Universal themes cannot help but repeat themselves.
As I was thinking about the nature of reality (an unfortunate pre-occupation of metaphysicians) I recalled the familiar phrase this too shall pass. I also recalled that I had blogged previously on this topic http://drstevenhodes.typepad.com/meta_physician/2007/06/this_too_shall_.html in 2007.
Upon reviewing this posting I find that I can add little to the substance. It reflected my state of mind at the time which referred to my mother's passing and my father's illness.
The notion reflects the reality that nothing is constant, everything changes. It is an perennial truth which we often try to deny. But what about the concept of being present in the moment a hallmark of mindfulness meditation? Is there a contradiction between the two?
I see it when I deal with patients in the grip of suffering. Their pain is so overwhelming that they cannot see past its embrace. Reminding them that this too shall pass offers little solace.
Likewise I see individuals who seem to be succeeding in all avenues of their lives. Do I remind them that this will not last either? Do I quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes about the nature of vanity?
And then again we speak about being present in the moment. We advise seekers and sufferers not to focus on the past or worry about the future but to find meaning just where they are.
Does this too shall pass contradict that concept? Are we not suggesting individuals NOT to be present in their suffering or success?
Perhaps it is this very paradox which challenges us to examine our lives from multiple perspectives.
It is suggestive of the notion in quantum physics of complementarity of physical entities which possess seemingly opposite qualities, depending on how we observe them. (refer to discussions on the web). Is this merely the yin/yang of it all–seeing opposites as two sides of the same coin?
I will leave the discussion to the reader to ponder–as will I.
Let the dialog continue.