My Failure in Understanding “This Too Shall Pass”- One of My Favorite Sayings



If I want to move on in life, I must refrain to holding everything so tightly to me. I am a hoarder of the emotional, stress, wounding type.

Forty-eight hours after a stressful event, I may well find myself still clinging to the emotional energy of betrayal, anger, fear, or a combination of these. It as if the event, which may have occurred over a few moments of time, lingers and surrounds me. My own version of Pig Pen and his cloud of dust.

I will then wonder why the event has affected me so much and I can’t seem to move past it. Obviously, nothing can move past me if I refuse to let it go.

I have always loved the phrase “this too shall pass”, and only now realize how much I have misunderstood these words. In regards to “this too shall pass” my contribution is not passivity, as I used to think as I awaited the glorious, anticipated “moving on” or “passing”. Rather my role is one of conscious action and attention to releasing anything I hold in relation to the event.

Life, in anything, is about motion. When I cling too tightly, stagnation is the only result. The natural order of life is to move, to pass, and to allow the past its place, so the future may emerge- free of holding.

7 thoughts on “My Failure in Understanding “This Too Shall Pass”- One of My Favorite Sayings

  1. Very interesting post and the topic is really uncanny. One of these days I was contemplating about the same famous phrase: “this too shall pass”. I always found it an utterly negative statement, suggesting as if what happens in this moment and in its aggregate sum called “life” doesn’t matter. This phrase massively feeds the apathy that we can detect the traits of many passive generations brought up on these terms who therefore ended up like: “hurray, let’s do nothing about our very own shared reality, leave it up to some others to steer it for us, we shall happily meditate meanwhile”

    The concept that meditation and passively passing through every moment of existence is the “meaning of life” is just so wrong. In fact, whatever will pass, will come back one day in a magnified version – in the form of what’s called conscience – not only about the passing moments of what we did, but also what we didn’t do.

    • I think a sense of detachment can allow one a different perspective. However, this must be balanced with action. I have always loved the symbol of yin and yang. Such a great way to capture what truly needs to be done in life. The balance of action and inaction.

  2. I agree that passivity is not useful in moving forward. 🙂 Sometimes I find myself holding on so tightly to the past that I miss an opportunity in the present. It’s a nasty habit.

  3. so very interesting…another version of that theme…this too shall pass…is from the Anglo-Saxon poem called DEOR…it’s refrain says…’that eddied over this also may’…
    my view on both of these sentiments is one of ‘understanding’ the nature of life, circumstances, people etc…and that no matter how bad something is…it can and does change…as you said…and that nothing lasts forever, including ourselves.

    like yourself and others, I too hold on to ‘those hurts from others’…running them around and around and around. I want so much to be free from those thoughts in my mind! but the hurts were DONE by people, people I have never harmed. I know all about loving kindness and all the rest but…there DOES come a time when I have to say…NO to the constant stream of unkindness done to me, while I have DONE nothing but exist!

    this too shall pass…or…that eddied over this also may…
    either way…to survive in this world…I have to be on guard all the time, even when I thought the coast was clear! sometimes holding on to my hurts is what keeps me sane and alive and able to tackle the next onslaught that life throws at me.

    • I appreciate your final point here. That sometimes holding onto the hurt and pain can serve as reminders for protection. And I feel your pain when the onslaught of others is relentless and you have done nothing to warrant such attack. I like the phrase that you shared. Life does evolve, even when you feel it is not moving. We can only walk our own paths and do that with all the dignity and awareness we can muster. I wish you the best in your difficult situation.

      • thanks Kim! for ‘recognizing’ my pain…actually I wasn’t referring to that on-going business that I expose and correct. what I was referring to is, yet, another episode in LIFE…that I THOUGHT at my age I’d be free of…that being of yet another nasty neighbor!

        I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only person alive in the world that would like to have PEACE and quiet and not be subjected to so many evil ‘people games’ and name calling! So…my only option of survival is to ‘step back’ away from other people!.

        Yes, I believe that ‘that eddied over this also may’ and ‘this too shall pass’ and the negative situation will ‘blow over’…but…I’m done!

        I’m done because I remember my hurts and pains, been there before when I was working….trying to be one of the girls…didn’t work then and it didn’t work NOW, in senior housing and I got hurt again!

        I’m so done with helping fellow neighbors in this building…no good deed goes unpunished…and because I dared to tell the neighbor that their pet is keeping me up all night…I was called a vile name, my personal habits mocked and my gifts thrown back at me! So…I’ve RETREATED…I don’t need a social club where I live. I’m done with trying to ‘fit it’…I never have and never will…fit in. what ever was I thinking!

        Okay at this moment I’m stinging…still waiting for the sit-down meeting to ‘solve’ the dispute…sure, right, they’ll get right on it! I already know what will happen…nothing and so to PROTECT myself…I must retreat…no more engaging with people where I live. No problem for me…I have a very wide life but it really is a pity that there are so many ugly nasty people…

        When I try to see the finer points to human nature…that we all are alike in wanting happiness and not to suffer…and than I try to be more compassionate and helpful and RESPECTFUL of others…I end up being hurt…so…the lesson learned is to be very selective with whom and what you let out about yourself.

        Hope I didn’t ramble too much nor disprove my own points! Thank you for allowing me to vent!

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