25 Sep VAT: The Lotus Eaters
In The Odyssey, the first island to which Ulysses travels is the land of the lotus eaters. On the island the lotus eaters give a couple of his men lotus fruit to eat and the men soon become intoxicated and bereft of any desire to continue their sail home to Ithaca. The men beg Ulysses to remain on the island and weep bitterly when Ulysses forces them back on the ship.
Home represents the past. Intoxication freed the men from thoughts of the past and desires to go forward with their lives in the context of the past. Freedom from the past is one of the keys to happiness, however temporary as in the case of the lotus eaters.
The lotus flower is symbolic of eternal(1) beauty and purity. In the morning it emerges unblemished from the watery muck in which it lives. At night, it submerges into the muck. Born anew daily, everyday its birthday, the lotus flower is free from its past incarnations as were the men in the Odyssey who ate the lotus fruit.
Like the lotus flower, we die each night and are reborn the following day. This realization frees us from karma, how the past frames our lives today. Perhaps there is more to be gained reflecting about the lotus flower than eating its fruit.
(1) Attesting to its eternal nature, lotus flower seeds can hibernate for thousands of years and yet come alive when the opportunity to germinate presents itself.