One of the well-known symbols of yoga is the lotus flower. The lotus plant grows from the mud. It rises through the water to the surface to find sunlight. It struggles and pushes and survives until it blossoms in all its layers, intricacies, and beauty. The lotus flower emerges clean and pure from the murky water.
It symbolizes liberation from attachments – unchanged by the struggle, unaffected by the dirt – it remains itself, its true essence untouched by the elements around it. It floats above it all.
Born in mud, searching for the light, rising above, and remaining pure.
Why are symbols important? Why is every culture, religion, spiritual path filled with symbols? What do they mean to me?
Symbols make us feel an idea rather than just think about it. A symbolic object itself can be imbued with energies that affect us in ways we may not even be aware of. It adds another layer of understanding and experience on our path. It’s a reminder of a teaching we aspire to follow.
Symbols can be self created and suffused with personal meaning. A rock collected on a beach, a candle burning, a piece of jewelry, a power suit, an image of a saint or guru, watching the sunrise. A small object you hold to slow your breath and remove a small part of yourself from attaching to a current difficult situation.
In any case, symbols are a powerful tool on our journey.
They give us hope. They are a timeless reminder of a goal, a belief, an aspiration. They inspire us to choose a direction. They bolster us in times of hardship and provide a kind of solace. Symbols are a reminder of who we are despite anything that comes along to distract us or confuse us or blind us. We are unchanging.
Everyday we are bombarded with reminders of some kind but we often forget to include the reminders that nourish our selves and keep us in a place of peace.
A symbol is that reminder:
To be true to yourself
To follow your path
To take a moment in silence
To soften, to smile
To focus on one positive thing
To be grateful
To know you will survive it all.