Our Lotus Nature
Pristine in the muddy waters
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 2, 2020
Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst
Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist
In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.
The ego is thus related to the self as part to whole. To that extent the self is supraordinate. Moreover, the self is felt empirically not as subject but as object and this by reason of its unconscious component, which can only come to consciousness indirectly, by way of projection. Because of its unconscious component the self is so far removed from the conscious mind that it can only be partially expressed by human figures; the other part of it has to be expressed by objective, abstract symbols….Plant symbols are generally flowers (lotus and rose). (Jung, 1934/1954/1968, p. 187)
This image captures my attention just as it did when I took it. It reminds me that accurate reflection is found in my stillness. As I look at it, the right brain absorbs this image better than any mirror and translates it into a full sensory experience. It is much like an infant looking at the world before language. My nervous system carries stillness throughout my body in a way that I am not just reflection of the photo, but paradoxically carry its stillness throughout me.
As I look at the lotus, I see how its majestic beauty radiates so fully. It appears that everything stops to witness the blossom that comes out of the mud. When I quiet my inner life, I can take time to notice what has blossomed in me.
The world has slowed during the pandemic. This time can be used for reflection.
As we are caught in the muddy waters of the pandemic, each one of us has the opportunity to claim our LOTUS NATURE. While a lotus blossoms in marshy and muddy waters, it is always pristine and could be offered at the alter of the Divine without extra cleaning. It is the flower most commonly used in India at the alter of the gods and goddesses in Hindu temples. Rose of course is the flower most often used to express your love for another human. Both; the Rose and the Lotus are the symbols of the Soul. Rose is the symbol of the Eros, while Lotus is the symbol of the Theos (God in Greek). So, Lotus is the symbol of Antar-yamin, the god within, the spark of the divine which is bestowed upon each and every one of us and is a derivate of our Celestial origins as we work through our terrestrial- human karma.
This Lotus within is the quiet center of our Celestial Soul as we manage the muddy waters of our terrestrial turbulence. It is the quiet center of the Soul in the eye of the storm. We can claim our connection with this eye of the storm via sitting still, being quiet, being prayerful and contemplative. Mahatma Gandhi would be maintained Quiet Stillness one day a week, when he would fast and stay contemplative. Hindus call this the Maun Vrata – the Silence Meditation. It centers us.
Our Lotus nature and our muddy nature are two sides of the coin of our consciousness. When we are in the Lotus, we are in the Soul. When we caught in the muddy waters of life, we are in our Ego and our Complexes. Both states have different neurocircuitry and neurochemistry. The Lotus activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the Relaxation response(Benson, 1975). Such a brain secretes healing neurotransmitters including Acetyl Choline, Oxytocin and Nitrous oxide. It lowers our heart rate, metabolism and enhances our immune response. The brain circuitry is set at the relaxing Alpha waves of 8-12 Hz. per second.
When we are caught in the muddy waters and respond from our complexes, it activates the Stress Response. The brain switches to the Sympathetic nervous system of fight, flight or freeze responses(Bedi, 2013). It secretes stress hormones including Corticosteroids, Epinephrine, Glucose and lactic acid. It makes our blood PH acidic which is corrosive of the fine fascia of our Nervous, Cardiac and Immune systems and compromises our health, making it immunocompromised and susceptible to infections and immune disorders. The brain switches to the Monkey Mind Mode of Beta waves at 12-24 Hz per second.
It time of crisis, the Stress Response is the default mode, but the Relaxation Response, the Lotus nature is our best response for survival and wellness. Claim it!
Some Points to Ponder:
- How are you responding to the freedoms or demands of the pandemic?
- What facilitates your finding inner stillness?
- What have you done today that you would carry forward even after the pandemic?
- When you do not have words to express yourself, how do you do it?
- How are you connecting to community during this time?
- What part(s) of the image do you identify with and which do you distance from?
- In the current pandemic do you feel in the muddy waters or in your Lotus core?
- What is your experience of the Muddy waters of the pandemic?
- How do you access your Lotus Nature?
- Are you able to find some time daily to sit still, be silent and be contemplative?
- Can you journal your Check list to get into your Lotus Zone?
- Do you have a music playlist to get into your Lotus Zone?
Photo taken in Kerala, India
Bedi, A. (2013). Crossing the healing zone : from illness to wellness. Lake Worth, FL, Newburyport, MA: Ibis Press, a division of Nicolas-Hays, Inc.,Lake Worth, Distributed to the trade by Red Wheel/Weiser., pages pages 30-40 and pages 142- 148
Benson, H. (1975). The Relaxation Response: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Jung, C. G. (1934/1954/1968). The archetypes and the collective unconscious (2d ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.