This too shall pass. Really?

I seek the blessings of the divine and all masters on this sacred day of Guru Purnima before writing this post.

We’re in 2020 and all of us just want to get done with it. “This too shall pass” is a phrase being used for everything. Yes, the times are challenging, some of us are going through the worst possible situations. Losing loved ones through disease and war, losing jobs, losing all forms of security, just plain loss. The slightest of peep into the world and all one sees is grimness- depression, fights, pandemic news. It wrenches the heart and soul out of the last ounce of light. What does all this show?

This too shall pass? No. Absolutely, not. This will not pass. Suffering will not pass. Its magnitude may differ but suffering will be there. Philosophers, Rishis, and Sages have recognised this since time immemorial. Buddha, 2500 years, on this very day (as the story goes) discovered this and gave the four noble truths- Life has inevitable suffering (dukkha), there is a cause to our suffering (samudaya), it is possible to get out of suffering (nirodha) and there is way for it (magga). Intellectually, learning this, will make no difference to our suffering.

Only when one really looks deep and experiences it, does one realise what it truly means. From whatever little I have found and what prompted me to write this post is that this mantra— “This too shall pass” will have its desired impact only when it is chanted in its truth in times of ‘happiness’ as well.

When all is right, when all is going smooth; stand tall, disconnect, and chant — “This too shall pass”. Remember the divine within. And that is when the mantra’s true import will flower in us.

picture credit: Anish Mangal

Happiness and sadness are just two sides of the same coin. Whenever happiness comes, we cling on to it, it releases a certain something in the body and we want more and more of it. The happiness I am talking about is a kind of excitement. Similar to the depression of sadness. That is also clinging on to an emotion. There is no difference between the two. Clinging is clinging. It clenches the body, one becomes stiff and dependent on to something external.

There is a joy beyond happiness and sadness, a joy or peace which is not dependent on anything external. That peace sometimes flows over us at unknown times, maybe triggered by the beauty of nature or just a tiny gesture of love or maybe nothing, we all have had a glimpse of it. One example my guru often gives is that of the state of deep sleep.

There is the waking state, dreaming state and deep sleep state. In deep sleep, no one is worried, no one is stressed or excited. And this is a state which is possible during the waking state as well. Where no external situation interrupts your peace.

This does not mean to be not moved by any external situation or not to take any action but as the Buddha said, there is a way out of suffering. There is a way to not get embroiled in this extreme pain, as I like to look at it- there is way to not let the mind get so embroiled in the mud and muck of suffering that it can’t see light.

And therefore, coming to the topic of this post. Use this phrase- “this too shall pass” for the current times, but also use it when times get better. Because times will be like this again and then again they’ll improve. And again they’ll deteriorate. For that is the nature of life.

For someone in extreme pain, this post may seem insensitive but then it may also show some light. True Silence is the best recourse and it makes me wonder why am I writing this? Maybe just as a self-note or maybe who knows, the song is now for someone to find it if and when needed.

I bow down to all of you. Happy Guru Purnima! 🙂

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