We may have heard the phrase “This too shall pass”, originally a Persian adage that reflects the temporary and transitional nature of human condition.
Attar of Nishapur, a Persian Sufi poet, told the story of a powerful king who summoned all the sages in his kingdom and asked them for a little gift that he could keep in his ring and help him navigate through the vicissitudes and difficulties of life. None of the wise men could come up with such a small tool as the king had asked them; nonetheless one of his most loyal servants gave him a tiny piece of paper and asked him to keep it in his ring but not to read the message until he was going through a difficult time. That time hit, the kingdom was invaded by a hostile army and when the king felt at the edge of the abyss, he read the message contained in the little paper that had been kept in his ring; it said: “This too shall pass”. Those four simple words helped him to go through those painful times and succeed. Victory arrived and when the entire kingdom was celebrating the servant approached the king and asked him to read the message again. The king bewildered told him there was no need since it was a moment of jubilee to which the servant responded: These moments will also eventually fade.
This story can help us to be aware of the endless cycles in our lives. We are not fixed beings, but rather ongoing beings that continually transition within a fluctuating context.
It can help us recognize that we are in process, and how in this process we have to adjust constantly our resources and attitudes, so that we may blossom regardless of the conditions. It can help us to live more congruently within a context that changes all the time.
But above all, it can help us to fully live our imperfect lives, honoring our own processes and -hopefully- learning from them.