Journey of Beauty–Day 40

This is it! Congratulations, you’ve made it to day 40! Give yourself a hug, or a pat on the back. After today, I will review the Journey and write an assessment sometime in the next 10-day rest period. Then, we begin Journey of Creation on June 9. I’ll also have some cool content during the rest-period, as I have been recruiting guest-bloggers to write while I am taking a break. Enjoy!

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh
Photo credit: unknown

A final day for thinking about beauty. After 40 days, I think I will never see beauty the same way again. That’s the point, right?

Here is what I think have gained from the past 40 days.

  1. Recognition.  I will notice and recognize beauty more. I will look for beauty more. When I see it, I will acknowledge it with joy and gratitude, instead of passing it over. There is so much beauty in everyday life. It’s time to see it.
  2. Action. Grace and graciousness are beauty-in-action. Respect, politeness, fair-treatment, helpfulness, are as well. I will increase being conscientious of acting with these qualities.
  3. Cultivation. I will think about how I can cultivate inner beauty. I can turn my attitude and emotions toward things like peace, harmony, or stillness. These qualities may not be actions in themselves, but they influence the actions that I do take.
  4. Acknowledgement. If I am going to maintain an awareness of beauty to the degree that I think I will, then I better be prepared to acknowledge beauty in myself and  in my life. I am beautiful, as you are, as we all are!
  5. Questioning. I am not going to take beauty for granted (as in #1 above)…but I am not going to take ugliness for granted either. If I see something and think it’s ugly, I will wonder why, wonder what I can learn from it, wonder if it is teaching me of beauty by virtue of it not being so (as it may be one half of the theory of opposites).
  6. Feeling. I might have learned something about how beauty feels. I’m not quite sure about this one yet, but I am optimistic that I can now sense beauty in ways that I could not prior to day one.
  7. Perception. I am still learning this (as I am all of this). I believe that outer perception is influence by inner perception: that what I see is conditioned first by how I am predisposed to see it…that I have pre-judgements about what I expect to see. And what I expect to see is conditioned by the thoughts I have about it. It’s up to me to make sure my thoughts are openaccepting, loving, kind, so that is mental-state is how I approach the world. In this mind-frame, there is more likelyhood to see, and thus experience, beauty.

Thank you so much for being here, on this Journey with me. It was an absolute pleasure. I hope that your personal journey was enlightening, eye-opening, and happy. See you on June 9 for Journey of Creation! Love to you.

 

Journey of Beauty–Day 39

“All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves”  Eli Siegel

Questions

How do I distinguish fundamental beauty from fleeting, or superficial, beauty? What is the nature of illusion? What is the nature of dis-illusion? How does one get through illusion?

Reflection

If Eli Siegel is correct, then I can distinguish fundamental beauty from fleeting or superficial beauty by answering this question for myself: is this >whatever< making one of opposites? Or by answering this secondary question Is this >whatever< making one of opposites within myself? 

I find this a fascinating idea for several reasons

1) Beauty can be identified through a result, which is a unification of opposites. This is like how a breeze in the distance can be identified through leaf-movement. We may not be able to feel the wind, but we know it’s there because of what it does. We may not “know” if something is beautiful, but if it results in the coming together of dichotomous ideas, then it’s beauty. An image of the yin-yang comes to mind.

2) This is a way of identifying beauty beyond appearance, or beyond the superficial. I watched the 2017 Beauty and the Beast today. Who knew that Disney could fit so perfectly into a consciousness Journey. The Beast is ugly, yet his tenderness, generosity, and care (opposites of “ugly”), transform his outer ugliness: the opposites are united into a recognition by Belle of his “beauty”.  (Or, if you want this in terms of today’s questions, she saw through the superficiality, or the illusion, to see the Beast’s fundamental beauty.)

However, there are also  problems with the Eli Siegel quote as well.

