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Impatience - The Fear of the Present Moment

Posted: 23 Jun 2010 12:00 AM PDT

[This is a continuation of the series expanding the notion of the "Chief Negative Feature," ("Obstacle") in the Michael Teachings which are our fundamental blocks to perception and access to the inner being. You can see previous channelings on chief features in the articles on Arrogance, Self Destruction, Martyrdom and Greed]

We continue our expansion of our perceptions about the main filter in the personality's awareness, which has been called the "Chief Negative Feature."

Chief Negative Features (or "Obstacles"), without exception, are based on a perception of separation. You perceive that there is something that you are not: this could manifest as pain, fear, or a feeling of lack. This perception is denied, and the "waste product" of that denial ferments with further denials, not only of the original perception, but of all the very natural effects of what that denial produced. A structure of protection is built to protect against your own very natural perception.

Impatience is an action-oriented blocking of an inner experience. It is a defense against the present moment. There is always something within that is desired to be avoided, such as feelings within the body or emotions, especially those relating to long-held patterns. This blocked energy becomes such a nemesis that it will often seem akin to a nebulous fanged monster that is death itself to meet face-to-face. In order to defend against it, Impatience will keep one busy, tense, or creating reactions in others in such a way that protects the Impatient from having to feel the inner experience. An activity is created to fill the awareness so that the inner experience doesn't need to be touched upon.

Impatience is a defense against the present moment.

1181363_woman_jogging_blurIt is within the present moment that the reality of being in a body is processed. It is within the present moment that heart-based connections with others are established and sustained. It is within the present moment that emotions are felt and inner desires brought to conscious awareness. You can see, therefore, the limitations that Impatience can create in a life: such a person may be successful, productive, and even admired, but they will be disconnected from many inner resources. In addition, the effort used to sustain Impatience causes an incredible strain both on the body and the psyche. In some cases, this strain may result in breakdown of the body or manifest in the brain as stress-related or chronic fatigue-like symptoms.

The contracted (blocked) expression of the energy Impatience has been channeled before as intolerance. Impatience is the most outward (cardinal) focused chief negative feature, and can result in blaming others, or some form of external reactivity (such as judgments) that defend against an internal experience. This intolerance can also manifest in more subtle forms, such as an absolute need to be productive and efficient. This need goes well beyond an appreciation for efficiency, but becomes a mantra used inexorably as a way of removing the spaciousness that would invite inner experiences.

Because in western society the least appreciated Center is the Emotional Center (thoughts and actions are culturally more valued), the Impatient tend to fixate on avoiding emotions. Often, the person in Impatience will decide they are not feeling what they are feeling and create a cause of action — either in thought, action, or focus — based on how they are not feeling what they are truly feeling. This action could be a mental justification or even a behavior that incites other feelings within the person or within those around them. It tends to create a domino effect, creating reverberations that reflect back the chaos born out of staving off the present moment. The Impatient create new experiences so they they will never have to experience the present moment.  

Impatience in Society

Of all the chief features, Impatience is the most ingrained in Western culture. It is easier to notice when someone is putting on an arrogant mask, for example, or being a martyr in their own life than when they block inner experiences via outer ones with Impatience. Impatience, because it can lead to dynamic productivity, can be highly valued in the workplace. This aids in not noticing the subtle effects on the body and the psyche.


Do you notice Impatience when there is a compulsion to turn on the TV and fill your experience with lifeless programs? Do you notice impatience when driving in traffic, especially when confronted with someone who is not rushing? Do you notice how multitasking and over-scheduling is the norm but that almost everyone has 'no time'? Do you notice how awkward it is when there is a silence in a group that seems pregnant with possibility and hurry to fill the silence with something — anything — just so you don't feel the emptiness?


Impatience has been described as a fear of missing out, but we see that as incomplete. What is beneath the feeling of missing something, and therefore attempting to manipulate time so as to ensure nothing is missed? Within Impatience is a sense of inner emptiness created by the desire to distance oneself from what is inside. Impatience is fed also by the present-day consumerist culture becoming so prevalent worldwide now; implied within that culture is always the promise of more — more happiness, more wholeness, more "stuff." If only I had a big house I would feel complete. Or a car. Or a baby. Or whiter teeth, better meditation, a fulfilling relationship, the "right" job. This is always, without exception, an expression of looking outward in order to gain the feeling of completeness within. But it completely bypasses the easiest way toward that sense of wholeness that is so coveted — going within. Because to go within would be to touch the fanged monster.


The sense that is common within Impatience of looking toward more has some similarities to the Chief Negative Feature of Greed. Both Chief Features are cardinal, which means acting externally to stave off inner chaos. In Greed, one tries to fill the inner emptiness, whereas in Impatience one tries to distract from it. There is emptiness within each but with a different quality: In Greed, the emptiness is often more apparent to others because they tend to be directly asked to fill it. In Impatience, there tends to be more of a complete cutoff from awareness; others feel the force of repulsion from that emptiness, but rarely get a glimpse into it because they are constantly being directed away from it.


