"Radiate Boundless Love to the Entire World" - Buddha
I have two pictures of the Lotus flower in my office. It is a reminder to me of the potential that all individuals who come to see me for help have within them.
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a book with the title "No Mud, No Lotus". What does this mean? As a metaphor, the Lotus points to the potential that we as beings have to awaken to our lives. The lotus will not flower if there is no mud. Clean water alone cannot produce the flower. We are talking about the truth that our world to contains dissatisfaction and points of suffering. This dissatisfaction is motivation to take a greater look at the ways in which we cloud our understanding. It becomes the fertile soil in which our lotus blooms.
It seems to me that there is a great deal of mud floating around right now. This is not new of course. There are generations of peoples who have experienced great hardship, discrimination, and marginalization. These individuals are not surprised by the current situation because they have seen it before. For others, this is a wake up call, because up to this point they have lived in a privileged point of view. Unveiling the truth can often be a jarring revelation, and "stirs up the mud."
When no flower is to be seen, it can be quite tempting and easy to get caught in the murkiness of the mud. The ability to remain ever present in faith that the potential of the Lotus blossom is essential during these times.
What do we do? We engage our world. By taking action in a mindful and deliberate way, we engage in things to meet the needs of our community. We work with the mud to encourage the blossom, and to awaken with compassionate action.