1) If beauty is a unification of opposites, why do I still not find Gaston beautiful? Gaston is the character in Beauty and the Beast who says, “You are the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen!”…while looking at himself in the mirror. Gaston is the character who ties up Belle’s father and leaves him for the wolves. Gaston is the character who shoots the Beast several times. He is cruel, arrogant, prideful, and very handsome (just ask him). If the Beast has outer ugliness and inner beauty, and Gaston has outer beauty and inner ugliness, why are Both not examples of “Beauty”, as Eli Siegel defines it: Opposites are united in each of these, yet…. (imho) Gaston is still  ugly.

2) How many people are aware of unification of opposites within themselves, much less… anywhere? Seriously? In other words: in order for someone to be able to recognize beauty (the wind in the distance), they must be able to see (or sense) the unification of opposites (beauty). Currently we live in a time of binaries, dichotomies, opposites. We are, I believe, moving out of this as a race, as a unified consciousness; however, people still see primarily difference, not Oneness. We still talk about pendulums swinging, we still go after light and reject darkness, we still judge people by the color of their skin (and the scale of light-to-dark). I don’t think Siegel is necessarily wrong. I think, perhaps he is a visionary, and uniting opposites is an ideal, toward which people can move.

Dark Girls: Documentary exploring the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color—particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture.

How does one move toward this ideal? by asking questions like: What is the nature of illusion? What is the nature of dis-illusion? How does one get through illusion?

Then the next step is practicing: seeing illusion as opposites, or, by seeing opposites as illusion. Once you begin to believe that “All is One” or “Oneness is all there is” or “Love Unites All”,  or “One Love”, then the only way to live that belief, to be True to that Truth, is to see it, experience it, and deny anything that is not Oneness. If you believe in Oneness, then everyone is equal, everyone is beautiful, everyone is here in Love, just as you are, just as I am. Know Oneness, Beauty, and Love.

 

Journey of Beauty–Day 38

Questions

What memories do you have of beauty? How are beauty and freedom related? What am I learning passively, simply by showing up to think about beauty every day?

Reflection

It’s a day for humor. You know why? ‘Cause humor is beautiful! Haaaaaaaaa. Laughter is beautiful. Joy is beautiful. Funny is beautiful.

I’ve noticed recently that my laughter has increased. I can find humor and playfulness in so many things these days.

In the Tina Fey quote, at first when I saw it, I read it to mean something like, “Who cares how people look?”, implying that beauty is not in the appearance, or that face/body beauty is not an indicator of “real” beauty.

When I looked more closely, and thought about my own laughter-as-associated-with-beauty, I understood it to mean something more like this: “Stop worrying, stop caring so much about what other people think, then everything will be beautiful and you can laugh and sing and dance with life”.

I know that might seem like a leap, but it’s how I feel, based on my experience of laughter, and of beauty. As I have been letting go of attachments, letting go of situations and people where I have no control, I have found that I can laugh at more things, and that laughter is a lightness, which is beautiful. I’ve been able to take very serious situations and feel the humor in them. Then, when I say something out loud, then laugh, it’s like a bubble bursts, and the whole room feels lighter (or more uncomfortable, I suppose to those people who are so very serious).

But seriously. Why be so serious all the time…who cares? Our lives are a flicker in the expanse of eternity. Live. Love. Be. Laugh. Find the beauty in everything…everything, even in seriousness. Bring Joy. Bring Laughter. Who cares?  Be the beauty you are. Let go of others’ expectations. Let go of ideas of “how you should be”. Be Free. Be You. Be the best You you can be. Love yourself. Love Life. Love ALL of Life. Love every minuscule minute which is only a flicker of a flicker.

Laugh out loud. Really, not just “lol”. Really do it. and mean it. Have you noticed that people who really laugh are both scorned and envied? People don’t know how to laugh, so they scorn those who do. Show them how to laugh. Bring them into your light, the lightness of your joy and playfulness. Play with people. Have fun. Just enjoy them. Love them. Look for their beauty. Show them their beauty. Be beautiful with them through your laughter.

Because who cares if you are scorned? Who cares if you are envied? Laughter is so much more fun.

