No Mud, No Lotus

by Cayce Howe

“No mud, No Lotus”, I read on the shirt of a fellow practitioner as she came in the meditation hall. “So true”, I thought. Often times I find myself wanting perfect conditions to practice such as a retreat setting when, in reality, everyday life challenges are where I see most of my growth happening.

I had a chance to visit a dear Tibetan Buddhist friend of mine recently who had taken several empowerments. With his empowerments come daily lifetime commitments. Everyday he is committed to his practice; through all the ups and downs. I asked him about the challenges of having daily practice commitments.

He told me that it gets him closer to the dirt. When life is not going so well instead of not looking at it, he has to. But in going within and looking at it, he is taking the blessings and benefits of the practice with him, and even though it may be challenging the rewards are more than fruitful.

I have done my best to keep up a daily practice for quite a long time now, and it is always something that ebbs and flows. In my most difficult times I have noticed that it has been very difficult to practice; and I have learned that I have suffered more because of it. Because of those life lessons I now tend to lean on my practice in times of need, but my friends’ insight was a valuable one for me to remember.

Our practice is the very thing that can transform whatever hardship we are going through, we just have to trust in it, trust in ourselves and open up to the possibility of love over fear. Then we can turn the mud into the lotus, and grow in our understanding and wisdom.