Oh, How I Hate to Wait!

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Nobody likes to wait.  Waiting usually provokes thinking of all the things you could be doing if you weren’t waiting.  Waiting, then, is some kind of anxiety, some kind of need for action, even when none is possible.  Ugh!

I love the French word for waiting; attend.  It can mean stop, it can mean listen. It has the implication of care or of some kind of special attention needing to be paid.  Even in English, a synonym for attend is listening. Here, in the world of attending, the world of waiting, the activity is listening.  Not listening for something, but listening in, tuning in, paying attention.   

Listening in, tuning in, is active, productive, even fruitful.  You can learn all kinds of things. In some ways, this kind of waiting and listening is a vital part of the growing process, especially vital to proper timing.  If you listen in and wait, the right time will be easy to know. If you don’t listen in, you don’t wait, you might find yourself having left home without a raincoat, spoken words that you regret or even bumped into the car in front of you.  So many times, you can become caught by the activity around you, fail to listen in, fail to wait, and find yourself in a pickle.

Hexagram 5  is called Waiting or Attending.  A productive moment of growth where we are full, awake, attentive, yet not moving forward.  We are, instead, simply being with, being in, listening, attuning ourselves to the growth within and the environment without, finding a kind of attunement, a kind of harmony with the unknown nature of growth and activity.  What is needed next? How will we know when? This IS waiting.

“When you are fully present in waiting, your intense attention shines out like a beacon, beginning a creative engagement with the world – not by working on anything, but by waiting on it and holding your faith.”  Hilary Barrett from commentary on Hexagram 5 - Xu- Waiting

Waiting does require faith.  This kind of faith is “the willingness to be with the mystery of being” as described by one of my favorite Buddhist teachers, Ken McLeod.  This kind of willingness enters you into a very deep and unique relationship with yourself and consequently with your world. Again, it is not a faith in something, but rather a willingness to be present with things when you simply don’t know, can’t know, won’t know, unless you wait, unless you listen.   

What if every time you had to wait, you listened instead?  Can you listen in to what is happening as if you were tuning in to a radio station, trying to hear it clearly, trying to get the message?

Listen here for a little bit about waiting….

Josephine SpilkaComment