“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul. She is beautiful.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
In its most common meaning and usage, Beauty is about that which is pleasing to the eye. We talk about Beauty being “only skin deep” and that it is “in the eye of the beholder.” On the spiritual level, however, Beauty is about seeing and feeling that which is pleasing to the soul. We can behold Beauty in all we see. This element challenges us to behold Beauty and to even endeavor to create Beauty however we can. Beauty then becomes a skill where we can view the intrinsic value and Divinity of all that surrounds us. Beauty is what we radiate when we are in touch with our own Divinity and that which is Divine around us.
Beauty teaches us that if we want to be Beautiful, we must first see Beauty in others. Further, if we want to see Beauty, we must stop looking for flaw and we must release the conditioning that has defined Beauty for us.
Our souls have no issue with Beauty. They see it and feel it in a ubiquitous manner as something innate and within everything. Beauty is the connectivity between all and also the connection within; a soul may look within and see Beauty in its own soulful nature. A soul sees physical Beauty in all creation and holds a viewpoint that is not surface-oriented in any way. A soul maintains the long-term perspective; what may not appear to be “beautiful” in the short term view works out to be Beautiful from afar. That object or being, whatever it may be, is seen as one pixel in a greater work of art, just one piece of the greater puzzle.
On the level of our Humanity, that part of us which is the Energy of ego is much more concerned with the superficial and the short-term. Beauty can be just another shiny object which lends itself to feelings of self-importance by the sole fact of the “possession” of it. On this same level, a standard of Beauty is created which feeds upon comparison and judgment. Egoic Energy creates standards of Beauty which further equate to a “false economy of scarcity” based upon unrealistic expectations and random genetic outcomes.
Ego-based concepts of Beauty are forever in flux and somewhat heavy-handed in application. The ego lives in the harsh reality of haves and have-nots. In the egoic realm, few pass the bar while most are left scarred with an imprint of inherent inadequacy and a drive to somehow correct that which is wrong or lacking in some way (and to the ego, most of it is).
Meanwhile, random objects that the ego determines to represent Beauty may be hoarded, while everyday manifestations of Beauty go unappreciated.
The ego views Beauty through a lens of scarcity while the soul views Beauty through a lens of abundance. The ego values others based upon appearance. The soul sees others as fellow souls; everyone is beautiful.
The ego values Beauty in terms of objects, through social conditioning and with an eye towards possession. The soul sees Beauty and value in all creation, which is all connected and always shared.
Our task is simple: don’t surrender our definition of Beauty to the ego and the lens of scarcity. Our task is to surrender the definition of Beauty to our soul and to the lens of abundance.
Beauty is the ability to see Divinity in all creation, including the Divinity in one’s self.
Your soul is a timeless Beauty.
“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.” –Confucius
The Beautiful Mind
Our mind is the garden in which we can cultivate Beauty and the perspective of seeing the universe as “all things beautiful.” We can start with our own thoughts. We see the proclivity for wide-range wandering and volumes of thought. In terms of sheer capacity, there is Beauty in this situation too when observed from afar. We can see the ability to watch our own thoughts and see that they are indeed not us. We can see Beauty in a calm mind.
Universal Beauty is that which is sourced in Divinity and in soul-ful Energy; superficial Beauty is sourced in ego and egoic Energy. Our minds, when guided by Wisdom, can parse thoughts grounded in the universal Beauty of Divinity from those grounded in a superficial illusion of Beauty or ego. We can salute the illusion for exactly what it is, a Beautiful illusion. Seeing the lens of the ego in this way, will allow it to disappear and we allow for a clear mind and Wisdom sourced in Divine Energy. We can then be in the process of creating Beauty─ the Beauty of Truth and Divinity.
This doesn’t mean we “just think happy thoughts” all the time. Instead, it is a non-reactive way of thinking coming from a place of Equanimity that allows all creation to be viewed from a bigger-picture perspective, uncluttered by superficial intrusions. There is Beauty in Truthful thoughts, whether they be happy or sad. With Beauty, we also see past the temporal nature of that which is sad (or less than happy).
