Life Is a Schoolhouse for Soul: Exploring the Virtues of Patience, Calmness and Humility


    I will explore the virtues of Patience, Calmness and Humility.

    Today, we live in a fast-paced world. Our social institutions have magnificently trained us to hurry and to expect things to be done right away. Lack of patience is a rampant social disorder. Unfortunately, this character trait is a devastating stumbling block for the spiritual seeker. You may be in a hurry, but Spirit isn’t. Spirit works at Its leisure and will give the seeker what he or she needs, when appropriate. It is up to the seeker to recognize God’s hand in his or her daily affairs.

    Sometimes when we make a request to Spirit, and as It begins to open the doors to opportunities, we lose patience. Because things are not happening as fast as we expect, we mistakenly feel that our request has been ignored. Keep asking and stay on track with your initiatives. Patience is a virtue. Make patience a part of your spiritual exercise.

    Be Calm
    We will find it beneficial to cultivate calmness. In his book, Take Off From Within, Ervin Seale tells a Zen story of an old Chinese man walking through a crowded marketplace with a stick over his shoulder and, on the end of the stick, a jar of soup. The crowd jostled him, and the jug fell and broke, spilling the contents.

    Someone ran after the man and said, "Your jug has fallen and broken, and your soup is spilled." The informer was more excited than the old gentleman.

    He, with a calm typical of his ancient culture, walked straight on and said, "I know. I heard it fall!"

    He simply acknowledged it, knowing that the event had already taken place and could not be changed. Panic sometimes produces more tension and harm than the original event warrants. The old Chinese man was fully aware that he could make or buy more soup if he wanted to. The breaking of a jar of soup did not represent the end of the world. We should resist stirring ourselves up unnecessarily and learn to handle the events in our lives with equilibrium. Learn to stay calm, let the past go, and relax!

    In his book, How Can I Help? Ram Dass approached the subject of humility with humor in the story, "The Rabbi."

    One day a rabbi, in a frenzy of religious passion, rushed in before the ark, fell to his knees and started beating his chest, crying, "I’m nobody! I’m nobody!"

    The cantor of the synagogue, impressed by this example of spiritual humility, joined the rabbi on his knees. "I’m nobody! I’m nobody!"

    The "shamus" (custodian), watching from the corner, couldn’t restrain himself, either. He joined the other two on his knees, calling out, "I’m nobody! I’m nobody!"

    At which point the rabbi, nudging the cantor with his elbow, pointed at the custodian and said, "Look who thinks he’s nobody!"

    One of the problems of the world is that so many think too highly of themselves. Narcissism and spirituality don’t mix. Spiritual growth and power are attained through simplicity and humility. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "When you reduce yourself to zero, your power becomes invincible!" He certainly made efforts to live up to that. The lives of spiritual adepts and saints show that God humbles us into greatness.

    May the blessings be!

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    Zeal Okogeri
    Dr. Zeal Okogeri is a spiritual scholar, teacher, columnist, frequent radio and television guest, and author of the best-selling book, God's Relentless Generosities--An Inspiring Journey of Soul, available at,,, or by calling (800) 431-1579. He is the founder of Transformative Coaching for Infinite Possibilities, and provides spiritual coaching. He can be reached at (952) 393-7246 or [email protected]. Copyright © 2005 Dr. Zeal Okogeri. All rights reserved.


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