About the Lotus
All over the world one can find lotus flowers, but unlike most flowers, the lotus first begins to sprout and grow underwater where it is surrounded by mud, muck, insects, fish, and simply dirty, rough conditions. Despite these unfavorable conditions, the lotus flower maintains its strength and overcomes each obstacle as it makes its way to the clear surface. Eventually the single flower pod emerges above the water and into the clean air, finally freeing itself from the harsh conditions below. It is then that the lotus slowly opens each beautiful petal to the sun, basking in the worldly beauty surrounding it. As it does so, not a stain or spot of mud remains. The inner lotus, too, has never seen a drop of mud or dirty water. It is pure, bright, and beautiful. Despite being born into dark, murky conditions where hope for such beautiful life seems impossible, the lotus grows and rises above adversity.
In Buddhism, the bud of the lotus symbolizes potential and the lotus flower represents an awakening of spiritual growth and enlightenment. It also represents purity of body, speech, and mind. The lotus could be thought of as an awakened mind, which grows naturally toward the warmth and light of truth, love, and compassion. I am personally reminded of this metaphor with each patient that I treat. Traditional Chinese medicine, which encompasses the use of acupuncture, meditations, healthy eating, movement therapy, and herbs, can be used as a catalyst to propel individuals up through the daily muck of life and into a place of empowerment, health, and enlightenment.