A little more than a week ago, I set out on a journey that took me to East Guol. I spent a full week there in meditation, praying that part of Devion's vision would be made clear to me. The hills brought me a sense of calm and restfulness, making it easy for me to close my eyes and fall into a trance-like state of being. What I saw, however, was much more than I had expected...
The vision began simply as everything around me seemed to fade away, leaving me alone in a vast expanse of endless possibilities. I kept myself focused on what Elder Devion had been able to reveal about his vision of our future. Dim images began to surround me, nothing taking form until a single figure began to walk toward me.. the figure of my father.
"Keiko.. do you still fish?" His voice was soft and his eyes warm.
"Keiko. No one has called me that in years.. why are you here, Papa?"
"I'm here to talk to you about fish, Keiko."
"But.. what do fish have to do with being a monk?"
"It is the art, Kei.. it is knowing that one must wait until the time is right to strike down with the spear."
"Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.. teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime." I nodded, remembering his lessons from my childhood.
"Know that there is a time for all things, Keiko.. you must wait until the time is right before you can catch the fish."
"Papa, what do you mean?"
There was no answer.. as hard as I tried to find him, my father was gone. I sat there for hours as I pondered his meaning. A time for all things? Waiting to catch the fish might have relevance to dinner, but what could it have in common with being monks? Still uncertain, I felt myself moving yet again...
This time I came face to face with myself.. ten years ago. I could see the healer's guild hall.. I saw my tutor, Han-Jomei.. and I watched as the younger version of myself became frustrated. Leaning back, I could hear Master Han's voice in my mind even as the scene unfolded in front of me.
"You must not skip anything, Hoshi Keiko."
"But I want to do it now!" my younger self replied indignantly.
"Hoshi Keiko, how can you master what you cannot understand? How can you learn if you skip and jump over the parts you do not like? How can you appreciate the story if you read the last chapter first?"
The young Keiko had no answer, but hung her head and nodded silently.
"Child, there will be things in life that make you anxious.. people, situations.. but you must realise that these things help us to grow stronger. It is necessary that we practice patience in all things, else we may miss out on something we should have experienced."
It dawned on me then. The image of my younger self and my tutor began to fade and I leaned forward against my knees. A time for all things. Waiting for the right moment to spear the fish.. working toward goals rather than skipping ahead and meeting them prematurely.. not reading the last bit of a story before reading it from beginning to ending..
Patience. Such a hard thing for so many of us to exercise. We want the knowledge now, not later.. we want money now, not later.. we want acclaim and prestige now, not later.. we want to achieve this thing or that accomplishment, but we do all within our power to get there as soon as possible. I want Il san, leech me? I want Ee san, write me a good poem for 50,000 gold? We don't want to have to actually work for what we achieve or attain..
We have so little patience for ourselves and others, yet it is one of the most spoken of virtues in life. We need to relax and breathe.. we need to walk more slowly and enjoy the view along the way.. we need to understand that there is indeed a time for all things and allow things to run in their own courses as we move in ours. We need to realise the preciousness of time and enjoy every moment, every memory, every detail of life around us. We all need a little more patience.