How true this statement is: this too shall pass!
Where did this quote come from?
There are two popular stories for the origin of this statement. One is from the Jewish tradition and one is from the ancient East. Here’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln who spoke of the Eastern version in 1859:
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this too shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
So let’s start with the most positive aspect of this statement.
What does this mean?
Bad times will pass
When you’re feeling low, a comforting thing to keep in mind is that it won’t last forever because: this too shall pass.
Life is made up of highs and lows and it always will be. When you are low sometimes you forget about the highs, but they will return. In this sense I find that this statement can bring comfort.
Unfortunately, good times will pass too
You could look at this as a negative, but knowing that all things will pass makes me appreciate the good things in life even more when I have them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s people, relationships, experiences, things, or life in general. If you know something really good won’t last forever then it makes sense to enjoy it and make the most of it while you have it because: this too shall pass.
The power of detachment
These days when we refer to someone as being ‘detached’ we probably aren’t being complimentary. But detachment was taught by the ancient Yogis as a key to life.
Detachment is not some cold, unemotional state but rather a pleasant, peaceful, way of existing. It’s not so much a matter of being aloof and uninvolved with life, but rather embracing it fully and completely, and then allowing things to move on when the time is right.
If someone was able to fully live their life like this they would not to get caught up in the ups and downs of life. They would instead let them wash over them knowing that they would experience both at different times.
Of course, it’s much easier said than done.
What am I getting at here?
Rather than just mindlessly charging through life we should stop and look at the world around us and think about what we’re doing and where we’re going.
Rather than just reacting automatically to the circumstances we find ourselves in we should think about them and choose the most appropriate response.
Rather than getting caught up in things, we should step back and see the big picture.
Detaching ourselves from the situation can help us see the big picture. It can help us see things more clearly and more objectively. It can help us deal with the bad times knowing that they will pass, and appreciate the good times while we have them, knowing that they won’t last forever.
This too shall pass
So stop for a moment and take a look around. Breathe. Let go. Appreciate what you have while you have it.
And next time you’re feeling low just remind yourself that this too shall pass.