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Can You Find Purity in the Mud of Everyday Life?

Updated: Mar 4

Lotus blooms rise from mud. Photo by kazuend on Unsplash.

What does purity look like?It’s white or crystal clear or made of light,’ I hear you say.

Where does purity dwell?On top of a mountain, in a hidden valley or on the other side of heaven’s door,’ I hear you call.

Where will it never be found?In me,’ I hear you mumble.

You think that to become a person of purity you need to throw away your collection of shoes, put on a hand-woven cotton robe and head for the nearest mountaintop.

Up there, where the air is clear and fresh, you’ll be able to see forever, forget about the noisy confusion of humanity building highways and starting wars, and think pure thoughts.

But is that how it works?

Learn from the lotus

The lotus flower is an Eastern religious symbol for purity. Although the lotus plant grows in mud it gives birth to an exquisite flower. Usually the lesson from the lotus is you have to suffer (struggle through the mud) in order to experience personal growth (burst into flower). But what is too often overlooked is that even when the flower is fully formed it’s still connected to the mud. The mud is the source of its purity. Disconnect the lotus from the mud and it dies.

Teilhard de Chardin, the paleontologist and Jesuit theologian involved in the discovery of Peking Man, wrote:

Purity does not lie in a separation from the universe, but in a deeper penetration of it.

In other words, if you want to live a clean, clear, unblemished life, if you want to radiate purity, then stick around. Wallow in the “mud” of everyday life. That’s where purity is born. Purity is not a hothouse flower.

Teilhard de Chardin also wrote:

You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.

If you accept you’re a spiritual being immersed in a human experience, then it’s important you do just that — experience it!

If you don’t, your life will be like going on an exotic cruise but locking yourself in your cabin, nibbling on dry biscuits and sipping tap water, when you’ve paid for a variety of dining experiences, daily entertainment, informative lectures and on-shore excursions. Staying in your cabin will ensure you won’t catch a virus, put on too much festive weight, be forced to talk to people you don’t know, or get frightened by the locals in foreign lands. But you won’t experience the exotic cruise!

Photo by ben o'bro on Unsplash

Don’t run away from the mud of life. Bring mindfulness to it and purity will be there.

Sometimes a visit to a mountaintop can be helpful. But don’t forget to come down again. For you, for now, while you’re human, here on Earth, your daily life is your source of purity.

Distill purity from the mud of everyday life.

With love, Marlane

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