"Meaningless! Everything is meaningless," says the Teacher.
Hidden in this statement is a fundamental truth about patience: we become impatient because we think things have more permanence than they do. We fail to realize that our disappointments are passing, fleeting things, and we react in a way that gives them more importance than they deserve.
Ecclesiastes sums up the transient nature of reality:
People come and people go.
But the earth remains forever.
The sun rises. Then it sets.
And then it hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south.
Then it turns to the north.
Around and around it goes.
It always returns to where it started.
Every stream flows into the ocean.
But the ocean never gets full.
The streams return
to the place they came from.
Our impatience rises when we forget that everything changes and nothing is permanent. Accepting the transient nature of reality is a key to patience. And when we can unlock patience, we will be free.
Center yourself by pondering the following Scripture verse. As you ponder, let your thoughts come and go. Recognize their fleeting nature.
Their lives don’t last any longer than a breath.
Their days are like a shadow that quickly disappears. (Psalm 144:4)
Do not attach any permanence to the objects of your thoughts or the thoughts themselves. Rather, just be open to them, let them come and let them go, just like your breath.
End this meditation with a simple Amen.