The Two Rings
‘A rich man died leaving two sons. They decided to separate, dividing all the properties between themselves fifty-fifty. After all the matters related to property were settled, the two brothers came across a small packet carefully hidden by the father. The packet contained two rings — one was an expensive diamond ring and the other was an ordinary silver ring costing only a few rupees.
‘Seeing the diamond ring the elder brother developed greed and desired the ring for himself. He explained to the younger brother, "This packet is obviously a family heirloom and not part of the joint family property. Our father evidently desired the diamond ring to be passed on from generation to generation and stay within the family. Being the elder brother I will take the diamond ring. You had better take the silver one." The younger brother smiled and agreed.
‘The younger brother was curious as to why the father had preserved the silver ring, which had very little value. He took out the ring and examined it. On the ring were written the words: 'This too will pass.' The younger brother said, "Oh this was the motto of my father: 'This too will pass.'" He placed the ring on his finger.
‘Time passed. Both brothers went through the ups and downs of life. The elder brother used to get delighted when spring came and he was prosperous. He lost his mental balance and developed greed and attachment. When the good phase went away and winter approached, he became highly anxious. He needed medication to be able to sleep. When that did not help he completely lost his balance.
‘As for the younger brother with the silver ring, when spring came he enjoyed it but remembered his father's motto: 'This too will pass.' He did not get attached to his circumstances, but enjoyed them while they lasted. When spring passed he said to himself, "It was inevitably going to pass and now it has done so. So what?" Similarly, when winter approached and circumstances became bad he did not become agitated but remembered: 'This too will pass.' Thus he was able to preserve his sense of balance through all the ups and downs of life and lived his life happily.’
Impermanence. Never forget: this too will pass.
The only thing you know for sure is that however things are now, they will change. If you feel bad now, no problem. Later you will feel better. You know this is true. It has always been true, and it is still true now.
What is the point of worrying?
If you can do something about it, fix it. If not, what is the point of worrying about it? Let go! Every minute you spend worrying, you lose sixty seconds of happiness. Don't allow your thoughts to be like thieves, stealing your own contentment.
When you say, "This is a bad thing that's happening”, how often are you wrong? Losing a job may be exactly what you need to start a more fulfilling career. The end of a relationship may open more possibilities than you even know exist. When it happens, you think it’s bad. Later, you may think it’s the best thing that ever happened. So don't judge. No matter how bad it seems at the time, you may be completely wrong.
According to the teachings of Buddah, life is comparable to a river. It is a progressive moment, a successive series of different moments, joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, when in reality it’s not. The river of yesterday is not the same as the river of today. The river of this moment is not going to be the same as the river of the next moment. So does life. It changes continuously, becomes something or the other from moment to moment.
The words, "This too will pass" are the words that have stuck with me. In fact, after having discussed these words in a recent class, one of the participants said that she thought she should get the words tattooed onto her body so they were always there to refer back to!
We all face difficult times. During those times we have dreadful moments and think they’ll never get better, but when we look back we can see that the difficult time passed and we’re still here! Getting through difficult times can bring home what’s really important in life.
I read these words recently. They’re a bit of a cliché, but still...
As we grow older our Christmas list gets smaller, and we find out that the things we really want can't be bought.