The Lotus Flower

Swami Muktidharma Saraswati, New Zealand

Of the many different types of flowers in this world, there is one that draws my attention in a very special way due to its particular beauty and, above all, because it is very significant in the spiritual field. In India, the lotus flower is considered sacred as it represents the uplifted spirit in the middle of the materialistic environment. It represents the yogi who is living in a worldly environment, yet radiating beauty and spirituality all around. The lotus flower comes from the mud, rising with its long root to the surface of dirty ponds. It grows above the water's surface, looking untouched and majestic in the middle of the mess. There are two types of experiences (among others) that occur for us during our pilgrimage towards the spirit. The first is that sometimes we don't know how to cope with the external environment and we get stuck easily in the mud of our mind, losing sight of the lotus flower. The second attitude is an out of balance reaction to the physical world of matter and we get caught in a kind of false spirituality, ignoring our earthly roots and flying into dreams. Both conditions are big obstacles to the development of our spiritual expansion, as they come from our inability to stay centred within ourselves as we walk towards our goal.

In the first case, if we go deeper we can see that there is so much potential available that we don't use. When we limit our capacity, we become procrastinators and forgetful of our real goal. We get drowned in a drop of water as we cannot perceive our true nature. In the second case, we go to the other extreme in a reactive way, forgetting that the world is our teacher. Instead we believe that living in the material world is bad. The sense of guilt makes us hate situations that we don't approach with a balanced frame of mind. There is nothing wrong with material life as long as we are able to keep our awareness while experiencing it in order to learn.

The situations of life should not be rejected, rather we can welcome them and stay present in order to derive the proper lessons that life wishes to teach us. These experiences are unavoidable and we can face them with balance. We should remember that matter is also very important and real spirituality is experienced only when we learn to balance the relationship between matter and spirit. Physical life is our teaching in order to grow towards our spiritual goal.

This is the lesson that I learned from the lotus flower: to be rooted, to be grounded and to grow through the mud, expanding my arms to the heavens. Yoga and meditation techniques are tools to help us ground ourselves, grow through the mud of the mind and reach our true inner nature.