The beautiful lotus photographs on my services page were taken at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens by local photographer (and my wonderful sister) Linda Parker. To see the entire collection of photographs or buy a print you can view her gallery.
The lotus is used as a symbol of spiritual growth in many cultures. It is rooted in the mud, and grows up on a long, strong stem before it blossoms clean and untouched by the murky waters. The mud represents the human condition, death, sadness, and suffering that we all must endure. The mud is what nourishes the lotus, just as our experiences and suffering help us to grow and evolve as people. The mud challenges us to stay present and be mindful that our struggles are part of our path. With the mindset of growth and acceptance we are less likely to get stuck in the mud of blame or victim-hood. From this place we can engage our spiritual potential, we can rise up like the bud growing towards the light, evolving through compassion, kindness, and wisdom of experience. The lotus bloom represents achieving enlightenment. Having accepted what is, there is no more suffering, the mud has engendered something beautiful and precious.
While many parts of the lotus plant are used in Chinese herbal medicine, the most frequently used is the seed. Called lian zi in pinyin, the lotus seed nourishes the systems of the spleen, heart, and kidneys. It is an astringent herb, so it helps with leaky conditions like diarrhea, excessive uterine bleeding, spermatorrhea, and vaginal discharge. It also helps to calm the spirit and relieve symptoms like palpitations or insomnia that stem from anxiety.
To learn more about the symbolism of the lotus and cultivating peace with what is, listen to Tara Brach’s lecture, No Mud, No Lotus.