“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now, the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle
Legend has it that a powerful king gathered the wise men of his kingdom and asked that they create a ring that would make him happy when he was sad. They returned with a simple ring that contained an inscription of four words.
Four words that can change your life, keep you present and bring comfort in any situation. One phrase that is always true, whether times are good or bad.
So what is this phrase, what were the four words on that ring?
“This too shall pass”
“That’s great but how does that help me?”
Like the king originally desired, this phrase brings comfort when times are tough. If you keep this phrase in mind, it acts as a gentle reminder that whatever is unpleasant right now will one day be in the past.
It’s so simple it almost seems silly. We all know on an intellectual level that nothing is permanent, yet during a perceived “crisis” we often forget.
Just think about it, can you think of a time when you couldn’t see a way past a problem? It felt like you were trapped and had no options. You possibly felt stressed, maybe didn’t eat. Yet somehow you are still here, breathing and reading today.
When the next “crisis” comes across your path, know that someday you will be on the other side of that experience. Still breathing, still ok.
As with all challenging things, it is easier to push through when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Remember this phrase works both ways though, whether times are good times or bad.
When things are going well, don’t take them for granted (which is easy to do). Sooner than you’d want, the good times will fade away and at some point come to an end. This does not mean they will be replaced with something negative, although that is a possibility.
Think back to the last vacation you went on or the last time you were able to hang out with friends. Were you totally present? Were you fully living in that moment?
I used to work at Disneyland (which was a ton of fun) but I remember constantly seeing people distracted from the present moment, ignoring all that was happening around them.
Sometimes it was a phone, other times it was trying to plan every step of their day… whatever the reason, the final result was always the same.
They missed out on cherished, once in a lifetime moments with their family and friends.
Sure, not everyday is spent at Disneyland (unfortunately) but that’s not the only place you should be present in life.
When you keep this four word phrase in mind, it encourages you to slow down and be fully engaged in what is happening. When things are good, being present means you get to enjoy those moments so much more.
When things are bad, being present allows you to step back from the constant stream of thought in your head. When you step back, you can see that the thought stream just brings more stress and you can rarely make good decisions when you are stressed.
In reality, this phrase isn’t about good or bad times though, it’s about the reality that all physical things and experiences end. This isn’t tragic or a harsh reality though. It’s a beautiful truth, this is what makes life so precious!
Keep the phrase, “this too shall pass” somewhere in the back of your head. It is not necessary to constantly repeat the phrase, just keep it somewhere in the background. You may be surprised the next time it pops back into your mind and gives you a new perspective.
You may even write it on pieces of paper that you scatter throughout your house and forget about. What a fun surprise to reflect on when you find them later.
Remember, good or bad, nothing is permanent. The only constant in life is change and that’s why I love the simplicity of this phrase. Just four words that can change your life by to conveying one of life’s most basic principles… everything is temporary.
Adrian Fregoso is a writer, podcaster, tweeter and life-hacker who has made it his goal to help people live a better life. He focuses on the small changes you can make that add up to big results! Check out his writing and podcast by visiting his website, AdrianFregoso.com. You can also follow Adrian on Twitter (@AdrianFregoso) or subscribe to his newsletter and get his free ebook about getting unstuck in life.