No Mud? No Lotus!
That quote came over my Facebook Timeline recently attributed to the often quoted and well-respected spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk).
That’s put so simply that it startles one—or it did me. I collect images of the lotus flower and really love that symbol related to spirituality. Then I had to break out laughing thinking how my downstairs neighbors from India are like my mud and tonight when their voices trailed up alongside me at my computer desk… the quick, choppy straining human voice sounds began to distract while I was writing. No mud, no lotus I thought. Likely, I’m their mud too in reverse. We hear each other mostly because they do not put on their air conditioning to muffle the sound and have no furniture to absorb sound and the floor has no sound proofing!
I had a message for a client this evening and there was a reference to using others in relationships in order to process mental energy. Suddenly, I wondered if this is like the two Indians beneath me—maybe they have to ‘talk it out’ all the time in order to process busy intellects. Sounds like venting; releasing — lovely.
It’s neither their fault nor my own that there is no insulation and that we are living in essentially a mocked up tent and that they love the heat (apparently) and don’t run air conditioning. The maintenance guys tell me that Indian apartments are stifling. I sometimes resent that I run my unit to keep their noise down and they don’t and their heat rises to my upstairs apartment—no mud, no lotus.
I’ve essentially been dealing with the neighbor issues much better—although no one would know it but me; it’s all an inside thing. Tonight was a mild setback—their incessant talking got to me. But Nhat Hanh says that dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. Same for the boisterous and talkative downstairs Indian couple—when they go at it, it brings me to the present reality too.
Should be this way since I have Saturn transiting my 3rd house in Scorpio now; well, maybe not ‘should be’ but the location of the planet of lessons in the house that represents neighbors does explain a few things.
I’m going to turn to Nhat Hanh for more spiritual teachings because I do like that one–its simple, direct and profound:
No mud. No Lotus.
No challenges. No spiritual evolution.
Okay, I still wish they would go away… meanwhile, mindfulness of the present reality is what it is.
PS–I must be growing lots of lotuses by now!