A Priceless Present
A centuries old fable goes as such,
King Solomon was in a puddle. He was a king; how could a king be unhappy? Solomon’s happiness came and it went. It never lasted very long despite him possessing all the riches of the land and luxuries beyond our imagination. In turn, he experienced sadness that matched his happiness, that too came and went. Now Solomon was a ruler of a kingdom, he had important business that needed attending. But these inconsistent waves of positive and negative feelings and thoughts interfered with his ability to be productive. It made the quality of his work inconsistent too.
He calls for a monk that is known for his wisdom and relays this problem to him. Solomon offers to fulfill any of the monk’s desires, if he could find a solution for him. Mysteriously, the monk states that the solution he will offer is worth more than anything in King Solomon’s possession, but it is something he will offer him freely
The monk leaves and returns in a week with a ring. Solomon is baffled, he probably thought the monk wasn’t as wise as he thought he was if he believed a simple ring could amount to a greater value than all the kingdom’s wealth.
The monk presents the ring to Solomon and on its inner lining, engraved simply was one phrase. A piece of wisdom, passed on that would change Solomon’s life: ‘This too shall pass’. These four words are the keys to ultimate peace, a gift no worldly favour could return. Priceless, as the monk said.
This story has been told for many years, in many cultures. We do not know for sure where it originated, or what version of it is the correct one, but all versions end in the same way and convey the same message. ‘This too shall pass’ serves as a reminder that nothing is permanent. Happiness, sadness, riches, losses, hopelessness, even life itself – these things are all impermanent. They are all fleeting trifles of the human experience. Simply knowing this acts as a tool to being at peace. It creates an awareness of the emotion for what it is and brings us to a pause to be present in the moment. Whenever we experience great joy or sadness, or any overwhelming emotion that feels like it might eat us up alive, we can relate to Solomon and how he can never manage to get anything done, because his emotions transcend his peace. Solomon is not without peace, neither are we. Peace comes from within, some might even find sense in the belief that we are peace itself, and emotions are beautiful, they are ours to feel and observe, but they do not define us nor consume us. They are waves we must learn to surf and clouds we must learn to watch.
There is no guarantee that knowing this solves all of our problems. There will always be something to worry about. We must understand that sometimes, that is not within our control. What is in our control is how we react to how a situation makes us feel and what influences the course of our actions.
When you find yourself in a puddle, like our friend Solomon, or a pit, or the top of a mountain, whatever strong emotion it is that you are experiencing, remember that this experience is fleeting. Place a palm on your chest, at your core and take a deep breath. Through the streaming tears or the peals of laughter, your consciousness is taking it all in. Your peace is nodding at you lovingly, saying “I am here, I will always be here.” Are you aware of it?
edited by Nadeesha Paulis