When I travel to the San Diego area I make a point of visiting the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Temple in Encinitas. Located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, their aquatic gardens are home to colorful koi fish and lotus flowers.
A lotus flower grows from the bottom of a muddy pond rising upward, emerging at the surface where it blooms into a beautiful flower. At night the petals close and it sinks beneath the surface only to re-emerge in the morning with the sunrise.
In my perspective, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s observation, “No mud, no lotus,” is a lovely metaphor for the human experience.
Have you got mud? Turns out, it’s a good thing!
Mud? By the truck load 😉
So much detritus from various disassembled paradigms that has drifted to the bottom of my subconscious that it isn’t really surprising that not too many people seem to really get what I’m pointing to much of the time. And it’s fertile stuff – lots growing there 😉
Ted — I’m one of the people who doesn’t always “get what you’re pointing to,” but I ALWAYS appreciate that you share it 🙂
Great reflection and it makes perfect sense. Thanks, Laurie!
Olga — I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me know 🙂
The perfect reminder after a difficult day in Peter’s chemo journey.
Linda — I’m glad this post provided a bit of upliftment on the journey 🙂
Mud indeed! I’m heading to my residency in Minnesota in two days! So now is packing and saying good-bye. And trying not to forget anything important. I think I feel a lotus sprouting, however!
Shirley — I bet you’re going to have an entire lotus patch by the time your residency concludes 🙂
I think everyone has mud. I think it’s finding the lotus flower and letting it open that people sometimes struggle with. My flowers definitely bloom in the morning–sometimes before the sun. 🙂
Merril — I agree with your perspective. It looks like another thing we share in common is the pre-dawn bloom 🙂
Of course, we all have got mud, how else shall we bloom 😉
Nice post, dear Laurie!
Sonali — Yes, indeed 🙂
Perhaps similar to: “Without suffering, there can be no joy.” We have to endure with the difficulties in life to appreciate when things go well. A great screenwriter said there is no life without conflict — and conflict, as well as other troubles, can sure seem like we’re immersed in mud. The idea is to come out of it like a lotus blossom — and not stay mired in the muck.
Linda — Amen siSTAR! 🙂
I love the analogy, a bit like you can’t make an omelette without breaking the eggs!
I love this image, Fatima!
Thank you, Marian. I think we can all identify with that, especially artists and writers. Inspiration must come from somewhere.
Fatima — I agree (and now you’ve made me hungry)… 🙂
Fatima — You crack me up! 🙂
It seems each of every recent year has brought a boat load of mud for me and various family members. Mud oozes out with each of us carrying some of the load. Personally, this year, other than holding the oozing mud of sadness with and for family members, has thankfully held less mud for me. I might characterize it as a light crust of drying mud. I hope to dust off the remaining cakey mud for a while. It is true that the lotus flower’s appearance is celebrated and looks more beautiful at this point. Thank you for sharing the picture of the lotus pool.
Audrey — I like your word picture: “…light crust of drying mud.” 🙂
Oh man, do I have mud! Always have. Always will. It good for your complexion!
Joan — Oh my gosh, you’re absolutely right. I totally forgot about the skin beautification aspect of mud. Thank you for adding it to the mix 🙂
Oh do I Laurie! 🙂 There was a time when I was not sure I would ever get above the mud and water to bloom. But with vision and persistence I managed. Though I wouldn’t wish this particular mud on anyone, I can say that surviving those experiences are part of the good parts of who I am today. Great post as always Laurie!
Terrill — Cut from the same bolt of cloth, I can say the exact same thing 🙂
Mud in the tomato patch as a girl. Muddy middle in memoir now. All this mud is good for my writing “complex-ion” of course.
Marian — Your wonderful comment just induced a great big grin on my side of the continent. Thank you 🙂
Laurie. a deeply-rooted plant has a much better chance of survival when times are less than perfect. One with shallow and fragile roots can wither and die unless it has a deep foundation. I’ve always felt that the deeper your roots run, the more stability you’ll have during the dry times.
Sandi — Coming from a Master Gardener — YOU! — I know that’s a fact and well worth taking to the bank.
It’s your birthday today. happy, Happy, HAPPY birthday to YOU! 🙂
Definitely lots of mud in my life – especially this year. Good motivation to go out into my garden and look – not at mud, but all the lovely flowers and the vegetables – yummy.
And I write and write – good way to turn negative stuff into something creative.
Sharon — I love your sunny-side-up perspective 🙂
Your lovely post inspired this poem, Laurie.
Into every life a little rain must fall
it makes the mud
in which flowers grow
(I’m not a poet–but at least I try. : ) )
Leanne — Beautiful. I love it! 🙂
A perfect illustration of the quotation. 🙂
ReadInPleasure — Thank you 🙂
This is perfect! Yes, I have mud and I love what grows out of my mud!!
Darlene — I love the exuberance in your comment 🙂
I do have my share of mud, Laurie, and I will hope something lovely emerges! I do love water gardens. I am in the San Diego area from time to time and know Encinitas, but I’ve never visited the Self-Realization Temple, and I must! I’m so glad you mentioned it. And I’ll be more appreciative of my mud! 🙂
Debra — Oh, you’re going to love it. It’s free to get it, but they do have a box for a love offering should a person feel so inclined. Here’s a link to learn more: http://encinitastemple.org
Beautiful flower with such deep symbolism. Learning from Nature brings peace and wisdom.
Inese — I resonate deeply with your sentiment: “Learning from Nature brings peace and wisdom.” 🙂
Mud ❓ buckets of it 🌻🌻🌻it’s what helps my inner flowers grow . What makes my inner Cherry flow . With the help of a good dollop of manure makes me human . Bring on the wheel barrows I say .
Love that quote ‘ No mud , no lotus ‘ …how fab is that 👏👏
Cherry — “Bring on the wheel barrows.” I LOVE IT! 🙂
It takes perseverance to rise up out of the mud. And perseverance develops character. And character, hope. And hope looks heavenward and smiles at the sun.
Dennis —yes, Yes, YES indeed 🙂
Mud is something to be stirred and moved, and relished with the right frame of mind and partied time wear! If we had never learned it was to be avoided … Just imagine where it could have taken us.
Val — Yes indeed. Imagine the possibilities 🙂
I suspect the mud just might keep us anchored as well, so that when we bloom we don’t fly off to never never land. 🙂
Dorothy — I think you’re absolutely right! 🙂
and over in escondido
is Thich Nhat Hanh’s practice center,
Deer Park 🙂
Smilecalm — I grew up on Goldenrod Street in Escondido, CA 🙂
…the mystery of inspiration…you always point us in that direction–thank you.
FlahertyLandscape — What a beautiful compliment. Thank you 🙂
I love the beauty of the lotus. Certainly we all have mud in our lives that somehow leads to beauty.
dgkaye — It’s amazing how that works out! 🙂
Ah, mud. I’m afraid this past year has been an unending string of unspeakable sadness. Can I expect a coming year of glorious karma?
Sam — With the wringer of multiple sad events you’ve been through this year, there’s simply HAS to be light at the end of the tunnel!