Thursday, December 31, 2009
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