The Lotus Flower

In the school that I am working in at the moment, when I step through the iron school gates, and walk along the concrete path towards the school office, my heart soars with delight. Why? The grounds contain the most beautiful white and cherry blossom trees; there are planters full of smiling flowers of every colour reaching towards the sun – and I know that I am going to have an amazing day. Sounds silly doesn’t it? But the beauty of those trees and flowers assaults my senses every single morning. The vivid colours of the flowers that I don’t even recognise, greeting me, welcoming me, waving and swaying in the gentle breeze as if they’re delighted to see me – and inevitably I do have a wonderful day. The rational part of me knows it’s not just to do with the flowers – but they do make a huge difference.

I love flowers. Absolutely love them. Their colours, their shapes, the way they are tightly shut, and as they slowly get to know you better, they open up, revealing their most intimate secrets.

But I rarely have flowers in the house.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people buy me flowers. I’m always really grateful. Occasionally, I will spot a bunch that I simply can’t resist – not really a rose girl, I’m more of a carnation, chrysanthemum or my absolute favourite- gerbera girl.

But I don’t often have flowers in the house. Why?

Osho once said,

If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.

Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.

So if you love a flower, let it be.

Love is not about possession.

Love is about appreciation.

To me, the flowers in a vase, although beautiful – are now dead. They don’t smile at me as they stretch towards the sky, they don’t wave at me as though they are so delighted to see me…and that just makes me so sad.

So why is today’s post dedicated to the lotus flower? Well, as a Hindu, I grew up with the lotus symbol displayed everywhere, in our house, in the mandirs, in yoga, in the few Bharatnatiyam lessons that I took. The lotus flower was extremely significant and prevalent.

Whilst growing up, I never questioned its significance, I never tried to find out what this flower represented. To me, it was always just a beautiful flower.

What I learnt many years later was that the lotus flower only grows in murky, unclean waters. It grows and flowers in the most unlikeliest of places. The green leaves protect the most incredible petals that open and reveal, what feels like a message from God. There may be all kinds of rubbish going on around you, you may be living in the most horrendous circumstances, you may be surrounded by people or be in a place that makes you feel down, depressed or miserable- but you – like the lotus flower – can blossom and thrive, even if the odds may be stacked against you.

And I’m not making this up, as a teacher, I see this so often. There are children who live in the most dire conditions. Who see things, or have experienced things that their young souls shouldn’t have. And yet – they blossom. It matters not what they have been through, what they have seen, what has been done. They blossom. Amongst the figurative dirt and muck and the stench that could envelop and destroy them, they stand strong. Silently resistant. Unaware of their own potential. Blissfully blossoming in the adversity that they live in.

I hope that if you’re reading this, and if you are feeling that everything around you is crashing down around you, that you’re in a situation that you are finding extremely challenging, or surrounded by others who pull you down – remember that we all have the lotus flower within us. Have faith. Breathe. And know that you will be able to rise above it all – and blossom, like the powerful, mystical lotus.

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