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You gain Forbearance through Difficult Circumstances
Forbearance cannot be learned by studying books. It cannot even be acquired by the teachings of a guru. It is not something which can be purchased in the bazaar. It is only by faithfully sticking to your spiritual practice, when you are under trying circumstances, that you will be able to acquire forbearance. It is when you are under test, in situations which are full of problems and difficulties, that the cultivation of forbearance takes place. Under those trying circumstances, weaknesses which are hidden within you will show their ugly heads. They will manifest in you as anger, fear, arrogance, hatred and many other evils that cover your essential truth. It is at such times that you must recognize these weaknesses and rise above them. Whatever action you must undertake that is appropriate to the situation, your inner state must be unaffected and rooted in unwavering peace and love. This is the practice of forbearance.
If you have not developed forbearance then you will suffer a lot of unhappiness and lack of peace in your life. Without forbearance you may take to harmful and evil ways. Therefore, it is essential that you recognize the importance of forbearance. All the education, strength and renown that you may have acquired will be of no use to you if you do not have forbearance. There have been a number of accomplished people who have acquired great powers by means of penance, but they were unable to enjoy the fruits of their penance because they lacked forbearance. Dearth of forbearance has made great scholars lose their prestige. Lack of forbearance is the most frequent reason for the loss of kingdoms by ruling kings. Forbearance is the shining jewel that decorates a human being. If this important quality is lost, you will suffer innumerable problems and sorrows. Therefore, develop forbearance. It is essential for your spiritual progress. Without this quality you will come to ruin.
Cultivate forbearance by the arduous practice of putting yourself to the test in very difficult circumstances. Forbearance is your vital protection. When you are equipped with forbearance you will not be troubled by grief or difficulties, by problems or unexpected situations. There is nothing extraordinary about returning good for good, but doing good in return for bad is an extraordinary quality. What is meant by doing good at all times, no matter whether it is right or wrong action that is directed towards you? When you are established in your essential truth, when you are in touch with your reality, you cannot but give the proper response under all circumstances, and it will come from the infinite reservoir of goodness and love, which is your unchanging nature. The practice of such a virtue requires a great deal of skill and courage, and a deep commitment to the essential truth of the one divinity, present in all hearts.
However much other people may criticize you, however much they may undermine and condemn you, you should never lose forbearance; you should remain unperturbed and continue to enjoy inner peace. When others admonish you, what will you lose - you, who in your essence are immortal? How can they possibly harm you? When you have forbearance and you are established in your divine nature, how can anyone diminish you? How can anyone affect your essential truth, which is unwavering, no matter the circumstances? But if, because of weakness, you lose forbearance and forget your truth, then you are subject to endless suffering, and you lose everything.