by Johanna Bell
The Lotus Flower is an iconic symbol in many of the eastern traditions. It contains such beautiful and poignant spiritual significance. Though it’s essence is pure, it must dig down into the mud and creep through the murk in order to blossom into its exquisite and perfect beauty. So it is with our lives. We come into being, pure in essence, but there is no escaping the work that must be done to find our way through darkness and confusion to our light, our awareness, our understanding and our growth. How many times have we all thought to ourselves, “why can’t I just get to the good part? You know, the part where it’s all sunshine and everything’s coming up roses (or lotus blossoms in this case).” Truth is…the deep work of growth is why we are here… and, it ain’t always pretty. The warrior goddess Durga of the Hindu tradition is depicted with different weapons in her multiple hands. The one that is unique (in that it isn’t really a weapon) is a lotus blossom that has not yet opened. It implies that one of our greatest tools in life is faith… trust in the process. It implies that our blossoming is assured, though we might not see it from our current vantage point.
The pose, Padmasana (Lotus Pose), is one of the most sacred of the asanas, especially in its use as a throne for meditation practice. In addition to aligning with the metaphor of spiritual growth and transcendence, it has specific energetic properties. The entwined legs not only invoke the lotus petals, but they create a loop that aids in capturing our energy and sending it upwards through the journey of the spine which is the central channel of our spiritual unfolding. So, the lotus petals of the legs mirror (on the earthy plane) the thousand fold lotus of our infinite essence at the crown. As below, so above. As above, so below.