4 Magic words | Life’s lessons

I once heard a beautiful Persian fable. It was a very simple story, filled with practical wisdom and life lessons. I think its a good time to share it during this challenging period. I first heard it during my Uni days, and boy was I having a “wtf” moment then. One moment, I was young, hungry and ready for the world. Another moment, I was exhausted, drained and disillusioned with myself. This story resonated with me, and made me see the bigger picture of what was happening. Allow me to share and feelfree share it with those who are going thru trying times…

There once lived a king and he said to his court sages, “I have a ring with one of the finest diamonds in the world and I want to hide a message under the stone which can be useful in times of despair. I will give this ring to my heirs and I want it to serve them faithfully. Come up with a message to be inscribed under the diamond. It must be short to fit on the ring.”

The sages knew how to write treatises but could not express themselves in one short sentence. They tried hard but couldn’t come up with anything. The king complained about the failure of his venture to a faithful old servant who raised him from infancy and was part of the family. And the old man said to him: “I’m not a sage, I’m not educated, but I know of such a message. During my many years spent in the palace I met a lot of people. Once, I served a visiting mystic whom your father invited and he passed me this message. Just don’t read it, put it under the stone inside the ring and read it only when there’s no way out at all.”

The king listened to the old servant. After some time, the enemies attacked the country and the king lost the war. He fled on his horse and enemies pursued him. He was alone, they were many. He drove to the end of the road. There was a big cliff before him, if he fell there – that would be the end. He could not go back, as the enemies were approaching. He already heard the clatter of their horses’ hooves. He had no way out. He was in complete despair. Then he remembered the ring. He opened it and under the stone found an inscription of 4 words: “This too shall pass.”

After reading the message he felt that everything went quiet. Apparently, the pursuers got lost and proceeded in the wrong direction. Horses were no longer heard. The king was filled with gratitude to the servant and the unknown mystic. Words were powerful. He closed the ring and hit the road. Again, he gathered his army and conquered back his state. On the day when he returned to the palace, they arranged a lavish welcoming for him – a feast for the whole country. People loved their king. The king was happy and proud.

The old servant came up to him and softly said: “Even this moment will pass. Look at the message again.” “Now I am the winner. People are celebrating my return, I’m not in despair.” “Listen to the old servant,” he answered, “it works not only in bad times but also in good.” The king opened the ring and read: “This too shall pass.” Again, he felt silence falling over him. Although he was in the midst of a noisy dancing crowd. Feelings of pride and entitlement disappeared. He understood the message. He was a wise man.

And then the old servant said: “Do you remember everything that happened to you? Nothing is permanent. No feeling stays. As night changes day, moments of joy and despair replace one another. Accept them as the nature of things, as part of life.” Don’t take life too seriously. Always take the middle path. If you can laugh and cry and shout and be silent all in a day, that’s a full day. Remember people built everything we see today so there is always the possibility of you doing something which may not be “great” in human sense but it all adds up to the contribution man has made to society. Always be kind to others and treat others like you would treat yourself. Treat a woman like you would treat your mother, treat your seniors like you treat your teachers.

You may think they are outdated in their thinking but you will be surprised by what wisdom you can attain by listening to them. Respect all people. God made us all the same.

Be kind. Always be kind. Be compassionate. Always be compassionate. Together, lets make the world a gentler place. =)

Daniel Chang

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