The Most Powerful Zen Mantra for Coping with Pain – “This Too Will Pass!”

Have you ever been in a situation where you could simply not see a way out?

Or a time when you were in so much pain or turmoil, you just wanted it to end?

Well, I had some major dental work done last week when I needed some root canal work done. If you have ever undergone such a surgical process, you will know how painful and traumatic this can be.

But of course I got through it as I survived to write about it:-).

My dentist took an hour for the whole process and it seemed like a very long hour. I got through that hour simply by telling myself that this too will pass.

Every few minutes with my eyes closed I kept repeating mentally:-

“This too will pass”.

This is a little trick you can use for other times in your life too. For instance, last week in a coaching session, I reminded a client about this way of coping. He is going through a relationship breakup and I suggested he should keep reminding himself that this too will pass. And it will, as in time his pain will get less and he’ll get to see a positive way forward.

All of us have so many fears, it’s useful to know how to overcome our three biggest fears.

I also reminded my client that we are already enough.

Conversely, it’s also useful to remember this Zen mantra during the good times.

For instance, here in London, autumn has arrived with a vengeance and just today we have had a month’s rainfall in one day in some areas as well as strong winds.

Our incredible summer of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is just a distant but delicious memory. I remember thinking at the time that I had to make the most of each day of the Games and immerse myself fully, as soon it’ll all be over.

And now all I have left from the summer of London2012 is some wonderful memories and literally 1,000s of images from the Games on Facebook . Plus a tooth that’s no longer keeping me up at night in pain:-).

So maybe the real secret to happiness in life is to be completely neutral in terms of what we feel, no matter what’s going on in our lives i.e. no highs or lows. That sounds like Nirvana – and maybe a topic for a future post.

For now, just remember that this too will pass

So there we are – no matter what troubles and challenges you are currently undergoing, just remind yourself that this too will pass.

And at the same time, make the most of each day and immerse yourself in the joys of your daily life as this day too will pass.

Please share your tips too

Now over to you – what’s your technique for coping with challenges? Please do share in the comments below…

Please also check out this related post – How to Suffer Excruciating Pain and Live Again

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  1. Having spent many hours having major dental work recently I understand what you are saying- I now spend the time in the dentists chair visualizing the beach and feeling of things that bring joy. this seems to also have lifted my pain tolerance. I also have a fun loving person for a dentist, this helps to:)

    I like you suggestion about being neutral and being in the joy of the now. Maybe that is the secret- be in the now and experience the moment?

    • Suzie, ouch!

      I almost want to go to the dentist again so I can also visualise the beach etc:-).

      My dentist too is a great guy and took a lot of care and attention throughout the procedure.

      And let’s all aspire to be in the now and experience the moment.

  2. Was this your first root canal, Arvind? 🙂 I’ve had two more before – one tooth got fractured – yes, that’s true – because I ate something particularly hard and had to rush to the dentist in pain. I have a high tolerance for pain – I mind-control it 😀 And envision the benefits of the outcome. Oh, and the fact that my dentist is eye-candy with a big sense of humor helps. A lot. I also believe that everything happens for some reason and unless it is injustice, the sooner we accept it and move on, the better. There are so many good things waiting, all the time! 😀

  3. Wendy Krueger says

    Hi Arvind:
    I enjoyed the wisdom from the dentist’s office. I have never had a root canal but I have had a lot of dental work. I always think the injection is the worst part but then there is always that feeling that perhaps my gums aren’t really that numb when they start to drill 🙂

    Being at peace and present with whatever is going on i one’s life at a given moment is definitely the key and also much easier said than done.
    – Wendy

    • Wendy, great to see you at my blog again:).

      Yes, a lot of wisdom can be gained from the dentist’s chair. But I don’t recommend too many visits to the dentist!

      At the same time, we can all aspire to be at peace and present with whatever’s going on in our lives, even though it may seem daunting…

  4. we need to do sort of thing to make things working towards our favor for some particular situation and we should not keep our hand on hand thinking time will find solution itself.

  5. Arvind-
    First of all, how did you get away with a one hour root canal? I needed 2 sessions- 1 hour each –

    I’ve been using this technique for years and find it extremely effective. Pema Chodron talks about leaning into the pain and letting it flow through you – knowing that it is only temporary. It is so easy to focus in on pain and let it control you.
    You are right on target with your words about staying neutral. It is a discipline well worth practicing. Thanks for a great post Arvind. Good to have you back on FB. Fran

    You’ve articulated these thoughts as well – and in

  6. > “This too will pass”.
    Lucky for that, right? 🙂

    > no highs or lows
    I think the great lows, teach us what great highs are truly like.

    I think with every experience, it’s about choosing what to focus on, finding the lesson or savoring the experience, and learning how to flow more great experiences in a more consistent way.

    Ruts and rotten things happen, and the trick is learning how to bounce back faster or bounce stronger or bounce back higher.

  7. Yes. A few weeks ago I had my first (and hopefully last) root canal. Instinctively I repeated “I am more than my pain – this will end soon.” It helped me get through it.

    It’s funny how this post really struck a nerve 🙂

  8. Cathy | Treatment Talk says

    I like “this too shall pass” as well, for pain in any form. I’m off to the dentist in an hour – luckily just for a cleaning. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your great post, Arvind.

  9. Arvind,

    How appropriate, given the “pain” I described from the loss from the Packers last night! Thanks for re-inforcing this concept. This too shall pass! 🙂

  10. Arvind,

    How appropriate, given the “pain” I described from the loss from the Packers last night! Thanks for reinforcing this concept. This too shall pass! 🙂

  11. All I have to say is It is Well

  12. What is it with root canals? I have to have one tomorrow, so your post is really timely. I like your zen approach Arvind. And I’ve learned over the years to create the ideal experience in my imagination some days before I’m due at the dentist and nine times out of time…I get what I asked for!

    Love Elle

  13. Feel the pain and do it anyway…pain is part of life how we respind to “painful situations” is; as you rightly pointed out the key. When I teach meditation I always remind students and myself that any discomfort you feel “will pass…everything has a beginning a middle and an end” and being a witness to your pain (or pleasure) is the journey and powerful lesson in letting go and just being present with whatever is going on/through our bodies. Thoughtful post and best wishes for building up and.maintaining perfect dental health. Hugs

  14. “This too will pass” is something I heard often as a child. My mom also said, “Oh well” a lot. That make it easy to let go!! I’ve had a root canal before, too, and I think the worst part was thinking about it… oh yes, and the pain before it. Glad you survived Arvind!! 🙂

  15. Arvind, I just popped over from your guest post on Vidya’s blog and spent the last half hour catching up a bit and remembering why I love your blog so much. I really don’t know why I wandered away from it. Actually I do know. I changed browsers and lost track of some of my favorites. Now your blog is back on the list where it belongs and I won’t be remiss again in keeping up with your wisdom and inspiration!

  16. Nicholle Olores says

    We all have fears in life and we must face and conquer it because if we don’t we always sealed and have no freedom. This is really a very inspiring post and thanks a lot for sharing this.

  17. Thanks for his article. It’s very interesting idea. I work with energy to end my pain or other traumatic situations. I think it will be also for me very helpful to repeat The Zen Mantra. Thoughtful post and best wishes to you. Hugs

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