“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. [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.” – 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! 🙂
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 😉
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