“To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.” Buddha
Are you feeling stressed or irritated by the daily grind or the mini dismissals that cross your path from time to time? Are you distracted by the demands of all who need your attention? Are you finding yourself pulled into events and exchanges that do not give you peace? To de-stress our body and mind, we must learn the important lesson of the sacred lotus; to rise above the fray and learn detachment in the midst of chaos. The lotus is revered in many religious traditions and cultures; particularly in Hinduism and Buddhism. In India, and parts of the Asian continent, and even in Egypt, the beautiful lotus can be found in poetry in sacred texts from around the world. It is a beautiful flower that floats above the dirty water and mud it grows in… Everything and everyone that glances at the lotus is struck by its beauty and presence…
One of the things Yoga practitioners learn is that the sacred lotus can be found not only in the lotus position as a sitting posture/asana, but also as the 1,000 petaled flower scintillating in the crown chakra at the top of our head ( in the sahasrara). It is also a calming image to visualize in meditation, and a powerful centering/calming flower often depicted in pictures of gods and goddesses. The Goddess of abundance, Lakshmi, stands on one, others carry a lotus, sit on one, or have it as a symbolic image of their detachment from the material world; from our world of action and inaction. Compassion and self-care are still important, but the lotus teaches us, from a place of detachment and recognition, that conditions shift constantly and that such is the nature of all life forms and the world we live in…
“You must be a Lotus, unfolding its petals when the Sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!” Sri Sathya Sai Baba
In case you wonder what brought me to this conversation, I’ll tell you. I was catching up on the news yesterday and was profoundly struck by the range of distressing global events; from one terrible story after another, to one unresolved conflict after another. As I scanned the summaries of news events globally, I could feel the tension rising, the shared pain growing and the shifting sands of change beckoning…. We are all directly or indirectly affected by current global situations; in Japan, Libya, Ivory Coast, and by other tremors felt behind closed doors, unemployment, homelessness, and the pain in the hearts of men and women.
The wisdom of the masters remind us that we must see the world for the stage that it truly is. Happiness, laughter, sadness, and joy all have their place and space on the stage, and each of us, in our roles, play them out daily… the secret of the lotus is to not get caught up in the illusion that our emotions or experiences are permanent… thus, the lotus reminds us to rise above the fray; above the illusion or Maya. But How?
“I love the lotus because, while growing from mud, it is unstained”. Zhou Dunyi
While some of the events going on globally are being addressed and handled by capable hands, we remain in a world where many continue to suffer in quiet, pained silence… perhaps simply ignored. Sure, we can only do our best, our bit for our fellow man, even as we seek or enjoy our version of happiness. However, we can’t shut out the horrific images; at least not completely. As I reflected on all of this, I remembered a saying from one of my yoga teachers; that the sacred lotus grows in dirty waters and mud, yet remains serene, untouched by the drama of its surroundings… We must see events for what they are and remember that everything in life is in constant motion; a state of impermanence. We can enjoy the good that comes now, and when the pendulum shifts, recognize that things will change again… My hope is … for the better. Below is a beautiful poem by Ryokan. Enjoy it and be uplifted. What are your thoughts?
The Lotus, by Ryōkan
First blooming in the Western Paradise
The lotus has delighted us for ages.
Its white petals are covered with dew,
its jade green leaves spread out over the pond,
And its pure fragrance perfumes the wind.
Cool and majestic, it raises from the murky water.
The sun sets behind the mountains
But I remain in the darkness, too captivated to leave.
Positive Motivation Tip: In the midst of chaos is a place of beauty; the sacred lotus can be found there. Seek its gift of detachment.
- Slow blossoming of the Sacred Lotus (gaiaminute.wordpress.com)
- Lotus Flower (humanitarikim.wordpress.com)
- Japanese Vegetables 2: lotus Roots/Renkon/蓮根 (shizuokagourmet.wordpress.com)