The mind can say: “I see Beauty everywhere.” Indeed, Beauty is everywhere but not everyone sees it all the time.
We will see suffering too and suffering can be informed by the Beauty of our Love, Empathy and Service for others. Suffering can be informed by the longer-term perspective that this life is subject to constant Change and that our or another’s suffering can actually bring forth strength and growth.
Our mind can be stretched to find Beauty in any situation, including suffering. We must stretch our mind at times. After all, it is a Beautiful mind, beautiful in its capacities and beautiful in its elasticity.
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” -Anne Frank
The ego can have narcissistic or insecure tendencies. It can have great concern for how we are viewed by others within the context of the arbitrary and unrealistic definitions of Beauty that it holds. At the same time, we arrive on this planet and we are rewarded with a Wise-Gift-Vessel (a Body) which is oblivious to this false construct in its essence. A tension may ensue between the ego and our Wise-Gift-Vessel. We can attempt to reconcile any differential between the Body that was granted to us and our own and others’ false construct of physical Beauty.
If there is no differential (i.e. no tension) between these two parts within you, then good on you! Part of your lesson plan in this go-round on planet Earth will be how you handle that. You are called to retain Humility and defy any form of self-importance that might arise from the ephemeral Beauty thrust upon you. You are called upon to see Beauty in all others. You are called upon to see the Beauty in yourself that goes beyond the physical.
Conversely, if there is a differential (i.e. some kind of tension between ego and Body), we get the lesson plan of how we will live with that. We learn how to not devalue ourselves and honor ourselves instead. We can practice Acceptance. We can shed resentment and jealousy. We can see our Beauty beyond the ephemeral. And we can continue to care for and nurture our Wise-Gift-Vessel. Always.
I remember a counseling client who had been categorized as physically attractive her whole life. Her insecurity was that she felt her “insides” did not match up to her “outside.” Other clients felt they had so much to offer and thought their physical appearance held them back from sharing their gifts.
Finding our Beauty no matter what and feeling the congruencies between our inside and outside no matter what is a task for reconciliation.
I am Beauty. I am not, my Beauty.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Nature is Beauty
Nature is beautiful in itself and a great place to enjoy and experience the Beauty of all creation. Nature even seems to run on Beauty in some ways. Think about beautiful, colorful flowers attracting bees that result in pollination and further the survival of both. Male birds, like Peacocks, are often adorned with amazing feather displays aimed at attracting a mate.
Bees likely don’t see an ugly flower. Peacock hens, on the other hand, do select mates based upon their physical beauty. The size of feathers and number of “eyes” displayed are an indicator of health for the survivability of their offspring. At the same time, if feather displays are too big, it can be a hindrance for movement and can attract predators, thereby affecting survivability. There is a natural check on any peacock getting too “pimped out” or cocky.
It is interesting that Nature integrates Beauty into life as one method to enhance survivability of being. For Humanity in modern times, Beauty may have become much more about survivability of the ego. Nature seems to have a long-term perspective on Beauty, giving it purpose and adding diversity to species that may support adaption to change. Ego-based constructs of Beauty by humans tend to be temporal, serving to either feed or, ironically, crush that very same ego with no great long-term purpose.
On a spiritual level, we are all about much more than basic survival. We are about Communing with and reflecting the Divine. On a daily basis, we can either be like the bees or the peacocks in our behavior, depending upon our awareness of our own ego’s concepts of Beauty. The bigger picture for us will be about integrating Beauty into our lives and seeing Beauty in all creation. When we truly have that perspective, we are Communing with Divinity─ and the “survivability” or quality of our lives here on planet Earth is greatly enhanced.
“I am going to make everything around me more beautiful. That will be my life.” -Elise de Wolfe
We are blessed with the spiritual element of Creativity with which we can celebrate the Beauty and Divinity of all that surrounds us. Those living their Truth in the expressive arts are gifted in the replication or interpretation of Beauty that can be shared with many. Craftsmen endeavor to create works of art with function and practicality that celebrate their skills, their materials and their end-users. Those in Service to others create Beauty through their Service and Generosity of heart. They create a Beauty in their Empathy for others, their Respect for Humanity and the alleviation of suffering.
