The lotus flower is a symbol for awakening to the spiritual reality of life. The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.
From ancient times to the present, the lotus flower has been an influential symbol in Egypt, India, and all across Asia. To Egyptians, the lotus symbolizes the sun, creation and rebirth. In Hinduism, the lotus flower symbolizes prosperity, purity, divinity, beauty, fertility, eternity, and eternal youth. The lotus also represents the chakras or the body’s energy centers. For Buddhists, the lotus represents purity of speech, mind, and body rising above the water of desire and attachment. The different colors of the lotus have a special significance. The red lotus represents the heart, love and compassion. The white lotus represents spiritual perfection and mental purity. The pink lotus represents the Buddha, the supreme being. The blue lotus represents wisdom and knowledge.
The path to enlightenment begins with non-attachment. By letting go of attachments, we let go of suffering. Life is constantly changing. Our bodies change, we grow old, we die. We lose loved ones. Our children grow up and leave home (we hope). Sometimes marriages end (that could be good or bad). We acquire material possessions and yet, we are not satisfied. We want more and more thinking that the latest gadget or bigger house will make us happy at last. We try to hold on to all of our stuff, but material things come and go. Our cherished car we love to drive will one day be scrap metal. When we become too attached to desire, we suffer. Realizing life is always changing and nothing stays the same we can appreciate the present moment. By letting go of the past (regrets, the woulda, coulda, shouldas), we let go of sorrow. Letting go of thoughts about the future, about things that haven’t happened yet (and probably never will), we let go of fear and anxiety. When we put everything in proper perspective, we learn to appreciate and enjoy life more fully. Like the lotus flower, we can rise above the mud, non-attached, and enjoy our moment in the sun.