Off the Mat: What does a sacred Lotus flower symbolize?

I found this beautiful description in one of the books on yoga ("The Secret Power Of Yoga: A Woman's Giude To the Heart And Spirit Of The Yoga Sutras" by Nischala Joy De):

"...The lotus flower has long been a symbol for the unfolding of spirituality. It is one of the most elegant illustrations of the meshing of our human and Divine natures.

The lotus seed is planted and grows in muddy waters, below the surface of the lake, far from the light. Though the light is murky and unclear, the flower blossoms by drawing energy from within. As the bud passes through the muddy waters, it lifts its face to the sunlight and finally emerges. Miraculously, not a trace of soil remains on the flower. It lives in the mud yet is unaffected by it. This is an example for us to be in the world but not be adversly affected by it. The lotus flower teachers us that no matter how muddied the waters of our consciosness may become, clarity can always emerge from our spirit if the Divine Light giudes us - even if it is the only one tiny blosson at a time..."

The journey of the sacret lotus flower reflect the journey of a yogi. We are all firmly rooted into the earth: we have to deal with challenges that life throws at us, we all have our responsibities, duties and to-do lists. It becomes harder and harder to slow down, to step away from the noise and stress of the external life at least for a few moments and release our minds from all that needs to be taken care of. Living in the "fight-or-flight" state begins to take tall on us over time, resulting in deep depression, mental disorders, and physical injuries.

Much like a lotus flower, we may often feel stuck in the mud of everything that doesn't work out for us. But then, one day, we may hear a little wisdom that cracks open the tough shell of a lotus. And so our journey begins. Through the muddy waters of suffering we reach for the light of wisdom, which is always shining for us, if only we would take the time to notice.

The ultimate promise of yoga as an ancient study on well-being and happiness is that through enough determination and nurturing, we will surface above the water and realize our full potentail.

"I looked in Temples, Churches, and Mosques. I found the Divine in my heart." - Rumi

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