No Mud, No Lotus

 

No mud, no lotus
Yesterday the theme for our yoga practice (and remember it is yoga practice not yoga perfect. There is nothing in life we ever truly perfect. We are all seekers and strivers) was “no mud; no lotus”. Cool. A page topic.

 

 

Traveling in the yoga and therapy circles I am in, I have heard that saying a thousand times. It makes a great poster. Lovely, white lotus flower growing out of a bog. Beautiful. What does it mean?

Literally it means exactly what it says. The lotus, sacred plant of India, is aquatic. It roots in the mud and makes its way to bloom on the surface. Without having its roots in the mud, the plant would perish. (Or perhaps not. Fun facts: Wikipedia reported the oldest living lotus known is over 1,000 years old and Kew Gardens reported the oldest, germinating lotus seeds were 1,288 +/- 250 years old!)

Metaphorically, no mud, no lotus is about rebirth and emerging from darkness and a ‘bad’ place (BuddhaNet). It symbolizes rising above the defilement and suffering in life. It is a way to represent hope and victory over bad circumstances.

Please note the ‘bad’ circumstances are still there. No one drained the swamp. There would be no lotus if the swamp were drained. The ‘bad circumstances’ of the swamp are necessary for the lotus just like the conflict is necessary for the victory. No conflict, no victory. Got it? We need adversity in order to prevail.

And THAT is one of the moral of the story. We don’t grow because of the ease in our lives but because of the challenges.

I looked up no mud, no lotus and found some intriguing references to a book by a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. BARD does not list it or I would have downloaded it. According to other sources Thich – or should I say Hanh? – sees acceptance of suffering as the first step to happiness. It is not possible to fully experience one thing without knowing it’s opposite. Ying and yang. You can only appreciate the light if you have known the darkness. And that is the Zen take on the saying. Pretty profound in its simplicity.

I leave it to you to decide how no mud, no lotus might apply to your life. Has your AMD made you grow in any way? Are you more appreciative of your vision or of things you are still able to do because you have glimpsed a future without good vision? Has anything good come of your having AMD?

And if the answers to every one of those questions is no, I am going to ask why not. Perhaps now is the time to embrace your condition and make it work for you. No mud, no lotus.

Next: Thank You For Your Service

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