1. This too shall pass
Everything is transient. Nothing lasts forever. Do you guys remember Nelly Furtado’s song “All good things come to an end” Well, she was, almost, completely right.
For good things, bad things, and neutral things all come to an end. Everything comes to an end. The laws of the universe, nature, and life do not discriminate.
They say that the only thing that is certain in life is that life is uncertain. Everything is transient therefore everything is uncertain.
This too shall pass. Use it every day and constantly remind yourself that whatever is happening to you right now is going to pass.
When it’s bad say this too will pass when it’s good say this too will pass so, you will not feel too desperate when things are hard but you will, also, not rest on your laurels when things are good.
It’s easier to say that this too shall pass when things are bad because all you want is for that bad time to fade away but when everything is going well you don’t want it to pass. You don’t want to say to yourself this too will pass but you should.
When you tell yourself this too will pass. You will be less careless and not take things for granted. And yes, good moments will eventually pass but when you put in the right effort they will last longer and the bad times will be shorter and you will be able to cope with them in a much wiser and more productive way.
2. C’est la vie/It is the what is
Life happens. Things don’t always go your way. Life is unpredictable and capricious regardless of how much we try to stir it in the direction we want.
You can’t lose if you don’t play.
Quote from The Wire
Life happens and we should not be disappointed because everything that does not go our way is part of life. If you were playing a game you would accept the consequences good or bad because that is part of the game.
Well, disappointments, failures, mistakes, sickness, death, breakups, divorces, bankruptcies, etc… All of that, and more, is part of life. It does not mean that you will experience all of it but definitely a lot of it.
That’s what we get when we start the Jumanji game of life. So, we should let go of disappointment and say it is what it is or “c’est la vie” When we get in a relationship and when we break up we should not be disappointed. The only way that a relationship ends is with separation whether by death or by choice. The ending is the same. We part ways.
When we start a business, failure can come along the road. When we have a body, we get sick, we get hurt, etc… C’est la vie. We should not use that mantra/saying in an apathetic way. This is not an excuse for complacency and giving in.
No, on the contrary, we use it to not feel disappointed and avoid too much suffering when things do not go our way as they often do. We understand that it is part of life. When we understand that we can embrace those things when they happen and use them to our advantage, gain wisdom, make us successful, or simply make us happier human beings.
3. Memento Mori / I will die / We will all die
Seems dark and negative but I assure it is not. I wrote above that some things are inevitable and death is one of them. When we sign the contract of life we already have an expiry date. Now, we don’t know that expiry date. It could be today, it could be in 70 years.
Nonetheless, we know, for a fact, that we are going to die. What we don’t know is when and how. Why is it so important to use this mantra often? Ajahn Chah, a famous Buddhist monk, used to say that if we don’t understand death we can’t understand life.
When we don’t prepare for death we live in an illusion. The first delusional idea is that tomorrow is guaranteed for you and your loved ones. We all have to realize that more than once in our life we will receive a call, a message telling us that someone dear to us has just passed away.
Yes, reading those lines can feel sad and terrifying. I understand, I also feel some sadness when I write these words but this is the way things are. We can’t live a life thinking that we are immortals or that this will not happen so soon. You never know. Life is full of surprises and death will be a surprise if we don’t accept it, embrace it, and learn from it.
In Buddhism, the teachings tell us that old age, sickness and death are the greatest teachers. Reality is the greatest teacher. They say everything is possible. You can achieve, be, do whatever you want but death is not something you can bend to your will.
We should accept our powerlessness to death and flip it around so we can embrace it as something that just is. Also, it should serve as a reminder that whatever happens to us good or bad does not matter so much because we will die.
What matters, however, is the people we love, the people we care for. The things we really want to do. Reminding ourselves of death is a great way to create some sense of urgency for us not to waste our time on things, and people that do not bring us the joy and fulfillment our hearts seek.
Once we fully accept death, we will not take any part of life for granted. Say the things you want to say. Do the things you want to do. Hug the people you want to hug. Stop doing the things you don’t like. Get rid of people who are not helping you in life.
Also, when things are good or things are bad. You don’t need to get too high or too low. Remember, we all die.