This too shall pass – weathering the storm

Hold on

A friend shared this with me today. It’s a brilliant translation of Lao-Tzu adapted by Timothy Leary. It expounds a great truth and yet it is incomplete as a living truth, not for its content but from a lack of context.

All Things Pass – Lao-Tzu

All things pass
A sunrise does not last all morning
All things pass
A cloudburst does not last all day
All things pass
Nor a sunset all night
All things pass
What always changes?
These change
And if these do not last
Do man’s visions last?
Do man’s illusions?
Take things as they come
All things pass

(from translations adapted by Timothy Leary)

As much as anything, what Lao-Tzu is addressing is human suffering and the difficulties we face on this journey through life.

So in the face of this truth, what must I do in my own real and present battle with isolation and loneliness? Because this truth alone is not enough, unless I can find a response to it that helps me endure moment by moment as I experience an almighty internal battle to survive and carry on. And let’s be clear, if I do not find the resources to carry on, there are no prizes for guessing what comes next.

Lao-Tzu is not mucking about here, he’s talking about the enormous, cataclysmic, battle of life, for life.

It is easy and very tempting to fall into a state of panic, to find something to do that might temporarily ease the pain or be a distraction from it. Neither of which, ultimately, will work. Or worry at it, which will increase my suffering but which is, in reality, futile. Working a problem is a very different thing to worrying and fretting about it.

And this is where Kate Tempest and her stupendous, ‘Hold Your Own’ comes in. [1]

The trick, if I may call it that, isn’t in finding a way out or a means of release or respite, it is in holding on with every atom of my being. It is in the realisation that this is a journey that I must make, it has a beginning, a difficult and painful middle and an end, and clarity.

The most positive route through any life challenge is in surrendering to its necessity and holding on whilst passing through it. I do not get to choose the terms of the battle, I just have to accept the battle journey and go with it.

A necessary part of any journey is time, we learn, adapt and absorb over time and that isn’t easy. The fact that it’s hard and that I find that difficult isn’t a failing, it’s just part of the process.

It is a bit better today for having gone through yesterday. How hard it is today will depend on how much I resisted or accepted it yesterday. That much I can affect and its worth knowing that the more I fight it the harder it gets.

I am not the master of my fate, that’s arrogant bullshit, I am the recipient of life and all its vicissitudes and what matters is how I deal with it.

[1] Kate Tempest – Hold Your Own – Glastonbury 2015

KOG. 31 August 2020.

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