The Spiritual Meaning of Frustration

FrustrationReposted from: Spirituality & Practice

An Excerpt from:
Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff

Bestselling author Judith Orloff presents a substantive and illuminating overview of the emotions and their role in the transformation of our lives. Here is an excerpt on patience which comes in our alphabet of spiritual literacy under hope.

Take This Challenge: Practice Patience in a Long Line

“To turn the tables on frustration, find a long, slow-moving line to wait in — perhaps in the grocery store, bank, or post office, or if you’re renewing your driver’s license, dare to take on the mother of all lines in the DMV. But here’s the switch: instead of getting irritated or pushy, which taxes your system with a rush of stress hormones, take a breath. Tell yourself, ‘I’m going to wait peacefully and enjoy the pause.’ Meanwhile, try to empathize with the overwrought cashier or government employee. Smile and say a few nice words to the other beleaguered people in line. Use the time to daydream; take a vacation from work or other obligations. Notice the stress release you feel, how your body relaxes. Lines are an excellent testing ground for patience. To strengthen this asset, I highly recommend standing in as many as possible.

“Frustration is a relic from the dark ages of how many of our parents communicated. It makes no biological sense. Patience, on the other hand, allows you to be happier, healthier, more at ease. Keep practicing it. But don’t expect others to be patient first. You must be the path forger who sets the tone for reducing exasperation. Give yourself a pep talk: ‘I’m going to behave in a new way because the old way isn’t working.’ Patience is attractive and contagious. When you manifest it, others will too. Subsequently, patience becomes more widespread. It’s a progressive approach that reflects a vibrant biology.”

Uncover the Spiritual Meaning of Frustration, Disappointment, and Patience

“If you’re fed up with letting frustrations get the best of you, consider what every major world religion has to say about patience. Despite fiery disagreements about who or what God is and how to make contact, all these religions agree that patience is the essence of spirituality and thus grants great strength. Judaism says, ‘A patient man is better than a warrior.’ In Buddhism, bodhisattvas train in this practice to become enlightened. Christianity and Islam deem it a sacred virtue. Patience endows you with faith in yourself and your destiny, an illuminated capacity to deal with frustration and disappointments.

“Viewed through a purely materialistic lens, success means getting what you want when you want it. If you don’t, your impatience feels warranted. But from a spiritual standpoint, success means acquiring patience, feeling okay about yourself whether or not you get what you want. Everything is about right attitude. Knowing that your spiritual challenge is to transcend frustration permits you to reframe and resolve the natural, bruised feelings of being let down or derailed. From this, you gain a new understanding. Interestingly, the real purpose of frustration isn’t just to frustrate you. It’s to prompt you to align with your larger self.

“The paradigm shift here is to realize that disappointments aren’t necessarily failures or bad. The Dalai Lama believes, ‘When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.’ Of course, the lesson of surmounting frustrations takes considerable patience; that’s the point. I want you to fight for your dreams but also, if you’re thwarted, to be able to land on your feet, resilient, centered. Then you’re always a winner. Here’s the heart of the matter: what if you don’t have (or will never achieve) the perfect relationship, perfect job, or perfect health? Rather than getting bitter or losing hope, you can make peace with what is. That is true emancipation from suffering.

“Having patience isn’t always easy, but it lets us interact with more composure and compassion. There’s a wonderful story of two people standing before God. God asks them about their goals in life. One person states, ‘I’d like to be a saint.’ God responds, ‘That’s very nice.’ When the other person says, ‘I’m just trying to be a good human being,’ God replies, ‘You are very ambitious.’ Patience is a worthy ambition in our relationships and lets us become our finest selves.”

Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff

From Publishers Weekly:
A practicing psychiatrist, the author straddles the worlds of mainstream medicine and alternative healing; she regards emotions as a training ground for the soul, and views every victory over fear, anxiety, and resentment as a way to develop your spiritual muscles.


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