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High recognition . . . Learn from the lotus flower

Jonathan provides short, insightful quotes with complementary images. This particular post brings to mind Thich Nhat Hanh’s book No Mud, No Lotus.

Without the mud, there can be no lotus. Too often, we try to avoid the mud and challenges in life. The mud can help ground us in those moments as we take time to rest and reflect. Laozi offers this advice in to deal with life’s challenges: “Do you have the patience to wait/Till your mud settles and the water is clear?/Can you remain unmoving/Till the right action arises by itself?”

Too often, the busyness of life sweeps us away in the rush of its current instead of pausing in the midst of the storm to regain our footing and following the example of nature. There is a universal quality in remaining grounded in the present. Matthew 6:28 reminds us  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Even the most pressing issues of our time require us to think about what we can do in our little corner of the universe each day, each moment. We should each remember, if we do what we can in our corner of the universe, we are interconnected or, as Thich Nhat Hanh might say, inter-are with each other.

Song for Nobody

Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk and prolific spiritual writer of the mid-20th Century with many works published posthumously. He passed away in an accident at a relative young age so it is hard to say how much more writing he had in him. He is best known for his essays, journals, and letters, but wrote poetry and was an artist as well.

He included as one of his key themes the key concept of activism as a form of violence on one’s self. He drew on Eastern philosophies and mindfulness in describing contemplation as a human necessity in the 20th Century with its busyness and distractions. One can only imagine what he would think today.

I thought of the biblical passages about how lilies grow and just do what comes naturally. The flowers sing their songs without words by themselves without spin and toil. We find their  music in their simplicity.

A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
For nobody.

A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
By itself.

Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.

(No light, no gold, no name, no color
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)
A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song to nobody.

A Shining Lamp

A Shining Lamp.

When we live in right ways, we are shining lamps for the world and others in the world. Being compassionate allows us to reach past our ignorance and support those in need, sentient and non-sentient, in the moment.

This theme of being a shining lamp crosses cultural and religious boundaries. Jesus referred to lighting a lamp and not hiding it. When we live a life revealing who we are touching the world in compassionate ways, we bring others into the light. Being aware and present in the world allows us to feel world’s needs. We become one in those needs sharing with all phenomena in new ways. Our ignorance falls away pushing past human imposed boundaries between each other.

 

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