Allowing The Mud To Settle

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It’s been said that better questions lead us naturally to better answers, and that it’s in not knowing that we open the doorway to knowing. I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a consideration of things that truly matter in a complex world.

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Even if there are things you’ve been struggling with, are you willing to linger a while in silence and stillness as you wait for what is luminous and inextinguishable—what is utterly beautiful—to arise in you?

If so, then join me this week as we consider yet another aspect of stillness. Stay with me.

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We often feel a sense of urgency to do something to change what’s happening in us or around us. Yet, as strong as those urges can be, doing something isn’t always the right step for creating the outcomes we want and sometimes urgently need. I‘m not recommending complacency, but in many cases, the right step is not a step at all, but allowing ourselves to intentionally settle into ever-deepening stillness.


Photo: TeamOne


While we don’t have to become ascetics in caves or Buddhist monks or nuns or go live in a remote monastery in the mountains to find stillness, we might just learn a thing or two from those who practice such traditions. However we get there, it will be more than useful to discover the stillness that is built into each of us.

More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu asked a truly beautiful question. “Who is patient enough to allow the mud to settle and the water to become clear?”

You and I both know the answer.

When I first discovered Lao Tzu’s writing, I was in my early twenties and wrongly thought his ideas of stillness and patience were foreign to my nature. At the time, mine was a life of constant pushing and pulling. I was habitually straining to get somewhere, even though I had no real idea where I was going. To compound the problem, I hardly ever stopped except to sleep, and even then, my dreams were filled with such turbulence that I seldom awoke feeling rested.

I’d love to tell you that I grew out of that habit in my late twenties, but the truth is, I was just getting warmed up. It would be another two decades before I was brought to the stand-still that made me learn how to create the changes that would save my life.

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Going through multiple high-level traumas at the same time stood my life on its head, but it also served to turn me around. In many ways, I was powerless. I couldn’t change what was happening. I couldn’t magically make any of it go away and couldn’t do anything to speed the healing process. Without question, I lacked the strength or the physical stamina to push or pull against it.

My only options were 1) to slow myself down and surrender to what was happening, 2) to challenge and clarify my thinking, and 3) to readjust my attitude and my focus moment by moment.

The stress of what I went through caused me to lose forty pounds. Within a few short weeks, I began to look gaunt and much older than I was. I wrote in one of my journals that I felt as brittle as a dried-out leaf and was afraid that if someone touched me, I would crack and fall apart.

Yet all the while, something remarkable was taking place on the inside. Without my having to “do” anything other than show up and let go of the negative thoughts and emotions that had contributed to my struggles, the real Scott Lennox began to reappear.

It fascinates me that the more I allowed myself to relax and to stop “stirring things up” (leaning into Lao Tzu’s metaphor), the more calm and peaceful and present I became. Day by day, I chose to be intentional about being grateful, and about celebrating every good thing, regardless how small it is.

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The sense of contentment that arose from that is still with me and continues to grow deeper. Now, when people remark about how extremely patient I am, I smile without explaining it and think about what helped me grow that part of myself. It had always been in me, below the surface. I just needed to allow the mud to settle for it to emerge.

That brings us to this week’s three Beautiful Questions.

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Question One: What frustration or agitation have you been unnecessarily adding to your current circumstance?

Question Two: In what ways are those thoughts and feelings eroding the quality of your daily experience?

Question Three: What simple things can you do every day to become still enough for your vibrant and luminous self to reveal itself?

Without a doubt, the matter of stillness is one we’ll revisit again and again. As you sit with this week’s questions, write and tell me what you discover. I’ll be patiently waiting to hear from you.

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As I say each week, My Light with Your Light!

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Thank you for joining me in these podcasts as we keep doing the things we can to respond to life in increasingly effective ways. As always, I’m open to your comments and feedback.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And at, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. You’ll also find an archive of all previous podcasts, including episodes three and four, guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, don’t hesitate to share them or tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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