstood as inactivity, [as if] it means 'I'm holding back and I'm not going to give myself fully to something,'" he says. "It's not that at all. Patience -- or trust -- is really waiting for the right season... Like surfing, you don't just get on your board and paddle. You wait for the right moment and the wave."
This is why people who are most comfortable with patience also have a strong sense of trust.
"Patience allows a kind of deep inner trust, that we have the capacity to be with the matrix of life," Kornfield explains.
Soon enough, he adds, patience begins to fade into the background, replaced by something more profound.
"When you quiet your mind and open your heart and look to the mystery, then it's not even a question of patience," Kornfield says. "It's a question of being home. And you're home exactly where you are, which is where you always are: in the reality of the present."
Having the patience and trust to sit with yourself and embrace the present is powerful. It can also be peppered with heartbreak.
"It doesn't mean that we don't weep. It doesn't mean that we don't care deeply about the losses in the world," Kornfield points out. "In some way, as we become trusting, patient, more grateful -- even grateful for the difficulties -- we also allow ourselves to be touched more fully by life."
As this happens, Kornfield says, you invite a calming sense of gratitude into everything you do.
"As you quiet, how can you be anything but grateful? Grateful for the next breath ... grateful to be able to walk and eat, grateful for the eyes that allow yourself to see the colors of the world, grateful for your ability to choose and move and respond," Kornfield says. "This awareness, this presence -- we could call it sacred presence -- it is who we really are."
"You are the love of the world. Remember this as your true nature," he continues. "Trust it. It is your home."
Gratitude Revealed is filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg's series of 16 film shorts that explores what gratitude is, produced by his studio, Moving Art. Utilizing a diverse array of styles, approaches and his 30-plus-year archive, Schwartzberg's films show why gratitude is important and what we can all do to live more gracious lives.
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