Consider this: The beautiful, genteel lotus flower comes from a dark, dank, hidden place.

This hardy plant’s roots grow deep in the muddy sediment of a murky pond. Its nutrient rich tuber “seed” has all it needs in potential form for its ascent into plant-hood.

As the plant grows in an unseen world, it draws up nutrients through its stem, and uses it to mature into the form it was meant to be, the beautiful lotus flower.

I don’t know whether it’s a painless process for the plant to grow or not, but the path to its realization is certainly clear: it unfolds by way of the dark, muddy material from the bottom of the pond and uses it to feed its emergence.

It’s interesting how much of the time our growth is fed by the murky pond of our own inner darkness:  our troubling life experiences and their gyrating thoughts and feelings, the choices we’ve made and their inherent consequences, our night dreams, our day dreams, and how they inform our lives, not to mention the internal conflicts we live with day to day.

Remarkably, ingeniously, we use all of this and more to feed our own seed of potential from a world outside of our awareness, into what it was meant to be: our very own variety of the beautiful lotus flower:  our REAL self.  How beautiful is that.

As the caption in the above art piece reads:  “No mud.  No lotus.”

How are you using the “mud” in your own life to nourish the unfolding of your precious “lotus flower”?

Here are a few tips for drawing nourishment from your “mud”:

  1. Pay attention. I know it’s not easy. And there’s so many distractions competing for our attention. But this is the most potent thing we can do. The Yogis of old talk about burning away the dukkha, various shades of suffering*, with the fire of our awareness.  Let the fire work for you.  Pay attention.
  2. Resist the temptation to turn away from what you see. That is, to hide out in a distracting behavior, like unconscious eating, or watching a stream of shows online, or drinking wine. Instead, allow yourself to turn towards what is there to be seen, and let yourself see it.

    If it’s too frightening to do that?

  3. Consider grounding. Grounding refers to a set of strategies that help us to detach from overwhelming emotions and experiences. We can get grounded by using our breath or through our senses, like what we hear, what we touch, what we smell. We make the present moment a safe-r place to be when we allow ourself to get grounded in the here and now.  In this way, we can resist the temptation to turn away from our ‘mud’ . . . and now turn toward it.

What’s the point to all of this? It goes back to the Yogis and their teaching on the various shades of suffering, and our ability to burn it away with the fire of our awareness. For those of us interested moving through life as our REAL self, and not a wounded version thereof, transforming our “mud” is the currency through which we get there. At the end of the day, doing so brings us an enduring contentment in our soul.

*from sadness to sorrow, emptiness to distress. (Yogapedia)