This too shall pass

Written by Tobi Warzinek

“This too shall pass” is an ancient phrase that has helped many of us to keep their sanity in difficult situations. The simplicity and power of this little statement goes far beyond just contemplating that a problem will turn into a solution eventually. It also reminds us that it works the other way round every single time. So is this particular knowledge of impermanence a blessing or a curse?

What do you hold in your heart?

The master was sitting in his room, having a cup of tea. Suddenly the door opened and one of his students entered the room with tears in his eyes.
“Tell me what you hold in your heart,” the master asked.
“My girlfriend left me yesterday. She was my one and only love. I wanted to marry her!” The young man was in great pain.
The master smiled with warmth and said calmly: “Nothing lasts.”
After that the two men sat quietly for an endless moment. Eventually the sobbing turned into silence.
“See, nothing lasts,” the master repeated gently.

As the winter turned into spring, the master stood outside at the entrance of the old prayer hall, enjoying the mild air. Suddenly the student approaches him with a happy bounce in his steps: “You won’t believe what happened!”
The master looks at his student with kindness. “Tell me what you hold in your heart.”
“This time I have great news! My girlfriend and me couldn’t stand living a live without each other. So she came back to me and I proposed to her yesterday! Isn’t life wonderful?”
And again the master smiled with warmth and said calmly: “Nothing lasts.”
After that the two men stood quietly for an endless moment. Eventually the silence was interrupted by sobs.
“And this one too, it will not last!” The old master looked at the beautiful sunset in the distance.
The two men stood there for a few more minutes and the sobs turned into silence and then into laughter.
“Tell me what you hold in your heart,” the master asked.
“Nothing,” the student answered with a big smile.

Releasing emotions, thoughts and ideas

The less we stick to changing objects, the more happiness we will experience. You could stick to “The Good”, trying to achieve the next “good thing”. You could stick to “The Bad”, lost in complaints about this “bad world”. If we truly start to open our eyes of wisdom we will begin to see that “The Good” and “The Bad” can’t be separated. They are not two “things” – they are one process. Positive experiences change into negative experiences multiple times throughout the day. Notice how we are often enslaved to the idea of “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong”. We even fight wars and kill each other over these changing mind made concepts. Those who are looking for right, wrong, good and bad will only find change or impermanence. Nothing lasts, nothing good stays good, nothing bad stays bad.

Notice how your own inner states keep changing based on external circumstances. Based on what you think about or what you see or what you learn the mind keeps shapeshifting minute by minute. Look right at this process and you will learn that the flux of mother nature can only lead from day to night and back again. It can only serve you “The Good” and “The Bad” in tandem. It can only ever give you the dance of combination and separation, up and down, birth and death.

What about our responsibility?

For those who truly see this simple truth within themselves they loose interest in struggling with the world. Therefore they loose interest in trying to have the world change according to their own preferences – it wouldn’t last anyways. Instead they learn to accept and relax, they accept life as a kind teacher. And guess what – a few more relaxed people wouldn’t do this world and it’s inhabitants any harm. So instead of waiting for everything around us too become perfect and complaining as long as it’s not we could use this enormous energy to find true peace within. Wouldn’t this peace be something meaningful to share with other beings? I certainly believe that our responsibility is to end our inner conflict with the way the world is and share the resultant kindness, peace and joy with all living beings. Nobody needs more people complaining about war – we all need more people having true peace within their heart!

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Tobi Warzinek - Meditation Teacher

About The Author

Tobi Warzinek has been working as a spiritual guide and mentor since 2009. His journey started in early 2002 when he entered the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Rabten Choeling. He spent approximately 7 years in the community and studied the Tibetan language, mind-training and various meditation methods. Additionally he trained in traditional monastic debate and Buddhist philosophy. In 2011 he subsequently began practicing within the “Forest Tradition” in Thailand. Altogether he has dedicated his life to the exploration and refinement of introspection throughout the past 18 years.

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2 thoughts on “This too shall pass”

  1. Thank you Toby for these wise words of wisdom and inspiration at the right moment in my life what would have been discribed as a “melt-down” from losing the love of my life just these past days. I too often forget the true nature of this experience we call “life”, and once reminded, there really is a sense of peace knowing that “this moment” is all there ever is, so we’re better off not missing it.
    Thank you for being one of the greatest teachers in my life. “What’s next” you may ask? Nothing, I’m already here.

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