Journey of Beauty–Day 37

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

 

Wind and Clouds
Photo Credit: Sarah Myers

If you take away objects of beauty, what’s left? If you can not see, you can feel. Without objects to see, how does beauty feel? What do emotions find beautiful?

The “things” that feel beautiful for me are things that lift my emotions to a higher state. When I think about infinity, or high ideals, those things lift my emotions.

There are ways other than seeing to know beauty. But those ways are within yourself, not outside yourself.

Awe moves my emotions, as does reverence, and deep appreciation.

Earth
Photo Credit: National Geographic

A beautiful song takes my breath away. (I could not embed it, but I encourage you to watch this video for a sense of beautiful peace)

Fire
Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsCmrzmv8Ik

When I sit with a fire for a few hours, there is definitely a lifting that happens. My emotions feel lighter, and I feel more harmony with everything around me.

In the Helen Keller quote, the perception of beauty comes through noticing. In order to see beauty beyond sight, one must notice inner movements, feelings, vibrations. One must feel emotions and notice how energy is moving or not moving in the body.

If you think something is beautiful, ask your body. How is your body reacting or responding to the thought of beauty?

Water Droplets
Image Credit: http://graphicdesignjunction.com/2012/11/40-awesome-water-drop-photography/

The next time you think something is beautiful, try feeling it–what is it that you feel? What is the feeling?

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty–Day 36

Ouroboros
Image credit: http://mythologian.net/ouroboros-symbol-of-infinity/

Questions

What is beauty of mind? What is beauty of heart? What is beauty of soul? What is beauty of emotion? How are these the same? How are they different? Are they enacted, or expressed similarly, or differently? How does one discern the nuances of difference between beauty of mind-heart-soul-emotion? Is there a difference, or does all unite in Beauty, as it does in Love or Oneness?

Reflection

Yesterday, there was discussion on how to discern beauty, and to create through fine-tuning that discernment. In short, creating beauty comes through following harmony and peace, and transforming anything that is not of harmony and peace, in business, relationships, and daily activity.

With this type of discernment there comes more and more refinement of the idea, and thus the experience, of beauty.

With every experience of beauty, the strength of certainty in it increases. Self-confidence in recognizing it and creating it increases. With that strength and certainty, beauty is more easily created with every new step, every new experience, like this:

Beauty is created. Beauty is recognized. With the recognition comes the awareness of, “hey, look what I can do!”, and that is what gives the support, strength, and confidence for the next time. When the next time comes, it comes with that added strength and certainty, so the next creation is that much more powerful. And this continues, as the momentum of the Beauty-cycle grows.

When actions are taken toward beauty (harmony and peace), the cycle is continuous, but not repetitive. Each pregressive cycle begins from a new place–more strength and confidence, more recognition, more beauty.

This idea is different from the idea of the ouroboros. The snake that eats its tail is a symbol of birth and death and re-birth. However, in this symbolism, though there is regeneration, there is no concept of change, or evolution. When the snake regenerates, it regenerates as it was, not as an evolved version of what it was, coming back a little more refined each time.

Image credit: http://shifting-vibration.com/2015/09/bessie-and-the-carrot/

With the snake eating its tail, the goal is always the same: the tail, the thing right in front of the snakes nose. In a way, it’s like a donkey chasing a carrot. It’s right there, just grab it. And round and round it goes, aimlessly, except for the thing that is right there. In this model, no momentum is added to the evolution; when the next cycle starts, it starts just where it left off, not with more strength, certainty, or recognition.

This seems to me like the difference between what people are taught they should chase, what “society” teaches them they should want (the carrot, or the tail), and finding a deeper purpose to follow. The first is goals for the sake of achieving goals (more money, bigger house, fancy car or job title), the second is taking steps toward real fulfillment.

The difference between a carrot or a snakes tail, and beauty, peace, or harmony is the first keeps folks always moving but always in the same place, the second is a slow progression and incremental increases in experience of the thing sought. With the first there is always a lot of movement, so it can seem like there is progress, with the second there is less outer-movement, but more actual progress.

