We have the habit of being attached to things. We are constantly judging our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances. When there is judgment, resistance, and attachment to something, we suffer.
There is an ancient story of a king in the Middle East who was unhappy. Even the slightest things would cause him suffering. He had no control over his feelings, and his happiness quickly turned into disappointment. So he decides to seek help from a wise man in his kingdom.
The king asks the wise man to help him with his problem. He wants the man to show him the path to bring balance, serenity, and wisdom into his life. As a reward, the king agrees to pay him anything he wants. But the wise man denies the reward and shares his knowledge as a gift to the king as it would cost the king his entire kingdom.
A few weeks later, the wise man brings a ring inscribed with the words: This, too, will pass. He then asks the king to read the inscription in every situation—good or bad. That way, the king will be at peace all the time.
Non-resistance, Non-judgement, and Non-attachment
Non-resistance, non-judgment, and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living. The words, “This, too, will pass,” seem to help you in bad situations. These words would surely comfort you in such situations. But, what about the good ones? Will they diminish the enjoyment of the good things in life? They seem to be saying, “Don’t be too happy, because it won’t last.”
The words are not telling you not to enjoy your life. Instead, they are making you aware of the fact that nothing lasts forever. Every good or bad situation will come to an end. This is the law of impermanence.
When you are aware of the law of impermanence, you will not be attached to anything in life. But this does not mean that you will stop enjoying the good things. In fact, you will enjoy them more. Once you detach from things;
- You can enjoy the pleasures of the world while they last without fear of loss or anxiety about the future.
- You gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside of them.
“This, too, will pass” will bring detachment, and with this, you will be introduced to a different dimension of life, called the inner space.
The Inner Space
When you stop identifying forms, your consciousness will be freed from its imprisonment in form. This freedom is the arising of the inner space.
You start to recognize space around events, emotions, and between your thoughts. This space gives you peace and joy. You are not attached to any form. So this space you identify is not of this world because this world is form, and the peace is space.
The End of Suffering
You have recognized your space. Now you can enjoy any situation—good or bad—without the need to be fulfilled. You will not give unnecessary importance to things or situations around you. You will not be attached to them. Also, you will not seek any demand from them.
Once you understand that no situation or things can fulfill you, make you happy, make you safe, or give you your true identity, you will not suffer. Why? Because no situation or thing is permanent. Learn to live without expectations in life, and all your self-created sufferings will come to an end.
The unawareness of the inner space causes suffering. The awareness of it gives you peace and joy as you can enjoy things, experiences, and the pleasures of the senses without losing yourself in them, without inner attachment to them.
“This, too, will pass” points towards the reality of impermanence of all forms. You should be able to recognize the inner space within you. Otherwise, like most, you will give importance and seriousness to things that are not important and serious in reality.
Detach from things and circumstances and recognize your inner space. Nothing in the world is permanent. Most of us give importance and value to something, and we get unnecessarily attached to them. The loss of these things causes suffering, regardless of whether they are good or bad.
This, too, will pass. Make this statement your new mantra. Write it down, hang it on the wall, put a screensaver on your phone, whatever you do, you should remember these words. Whenever you read them, understand that nothing lasts forever.
When we experience good things, we want them to last forever. So we get attached to them. We suffer when that does not happen. Instead of being attached, we should enjoy the moment while it lasts. When we experience bad things, we don’t want them to last forever. In such scenarios, “This, too, will pass” will be comforting to us.
Do not judge. Do not get attached. Have no expectations. Suffering will end.
(This article is an excerpt from a book called ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle.)