First-world culture is driven with "filling up" the emptiness caused by avoiding inner experiences. This is one reason there has been a resurgence in present-moment teachers such as Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti.

Childhood Origins

Impatience develops within the child when the following conditions are met:

1. Chaos, or the sense of chaos. Authority figures are undependable. In order to rest within a sense of structure, then, the child choosing this energy will respond by attempting to bring order to the chaos. This is not done with material things but rather with an attempt at controlling their experience of the present moment. There is a desire to stave off the uncontrolled nature of the experience of the physical plane.

2. Inattention. The child choosing Impatience as an obstacle will likely be largely ignored by the authority figures around them in childhood. The child's wants and needs are not examined or considered when the authority figure makes decisions; family life is constructed without regard for the child at all. In order to bring some focus to their needs, the child then attempts to manipulate an element of the environment that they feel they have a modicum of control over, and thereby use their energetic resources to create a sense of urgency.

3. Desire to be "active" and "productive" to please those around them.·Often this is because a major parental figure has Impatience as well. The child will have a sense that by pushing away uncomfortable, chaotic feelings and using that "pushing away" energy to a more outward, active means, they are·more loved.·They are in some ways appreciated more as Impatience can be used to do work, chores, school, and fill up uncomfortable silences at the dinner table.·To a parent in Impatience, it is often more comfortable having a child also with Impatience, as this does not challenge the parent's own inner discomfort.

In Impatience, there is a pervasive sense of urgency that is rarely met. This creates a constant sense of disquiet within the person choosing this energy. Experiences always change and have a chaos within them that cannot always be glossed over — time always moves. There is always more to be considered and new things to feel anxious over. Impatience is a battle, in some ways, with the structure of the physical plane itself, and is frequently chosen by souls who wish to experience a constant sense of inner tension.

Effects Upon Others

Impatience can be a difficult energy to be around. It is a dynamic, moving energy, and as such tends to be polarizing. Some people will be energized by this and feel spurred to increase their pace or output, but these people are in the minority. Largely, this is an abrasive energy, primarily because of the sense of inner tension that comes along with it. People in Impatience are not comfortable either with themselves or with their environment. They can make poor mates. The stereotypical person in Impatience will make hasty, poorly thought out decisions. While this attribute can ruffle enough feathers, it is more the feeling of extreme inner discomfort that creates difficulties with others. Other people will feel this energy and feel compelled to respond to it in some way, yet the person in Impatience is rarely assuaged. It is rare that the underlying source of the tension is ever seen, let alone felt or addressed.

Society regards Impatience positively when it is applied in a dynamic way (explorers, athletes, or politicians), but quite negatively when the sense of inner tension can't be dispelled (that jerk behind you in line). Social pressure to conform to the chaotic environment that is part and parcel of the physical plane is, at times, crushing for the person choosing Impatience. Environments that have the energy of Impatience strongly ingrained, such as driving a car in heavy traffic, will magnify the underlying tension. This can be both painful and create an addictive rush of energy — it is the perfect environment to scream out all the frustrations and intolerance that have been building for a lifetime.

Effects Upon the Self

The effects of Impatience are many. Beyond potential physical manifestations of chronic anxiety, there are other, more subtle effects upon the inner self. The Self will likely suffer a crisis of confidence when choosing this energy. Without being open to present moment experiences, it becomes more difficult to trust inner guidance or other subtle signals. The person in Impatience is forever second-guessing everything about their environment just to keep up with the demands of time and the attempt to create order.

Impatience is experienced on a variety of levels within the Self. Depending on one's centering (the intellectual center, emotional center, or moving center) the effects can vary. Intellectually oriented individuals tend to feel the highest amount of tension because they are responding to an inner stimuli but lacking good access to intuition, can't "think their way through" the disquiet and discomfort and instead tend to lash out in other ways at unpredictable intervals. The emotionally centered individual will likely become overwhelmed by a variety of emotions and will attempt to sort them out, but Impatience will gget in the way and cause an overload. The moving centered person will feel compelled to use that tension to create actual tangible movement, which can help dispel the inner tension.

The underlying tension can manifest physically in a variety of ways, a common one being back pain or other results of chronic muscle tension that will not dissipate. Tension results from two unrelenting forces battling for supremacy, and there are many such battles in the body. Sometimes the battle is in intellect vs. emotion, which can result in a claim of disconnection between the two, such as an intellectual loudly and emotively claiming they are rational and emotionless while obviously fuming with anger. Other times the battle is in aspects of personality and "splits" that occur — childhood desires and personas warring against the more adult and responsible identities. This is not what you could call multiple personalities, but rather a function of subpersonalities that have not made peace with each other. These are far more common than are supposed.

