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This Too Shall Pass

There is this old story about a king that was constantly worried for everything that happened to him or his kingdom. He would go from being extremely happy one minute to immensely sad the next one. He would balance between good news and bad news, reacting to it with his full heart. The king grew to be so exhausted from this unstable feeling and mood changing that he asked an old wise man (there always has to be one in a story like this) to help him, whatever the cost would be. The old wise man said that he could help and brought a ring with a shiny stone and an engraving: "This too shall pass". However, the king wasn't happy with such a simple advice (I mean, who would be), he got really angry and threw the ring into the wall, the shiny stone fell off. After a minute the king calmed down and went to pick it up when he noticed underneath the stone there was another writing on the ring that said: "And THIS too shall pass".

Aren't we sometimes like that king, living with our monkey brain going from "this is so much fun, I'm the happiest/luckiest person in the world" to "life sucks, things fall apart, what's the f*cking point..!". Some time ago I had a discussion with a dear friend, we were trying to decide - if life is like a roller coaster, you go up and suddenly you go down, you're laughing and oh, you're crying, is it better to be in a state of up or down? My first reaction was yes, give me the up's, let me be happy and careless, but my friend said she feels calmer when she's down, because once you're up you know you're probably going down at some point and that scares her. I can see her point, sometimes, when life seems to fall apart, somehow there's this consoling thought that "ok, maybe from here things will only get better", but once you're in the state of feeling really good/calm/satisfied, there's a more worrying thought "nah, this won't last, bad things are around the corner" (actually true if it's winter time in Vilnius where giant icicles are attacking you from the rooftops).

Fun, isn't it...

The question was left unanswered (apart from the conclusion that we're both not a fan of roller coasters in general). However during various moments in life I come back to it, to this question: can joy be as heavy as sorrow?

I am both a nostalgic person and a worrier (from the word "worry", not "war"), so in the moments when I feel happy those things do not come handy. First of all, because I start to already miss the moment I'm experiencing, I already see it as a beautiful memory and then as a melancholic memory (of my "young days"), which needless to say, makes me lose that moment as well as the joy I was experiencing before my nostalgic self started ruling my mind. The worrier in me is that voice that keeps reminding of everything that can go wrong, it's so creative that I'm amazed I haven't used it to create some damn good disaster movies (or horror stories! I can see those things developing literally anywhere, give me a nicest setting, I give you a horror story).

Anyhow, maybe the problem isn't so much about being in the state of up or down, the problem is what we attach to it. In order to understand what's happening around/to us, we label it: "good experience", "bad experience", but the thing is, we don't know where that experience takes us, what happens to us after we go through it, so the label of "good" or "bad" is only the momentarily wish to control and understand what's happening to us. At a given moment, an experience can feel very urgent, very painful or very joyful, good or bad but actually "this too shall pass", the good AND the bad. What's consoling about it? The only constant when you're on a roller coaster of life is the fact that it's moving and it's changing, but you just don't know why, where and for how long. You can worry about the ups and the downs, but it will still come, so you might as well save some energy and enjoy the view.

In the book "Gone with the wind" the main character Scarlett would always say "I will think about it tomorrow, when I can stand it". I know, it doesn't always work like that (unless you've reached mindfulness level 1000), but I believe with some problems or worries, you can postpone them to tomorrow and sometimes there's even a chance that they will act all grown up and solve themselves. With some other sorrows you might need to use the only other cure there is - TIME, give yourself time to feel, time to live your feelings, not analysing it too much, just be in it, immerse yourself into the thing you're experiencing and then get out of it when you're ready.

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