This painting by David Lee is a favorite because I see the story of life embodied in it.
The lotus flower is very beautiful, yet the circumstances around its growth and development are anything but beautiful. This flower normally grows in swamp like conditions.
From the Buddhist tradition, we learn that the lotus flower has several meanings; the first is fortune.
It grows in muddy waters, and it is in this environment it rises and blooms above the murk. The second meaning is purification of spirit which is born in murkiness, but transforms itself through growth. Lastly, is faithfulness where those who work to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers. In this case, the red lotus flower refers to compassion and love. A fully bloomed flower represents full enlightenment and self-awareness.
All humans are born in a world where there is suffering. This suffering is simply a part of the human experience. Suffering makes us stronger and teaches us to resist temptations. When we banish negative thoughts from our mind we are able to break free of the muddy water and become our better selves. Learning to navigate through the mud teaches us to choose the right, but often the more difficult path, over the easy one.
In many ways, I see the lotus flower as a symbol of the lives we each face. Hopefully, we each turn out to be as lovely a person as God intended us to be. But it is usually not without overcoming rugged environments, situations and decisions. Some of these decisions can have major consequences. That is what we do with our Climbing Out Program; we help change the circumstances of the lives we touch. We share new behaviors and skills to create more fertile ground for good growth. It takes all the compassion and love our community can provide to bring about healing and joy, looking forward to new friends, new goals, and a new life.
Sharing our journey with others who want only what’s best for us keeps us on the path of improvement, a path that over time also leads to great peace.