Going beyond tolerance

In BG 2.14, Krishna gives a nice formula for tolerance: The periodic appearance and disappearance of happiness and distress are like appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. Therefore, one should learn to tolerate them.

Tolerating an event becomes much easier when we know the event is temporary.This is based on an intellectual conviction of this basic principle.

However, Krishna furthermore recommends that a serious practitioner of a spiritual path should aspire to go beyond the “gritting the teeth” sort of tolerance. At this stage, the practitioner sees every situation as an opportunity to receive grace of God. This is only possible if one accepts the situation with a sense of responsibility, understanding that others are simply acting as instruments of one’s own karma, and one maintains the commitment (and strengthens his will-power) to enthusiastically follow the prescribed regimens of the spiritual path.

Such a committed person embraces an adverse circumstance with (1) Yes (“I accept the situation”), (2) Thank you (“for this opportunity to grow”), and (3) Please (“help me”) – calling out for a power beyond one’s own to receive the necessary realization to bolster one’s relationship with God in this circumstance.