‘Once upon a time there lived a man named Freddie, a wise leader, who, in spite of his great wisdom, often struggled with emotional highs and lows. Freddie was prone to periods of great elation where he would make very poor decisions, and periods of great despair where he would get extremely upset.
One of his associates, Mara was her name, designed and forged a simple ring for Freddie to wear at all times. In her mind this was an ingenious device that would help stop him from getting lost in his high and low moments.
Freddie asked, “How does it work?”
“Wear the ring with you always. In times when you need it most, it will show you the answer and you will know what to do,” replied the Mari.
Almost immediately, another associate showed up saying that the company they both worked for had just lost a lot of money. Everything seemed dark and hopeless, just when at the end of the day, after many phone calls, the tired Freddie looked at his new gift, the ring. Engraved on the ring was an illuminated message – four simple words which he had not seen before: “This too shall pass.”
All of the sudden, Freddie found new hope, courage and a burst of renewed energy. He went home and surrendered to a good night sleep.
The day after, an unexpected phone call led to a couple of meetings and the eventual signing of a new contract that not only brought back the money lost but much more. Elated, Freddie called all his partners and associates, employees and clients and threw a massive celebration for many days. Just when he was losing himself in the midst of the great celebration, Freddie touched the ring and felt the engraving – the four simple words which he had noticed just a few days earlier: “This too shall pass.”
He decided from then on to engage in a daily ritual of intentionally touching gently the ring, feeling the inscription, early in the morning, upon awakening, and at the end of each just before going to sleep. He carried the four words “this too shall pass” like a mantra, repeating them under his breath, in good times and in bad times, in sickness and in health, in winning and in losing, in light and in darkness: “this too shall pass.”’
Reflecting on the transient nature of all experiences allows us to step back and view life from a larger perspective. When we recognise the constantly changing nature of existence, we can hold things more lightly, not losing hope in the midst of dark times, but also not getting attached to the good things that come our way.
The recognition that life is like a flowing river, that all experience is like grains of sand disappearing through our hands, allows us to come into harmony with the nature of things and the movement of life. Everything is changing, all things are passing. When we see the truth of this, we no longer cling so tightly to things but learn to let go of our attachments. Suffering becomes less of a burden, knowing that it won’t last, and we learn to appreciate the good in our lives more deeply, knowing that it too won’t last.