Skip to main content

In the waiting room



People are always waiting for something.

They could be waiting for the train, an opportunity, promises to be fulfilled or the return of a loved one.

But "what does waiting mean in our lives and what is life without waiting?"


That question was posed by Danny Castillones Sillada in his article "What is Life without Waiting?" (The Metaphysics of Waiting).

The passing of the old year demands another round of gloomy introspection and Sillada's article came at the right time, given the value of waiting in our lives.

"Waiting," he explains, is "an emotional and mental state, which is preconditioned to anticipate someone or something to arrive at a particular time and place".

Sillada tells us that there are two types of waiting: empirical and metaphysical.

The empirical form of waiting is "where the certainty of the waited and the occurrence of event are tangibly expected to happen within a particular time and place of the waiter".

But what happens when the "waited" doesn't appear?

Does your desire for it become habitual?

And does that longing develop into optimism that soon it "would turn up at any given moment"?

Sillada describes "this intangible form of waiting, which is beyond the empirical certainty of the two elements (the waited and the appointed time), as the metaphysical aspect of waiting".

All of us have experienced this type of waiting.

"Even if the chance of the waited to come were nil, something ineffable and magical could happen to the waiter, because the metaphysical aspect of waiting" has the power "to motivate the waiter to do something worthwhile within the process of waiting".

That is the most important point of Sillada's message.

As the following view puts it:

"Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow -- that is patience." (Source unknown)

My conservations with thoughtful people reveal the same central idea: patience is absolutely necessary when we embark on anything significant.

It could be looking for a new job, searching for the next break or writing a book.

Don't expect overnight success, however we define it.

And the period of "restlessness" that comes with the journey is a given.

But that "gives us wisdom to dissect and rationalise the purpose and meaning of our existence", writes Sillada.

"The tension between despair and anxiety, boredom and activity, joy and sorrow as well as victory and defeat": that is part and parcel of the long wait.

I draw comfort from the words of Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet, jurist, theologian and sufi mystic.

"Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form."

Happy New Year!

Picture by Jehan Mohd

Comments

Anonymous said…
A lovely post.
I always encourage people to have faith in themselves.
No matter what they are waiting for, always believe that there is a right timing for everything, and nothing can defeat an optimist.
If what you want hasn't happened yet, make the best of what has happened first.
Waiting ultimately means being prepared for what is to come.
And opportunity always rewards those who are prepared.

O.C. Yeoh
Faezah Ismail said…
Thank you very much. A lovely response.
Anonymous said…
Wish everyone a happy new year and all the very best for 2010!

O.C.
soo said…
Waiting is part of a process that is perfected over time. We learn to wait for little things when we are young, and as life gets more complicated, the waiting period gets longer. The beautiful part of waiting is hope. A hope for the desires of the heart to be fulfilled. - KSL
Faezah Ismail said…
That is soo true, Soo Ling. I know you understand the concept of waiting (and hope)very well.

Popular Posts

Why Shamsul Amri dislikes Facebook

Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin People who do not use Facebook fall into three broad categories. The first group is completely indifferent to it, the second finds it mildly irritating and the third dislikes it intensely. Malaysia's prominent sociologist Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin is of the last type. I made the mistake of asking Shamsul, who is director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, if he was on Facebook, the social network which was hatched up in the dormitories of Harvard six years ago. "I have a face and I keep thousands of books. Why do I need Facebook?" How do you react to that reply? I didn't. I meekly invited him to elaborate on his reasons. "Facebook will take away my soul and I won't allow that to happen because I am a believer," says Shamsul fiercely, who launched into a tirade of accusations against Facebook. Ninety per cent of the things you read on Facebook are either p

Buah Tarap: A chance encounter

You learn something new everyday. My friend Alina is very fond of repeating this. And I agree with her. Today I tasted the Buah Tarap (Tarap Fruit) which is said to be unique to Sabah/Borneo. My colleagues and I arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah this afternoon; we are here for the RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge which will take place at the Suria Mall over the weekend. After checking into the Beverly Hotel we walked to a nearby eatery for a spot of tea. It was then that I chanced upon the Buah Tarap and began snapping away. My colleague, who had eaten the fruit in Bandung, Indonesia, was excited to see it. He bought one for us to try. The stall vendor split the fruit into two and we bit into its flesh. Everyone liked it but describing its flavour remains a challenge. The fruit, which looks like nangka (jackfruit) or chempedak,  has an unusual combination of tastes: it is sweet but not as sweet as the jackfruit nor as chunky. Words fail me. It feels so light t

Who am I?

Malaysian artist Jeganathan Ramachandram will be exhibiting his paintings in Singapore if a deal with a company to display Human Watching: A Visual Poetry on the Science of Human Watching in the island republic is successful. The intuitive artist told Survey that the move is still under negotiation. Human watching made its debut at Galeri Petronas in March, 2009 and was well received by both art critics and art lovers. Fourteen portraits representing females and males born on each of the seven days in a week were put on view. The depictions (acrylic on canvas) were based on his observations of human behaviour for the past 14 years. Images of seven females and seven males inform viewers through symbols of their strengths and weaknesses and their relationships with other people. Those who have seen Human Watching identified with their profiles almost immediately. Admit it: you are curious about yourself! Males, who were born on Sunday ( bottom picture ), were pleasantly surprised t