Healing Impatience

What can help at first is a deeper inner perception of the benefits of Impatience. Seeing your Impatience solely as "ego," and thus a demon to be exorcised, simply entrenches the problem; you will become impatient at your Impatience, using the same familiar techniques of avoidance, but directed at your familiar patterns of Impatience. Think, instead, of the beauty of this energy within you. It is truly dynamic and encourages a foray into territory that would otherwise lie unexplored. This is a major power to those in Impatience. Its expansive pole, Audacity, is exactly that — moving boldly into unexplored territory because of the desire to resolve an inner tension by expanding that energy into the surrounding environment. Thinking of this energy as creative and exploring can be helpful in channeling your feeling of inner tension and anxiety into a sense of greater good.

Impulsive actions can be mitigated somewhat by performing an exercise that we call Worst Case Scenario. When the energy of Impatience arises (it's easy to identify — it's a feeling that action must take place immediately or something dire could occur), follow it. Ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that could happen if I did not act on this situation immediately?" Then follow that to a logical, imaginary conclusion, allowing yourself to feel the accompanying emotions. Then ask yourself if you could let it go "just for this moment" (no strings — you can always resume as normal again) and see how that feels. Usually the combination of the two (accepting and then releasing) will provide enough of a feeling of movement that the action itself is no longer needed, or no longer feels as urgent.

Addressing Impatience at a deeper level requires a commitment of non-avoidance. Impatience, as we have mentioned, results in the reactionary response of avoidance by moving outward through action. Patience is developed by learning to be with yourself with all that this encompasses. Presence involves learning to be with your thoughts, your emotions, and your body and all their experiences throughout your lifetime. Instead of touching on an emotion, for example, and impulsively thinking of what needs to be done to "deal" with the emotion, presence involves simply feeling, inviting, and making friends with that emotion as if it will be residing with you for the rest of your lifetime.

Practicing non-avoidance is a creative endeavor. While some may be drawn to meditative activities such as monkhood and Vipassana meditation, it is up to each individual's deepest self-honesty to determine what is avoidance and what is not. We know of several monks who have meditated for years in monasteries who are deeply in the throes of Impatience; while they have trained themselves to sit still for hours each day, they are greatly intolerant of the outside world and any "distractions" from their path — which is to say, anything that creates emotions they would rather not touch. On the other hand, we have seen many active individuals who use silent meditation as a means of sitting with themselves, using it to become friends with what they have avoided for much of their lives. Becoming friends with all of your Selves has an extremely powerful ripple effect upon those around you.

Nor is silent meditation the only solution. The key is non-avoidance, and this can be reached through very active means. Impatience, we again remind you, is a dynamic energy, and this can be used for its own healing. Often activities are chosen based on the centering and role of the person with Impatience. For all centering, we often recommend forms of movement that are oriented to the individual; slow, methodical movement is likely excruciating to the person with Impatience! Instead, we recommend explosive movements, such as in kickboxing, or rhythmic movements that involve large muscle groups and result in actual physical transportation through space, such as kayaking or bicycling. Engaging in these activities regularly, especially while in a meditative space, can help decrease the buildup of tension. Expressive personalities often use Impatience for artistic sense in dance, clowning, comedy, or acting. The key is using it to "burst out" aspects of your Selves that you have in the past avoided, and using it for art or laughter in such a way which furthers acceptance. A clown might exaggerate the jitters and tension in his body to the point of silliness while at the same time, exploring his own acceptance of his body as it is right now. Action oriented personalities may use movement-based martial arts such as Aikido, or Tai Chi and qigong if this is bearable to the Impatience. Kirtan (devotional singing or chant) can be used to wonderful effect for emotional or inspirational personalities, so long as the desire is to flow into emotion instead of away from certain other emotions.

Because of the relationship of the present moment to time, this chief feature is most of all based on the fear of Death. This includes death in a literal sense, of course, but primarily includes transition: one thing dying in order for another to reborn. Healing impatience is equivalent to letting yourself die and be reborn in every moment. This is how limitless possibility can be lived.


When looking at Chief Features — and indeed, looking at fears — it is incredibly healing to do so with an attitude of deep appreciation. This is your creation. This is your vehicle to truly learn more of yourself and the possibilities you can choose. The physical plane is one in which you choose limitations in order to truly learn what your powers of choice and creation are. The blocks you have chosen are your means to reach beyond your previous limitations, much like weights you may lift in a gym to gain strength. By loving your choice in limiting yourself, you open up to seeing how truly unlimited you are. You may be aware of a limited perception, but who you are contains all the vastness that is within us too. Indeed, looking within, there is no separation between us.