Journey of Beauty–Day 35

Nasa.gov. This stunning picture of Cas A is a composite of infrared (red), optical (yellow) and X-ray (green and blue) images. The infrared image from the Spitzer Space Telescope reveals warm dust in the outer shell with temperatures of about 25 degrees Celsius, whereas the optical image from the Hubble Space telescope brings out the delicate filamentary structures of warmer (10,000 Celsius) gas; Chandra shows hot gases at about 10 million degrees Celsius. This hot gas was created when ejected material from the supernova smashed into surrounding gas and dust at speeds of about ten million miles per hour. A comparison of the infrared and X-ray images of Cas A should enable astronomers to determine whether most of the dust in the supernova remnant came from the massive star before it exploded, or from the rapidly expanding supernova ejecta.

Questions  

What do I perceive? What do I perceive as beautiful? What is beauty to you? How do you perceive beauty? How do our perceptions differ? How are they similar? What do our perceptions say about us as individuals, as human beings, or as spiritual beings? Can someone change how they perceive beauty?

Reflection

I have training in political science, in Western political theory, and most specifically, ethical political theory. How do we know what ethical behavior is? How do we create laws and a society that knows the difference between using ovens for humans or for chickens (as my dear advisor Stephen Bronner used to point out; even now, I have advanced my ethical outlook to wonder why we use ovens for chickens, because there certainly is a humane/ethical issue in the food-industry today). Who decides what constitutes ethics? If the powerful make the laws, and the laws say that it’s “right” to remove food supplies and access to health care from those who need it most, are they making an ethical decision? If this is the law, does that mean it’s unethical to break it?

You may see why I have questions to begin each day of this Journey–they are good prompts for a thought process. Unfortunately, if you want hard answers, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a process, not a destination; however, you may see how questions like these can point toward a point of view regarding what is ethical and what is not. After the Holocaust, it became glaringly clear that “ovens” are not for humans (because, apparently, it was not glaringly clear before that); perhaps in 50 or 100 years the culture will see that it is glaringly clear that ovens should not be used for chickens, either. We shall see.

In the same way, I think there are pointers that we can use now to answer questions about beauty. How do we know if what we are doing, perceiving, or being, or cultivating is beautiful?

My current answer (remember: it’s a process), is that in relationships beauty is peace and harmony and warm fuzzies. This means that when I am interacting with someone, there is no strife, no contention, no anger, hostility, or mal-intent. If I do my best to keep my own energy/thoughts in this space of harmony and peace, I will be creating from Beauty.

The same would be true in business. If I operate my business with an attitude of integrity, honesty, for the benefit of all, kindness, with no greed or competition (in the sense of having to “knock someone else down so I can thrive), then I will be doing the best I can to created a business from Beauty.

This idea can even carry over into my household. Chores are never fun, but laundry does not do itself. If I bring an attitude of care to such tasks, without feeling put upon that I need to do them, then I am bringing Beauty to my daily life.

I have not talked much this Journey about remembering, as I have in other Journeys. There’s a lot out there these days about “remembering who you are”. In the current social mindframe, the idea is to remember that you are a spiritual being having a human experience, or some such cliche.

I find it hard enough to remember everything I just noted: to act in and as the Beauty I’ve described above in my relationships, in my business, and in my daily life. But it seems to me, that remembering Beauty in this way– as much as I can– I am remembering “who I am” as a spiritual being, for I am of Beauty and Love, created to create Beauty and Love.

Let’s see where this idea of Beauty takes us in 50 to 100 years.

 

Journey of Beauty–Day 34

Questions

How does Beauty feel? What is the energy or vibration of Beauty? How do I bring Beauty to all my movements? How do I breathe in Beauty? What is the mental attitude of doing with Beauty? How to exist as Beauty–how to be Beauty?

Reflection

The closer I get to the end of this Journey, the more I am thinking about the application of the concept of beauty to the concept of creation (the next Journey).

