"The people heard it,
and approved the doctrine,
and immediately practiced the contrary."
-- Benjamin Franklin
It seems strange, yet is so often true that we know how to be loving; to have patience; to have empathy, and the knowing is not enough based on our actions. Today there are a number of great quotes, and here's another to consider on this theme by C.S. Lewis: "Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him." In other words knowing is not enough, we need to practice it.
I find all manner of opportunities to practice patience, love, empathy and more. Often it is in my car while driving. People can be a real pain on the road if I let them. Some of them get pretty uptight and it shows in the way they are driving their vehicle.
My wife and I go on a drive we love that we call 'over the hill' which includes a lot of winding roads and slower speeds. It's only about 30 miles each way, but it takes almost an hour. There are a lot of people who like to drive that as fast as they can regardless of speed limit signs and they will come up on my tail and follow very closely awaiting an opportunity to go around. If I focus on them and their anxiety, I get upset, but if I focus on my enjoyment and find a convenient place to pull over and let them on their way, it is a much more pleasant journey.
As I would realize myself getting uptight and angry about the person behind me, I would begin to practice choosing different thoughts. I know I need the practice so I practice as often as I can. I might say aloud or to myself about the impatient person behind me, 'so, you want to go fast! You shall go fast!' then I pull over as soon as possible and celebrate their getting to go fast again. Who am I to be a stumbling block? Then I get to go the speed I want freely as well.
It seems that we might think that we should adapt loving thoughts, empathy, and patience because we know it is a good thing, but knowing is not enough, I need to practice it, and in my practice, I get better, it becomes more automatic, and I am a kinder, gentler person.
"An Ounce Of Practice Is Generally Worth More Than A Ton Of Theory." -- E.F. Schumacher
Spread Some Joy Today--"Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice." -- Nora Roberts