The Ancient Modern

Human Life in a Lotus /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

An ancient metaphor describes the meaning of human life by reference to the Lotus.

The Lotus begins its life in the mudin cold dark solidity.

It passes upward into the turbid water of a lake or pond, and further

sends its broad leaves out into the air. Finally,

it offers an opulent and multifaceted flower to the heat of the Sun.

In this way, it passes through the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire.

From heaviest to lightest, from coldest to hottest, from immobility to freedom.

The enlightened human being is the same.

Beginning from the earth of the body, we rise to the life of the soul.

Like the mud and the water of a lake, the soul and body can be distinguished

but each is present in the other: wet earth, muddy water.

Many people remain in this mixed duality, mere soul and body.

This is what Socrates and others called “the unexamined life.”

But the Lotus would die if it did not reach further, into the air:

into the swift and far-reaching movement of thought and intention.

However, like the air, thoughts can be cloudy and overcast or clear and revealing.

When the thoughts are clear, when they are holy and hopeful, prayerful and pure,

the Sunthe Fire of the divine Presenceis revealed.

The Lotus longs for that distant, unreachable Sun.

In the same way, out of human longing, an unexpected Flower appears:

The Flower of Sainthood.

This flower is the work of both the Lotus and the Sun;

it is a marriage and a child: from a plant, yet resembling the stars:

from a human being, yet resembling God.

And with the opening of the Flower, Heaven and Earth are inseparably united.


All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2020 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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