This, Too, Shall Pass

This is my most favorite story and one I had re-read this morning to anchor myself.  I thought I would share to spread the wonderful lesson:

“According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency.  The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair.  A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out.  He sent for a wise man who lived in the kingdom and was reputed and enlightened.  When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you.  Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity and wisdom into my life?  I will pay any price you ask.”
The wise man said, “I may be able to help you.  But the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient payment for it.  Therefore it will be a gift to you if you will honor it.”  The king gave his assurances, and the wise man left.
A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade.  The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside.  Some letters were inscribed on the ring.  The inscription read: This, too, shall pass.  “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king.  The wise man said, “Wear this ring always.  Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription.  That way, you will always be at peace.”

“Those words inscribed on the ring are not telling you that you should not enjoy the good in your life, nor are they merely meant to provide some comfort in times of suffering.  They have a deeper purpose: to make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms–good or bad.  When you become aware of the transience of all forms, your attachment to them lessens, and you disidentify from them to some extent.  Being detached does not mean that you cannot enjoy the good the world has to offer.  In fact, you enjoy it more.  Once you see and accept the transience of all things and the inevitability of change, you can enjoy the pleasures of the world while they last without fear or anxiety about the future.  When you are detached, you gain a high vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them. 
When you are no longer totally identified with forms, consciousness–who you are–becomes freed from its imprisonment in form.  This freedom is the arising of inner space.  It comes as a stillness, a subtle peace deep within you, even in the face of something seemingly bad.  This, too, shall pass.  Suddenly, there is a space around the event.  There is also space around the emotional highs and lows, even around pain.  And above all, there is a space between your thoughts.  And from that space emanates a peace that is not “of this world,” because this world is form, and the peace is space.  This is a piece of God.”
-Eckhart Tolle “A New Earth” Chpt. 8

I love this book, and it’s one that I pick up time and time again.  That being said, this is the biggest lesson I have taken from this book, and one that has made the most impact.  Now, I’m just hoping that ring mentioned in the story, and I cross paths to serve as a reminder.



  1. barb said,

    October 15, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I remember a version of this story about King Solomon in the Bible. I really like it too. Have always wanted such a ring. It’s good advice.

  2. Teressa Flye said,

    October 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    You couldn’t have posted this at a better time. It will be shared with the person who needs to see it. Thank you.

  3. matt.mmwine said,

    October 15, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Ahh, thank you, wise one! We have all allowed situations, good and bad, to get to us. We get caught up in moments that carry us away, or push us deep into negativity. I have allowed that to happen to myself, recently with work. However, also with other situations.

    That being said .. you don’t need a ring. You can create your own “This Too Shall Pass” trinket. It can be a necklace, or perhaps a rock, that you craft or decorate. Make a bracelet with the letters T.T.S.P. from beads @ a craft store. All become your personal, gold ring!

  4. annohiosaysgetsocial said,

    October 17, 2008 at 1:51 am

    I started to read The Good Earth on my way to Florida for the Flo Ho Fest…a friend at work told me the book would change my life. Tossing and turning tonight…I think you are my nudge to pick up the book and keep reading. Hugs to you oh wise one…

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