We all have the power to create Beauty with our choices of form or expression. There is simple Beauty in kind words and kind thoughts.
Beauty calls us to express it and share it. When we do, we are expressing and enhancing the Beauty within us as well. Beauty expressed then inspires Beauty of thought, appreciation, and creation in others. Beauty begets Beauty. Beauty spreads. It is a Beautiful system.
With Beauty, we can maneuver through life with style and grace. We can create Beauty on many fronts, including our actions and general way of being.
“Beauty will redeem the world.” -Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Divinity is the element that all spiritual elements reflect, support or lend themselves to. I don’t often cite it here in this Alchemy section. Divinity is the source of all Beauty, though, and the innate quality that brings Beauty to all creation.
Respect supports Beauty in that, with Respect, we are seeing Divinity in all creation. Our Divinity, or Beauty, bows to that around us. Demonstration of Respect for all creation is Beautiful in its self as a practice.
Non-Judgment can serve to calm the mind and move it away from judgment so that we may take further time to appreciate the Beauty we encounter in our lives.
Wonder is curiosity, awe and learning which incites us to seek more and more Beauty in our lives from different perspectives. With Wonder, we explore Beauty. It represents the child-like mind that is beautiful in its own right.
Creativity allows us to bring forth and express our own Divinity and our experience of the Beauty around us. We create more Beauty with it. The action and flow of creative expression is beautiful.
Optimism may inform Beauty in that Beauty is a way of looking at things in a positive manner and seeing Beauty where it may not be readily apparent.
Our Body supports Beauty in function, creative expression and in its sheer nature as a gift that allows us to walk this lesson plan and live on the Earth.
As mentioned, Nature represents Beauty and teaches us much about this element as well. It is a reflection of Divinity, diversity, function and adaptability to change.
Stillness slows us down to appreciate Beauty.
Each Breath is beautiful.
- Engage in conscious breathing and slow down your pace of living in general. Walk slower, drive slower, eat slower. With a slower pace of living, focus on the Beauty that you may see in daily life and that you may have previously rushed by and not appreciated.
- Find a park or other space near your home that is in Nature, and spend some time there on a regular basis to observe Beauty.
- Experience or participate in creative expression. Go to an art museum or participate in an art class. Write a poem. Attend a play or a musical. Monitor the mind if it drifts to criticism or elsewhere in the process. To be critical or have critiques of Art is perfectly normal, but be wary of allowing your own critical mind to ruin the experience for you.
- View irritation as a cue to look for Beauty. Any time you are feeling irritated for any reason, make a prompt shift in your personal Energy towards seeking Beauty, however it might be expressed around you, even while you are feeling irritated.
- Practice “Namaste.” In silence, say Namaste as you meet or pass others. Acknowledge the Divinity within others. Stare right at their heart area if necessary and see or envision a beautiful white light there.
- Keep beautiful images or artifacts in the spaces where you spend most of your time, such as at the office, in your home and in your car. In a pinch, you can also search for beautiful pictures on the Internet, going to sources you’ve already pinpointed as ideal for you (i.e. your favorite blogs, the websites of your favorite galleries) or by using a search engine to look for images that appeal to you, i.e. “piglets nursing,” “a mountaintop at sunset.”
I Know Who I Am; I Know My True Essence, Divine.
I See and Acknowledge the Beauty of Life that Surrounds Me.
I See and Acknowledge the Beauty of Life that Surrounds Me in Times of Trial.
I Am Beauty in Thought and Action; I am Beauty in Being.
My Soul is a Timeless Beauty.
Beauty is before me, and beauty is behind me.
Above me and below me, hovers the beautiful.
I am surrounded by it. I am immersed in it.
In my youth, I am aware of it and in my old age, I shall walk quietly, the beautiful trail.