Blossom in the New Year!
The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
No mud, no lotus.~ Buddhist proverb
Entering a new year gives us the opportunity to reflect on our path. While life offers many gifts, we inevitably face challenges along the way. Lao Tzu reminds us that "the truth is not always beautiful." We may need to accept truths about ourselves and the world that feel painful or overwhelming for the mind. One of the highest spiritual skills is disciplining the mind to remain present and conscious in the midst of discomfort.
But the rewards of that discipline are rich. Buddhism evokes the image of the lotus flower, whose radiant beauty is fed by the thick mud at its root. The mud represents our shadow, our suffering, and our challenges on the path — the bound energy of the ego mind. But facing our life consciously gradually transforms our inner world, and we increasingly reflect the transcendent radiance of our true nature.
Ultimately, the spiritual path leads us beyond duality itself: beyond good and bad, beyond mud and lotus, and beyond thoughts or words. As you enter into the new year, ask for the courage to move through the mud and inhabit the blossom waiting on the other side!