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August 22, 2017

No Mud, No Lotus: Why Sh*t Needs to Happen.

“If you’re gonna make a change, operate from a new belief that says life happens not to me but for me.” ~ Tony Robbins

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In my opinion, the lotus is one of the most beautiful flowers in nature.

What makes this flower remarkable is its ability to emerge from the dirty bottom of a pond and remain untouched as it blooms.

Without the mud, there’s no lotus.

The lotus is an important metaphor for me. It reminds me of my own life—sometimes, I’m just stuck in the mud. The view from down there isn’t optimistic. It’s murky, muddy, and distorted.

Then, I remember the lotus flower and its power to rise above the mud only to bloom into a thing of beauty. The potential of the lotus flower lies at its very core.

Just like the lotus flower, I have great potential to rise above life’s challenges and beautifully bloom. The lotus reminds me that I have a choice, every day, to decide how to perceive the mud in which I’m lurking.

We’re all like the lotus flower. And the mud is life’s challenges. Are we aware that we can understand life’s most difficult challenges and rise above them? Or are we just lurking in the mud waiting for the light to make its way to us?

We’re all familiar with the term “sh*t happens.” Well, it certainly does. Nonetheless, I’ve started to believe that sh*t should happen—for without it, we wouldn’t be able to tap into our potential to grow.

We all endure the same problems and experiences. We all go through sickness, heartbreak, the death of loved ones, failure, and financial struggles. However, when a problem arises, we often despise it, blame life, and think our lives are unfortunate. These are common reactions, because, at the end of the day, we all want to be happy.

But, here’s the thing. We focus so much on the mud that we forget its essence. The mud isn’t there to keep us stuck—it’s there to show us what we are capable of overcoming.

We often fail to see that we need to go through the bad so we can appreciate the good. The good and the bad are interdependent; one can’t exist without the other.

When challenges arise, there’s a truth that life wants us to grasp but that truth isn’t being presented on a silver platter. Quite the opposite: life often teaches us lessons the hard way.

It all starts in the mud. But the question is, do we want to stay in the mud?

What the lotus flower teaches us is to see our challenges as blessings and choose to rise above them. Without the mud, there’s no opportunity to grow into something beautiful.

Sh*t happens because it needs to happen. Challenges push us to grow. The “good” plays a major role in our spiritual growth and in crafting who we are today. However, the “sh*t” plays an even greater role because it often inspires the good.

The lotus flower in Buddhism holds a great significance. The arousal of the lotus flower above the muddy water represents our arousal from difficulties, desires, and attachments. In the Buddhist tradition, the mud is essential to attain enlightenment. We need the dark so we can head toward the light.

And while we can’t stop the dark from happening, we can control our ability to move in the direction of the light. This is one of the most important notions in Buddhism, and one that I greatly admire: we can’t always control life’s circumstances, but we can control how we perceive them and how we grow through them.

The lotus flower symbolizes our journey from ignorance to wisdom. And part of our wisdom is acquired through living.

Thus, the bad in life gives us a chance to bloom.

We should all be like the lotus flower. Don’t stop when you see the mud. Know that it is your chance to bloom. And even when you grow into something terrific, know that the mud is always below you and that it is necessary.

Without it, you would have never seen the light.

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Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Satish Krishnamurthy/Flickr
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman

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