#MondayMusings, Gratitude List

[Monday Musings ] No swamp; No lotus!

“No swamp; no lotus”, hit me hard when I was reading the book The art of purring by David Michie. (Correction: I had incorrectly mentioned the author as Mitch Albom) This phrase is uttered by Geshe Wangpo while he is explaining the need to practice equanimity and how to go achieve it. He outlined four tools to do so and this was the fourth one as directed by him.ย [P.S. give this book a read, if this intrigues you]

” The most transcendent of flowers grows out of the filth of the swamp. Suffering is like the swamp. If it makes us more humble, more able to sympathize with others and more open to them, then we become capable of transformation and of becoming truly beautiful, like the lotus.” –ย The art of purring by Mitch Albom

All our life we crib and complain about things we want and wish should have; stuff we deserve…….yada yada yada! But how often do we contemplate on all the stuff we don’t have, that we would never want to have? Like ill-health, or poverty or heartache …… you get the drift!

We take all of it for granted and never once do we reflect on the ones who bear the misfortune to live in its shadow.

What if, some of us would take it upon ourselves to give out some good everyday which would be meaningful for another creature?

Maybe something as simple as keeping a bowl of water for the birds? Or offering water to the courier boy who has to run around in this heat?

Why should I?

I know we all ask this. I mean why would I do the extra effort for someone else without getting any benefit from it? After all, it’s a dog eat dog world – right !?! If I feel thirsty, I buy/get water for myself. So should everyone else.

By letting go for a few moments of the ME, ME, ME and thinking about doing something for someone else; we shift our worries and tension. Rather we stop focusing on them and concentrate on our efforts for another.

So by making a simple endeavour for another’s happiness; don’t we garner some for ourselves too?

Ever been upset with your maid? I know I have. I ended up screaming at her and then felt worse. I am sure I ruined her day too. This was a much earlier version of me.

I stopped yelling at her and the work not done. Instead, I have started focusing on why it wasnt done? Turns out, she hadn’t been feeling well or hadn’t eaten anything in the morning or a money worry or ……………………

Can you imagine how small I felt then?

Now I take care to ask about her health, family and other things which worry her. I find I am more giving in my mindset towards her. In return, she is one of the most hardworking and happy worker I have ever had in all my two decades of managing my house. No nitpicking, no screaming – in fact no nautanki at all!!

A little empathy goes a long way in generating happiness all around; and if you are the one doing that, then aren’t you as beautiful as a lotus! ๐Ÿ™‚

I will leave you with this amusing anecdote about my nephew and puddles and hope you peruse the thoughts I have shared here!

My younger sister’s LO loves to splash through puddles ( they were in Bangalore at that time) everyday as she picks him up from the school bus. As you can imagine, this ruins his shoes, socks, trousers – not to mentions trails muck in the house. My sis is a little fastidious about cleanliness and so would really get on his case for this.

One such day as they came up, she admonished him and asked him to leave his shoes outside by the door. He was most reluctant to and got into a childish tantrum over it. This earned him a sharper rebuke as my sister tugged off his sodden shoes. In a fit of rage, he picked up one of them and hurled it at the entry wall of the foyer, resulting in a muddy shoe print.


Yup she slapped him and scolded him some more for such misbehaviour. Tearfully he looked at her and said, ” But mumma what if someone takes my shoes away?”

You can imagine the heartbreak my sister felt for not understanding his reluctance over leaving his shoes outside. It never even occurred to her. She would have picked them up after giving him his lunch and cleaned them. But for him, it meant the end of the world as he couldnt fathom the loss of his school shoes and then going to school without them.

So there was a lotus in that darn puddle too ๐Ÿ˜‰

I would love to hear about the lotus you have encountered in your daily grind – do share some thoughts with me on this!

You could catch my previous musings here

Linking up with Corinne for #MondayMusings

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19 thoughts on “[Monday Musings ] No swamp; No lotus!

  1. that’s a lovely thought – A little empathy, which actually doesnt take all that much time, can cause happiness – for you and others. profound!

