The lotus, says Ishka.com, is “likely the most spiritual flower on Earth, the history and meaning of the lotus flower dates back thousands of years. An important symbol in many different cultures, particularly Buddhism, the lotus flower is revered as a symbol of rebirth, purity, self-regeneration and spiritual enlightenment.” Binghampton.com says “The lotus flower is… a perfect analogy for the human condition: even when its roots are in the dirtiest water, the lotus produces the most beautiful flower.”
I want to be a lotus flower. I would think that all people do, but perhaps I’m wrong about that. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a great place to understand where people are in their lives. Desire to be a lotus flower rests at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, self-actualization. This is a privileged place to be because it likely means that the other basic needs have already been met. I understand that some people never get past the first level of survival where food, shelter, sleep, water and sex are the basic needs. Then there are those of us who are fortunate to never have to worry or think about these needs. (Although I do get tired, hungry and cranky sometimes.)
Each of us is on our own journey and none of us needs to apologize for our place in the universe. We all have unique perspectives, understanding and consciousness that cause us to feel separate from one another and from the universe. This is an illusion, as we are all one.
Our primitive brain, the amygdala, through quick response reminds us of our individuality by flooding our bodies with chemicals that cause us to protect ourselves from danger. The amygdala is protective, like the petals of the lotus, protecting the pistil (center) of the flower. Then our so called, advanced, rational brains formulate thoughts and meaning out of things. But the rational brains can also deceive us because while we think we are rational we are not! Studies have proven that when our emotional brains are turned off or severed, we are unable to make decisions.
I witness people all the time in real estate who make their decisions emotionally and then rationalize their decision. I know I do this too! In fact, often it is the most highly educated people that struggle the most with their emotions, namely fear. I can clearly see that they know what they want to do emotionally, but their rational brain keeps feeding their fear of making a mistake. They become identified with their intelligence and don’t want to make a mistake that would compromise that intelligent identity. This is why younger, single males have the hardest time with real estate decisions. I witness this every day and the data proves it. Single females are a much larger slice of the home buying pie than single males. Dudes, let’s get with the program. Stop getting in your own way. Get a copy of The Decision Maker and stop screwing around. In your defense, I am right there with you which is exactly why I keep collecting underpants, reading books, and asking the same questions over and over.
Our egos get in the way often. I admit that I confuse my ego with my true self more often than not. I’ve been known to lack self-awareness. My ego can become impassioned and the chemicals that surge through my body cause me to believe that this is my true self. Trying to differentiate between the ego and the true self causes a neurosis.
I am an opening lotus flower for sure, but sometimes it feels more like a tightly wound ball of rubber bands. The imagery of these two analogies manifests two very different feelings. Would you rather be a ball of rubber bands or a lotus flower? How do those images make you feel? Which image is more accurate to the way you visualize yourself and your own awakening? Are you cutting away tightly bound rubber bands that snap with each cut? Or are you gently opening and letting your petals fall away to the ground beneath you?
The lotus flower is the most beautiful when you can see the center of the flower (the pistil) but you can still see all the layers (petals) around it. Once all the petals are gone, all that’s left is the center, left unprotected. While it seems like the goal of enlightenment is to find the center, it is actually the glimpse of the center with all the surrounding, protective petals still intact that is most beautiful.
Dare I say that without the protective petals, much of the beauty is lost? Grace! I am a lotus flower. An ego and true self together in oneness, which is to say both/and. I am an ego protecting a beautiful and delicate center. I am a lotus dude! If you feel what I feel, come back to this blog often and let’s peel back our layers together.