Out Of The Mud Comes The Lotus
It is striking to see beautiful Lotus flowers in mucky, smelly swamps. The overarching theme is that from dead, decaying vegetation something of great beauty springs forth. Although the colored varieties can be striking, the metaphorical contrast between muck and pristine white can be stunning. Many world religions agree that we must die before we can transcend to an afterlife. Meanwhile, we will face a seemingly endless line of “little deaths” as our egos are whittled down to size. (hopefully)
In Margery Williams’s classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, the skin horse
informed the rabbit that becoming real, “doesn’t often happen to those
who break easily, have sharp edges or have to be carefully kept.” This
was not a metaphor, but a reality for the Biodesign classes. If Mother
Nature could polish granite, carve out Grand Canyon, and shape continentalshorelines, could she not “break” people, dull their “sharp edges,” and remove them from their “carefully kept,” comfort zones?
Lotus seeds have very hard, impermeable seed coats, and can remain viable for very long time. Sacred Lotus seeds, the most long-lived of all angiosperm seeds, have been known to germinate after more than 400 years! American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) can germinate after a dormancy of 200 years, and recently, lotus seeds of 1,200 years from China were germinated! What’s an incredible plant!
Citing Abraham Maslow, many references to spirituality need not include a religious connotation and can (and should) be used in public education. Gautama Buddha, Jesus and many scholars, saints and poets used plants and animals as metaphors to communicate the possibility of living a deeper, richer, more meaningful life, regardless of a person’s personal religious choice. In fact Buddha described his “Eight Fold Path” as a method of mental discipline, designed to promote and enhance personal and social tranquility. It is a beautiful concept that is not the property of any organized form of religion.
The pitcher reared back and threw the hardest pitch he couldthrow. The batter expected as much and drove a rifle-shot back to the mound. The ball hit the pitcher in the chest, knocking him to the ground. Both sets of fans gasped in disbelief, and then something amazing happened:
The young ballplayer was demonstrating one of the most difficult, challenging aspects of being human, being thankful for adversity; or looking for the lotus that will bloom out of the mud.