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Titiksha - forbearance

Many times seekers ask - "When will things get better? I have been meditating for 2 years now and things only seem to be getting worse." Sometimes, we also expect to get enlightened within a few months. When it does not happen, we become disappointed and in some cases even give up on our practice. But in order to progress on any path, a seeker needs to develop certain qualities. Qualities that will help him weather the storms and keep going when progress seems bleak. Titiksha is one such quality. It is an invaluable gem for anyone on any path, but particularly for those who are journeying within. 

Titiksha is forbearance 
Titiksha, which also means forbearance or tolerance is a great treasure. It professes that we be patient in the process of meditation. Often during meditation we are tempted to look at our watch and see how much time is left. Titiksha asks us to resist the temptation to look at our watch. We may feel impatient because of the pain of past memories. And our first impulse is to run from them. But it is in these moments that we must generate the strength to stay calm and focused. If we are able to continue our observation, and remain in ‘witness consciousness’, we begin to understand that the painful memory is transient in nature. Remember, ‘this too shall pass’.

Meet the good and the bad with the same attitude
You may be feeling humiliated by memories of the past, bear it. Bear it just as you would enjoy respect or any other positive emotion. Have the same attitude to both positive and negative emotions. Heat or cold, profit or loss, respect or shame. All kinds of thoughts may come up - ‘I am being disrespected’, ‘I need my dignity back’, ‘I cannot continue in this situation’. You may remember people who took pleasure in putting you down. When this thought come up, if you observe it patiently, a disassociation happens between the thought and the self. So, you do not get drawn into it. Your energy does not get exhausted by it. This is the gift that forbearance brings to us. This is one of the greatest virtues.

All great achievements require Titiksha 
Gautam Buddha is a great example of someone who had Titiksha. He had great patience. He was in the forest for 6 years, where he waited patiently for enlightenment. He tried one technique after another, went from one teacher to another, mastering all that they taught. But he did not become enlightened. Yet, he kept on searching, kept on trying, kept on walking. There was a door between his positive thoughts and his negative thoughts. He did not let the noise of the negative thoughts merge with the sounds of the positive thoughts. And because he was patient, he continued his journey and he became the votary of the lotus sutra. 

                                           “Om namo padmane namah” 
                                                      also chanted as 
                                                 ‘Namye ho renge kyo’

The Lotus Sutra 
Which means, do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy or secure existence in this life. Just like the lotus is in the mud and stink, but it’s own beauty is such that all of its disadvantages fade in significance. When things are not working around you, do not harbour doubts and abandon the quest. Continue your meditation. This is called Titiksha. 

Mismatched expectations are a big disadvantage 
One of the reasons people do not have titiksha is mismatched expectations. They feel that all things must be resolved in one shot. Everything - the pain, the struggle, and the hardships, must vanish all the time. That’s where all the problem comes. We want quick fixes for everything. This is the misconception that causes so much trouble. We have to understand that is not possible to have ease and comfort all the time. We must develop Titiksha. If pain comes up in meditation, bear it. If pain comes up in the mind, bear it. Our capacity to bear pain will surprise us. It will increase with each attempt to go on our path. We have to learn to awaken that capacity in our souls. This is a big treasure. A real jewel. It is a very important aspect of all endeavors. 

We often go into panic mode and become restless when circumstances are not favorable. Being human, we tend to be distracted from dealing with adverse conditions. We don’t realize that this discomfort is a fortuity, a blessing in disguise. It is the path to growth and real freedom even if it is unpleasant to start with. If we become needy, clingy, and restless, it will not solve the problem, in fact, it worsens the pain. And we tend to get disheartened and lose hope to continue further. Losing hope in such circumstances is the death nail to personal progress. So have Titiksha.  Learn to bear all that is coming to you as pain or suffering in your meditation. Everything transforms. If we observe with patience, the pain transforms. Being an observer is the path to increase Titiksha. Many healing modalities, including art therapy, emotional freedom technique and ‘anger release’ are centered around releasing emotion so that observation becomes easy. Because as soon as we are able to become observers, our healing begins.  

Titiksha is an honest companion 
Buddhist Masters, practice it regularly. If there is pain in the body, they will not push away the pain. They practice Titiksha. They watch the pain. The pain disintegrates on its own. Buddha called it kayanupassana. All the sankharas which are stuck in the causal body, astral body, etheric body, annamaya kosha. All the sankharas will leave from the body through these sensations. Intense pain will come in the body if you are really meditating. Practice Titiksha. Learn to observe. People will get intense pain, in the third eye when the third eye is open, drilling pain when the third eye is open. So have Titiksha - tolerance. Just watch, wait, witness.”


Gauri Chadha is an award-winning teacher and facilitator in English and Dramatics. She along with her students has won numerous awards for dramatics, academics and documentary filmmaking. She has been meditating regularly since 2017.

Saurabh Madan is the Editor of Be A Meditator. He can be found on YouTube, talking about Meditation and his other passion . He gets to contribute to most of the creative work that happens at Be A Meditator and is grateful to all those who care about this mission. You can read more about him here.

1. Lecture on Meditation by Dr. Newton Kondaveti: 
2. Explanation of the Lotus Sutra: 

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