Nourishment for the inner self

The power to tolerate: Nourishment for the inner self

Tolerance is based on going beyond the superficial things that divide us. We tend to blame others for our bad feelings but let me look within and get to know myself.

“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.” – Helen Keller

Tolerance is a power that works deeply underground. It is one of the greatest tools in our daily life; a tool for life itself. Each of us has a toolbox containing the eight powers of life. In this third of a series of eight, we discuss what tolerance is and how to make the best use of it.

When I am silent inside there is space for tolerance. Where there is love, there is openness, where there is openness, there is space for tolerance. Tolerant people are often thought of as weak, however, the greatness of a person is revealed through their capacity to tolerate. Tolerance is like a water tank; everyone has their own tank and is responsible for topping up the tank with the water of patience.

With this water of patience, the tank starts to overflow and tolerance becomes abundant. Many people want to prove that they are right, that the other person is wrong. A tolerant person never needs to prove anything. The truth will always out, is a very old proverb and if I understand it then I can accept others exactly the way they are. Let me be the one to change my attitude towards others and be more loving, kind and understanding.

Tolerance is based on going beyond the superficial things that divide us. We tend to blame others for our bad feelings but let me look within and get to know myself. When I am intolerant and accept that actually, I am angry then things will start to change. Let me be unselfish and be concerned about others’ needs so I can handle anything.

We often say, ‘I need to be understood’ but what we should say is ‘I need to understand.’ Stop saying ‘they should change’ to ‘let me give what is needed’. With such different ways of thinking patience, peace and maturity develop. Spiritual tolerance cultivates innate wisdom—the kind you can’t get from books.

Tolerant people are able to resolve difficult circumstances by always finding a quiet solution. When I am faced with an insult, tolerance gives me the power to be stable and cool. I don’t need to become defensive but to smile and stand in my self-respect which helps me to move beyond the situation. Tolerant people are accommodating, adjusting and able to face difficulties by seeing them as opportunities to rise above whatever is going on around them.

This third power comes from inner strength and integrity. There is no feeling of having to tolerate, but a feeling of just accepting by being generous and open. When you notice that your relationships and interactions are happier then you are using your powers, especially tolerance. Spiritual power comes from understanding who you are and standing on the foundation of your values that are sustain you in your truth, no matter what the surrounding circumstances.

For instance, when I am irritated I become intolerant and this creates barriers.  A small story illustrates this well. A mother was becoming very annoyed with her daughter who would keep borrowing her brush and never returning it.  Each time it happened, she angrily told her daughter to put back the brush after using it, but of course, her teenager never did. It continued to happen in spite of these constant angry reminders from mum.

It caused her daughter to become very “anti” her mother and over such a small matter there was quite a rift. Many things happen in life that causes these barriers to form and often there are such simple solutions. The mother could have just bought another brush, knowing that her daughter would never bother to put it back. That’s what teenagers do and they do grow out of such habits. But the mother wanted to prove herself right and had no power of tolerance to deal with the situation.

With an open, loving and generous heart I have the capacity to accommodate.  This power turns into strength and helps in my capacity to accommodate and to become tolerant. A quiet peaceful state of mind enables difficult circumstances to become a little easier with this strength. Tolerance is nourishment for the inner self.

By Alka Patel

The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) is an international non-governmental organisation, which intends to help individuals re-discover and strengthen their inherent worth by encouraging and facilitating a process of spiritual awakening.


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