The Ups and Downs of Life

Here’s one of my favorite stories that has a lesson about dealing with the ups and downs of life. I like to read it on particularly challenging days, and I think it is an important reminder about letting go of things beyond our control.

According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair.

A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of his life so he began to seek a way out. He sent for a wise man who lived in the kingdom who was reputed and enlightened. When the wise man arrived, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity and wisdom into my life? I will pay any price you ask.”

The wise man said, “I may be able to help you but the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient payment for it. Therefore it will be a gift to you if you will honor it.” The king gave his assurances and the wise man left.

A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside. Some letters were inscribed on the ring. The inscription read: This, too, shall pass. “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. The wise man replied, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way, you will always be at peace.”

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Art James Heller is a positive psychology life coach and career coach. He meets with local clients in Hillsboro, OR and clients from around the world by phone and video. If you’d like to learn more please explore the site, or get in touch to sign up for a free consultation.

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