27 June 2015
“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!”
~~ Abraham Lincoln
As we grow older our experiences instill in us a certain amount of wisdom…or so we would all like to believe!! Wry humour apart, the fact is knowledge and life-events do knock some good sense and sagacity into you and the lessons you learn become your life-mantras. Among my special ones are those four cryptic words ‘this too shall pass.’
Nothing encapsulates the impermanence of life better than that simple phrase. The most favoured anecdote about its origin credits it to the court of the wise King Solomon.The Jewish parable narrates how Solomon the powerful and wealthy king once chose to test his most loyal and trusted minister by setting him an impossible task. The king asked him to find a special ring such that “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.” After months of searching,the minister finally found himself walking through a poor neighborhood of Jerusalem. There he met a jeweller, who, when asked if he’d heard of such a ring, produced from his pocket a plain gold ring, to which he added an engraving. When he read it the minister smiled for he had the perfect ring for the king. The next day the minister presented the ring to the king. The powerful monarch was humbled upon reading those four words: “gam zeh ya’avor”, which translate to, “This too shall pass.” At that moment, Solomon realized that his power and authority were all transient as were defeats and setbacks. This one mantra would hold true in victory or in defeat, in moments of joy as much as in sorrow…the one truth for all situations!
When life is all smooth sailing, this phrase may be an uncomfortable reminder that the good times won’t last. So too during troubled times you may find comfort in the fact that the difficult days will go away. Sooner or later everything changes except the law of change itself. You are just a witness to the change so seize the moment, understand it and accept all with equanimity.