Waiting Patiently Like a Tick

Luang Por Pasanno • May 2013

Recently I read an extensive article on ticks and Lyme disease. Entomologists use a technical term for what ticks do when they’re sitting on leaves of grass, waiting. It’s called “questing”—questing ticks. A tick waits patiently for an animal to come along. That’s what they have to do: sit there and wait. I can remember often being with Ajahn Chah sitting and waiting. That’s what we all do for much of our practice. On one level, we might think, I need to do something. But if we reframe it, we’re simply sitting and questing—sitting and watching our breath, sitting and waiting for the meal to happen, sitting up at our kuṭis on our own. We can reframe how we hold these activities so that we are patient with the circumstances we’re experiencing, rather than being prey to impulses and restless feelings that are so much a part of the human condition. We’re constantly moving to do something, be something, get something, become something, accomplish something, or get rid of something. Instead, we can come back to a framework of patiently questing, deriving meaning and understanding from the experiences we have and the circumstances around us, rather than constantly trying to shift, move, and rearrange. So learn how to be patient like a sitting tick and use investigation so that it can be a real quest.