Welcome to round 2! How is your Journey (or journey) going? With a quick self-assessment, I am going to say mine is going pretty well. I had forgotten what it was like to do a Journey for the very first time. I feel a sense of newness, freshness, and a really wanting to understand and figure it out, which is different from recent Journeys. I’ve been covering a lot of ground, and finding beauty in many different places, both internally and externally. I feel my sense of beauty opening up! YAY!
For this round, we start again with the daily questions from the first round:
How does one act with Beauty? How does one bring Beauty to mundane tasks or actions? Is Beauty created, when one brings Beauty to a project? How does one embody Beauty?
Milrepa had searched everywhere for enlightenment, but could find no answer–until one day, he saw and old man walking slowly down a mountain path, carrying a heavy sack. Immediately, Milrepa sensed that this old man knew the secret he had been desperately seeking for many years.
“Old man, please tell me what you know. What is enlightenment?”
The old man smiled at him for a moment, and swung the heavy burden off his shoulders and stood straight.
“Yes, I see!” cried Milrepa. “My everlasting gratitude. But tell me, what is after enlightenment?
Smiling again, the old man picked up the sack once again, slung it back over his shoulders, and continued on his way.
If I replace the concept of “enlightenment” in this story, with the concept of “beauty”, the story applies equally. The questions for the day are answered in this story. Beauty is a state of mind, a state of heart, which when applied to every task–even the most mundane–makes that task beautiful.
Those with eyes to see, will see the difference between a man carrying a sack, and a man carrying as sack with beauty (or with enlightenment). Not all have eyes to see. People who care more for pretense, the illusions of the world, or for (let’s just call it) ugliness, will only see a man carrying a sack, and (perhaps) look upon him with disdain. Milrepa had the eyes to see for “he sensed the old man knew the secret”.
This Journey is not only opening my eyes to finding beauty in myself, and in my life, it is also opening me to seeing other people who also see beauty, people who have had a lot more practice at it than I have. I am very excited about this.
As someone who loves to learn, I have found an area in which–at least for a time–I can make profound advances. There are so many aspects to beauty that I have never thought of. I am very happy that I have given myself this opportunity.
One mundane task that I do daily is feed the birds. I love taking care of nature, the earth, and the little fowl and critters (feeding squirrels is a natural by-product of feeding birds) in this way. Each day when I perform this task, I really feel care and love, for all of earth and nature through this simple task.
Do I feel care and love because I do the task? Or do I do the task because I feel care and love? I honestly do not know the answer to this question, but I think not having the answer is the answer: The two are inseparable. The task is the care and love is the task is the care and love. I am not trying to feel something special in feeding the birds, it just happens; the feelings correspond naturally and easily with the the task.
I would say that I perform this task beautifully. There is no thought, no expectation, just the joy of giving to the birds, and the joy of feeling the love and care–which is a reward all of itself.
Now that I have an association–in other words, I can cognize and recognize through the experience of feeding the birds what it means to do something in beauty–I can begin to work on the How does one bring Beauty to mundane tasks or actions? Exciting!