The season is turning, marked by early signs of leaf fall, cooling morning temperatures, shortening of the days. Our bodies adapt by wanting more sleep, even craving afternoon naps, wanting more soups and warming foods, and seeking more movement. A certain restlessness makes itself felt as we subconsciously anticipate winter and prepare for the fall harvest. A desire to turn within, to meditate more frequently, is balanced with the need to be more connected and active out in the world.
“It is not that those who cultivate wholeness and virtue in themselves do not encounter difficulties in life. It is that they understand that difficulties are the very road to immortality”
One of the analogies that one hears is that of the lotus growing out of the mud: that the lotus requires the mud in order to grow and manifest the beautiful flower for which it is known. In our ordinary lives the mud represents the difficulties of everyday life. Mud can encompass so much: abuse, shame, violence that we may have suffered as children or as adults; abuse, shame, violence that we may have perpetrated.
Buddhists speak of suffering as the purpose of life, but Daoists speak of happiness being the purpose of life. Happiness is the flower, the lotus, that comes out of learning to meet the difficulties in life calmly and openly, in doing the work, the emotional processing, that lets us get off the merry-go-round of the triangle game, allowing the inner unfolding, and embracing self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, and self-love. Happiness is the reward for going beyond suffering. When we are mired in the mud, we stay firmly entrenched in the triangle of self-identification with the roles of victim, hero and persecutor. Behind each of those roles is a self-limiting judgment; that we are less than or that we are more than.
To step out of these roles takes us to an awareness of the divine spark, the divine seed, in ourselves and in every other being. As we cultivate body and mind, increase our essence and energy (Jing and Qi), we empower our spirit (Shen) to return to its true nature and in so doing to gain objectivity, calmness, openness and, not least, happiness. In turn this allows us to lift our hearts above the mud, to manifest the bud that will ultimately blossom into a beautiful lotus. We each of us hold the seed of the seed of the flower within, and with that seed the potential for happiness.
Wishing you connection with the Dao, with happiness, and with your divine spark!
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The Path to Health Begins With Essential Energy
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