I want to create a beautiful life, a beautiful business, beautiful relationships…so it’s important to know how to identify whether or not I am going in that direction (the direction of Beauty).

Let me be clear: I have a beautiful life. I have beautiful relationships. What would be new would be the beautiful business (and the beautiful life lived in a beautiful business), and new beautiful relationships associated with that business.

This is about conscious creation. Co-creation. Beautiful creation of the highest possible order that I can magnetize now.

This will be new creation. New, beautiful creation.

I need to be able to recognize the people and situations that will bring about the highest, most loving, most effective results for a business. So this includes things like financial situations, business relationships, collaborations, etc. All those relationships can be beautiful…and kind, and loving, and cooperative, and harmonious, and mutually beneficial (for the good of All!). Beauty is key in this.

I am a firm believer in the practical application of spiritual practices, and that, when applied, spiritual practices and concepts bring about the most effective, efficient, smooth, easy, honorable, and beneficial results. I have experienced this over and over and over in my life.

Beauty is taking what I know to a new level. It’s giving me one more spiritual tool in my belt which will enhance all aspects of my life, and specifically relating to business and finances. It’s like I have a master’s degree in “going with the flow”-creation, but I am in kindergarten when it comes to Intentional, Conscious-creation. And maybe even pre-school, when it comes to Intentional-creation, beautifully. It’s all learning, all evolution, all a process. I am excited! (and a little nervous)

If you are working on business, or have a hobby that you want to turn into a business, or want an introduction to spiritual business practices, or anything else about what you might want to create, finish this Journey of Beauty with me, then join me for the next Journey, and we’ll do it together.

Journey of Beauty–Day 33 Entropy in Action

“Chaos refers to the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, or to the initial “gap” created by the original separation of heaven and earth.” (from Wikipedia)

 

Today’s Questions

Do you know how beautiful you are? Do you have any idea what Beauty created you, what Beauty adorns you, what Beauty permeates and surrounds you? Do you know all Beauty is a gift of Love, leading you to Itself?

Reflection

Beauty is a gift of Love, leading you to itself.

Where there is beauty, there is love. Follow beauty, find Love.

This statement transcends the question about whether beauty is internal or external, and it can be applied both to subjective beauty and objective beauty.

Just follow beauty internal or external, subjective or objective. Follow beauty for it is love leading you.

I am saying this with my recent experiences of beauty as peace quite in the front of my mind.

Thus, when I say follow beauty, find Love, there is a part of me also feeling follow peacefind Love.

For me, now, it seems, beauty and peace are inseparable.

And that raises a question.

Is this beautiful?
“Chaos”
Found at: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/chaos

Is there beauty in chaos? Is chaos beautiful?

From chaos comes clarity, right? (or maybe this only applies to Nicholas Hexum and Doug Martinez?)

Does this mean that chaos itself can be beautiful, or is it chaos’ ability to catalyze clarity that may be beautiful?

Oh, but wait. Isn’t there a scientific term called entropy, which states that everything moves into greater and greater states of chaos? If so, when does the clarity come in? If chaos simply devolves into chaos, how does chaos bring about clarity?

“Answers are reassuring, but when you’re onto something really useful, it will probably take the form of a question.” From Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

 

Journey of Beauty–Day 32

“Geometry is the archetype of the beauty of the world.” ~ Johannes Kepler
Image: Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/jainmathemagics/

Questions

What is inner Beauty? How do I recognize it in others? How do I recognize it in myself? How does one cultivate inner beauty, especially when there are questions about what it is and how to recognize it?

Reflection

Here we are on the last round. Journey of Beauty ends before the end of the month. Then, Journey of Creation begins June 9. This is pertinent to today’s questions about beauty, and about this Journey overall.

Each Journey is relevant to all the other Journeys, and each Journey acts as a transition, or a connector, between the Journey before it and the Journey after it. Journey of Beauty acts as a connector between Journey of Courage and Journey of Creation; it also sets the stage for Journey of Creation.

