Ross Foti

Thoughts on patience

This morning as I walked on the ranch, I noticed a few things.

A blue heron and a hawk were hunting. Solitary in their pursuit, to the casual observer each was invisible. The heron could have been a tall stalk of coastal vegetation, the hawk perhaps a burl on a tree limb.

I stood for a few moments watching each of them, certain that even in their stillness they were aware of me. What struck me about each was the silence and lack of motion in their pursuit of prey.

Sometimes, when we as humans have an objective and pursue it, we become more focused on our action, in a sense distracting us from what is ¬†right before us, in our own field, awaiting our attention. We hurry to accomplish and achieve without allowing life’s more subtle energies to guide and direct our effort.

There is a conversation about self-determination that explores surrender versus manipulation, fear versus trust. We are in that conversation.

This morning as I watched the hawk and the heron, I recognized in their stillness and patience, in their watchfulness, a trust that what they sought would appear in its own time, and their very presence in this place would allow them to achieve their objective, breakfast.

Later on my walk, I came upon the ocean. Wave after wave, the water crashed into shore, imperceptively eroding the rocky masses and sandstone bluffs with its relentless motion. I asked myself, how does the fact of constant motion contribute to the conversation about self-determination and surrender?

It was here on the edge of the ranch, looking out across the water that I saw a bigger picture, and distilled from it an answer.

Waves are made of water. Beyond the horizon line, past the soft clouds of morning, further than I can imagine or even calculate, the water in the  crashing waves patiently awaited their time to come to shore. Water, like the heron and the hawk knew it would find its shore as surely as the hawk and heron find their prey. No anxiety, simply trust. Sometimes, what looks like inaction is simply patience awaiting its moment of transformation, and through its stillness achieving its objective.

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