When we look at a lotus in bloom, we see its beauty, its color in full flush, its petals open, flowering out of a sea of green, so serene, so quietly majestic.
We forget sometimes that it has had its own journey. That it was once a seed in the mud, obscured from our vision. How it has traveled and grown in murky water, how it has sought out sunlight, which called it from shadowy depths, until it peeked out into the surface and breathed its first full breath. How it emerged, a tight bulb, before it unfurled its petals, and shone its light into the world.
Perhaps a lotus does not know the meaning of struggle, that it knows and is fully in harmony with its nature and the nature of the world it lives in, that it accepts itself in every stage.
We humans are not so. We are both keenly aware of life’s journey and caught up in our ideas of an end goal. We look towards how things “should be” rather than embracing how things are. And in that space, we create tension.
Sometimes, we want to perform postures, asanas, as if we were a lotus in full bloom, forgetting that practice, like life, is a process. And when it doesn’t look as it should, we get disappointed.
There are many stages in the life of a lotus. Regardless of whether it is a seedling in the mud, a bud in the murky water, a flower in its fullness or at its decaying end, it’s essence is the same. Everything comes in stages, the cycle of life and death is inevitable.
The question is not how do we blossom into fullness but rather how do we embrace the fullness in each every stage?–in our lives as well as in our practice.
PHOTO: An image can say so many things. I’ve already used this photo–just yesterday–to illustrate the Yama “Satya” for Lara Land’s All Eight Limbs project on Instagram. Looking at it this morning, it conveyed new message. Happy to receive. Happy to share. Lotus blooming at Tenryu-Ji Zen Buddhist Temple in Kyoto, Japan.