Our lives are a series of events; the mundane and the monumental, the happy and the sad. Throughout, we encounter people; some good, some bad, some that seem good but turn out bad and vice versa. Some people we encounter change the course of our lives and become a spouse or a mentor or a spiritual guide. Most people we meet hardly register at all and some people leave us scarred and hurt. We travel through the landscape of our lives sometimes in paradise, sometimes stuck in a rut.
The ups and downs we all experience are inevitable. While I believe we all have the power and ability to create the life we want, we cannot control all of the external factors. A loved one dies and you are heartbroken. The company you work for is suddenly sold and you are “downsized”, causing financial stress. On the other hand, maybe you come into a large inheritance and your financial troubles are behind you, or the product you invented just became the next big thing.
Most of us live our lives in a constant state of unease, either consciously or subconsciously. We are afraid that if we lose something we have or get something we want our lives will never be the same. Here’s a clue though, our lives will never be the same no matter what we gain or lose. Such is the nature of life.
In The Power Of Now, Eckhart Tolle quotes an unnamed Buddhist monk as follows, “All I have learned in the twenty years I have been a monk I can sum up in one sentence: All that arises passes away.”
When understood properly this notion goes beyond wisdom to sublime truth. When you allow yourself to be emotionally tethered to your life’s situation you introduce fear. Fear of the future, fear of past mistakes. But this one sentence, “All that arises passes away” negates fear.
Here is the secret: When something awful is happening to you, it reminds you to be patient. When something wonderful is taking place, it reminds you to be grateful. Those two things, patience and gratitude are fear killers. And when you kill fear the unease is lifted and replaced with peace.
So I have made “All that arises passes away”, my personal mantra. I made it the screensaver on my phone so I am reminded many times per day. I say it to myself when I am running late and traffic is stacking up in front of me. I repeat it when I get a great response to a blog post and I feel like I am finally achieving my life’s purpose.
The fact is, we can’t control all the things life throws at us every day, but we can control our responses to them. We can meet them with patience and gratitude, in a state of peace, free from fear and unease. Being at peace allows us the freedom to focus on creating the life we really want for ourselves regardless of what awaits us around the next corner.