“King Solomon once searched for a cure against depression. He assembled his wise men together. They meditated for a long time and gave him the following advice: Make yourself a ring and have thereon engraved the words ‘This too will pass.’ The King carried out the advice. He had the ring made and wore it constantly. Every time he felt sad and depressed, he looked at the ring, whereupon his mood would change and he would feel cheerful…”
– Israel Folklore Archive # 126
Life’s so fragile. It is almost funny. We do these great things, build societies, wage wars against one another. We accumulate knowledge, power, wealth…
We do everything we can to announce the darkness that is soon to come that we will not be diminished by the brevity of our lives.
It’s just a fancy way of saying that we all die. We’re all just human. Mortals in a seemingly immortal world. Rust and stardust among an infinity of stars and darkness.
That’s how insignificant we are. How insignificant our troubles are. Our achievements. Our issues with one another.
I try to find the humor in all situations because of this. It’s a good way to distance yourself whenever you become too attached to something.
This too shall pass.
Everything will pass. This world, and everything in it.
And, yes, you can argue that it’s not worth doing anything in this world.
Alexander the Great conquered as much of the world as he could, yet on his deathbed, he asked, “Bury my body, do not build any monument, keep my hands outside so that the world knows the person who won the world had nothing in his hands when dying.“
All that I am saying is that we shouldn’t take life so seriously. Stop being self-centered.
Whenever I catch myself taking things too seriously, I force myself to take a step back. To realize how ridiculous it all is. I’m just a speck of cosmic dust. You are too.
“Memento mori,” as the Romans would say. “You’re only a man.”
How many things do you take too seriously? How many things are you afraid to lose?
I’m not trying to teach you about letting things go, or developing the sort of passivity that is predominant in Easter Philosophy. No.
I believe in a warrior type of life. In being in the top 1% at whatever you choose to do. To struggle and fight for things. To always challenge yourself. To go beyond. To improve daily. To admit defeat, but never accept it. To keep your head high, to aim high, to give your best.
That’s what I believe in.
But there’s a right way to do this, and there’s a wrong way. The right way is to be free of outcome. To do it just because.
Art for art’s sake, as they say.
Live for life’s sake. You are alive, that’s what you got to do. Life’s a beautiful thing. It is. It’s magic. Without it, you’d be dead.
Love for the sake of loving another. Not because you want them to love you back, or because you need some sort of validation, not because you can’t love yourself. No. Love because it’s a wonderful thing to do, to experience.
Work hard because it saves you from depression, low self-esteem, laziness, boredom. Probably poverty too.
It’s not the outcome that matters, but the journey.
This is quite the paradox, is it not?
We embark on these strange and perilous journeys towards certain destinations, fueled by passion and ambition and an eagerness to conquer the world, yet when we arrive at our destination, we realize that the journey was, in fact, the destination.
That our long walk toward home was, in fact, our home.
That we have become the experience, that we are both creator and creation, both the sculptor and the marble.
What I mean by all this is that it’s always been within us. All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells. All the love and life and passion and wealth and abundance. It’s all within ourselves. No need to become attached to all that is outside ourselves in order to bring out what resides in our souls.
Life’s too short for that.
This too shall pass. I, too, shall pass…
… and you, too, shall pass…