No Mud, No Lotus

Do you know how a lotus grows?  It roots in the mud of murky ponds.  The stem is flexible, and very tough to break, as it pushes through the mud to reach the surface.  When the lotus flower emerges from the mud and blooms, it is completely clean, despite the long struggle through the mud and murky water.  This process happens every dawn.  And, every evening, the lotus blossom closes and sinks beneath the mud.

To some, the lotus flower symbolizes enlightenment.

To me, the lotus is my life at the moment.  Lots of mud.  But also a lot of blooms!  Maybe that is you, too?  We push through the mud, through challenges and adversities.  We are flexible as we move, embracing the suffering.  We find pleasure and joy in the journey when we can, and sometimes we succumb to tears or fear.  We take the next indicated step, always focused upward toward the sunlight (despite sometimes taking turns sideways or down).  And, finally, we emerge and bloom – BLOOM – clean and beautiful.

Rise, bloom, sink, and repeat.  That is life.  Without the mud, there is no lotus blossom.  Without the mud, we might not ever see the fullest expression of joy.  The mud, like it or not, is essential to the bloom.  As my favorite teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, says, “No mud, no lotus.”