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The Journey of the Lotus Flower

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Learn how the lotus flower is a beautiful symbol of our personal development and analogous to the concept of Post-Traumatic Growth from Positive Psychology.

The Lotus flower is regarded in many different cultures, especially in eastern religions, as a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration, rebirth and transformation. It’s characteristics are a perfect analogy for the human condition: even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the Lotus rises through the mud and produces the most beautiful flower.

“In Buddhist philosophy, the journey of the lotus is said to mirror our own spiritual journeys. Mired in suffering (samsara) and illusion (maya), our spirits start out like a lotus bud, tightly closed and buried in deep in the dark.”

The lotus begins the journey of it’s life submerged and rooted deep in muddy waters, where the environment is not so pleasant. It is surrounded by darkness, debris, insects, fish, sludge and many other unpleasant conditions. When it is time to bloom, the bud uses its life force (prana) to push through the water’s surface to the fresh air, embracing the light of the sun. Then, it begins to open it’s petals and show it’s face to the world.

The Perfection of Your Path

It should be noted that during this journey, the petals never get contaminated by the dirty water. The core of the flower remains pure, even though the environment where it starts its life is not so pure. The flower that sits so elegantly above the water didn’t get there effortlessly. It worked hard and long to get there, which is why we can think about the lotus to represent our personal development.

One flower can evolve for hundreds of years, growing bit by bit before it breaks the surface. It is just the same for us. All of us are trying to navigate our own journeys through the muddy waters of life. We are all born into families, bodies, cultures and other circumstances which test our resiliency, faith, and courage. Not to mention, every one of us has a whole backstory others know nothing about. If we all embraced this simple truth, then there would be a lot less judgment and more compassion in the world.

Some traditions also consider the petals to depict the opening of the Heart. The flower represents our ability to come from a place of suffering into the light. It is a reminder that we can rise up from any difficult situation and connect to a higher expression of ourselves. In other words, it is possible for you to go through life’s lessons without taking ‘the mud’ with you. But rather to use is as the fertile soil for the lessons you came here to learn.

Post-Traumatic Growth

“When people think of trauma or hardship, they often associate it with the disorders and other difficulties that can occur as a result, such as Post-Traumatic Stress. ”

Post-traumatic Growth is a theory and concept from Positive Psychology developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun in the mid-1990s. These researchers studied the positive psychological change that's experienced as a result of highly challenging life circumstances.

There are 7 Areas of Growth have been reported to spring from adversity:

  • Greater appreciation of life

  • Greater appreciation and strengthening of close relationships

  • Increased compassion and altruism

  • The identification of new possibilities or a purpose in life

  • Greater awareness and utilization of personal strengths

  • Enhanced spiritual development

  • Creative growth

Post-traumatic growth has been documented in all kinds of trauma survivors, and can manifest in a variety of ways for each unique individual. This does not mean that people with post-traumatic growth do not struggle in the after-math of stressful experiences. It means that through their process of working through and making meaning, they end up changing, growing, expanding in ways that are positive and life-changing. This idea is similar to the concept of Personal Alchemy.

The Invitation

I invite you to contemplate, what are the most valuable lessons you've learned from your life's deepest challenges? How has the mud of your life prepared you to blossom into all that you are and all you are becoming? What would you need to let go of to come into bloom and open your heart?

With Love and Gratitude,


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