Question: Is there any difference between exercising patience towards one's own life and exercising patience towards others?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a difference. When we exercise patience in our own life, it is a joke. We only cleverly say that we are using patience. We do not take our shortcomings as shortcomings. We take others’ shortcomings as real shortcomings, but we overlook our own. We can tell twenty lies — it is allowed. But if another person tells one lie, we say, “He is such a bad fellow! He has told me a lie!” How many lies we have told, we do not count.

When it comes to our own shortcomings, we feel that we are helpless. But we do not feel that others are helpless. If we see in someone else even the tiniest fraction of imperfection, we say, “He is the worst possible human being!” We may have the same bad quality to a greater degree than he has, but we feel that in our own case, it is excusable. In that case, we do not use patience. We think, “In the twinkling of an eye I will be able to get rid of all my bad qualities.” But let us try to illumine even one bad quality! It takes years.