Big Frog on Lily Pad with Root System, Tom Otterness

Dormant bulb, skin of tea-stained parchment,
Reaches into water with pubic tendrils –
It is the roots that make tall green shoots possible.

A lily bulb is the center of the future plant, containing all that is needed for growth. When it is set over water, it will first reach down with many white roots to drink deeply. Only then will it begin to split and put forth splendid green shoots. The same is true of life. We need to put deep roots down in order to bring forth beauty.

While most people can accept that anyone needs a strong foundation in life, we are speaking here of a more literal interpretation. Those who follow Tao believe in meditating upon all the centers of the body. It would be wrong to think of spirituality as wholly brain-oriented. Quite the contrary. One must establish a deep connection to one’s very energy, which arises in all parts of the body. One must come to terms with one’s sexual energy, which comes from the loins. One must become aware of one’s legs (what else holds you up all the time?) in order to become more stable. What is below is essential to what is above. What is below is the source of tremendous energy.

Therefore, when meditating, learn methods that focus on all parts of the body and mind. When moving, pay attention to the legs. When acting, make sure that you are well connected to others. When learning, master the fundamentals. If you do this, you will be able to fulfill your ultimate potential.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

I like not lady-slippers,
Not yet the sweet-pea blossoms,
Not yet the flaky roses,
Red or white as snow;
I like the chaliced lilies,
The heavy Eastern lilies,
The gorgeous tiger-lilies,
That in our garden grow.
– Thomas Bailey Aldrich

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. — Matthew (ch. VII, v. 28-29)

And the stately lilies stand Fair in the silvery light,
Like saintly vestals, pale in prayer;
Their pure breath sanctifies the air,
As its fragrance fills the night.
– Julia C.R. Dorr

A flower’s fragrance declares to all the world that it is fertile,
available, and desirable, its sex organs oozing with nectar.
Its smell reminds us in vestigial ways of fertility, vigor, life-force,
all the optimism, expectancy, and passionate bloom of youth.
We inhale its ardent aroma and, no matter what our ages,
we feel young and nubile in a world aflame with desire.
- Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

Lone and erect, beneath light’s primal flood,
A lily! and pure as any one of you.
- Mallarme

My lilies are sleeping right now, storing up their energy to bloom once again in the spring. They are among my favorite flowers. Unfortunately the tiger lilies have died out, so I need to replace them. But the Asian lilies do very well here, and come back year after year. So I grow a lot of those.

I tend to put my roots down deeply, sometimes too deeply for some people. I become overly connected to them, caring more about what happens to them than they sometimes seem to themselves. This had led to some major conflicts for me, when I feel too strong a connection. So, I’ve learned to be more cautious in who I connect with, and how deeply. Few people seem to really want to be connected in this world, no more how often they cry out for it. Our society fears real connection, and then we wonder why we feel so cut off from others. Perhaps it is really because so many of us are cut off from themselves, never really understanding or paying attention to their deepest feelings, totheir bodies, to their souls. We ought to teach meditation and self awareness in our schools as much as math and reading. But then, the Christians would get upset I suppose, accusing us of teaching touchy-feely subjects. Can’t have things like that in schools can we? But their touch-feely intelligent design garbage is ok. Feh.

I’m not nearly as good at meditation as I would like to be. I can do it after yoga, going deep into shavasana. But other than that, I don’t really meditate very often, though I have tried. I guess moving meditation is what I am best at. Sitting still, not so much. So I like this idea of meditation that focuses on all parts of the body and mind. I’ll have to explore that idea further….