“Be like a lotus. Let the beauty of your heart speak. Be grateful to the mud, water, air and the light.”
― Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power
The lotus flower is an ancient symbol for many religions and practices. The one that called to me was Buddhism. The lotus flower has a significant meaning for Buddhist. The way that a lotus flower grows is important. It starts off as a seed…a bud from the muddy, murky ponds. It grows and grows searching for the light. It emerges from the muddy waters into a beautiful flower. Untouched by the impurity of the muck, the lotus flower symbolizes purity of the heart and of the mind.
I grew up in a city and an area that had beautiful people, yet were marred and scarred by the violence of the region. The deprived people, some unable to grow from the muck, suffered immensely. They couldn’t see anything better out there in the world for themselves. They were stuck unable to grow to find the light.
I was touched by that poverty. I feared that I would never make it out. I wanted to grow and be better than my parents so that I could one day take care of them the way that they took care of me.
Like the lotus, I grew as a seed from the mud of life. The murky muddy water shaped me but unlike the lotus I was touched and penetrated by the mud. It permeated my mind and heart and I felt stuck and unworthy. I grew up feeling not good enough. I was depressed and full of self loathing and suffering.
In Buddhism, they teach that suffering is felt by everyone. We all suffer. I needed a way to lessen the suffering that seemed to pull me under back into the darkness.
I found writing and like the quote above, I was able to finally let my heart speak. I clung to writing letting my fantasy world shape me and pull me from the depths of despair that my upbringing smothered me in.
Yet I am grateful. I am grateful for the mud that shaped me and made me the woman I am today. Without the suffering, without the pain I wouldn’t have been able to grow and reach the top of the cool crisp water to feel the light and sun on my face. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it as much.
I strive everyday to be like the lotus. To take my upbringing and use it to feed my heart and mind. To make me gracious and grateful for the life I have. To use it in my writing to be as open and vulnerable as my readers crave.
As a writer, or anyone of any profession, be like the lotus. Take that pain from rejection or seeing your books not selling or feelings of “not good enough” and grow. Meditate and free your mind until those negative thoughts are fleeting and you can speak your heart.
Be like the lotus.