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A 16 Guidelines view on


Some people seem to be born patient, just as others seem to have a tendency to get angry. However, it is also possible to cultivate patience. We can remind ourselves of the damage that is caused by uncontrolled anger. We can accept that an injury may not have been intended. We can remember that the situation will change. Patience is a learning curve that lays the foundations for a happy life. To practice patience is to taste the power of the mind. Life is full of uncomfortable experiences, from minor niggles and irritations to major confrontations and setbacks. When they happen, we have a choice about how to respond. We can either become agitated and upset, or we can stay calm and relaxed. Patience is the ability to control our reactions and retain our peace of mind.

Patience gives us the flexibility and strength not to be a victim of circumstance. It is like having a protective suit of armor. It doesn’t make us passive or resigned, or take away the ability to respond appropriately to difficulties and harm. On the contrary, patience makes it far more likely we can respond in an appropriate way, because we retain the ability to think clearly.


To cultivate a calm and spacious mind

A reflection on 


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The benefits of


  • strengthen our ability to control our reactions, accept differences, and retain our peace of mind

  • enables us to make a calm and effective response to a challenging situation

  • prevents others getting hurt, when we are tempted to lash out in frustration, anger or pain

Did you know?

In the ‘Stanford Marshmallow Experiment’ researchers tested pre-school children. Each child was given the opportunity to have a marshmallow right away or to wait and then have two marshmallows later. Researchers then scored the children at 18 years of age on a range of social indicators. Higher ability to delay gratification as children was linked to higher academic scores. They also had an increased ability to cope with frustration and stress compared to the children who showed less impulse control when choosing marshmallows.

‘If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot.’

Korean proverb

‘Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?’

Lao Tzu

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