  2. Thats an intriguing thought. I used to be like your sister. Exhausted and strained with my job and 2 children, I would snap like there was no tomorrow. I was crazy. But, when my elder boy started showing more aggression and teenage tantrums, I knew where the blame lay. The only way he had seen me react was in anger. I knew I had to change myself to change him. I was inspired by Shailaja’s ‘no yelling’ rule. I started reasoning it out with the boys, i would put across my point of view, highlight what is wrong in his ways of thinking. I would say it was a long journey but something I was happy I took. Now we speak to each other, and not just yell and smart retorts.

  3. Your sisterโ€™s story made me feel guilty as I often yell at my son in a similar fashion only to feel terrible afterwards. In my Buddhist practice also we are asked to put the happiness of others before us and that is how we can attain ultimate happiness. This is an extremely motivating post to begin the week. Great job Shalz.

  4. Loved that post and that story. We are all guilty of reacting and I know I am. Sometimes for one thing or the other and just today I told myself to slow down. Do little but do right and with calmness and patience. Thank you for this post. This was exactly what I needed today.<3

  5. No swamp, no lotus. four words that speak Volumes. Sharing a small incident. Call it the mood swings, but I ended up shouting at my elder kiddo for the most frivoulous of rason yesterday, and I later realised my mistake. I wish I had thought about her rather than me! … Learning to relax, learning to look at small things of happiness, learning to not take things for granted.

  6. Love this, Shalini. I’ve tried it out recently with someone I’ve been mentoring. I was so mad with him for his indecisiveness that I ‘yelled’ at him over Whatsapp and almost undid all that I’ve been doing to help his confidence. Thankfully, he chose to understand the reason for my anger. That still didn’t make it right. I was wrong, because it’s his life and his choices to begin with. I have since apologized in person too, but I’ve learned a huge lesson through this.

  7. Guilty as charged. I yell at my daughter when she doesn’t do as asked you know small things like not setting her bag as per the time table. But then later I feel bad for having shouted. It’s a small matter and I didn’t need to make a big deal out of it. Anyway I am learning to control my temper and take things more easily. This is a nice post, shalini.

  8. I love both the anecdotes, about your maid and sister. Both shows how a little understanding and effort can improve relationships. Wonderful musings to read this lazy afternoon

  9. I have always considered the lotus as an inspirational gift of nature for humankind.
    I loved your post, Shalz. It’s really simple–kindness–which costs nothing, but gives back a lot of happiness and peace when we extend it towards others.

    1. Thanks so much Shilpa. Yup it’s all about empathy /kindness which is quite simple in theory but somehow we find it tough to practice.

  10. Well said… no swamp, no lotus. I so agree with Mitch Albom’s thoughts… Trying times make us humble, value relationships and of course empathy. I believe that the challenges of life are the best life lessons.
    Oh yes, a little empathy, a kind word makes a big difference, but since we believe in reacting rather than responding, we arent as kind and compassionate as we should be.
    Thanks for a thoughtful and meaningful post, Shalini!

  11. It’s beautiful and honest Shalini. Sometimes, we get carried away but the other person has concerns like your maid and the innocent child. Once, I shouted at mom and felt guilty later but we should apologize to remove the guilt. I’ve been there and still trying to better myself as a person. Everyday should be like progress charter, improving things.

    Much love

    1. Thanks so much buddy. Just trying to be a better person than I am right now. It’s awful to use harsh words and cause hurt; it’s difficult to take it back.

      1. I know it sucks but just read in Sonali’s book how to say sorry and don’t carry guilt. I am a progress in motion and try to improve myself every day. The challenge is to be less irritated with things or humans ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Thanks Shilpa and my apologies as the writer is David Mitchie and not Mitch Albom (oooops) I love his books and have read two in the series about the cat who lives with the Dalali Lama.

    I think we tend to overthink and get stressed pointlessly; making us un-empathateic as we beocme focused on me me me!! I am trying to react less and respond more ๐Ÿ™‚

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