Lotus in the Mud

A person in pain does not need philosophy.
Philosophy keeps us safe, we think.
We do not want to wail and weep,
so instead we philosophize and say,
“there must be answers somewhere, somehow,
help me, please, to find them.”
And philosophers in their towers ponder
and fill shelves with their learned tomes
that bring no help to anyone.
Is there an answer anywhere
that can bring an end to sorrow?

When sorrow comes, it’s best to wail and weep.
If one can wail and weep with others, even better.
Don’t try to find the answers.
Let the sorrow fill you to the brim and overflow,
but when the sorrow passes, let it go.
It will return, and pass again,
and return again, and pass again.
Each time it returns, greet it gently,
“Hello sorrow, I recognize you.
Come on in. You are welcome here.
Let us weep together.”

Time passes and it drops in less and less,
and eventually simply goes by on the path
and nods a greeting as it passes.
In the meantime compassion sprouts and grows
and soon it fills our hearts completely.
It is in the muddy soil of pain
that the seeds of true compassion spring.
As a teacher wisely said,
“The mud is in the Lotus,
the Lotus is in the mud.”

Author: William Martin

Taoist teacher and consultant

3 thoughts on “Lotus in the Mud”

  1. You have no idea how much this helped me today. My 20 year old son is on a kidney cancer journey. I’ve been sitting in fear pretty heavily these past few days. I’ve had guilt overtake me due to my putting fearful energy out. My son is currently doing very well in his treatment. He is a shining example of what is it to live for today which is something I struggle with. I am grateful to you for helping me find peace today in your shared words.
    In deep gratitude 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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