One thing I really appreciate about Buddhist teachings is the many different ways I come across the same message. Buddhism in itself is just one package for a sort of wisdom I encounter regularly. I find people embracing secular humanism, Socratic teachings or Taoism and the messages are extremely similar.
No formal belief system is required at all, which is the beautiful thing about the human species. We are lovely individuals and for every individual there is a unique path to enlightenment.
In the case of this piece I included a lotus flower because it is a classic representation of this seed of enlightenment all sentient beings possess. The image it conjures is of a seed buried deep in the thick, black mud at the bottom of a pond. With the right elements in place the seed will unquestionably grow and become a full lotus blossom on the surface of the pond.
The lotus blossom doesn't 'spring' into existence but grows over time - sometimes faster, sometimes not so fast. Wisdom is the same. Wisdom is incremental. Someone can have profoundly wise insights and still act foolishly. In fact, until enlightenment is reached, this applies to all of us. We all have these seeds of wise insight at various stages of growth. We feed them through reading, discussion, and exploration of the world around us.
In this drawing I have shown one piece of wisdom I've come to understand very clearly, represented by a single lotus flower. Through listening to many teachings and applying a regular meditation practice in my life I have been able to shift my understanding of this teaching from intellectual to a deep knowing. Like opening my eyes to see what's really there instead of what I hoped to see.
I have come to understand that to be genuinely happy is to have an appreciation for the richness of life and the wonder of the present moment. The idea that if sadness is present happiness can't be limits our experience and traps our mind with dualism.
In a single moment I have experienced joy, sadness, comfort and pain and felt appreciation for the very fact that this is possible. It is possible to feel these things without needing to 'do' anything. The idea that we can only experience one emotion at a time, and in order for one to go another must replace it, causes so much suffering. When we stop 'doing' and shift into 'being' there is this incredibly vast space in which we live life fully.