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There is a story about a sultan who consulted with sage, and asked him to engrave a phrase on a ring that would be relevant always and in all situations, whether good or bad.
And the sage wrote, “And this, too, shall pass away.”
That’s a sentence that we all need to keep in mind, because of the unrelenting flow of time.
It is the gift and curse of the human condition. The bad times will have an end, but so will the good times.
It was God who said in Genesis, “for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
All that we have, all that we love, and all that we hate, all of it, shall pass away.
What Does This Mean For Your Life?
It means that “perfect” moments will not last. A well-known example of this is newlyweds, who promised themselves they will not become like other couples, and are still bubbling with enthusiasm.
Or the group of High School friends who make a promise to stay close even when they start moving away to different parts of the country.
Or it could be even the peace you feel as you walk through a forest alone, on the break of dawn. That beautiful moment too, will be swept under the rushing current of time.
But The Terrible Will Pass As Well
This rule may seem evil if it was only the good moments that were taken from us, but the truth is that the bad moments pass just as readily.
The pain of losing a parent is lessened as the years go on. The intense feeling of lose a person may feel when they go through a divorce will fade as time goes on.
The injury from the car accident many leave you in searing pain when you are in it, and may leave you scared or even disabled after it, but the moment itself will pass.
Although Time Moves On, We Are Still Marked By Life
We have our memories, and can call up inspiration and love as well as regret and guilt. Events etch themselves into our soul, but the actual moment we live in is always fleeting.
There’s a phrase people say with children, “They grow up so fast.” Many parents feel hard done by when their little girl grows up into an unruly teenager. Because, as much as they’d like it to be the other way, people change, people grow up, and time flows onward.
How Can I Be Happy If Everything Fades Away?
It’s a good question to ask. What can you do if nothing will last?
When you become rich, you become vulnerable to lose. When you get married, you now have the risk of divorce. When you have children, one day you know they will no longer be dependent on you. At some point in your life, you will either leave your job or find yourself fired from it.
People you used to know from work, from school, from your hometown, will fade away into half-strangers.
That girl you meet at the nightclub and danced with all night and that made with all morning is now somewhere else, in another city, or another country.
Your grandfather, who you used to listen to as he spoke his stories about the war and about his time in the south, has passed away, and now all you have are the memories of him on the porch.
So, when nothing will last, what can you do?
The classical teaching is to withdraw your neediness from the world, and instead turn inward, and base your happiness on your inner Self.
The world may break out into turmoil and war, but if your happiness is from an internal source, then it doesn’t really matter.
If you base your happiness on something eternal that is within you, then external circumstances cannot touch you.
All the major world religions teach that the world itself has nothing of long-term value to offer, and that by turning to some form of worship or self-discovery, you ensure that you are happier and more stable in life.
A more practical suggestion is to make peace with the reality, nothing will last. The unrelenting flow of time will claim all, the rich and the poor, the beautiful and the ugly, everything and anything that lives, breathes and has a heartbeat.
So, when you get a new pet puppy, understand that Time has already claimed its life, sometime in the future.
When you start your dream job, keep in mind that at some point you will either choose to leave or be forced to.
When you marry that special someone, know that one day they will leave you, or you will leave them, either through a divorce paper, or in a casket to the grave.
If You Can See The Truth Of The World And Remain Happy, You Are Powerful
Time is coming for us all. We are all Captain Hook, hearing that terrible ticking sound as the beast comes closer and closer, waiting for our hour to strike.
But instead of fearing lose, instead of fearing pain and even fearing death, we should learn to embrace the dark side of life so that it all becomes illuminated by inner peace, so we can enjoy it.
Time may be unstoppable, but your feelings about time, and your commitment to your own happiness, that is something that belongs solely to you.
Make the most of the time you have. I am trying my best, and I hope you are as well.
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