Waiting can sometimes be the hardest thing. Waiting is hard, well, because it’s waiting. It’s desire deferred. There is a thing that is wanted and that thing is not present or available. That thing is not there to be seized and held. So, you must wait.
And, sometimes, wait more.
The whole time you’re waiting, you’re not getting the thing you want.
It’s out of reach, just over the hill, just beyond the bend, or just a day away. Sometimes, it’s so far away you don’t know if it will ever be within reach. As you wait you begin to doubt.
Will it ever arrive?
Will I ever get the thing I want?
Is waiting worth it?
There is a second part of waiting that is just as hard. Sometimes, the thing you want is within reach. The path is clear. The moment has arrived.
Or has it?
If you leap at the wrong time you will miss. You might leap and find that you just leaped off of the cliff. The thing you wanted was almost there and you just missed it, possibly forever. To get what you want, at some point you must act, but act at the wrong time and you may never get what you want.
You wait, besieged with doubts, and when the thing arrives, it arrives with more uncertainty.
Or, how about now?
Move too soon and you miss.
Wait too long and you miss.
Just one moment to get it perfect.
That….is also hard.
There is a concept I learned (learned but not mastered) from martial arts called Mushin. That means “without mind”. It’s borrowed from a Zen concept, Mushin no shin, which means “mind without mind”. In his Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi discusses this in the book about the element of Void. The idea is that the mind is freed from distracting thoughts and emotions and exists perfectly in the present moment, and is thus free to act in whatever way is appropriate for the situation. The right action flows spontaneously from the moment because you exist solely in that moment. No offense to my Buddhist brothers and sisters but, as a Christian, I believe that state comes from being in tune with the mind and will of God. If I’m focused on God I’m not distracted by the doubts of waiting. I’m not trying to spot the perfect moment to act based on my flawed and limited perspective. I’m freed from trying to guess at the right thing to do or the right time to do it. By removing thoughts of myself from the equation, I’m free to act spontaneously and appropriately.
Make no mistake. Buddhist or Christian, this is still a hard thing. I naturally rebel at taking myself out of the equation. I am a selfish, self-involved, self-oriented creature. I’m not sure I could do what’s needed under my own steam. It’s counter-intuitive. It’s crazy. It goes against my instincts.
But, I can recognize that if I can do this thing I gain the power to get the right things at the right times. That’s called enlightened self-interest. As a Christian, though I might not be able to get there on my own, I know where to find the power, freely given, to overcome my baser self. If I’m willing to accept it.
That’s not as hard.