Virtue As Acceptance Of Reality

I’m reading an e-book by David Gorman on the virtues.

He makes the point that patience is the absence of impatience. And what is impatience? It is a refusal to accept reality. It is a refusal to accept that things are moving more slowly than we would like. Life is not living up to our expectations.

When this happens, we all tend to tense and to push. We compress and we try to hurry. You can’t try to hurry and not tighten up. If you were to resolutely stay poised, you could not be frantic.

As long as we believe that our beliefs about what should happen are more real than what is happening, we are going to be impatient. We’re going to tighten and compress. And we’re going to hurry.

The true meaning of impatience is that our beliefs are out of alignment with reality and we are not experiencing life in the present moment but trying to force life to align with our beliefs.

We should take the feeling of impatience as a wake-up call that our thinking is out of alignment with reality. Impatience is just part of the learning process.

If we learn to accept reality, we will lose our impatience, and we will stop unnecessarily tensing ourselves and those around us.

It makes no more sense to practice patience than it does to practice good posture. Instead, by letting go of the way we unnecessarily interfere with ourselves by trying to impose our unrealistic beliefs on reality, we will naturally let go compression and take up our full space in the world.

When we try things and they don’t work out as we wish, we get frustrated. The feeling of frustration is a wake-up call that our ideas about what steps will bring about a particular end are not accurate. Our beliefs are not matching up with reality.

When you understand the meaning of your feeling of frustration, that unpleasant feeling goes away. Once you get the message, the messenger leaves.

When we are deliberately being dishonest, we usually feel lousy. We’re afraid and nervous and tense and calculating.

So why then are we dishonest? Because we expect to lose something important to us if we are honest.

How hard it is for you to be honest is a measurement of how much you want what you want and don’t want what you don’t want.

If it would be unacceptable to lose something and intolerable to endure something, we will be dishonest to avoid those unpleasant states. So we make up a form of reality and try to get others to accept it.

We reject life as it is. By contrast, if we were to accept life as it is, we’d feel little desire to be dishonest. Honesty simply means accepting reality just as the absence of frustration and impatience also means the accepting of life as it is.

So what keeps us from accepting the truth? Our unreal ideas about what should be.

No matter how strong our beliefs and how eloquently we can state them, we are all still forced to live in reality.

By refusing to lie and to rush, we can see ourselves as we are and accept other people as they are.

“If we look at how things work with curiosity rather than trying to distort them to suit ourselves, how could we feel guilt or shame? We’ve done nothing wrong.”

PS. I don’t think of devious people as moving elegantly through life. If you’re constantly lying, you’re inevitably going to develop weird compression and tension patterns. Just think of Richard Nixon.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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