We started the year with Journey of Gratitude: this sets up the feeling, attitude, and intention for the entire year. Overflowing thankfulness opens the door for overflowing good in your life.

Gratitude segued into Courage. Gratitude opens the heart; Courage strengthens the heart. With an open, courageous heart we can then begin to consider the questions about Beauty. The heart accepts, and can help us see beauty anywhere, courage helps us to be honest, and also to be willing to see beauty in places/people where we might not otherwise be so inclined to see it.

These 40 days of contemplating Beauty will then help us to understand Journey of Creation as a means to creating Beauty: creating external beauty that resonates with and reflects our internal beauty.

All of this is to say: today for Journey of Beauty, I am wondering about creating Beauty. I am (perhaps a bit prematurely) anticipating the next Journey, and wondering what I need yet to learn in the next 8 days to complete this part of the work, so that I can proceed with Journey of Creation in the highest/deepest way possible.

Here are some thoughts on that:

Inner Beauty really has to do with the relationship I have with myself, and with God. The more connected I am–the more aware, accepting, and open to–the Love I am, and the Love which created me, the more I embody the beauty of that Love. If there is, in a word, a definition of Beauty, it is Peace. Peace comes through Knowing Love. That is what I feel at this moment, and comes from the feeling I have had the past two days doing this Journey.

When I Know this Love, when I Know myself as this Love, when I know Love as me, and through me, then anything I do is already given to that Love. I simply want to be in that Love, and do everything in that Love. However, this “want” expresses simply as the acceptance of what is, because when I exist in Love, there is nothing more.

This is the point at which creation occurs as an extension of Love, not as thought, not as desire, not as will. Just Love.

This is the point at which creation is perfect, and Peace permeates every thought, every action, every moment.

This is the point at which everything is beautiful, and I can look and see what I have created and Know it is good, having co-created with the Love I am, which also created me.

Beauty in this sense is a litmus test. It’s a way of sensing if what you are creating is created with Love. No one else can tell you this; this is the importance of beauty as a subjective experience: only you know your relationship with yourself, with God, and with Love. Only you know how you feel when these align and express themselves through you.

Only you can feel the Peace that this co-creation brings.

 

 

Journey of Beauty–Day 31

Welcome to Round 4; we are on the home stretch; only 10 days to go! Keep on, you’re doing great.

Questions

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?

Reflection

Continuing the theme of nature, I am sitting in my backyard with a small fire as I write. The jays came for food a couple minutes ago, not realizing I was here. When they did, they flew away, and squawked at me. I look forward to the time when we will share this space in peace with each other. We are getting there–just yesterday, a squirrel came to feed when I was watering my tomatoes, more interested in food than in my. Even now, some sparrows are coming to eat, paying me no mind.

Sitting here in peace with the birds and my fire: this is beauty.

More and more I am thinking that beauty is definitely related to Peace.

Peace: the feeling of calmness in my chest that seems to wrap around my torso and head, giving me a buoyant feeling, and all I want to do is feel this.

This then, is how to bring beauty to mundane tasks: embody this feeling. All the time. Take it with you wherever you go. Be it. Live it. 

Easier said than done. I know. That’s why I am here. We can practice this together, ok?

Is Beauty created when one brings Beauty to a project. I would say absolutely. I don’t know if this writing is beautiful or not–that type of beauty is subjective. How are you perceiving this? Do you find it beautiful? You see, you bring to this your beauty, if you so choose. And if you choose not to bring your beauty, that’s ok. Your beauty is yours to do with as you please.  As for me,  I know I am creating beauty as I sit here in Peace, typing away, being so contented in my little backyard with my little fire, and the little birds.  My world is beauty because it is full of Peace, and this right here, right now, is my world. Beautiful.

This is the embodiment of Beauty. This is it. It need be nothing more.

The question is: how do I maintain it… as I go “out there”, away from my fire, away from this atmosphere of Peace. How do I bring it with me? How do I continue to embody it?

That’s why it’s a Journey!

Peace to you. May Beauty be yours always.