Many who are familiar with yoga are also used to seeing the image of a lotus flower associated with it. Often, the reason for this has a lot to do with some of the older traditions or religions that incorporate yoga and it’s practices of breath, movement, and meditation into their way of life.
But I want to tell you a little about the lotus flower and it’s history and usage from maybe a different perspective.
The lotus flower is planted in lowlands…usually muddy, swampy, and not regarded as great for living or planting, etc. There are so many reasons why the simple lotus is planted in these areas especially, though.
First, it is planted in the mud…the roots take hold and, though many other plants would fail being flooded by muddy water, the lotus sends its stem up to bloom and float on top of the water always reaching for the light. When it blooms, it’s leaves are many and cover the top of the water with great beauty and color.
The lotus petals then help to shade the water below so that algae doesn’t grow and suffocate the wildlife living and swimming below. The stems and roots take in heavy metals in the water as well as other impurities that threaten the soil below so that it becomes rich, so that if or when the farmer decides to harvest the lotus, he can proceed to plant other crops including rice that feed many, many people. If the farmer wants to plant other crops in conjunction with the lotus, that is also available as it has an effect on other plants that allow for it to take away impurities so that they will grow more effectively. The lotus itself is also edible (roots, stem, and flower).
And at night time, when the sunlight is gone, the flower, sinks below the surface into the muddy water in protection and replenishment only to rise again the next day untouched, unmuddied, even more beautiful.
Lotus flowers are beautiful to look at, strong, edible, medicinal, cleansing…and most importantly, an individual lotus can literally live for thousands of years and has the ability to revive after being seemingly dead or dormant.
We know a little about this kind of thing. Our God, who has been, who is, and who will always be has just this kind of story, doesn’t He? For He was there at the beginning…thousands of years ago. He provided shelter and guidance to grow His people, cleansing, feeding, preparing generations. He gave His Son to the world to take out impurities and sin, redeeming all so that what is seen at the end is an infinite beauty, risen from what would have surely perished under other conditions.
Jesus died on Good Friday…He took His last breath on this earth hanging from that cross, covered in filth, mud, whatever had been thrown at Him along His journey to get there…and as if that weren’t enough, He asked that He be covered in our sin, too. He asked that His life be a sacrifice for our mud.
And then, like the lotus, He rose up, reaching for the light for He WAS the Light… He rose again, beautiful, strong, and ready to continue to produce beauty in this world, to save even more who would hear His story, to cleanse all who lived in His waters forever.
Even when His disciples were confused, even when the crowds sneered that He was dead, even when we, today, don’t know what He’s doing in our lives….He rises to life again and again and again…producing, protecting, bearing great beauty and nourishment.
Wrap it up:
Take in a deep breath. Picture in your mind the petals of a lotus flower…so many petals, such beauty. Know, now, the story of the flower and it’s ability to rise from mud, to live when other plants couldn’t, to thrive and enhance the animal and plant lives of those around it.
Take in another deep breath and bask in the glow of the Light of the world who lived and died and rose again for our gain, for you and me to live among His beauty and in the safety of His provisions.
Take one more more deep breath and when you get up from your mat, rise…reach, like a lotus flower yourself, not just for sun in the sky…but for the Son of God.