According to Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, without suffering through the mud, you cannot find the happiness of the lotus. Without the grit, there is no pearl. When we know how to suffer, we suffer less. So the secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not to run away from it.
It is through all the pain, awareness, and struggles that I have had – and still have from time to time – that I have begun to blossom into who I am today. In reflecting on the duality of human nature and more specifically, on the duality of my own life, the clarity I am finding is that I like living in the mud, and it is more likely that if I managed to successfully extract myself from the lessons of the mud, I would no longer exist.
Just because I meditate, give coaching and healing sessions and live an awakened life that does not create an easy VIP pass to happiness. I too get stuck and become dense. Sometimes I too have low vibrational thoughts and feelings, for example, one thought I was dealing with not so long ago was: “how can I make a living as a healer and coach when I’ve never had formal training?” Our collective programming is so thick into our personal system that we need our formal structure to validate our work…. The outcome of my work and testimonials from my clients should be proof in the validation pudding. I clearly needed to do some digging work to transform this false belief.
There is this unspoken secret in the life coaching & spiritual industry: that we need to look perfect, to have it all figured out. To be on the other side (the shiny, joyful side) of suffering, and never look back. And this believe is created by both parties, the students/clients that expect us to be that happy happy joy joy counselor and the counselor that has this expectation of him or herself to be that non-human way of perfect. But quickly enough I remembered. My strength as a coach, a healer, an artist, a friend comes from my vulnerability. It always has. That vulnerability is what has led me to the best places in my life: my profession(s), my relationship(s), my beloved clients, the gloriously real people I create heArtwork for and even those days, in some of my unshiny state of stickiness, my strength comes from my vulnerability.
To look objectively at our lives, at Creation, and/or the hazards within and not project the fears of the past, we must learn to become an observer. So, for me to able to process my emotions and thoughts I decide to become a witness and observe my own experiences to gain clarity. In this procedure I use different kinds of practices, one of them is mindful breathing, it creates a deep concentration that can generate the energy of mindfulness within. With that energy, I can embrace pain and calm it down, instantly bringing a measure of freedom and a clearer mind.
So, mindfulness includes the freedom to no longer view this ‘’mud’’ path as a struggle of pain, failure, and constant imperfection. It is through this awareness, acceptance and welcoming of our imperfections, pain, and struggles that brings growth and the beautiful lotus flower to our existence. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Perhaps they can exist in perfect harmony.
I love the optimism of my human spirit that lifts the suffering and injects new energy to keep going. Even though, I may still be in the mud. And therefore I realized that despite the struggles I have from time to time, I am so very happy to be a “lotus in the mud.”