Being like the lotus, surrounded on all sides by the mud yet untouched by it. Growing out of it - because of it - in order to transcend it...

Everything is vying for our attention, our company, our time, our engagement, our energy, our agreement, our allegience, our obedience, our mind, our very life. It's all essentially trying to swallow us up. And in order to retain integrity, all of this needs to be ignored in favor of what's arising within. Freedom needs to be given to oneself (as to others) to be as one is, with the surrounding "mud" not taken in but used as means to rise above it. This isn't to say seeing everything else as dirty and oneself as pristine, but seeing that everything else can have a muddying effect on the self.

In order to navigate this and act according to what's arising within (spirit, heart, nature, integrity, authenticity, intuition, God, Tao, Brahma, Buddha Nature, whatever you want to call it) rather than the will of countless muddy human minds, we need a deep awareness of ourselves and our own mind. Continuing to move outward but always looking inward and deepening our roots by nurturing that primal connection. Otherwise it becomes impossible to resist the pull of all the self-serving forces that surround us and we become, essentially, corrupted and consumed by what's outside, losing ourselves in all the demands, voices and expectations of the thousands of others around us. Until finally we look around and find ourselves in a life that's completely out of alignment with the truth that's been continuously arising within.

So in all things, in all places, be a lotus. Don't be swayed either which way, not to the left nor the right. Don't pick a side, don't align yourself with anyone or anything. Don't react, don't revolt, don't resist. Remain centered, look and move from there. Look within, and respond.

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