passion-patienceI have come to this blog repeatedly during this month’s Yoga Jagran in Bophalgarh, trying to finish it. But like many projects in my life, more important interruptions occur and sway my attention for a time. But I always come back, because I have a passion for communicating thoughts and feelings, and bringing people closer the truths that have guided our people for many centuries. This kind of patience has rewarded me throughout my life. I never set big goals. The things I like, I do. I learn to do them well. And one day my patience pays off. I started yoga jagrans years ago to spread information about yoga- that it keeps a person happy and healthy. At first not so many people came, but today many hundreds attend. So far the feedback has been positive with more people attending each day – young, old, disabled…entire families practicing together in the early hours of the morning.

The Dangers of Imbalance

For human development and mental balance both passion and patience are compulsory. If you have only passion then you would be frustrated, jumping from one idea or project to another without following through on anything. Without success, you would get either bored and give up, or push harder to continue jumping sporadically, experiencing intermittent euphoria. You probably know someone like this: dynamic and very active, the ‘life of the party.’ If you follow this person home you would notice their personal life and space are a mess, filled with unrealized innovations. This person struggles to wear continuously a suit of courage but they have a heart in chaos, moving arbitrarily from one craving to another.

As a mature person, someone with high passion will succeed materially. They are appointed to positions in leadership because of their charisma and ability to attract followers. But without sufficient patience, over time he or she might experience some mental imbalance because of unreasonably high expectations. By extending their reach too far too fast, they miss the more gradual goal right in front of them. Failures like this can degrade a person’s potential and invite low self-esteem. And then a great divide occurs between colleagues and employees, family and friends.

On the other hand, the person who has much patience but little passion would appear to move slowly, be very stable, somewhat of a procrastinator. They tend to have less vision about the potential in the future, and they stay too long in details focusing intently on perfectionism. Being very steady but without a long term goals, a person can become directionless. This type of imbalance causes problem for a person as they mature and as a matter of life course, are called to leadership. Their organization suffers without proper management, and eventually the community is thrown off track.

How Imbalance Occurs

An imbalance can occur for many reasons. But in India one reason is that we teach children to become doctors or lawyers. I haven’t noticed many other aspirations being propagated. What if the child has a passion for painting, or dancing, or farming? If his or her passion isn’t nurtured, a person might find a very clever or addictive way of subduing it, pushing it out of sight so the rigors of law or medical school can be tolerated, at best.

I believe there is a huge need for excellent leadership in our world. And that this void is caused by a high tolerance of an imbalance between passion and patience. A few great leaders across all sectors will stand out occasionally and we assume they were born with great potential that was realized in spite of an unsupportive culture. But I don’t believe that only some people are born with passion. I believe that only some allow themselves to express it, and are born into families who don’t try to strip it away. The rest have found a way of subduing their God-given passion, of numbing up to a standard society will accept and validate. This is so unfortunate for us all, to never know the true gift of so many people.

The Importance of Balance

passionIn the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna taught that you do karma (action) without expecting any results…this will come later. In this way karma can be realized as a person’s passion. And not expecting anything in return, immediately, can be realized as patience. Passion ensures the material development of a project because of goals and expectations. Patience ensures the spiritual development of a project because it demands that you are guided by spirit and accept what comes. They are the ying and yang of business success! Like the balance between the polar opposites of your material existance, in yoga asana Natavarasana – you must be considering both sides of your body at once, while feeling your roots and crown in order to remain still in the posture. Any physical or mental development requires that these polars work together in syncronycity. One has dynamism and activity, and the other gives balance.

You can understand now through awareness and introspection in which area lies your strength. You can witness your own behavior and judge where your weaknesses need attention, more or less passion – more or less patience. And as your weaker side becomes stronger through this awareness, harmony will begin between the two and provide more sustained satisfaction. I wish equal measure of passion and patience, and this especially as you be your own witness and feel the change – be easy and accepting of yourself as you grow.

Om Shanti and Prem!

Shri Surajnath Siddh