Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the saying “This too shall pass.” Perhaps this is because my mother is currently quite ill, which is definitely an unsettling thing for everyone concerned — there is nothing like clearly seeing the shifts that aging can bring to drive home the reality that everything changes.
Although I had heard “This too shall pass” many times in my life, it wasn’t until I began attending 12-Step programs over 20 years ago that I was consciously reminded of it. And even though I sat in many meetings for many years, gazing at that saying on a poster on the wall, it has only been recently that I could truly understand what it actually means.
Simply put, what I know today is that nothing stays the same. Everything is changing in every single moment. That is a difficult concept for a stubborn Taurus like me – I like sameness, stability, groundedness. When things change, I immediately become at least a little scared. Could this be because I still at times enjoy the “fantasy” that I can actually control something outside of myself? I am grateful to know this about myself – because it is only through this kind of self-awareness and self-reflection that we can truly work through our issues and live our best lives.
Today I know that when I hit a difficult patch in my life, if I just hold on it will pass. If I give myself permission to sit in the discomfort of my feelings, rather than engaging in an addictive behaviour or two in order to shield myself from them, they will pass. I find that quite comforting, and it helps me to sustain my own personal recovery from addiction. However, it also means that when I’m having a stretch of pure bliss and enjoyment – which really CAN happen at times for people on an ongoing journey of self-discovery – I need to be aware that that too shall pass.
Everything will ultimately and eventually shift and change.
When I can deeply embrace that concept and understand it with my heart and spirit, not just with my head, life becomes far easier. I’m beginning to think that “This too shall pass” is equivalent to living life on life’s terms. When I can allow myself to be more fully present and grateful for even the harshest of “gifts”, my life takes on more meaning — especially when I can remind myself that the harshness of life will pass, if I just let myself be genuine and not try to hide from it.
So, as the Buddhist saying goes, I hope you will join me in being open to suffering what there is to suffer and enjoying what there is to enjoy. Regard them both as facts of life when you’re out there on your own awesome journey and remember – this too shall pass.