Destruction of Beauty –Journey of Beauty 02.10.09

Guiding Thought

How do I distinguish fundamental beauty from fleeting, or superficial, beauty? What is True Beauty? What is the nature of illusion? What is the nature of dis-illusion? How do I get through illusion to Truth?

Reflection / Contemplation

I feel like I need to be back in a philosophy class to attend to these guiding thoughts today. Hmm. Plato’s allegory of the Cave comes to mind. Yikes.
I felt like I was attending to these questions a couple of weeks ago when the fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France was raging. I remember talking to one of my sisters during this time, as the world watched in both wonder and horror at the destruction of this magnificent site. My sister, who is not religious/spiritual by any means, was in tears. She had visited the site in her 20’s and I could hear in her voice the memory of awe at being in such a beautiful and magnificent place. I too, watched in horror and sadness, and I have never set foot there.
While all this was happening, my mind went to a different kind of destruction, the malevolent and willful destruction of beauty, heritage sites in the early 2000’s. What came to mind was the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhist statues that had been carved into the mountain side in Afghanistan, the ones that had been in place for 1,700-1,800 years, as well as the destruction of artifacts in the museums in that region. The world watched in horror, including me. My heart hurt.
And then my mind went the next kind of destruction of beauty, the sand paintings of Tibetan Buddhists and Native Americans. These priests and shamans are engaged in both the creation and destruction of an object of beauty, infused with their prayers, and on an altogether different time-table, a ritualized time-table. The destruction of one’s own making, well, that is different, now isn’t it!
Three different objects altered or destroyed.  I have to ask myself, “Is the Beauty gone?” What about prior objects of Beauty that were destroyed or lost to time that I don’t even know of? The Ancient Wonders of the World come to mind. The mountain valley that I waxed upon yesterday is likely changed. Two significant forest fires raged through that region in the last 20 years, and so that site I hold so preciously will be very different when I next visit.
It is very clear to me that Beauty is both fleeting and enduring, anchored both in a neural pathway and some place in my soul.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis







Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

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Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)

2 thoughts on “Destruction of Beauty –Journey of Beauty 02.10.09

  1. We are libraries, of sorts, aren’t we, housing our memories of Beauty. Even better, to have access to them. Precious.


  2. Your comments stirred a memory for me. Mount St. Helen’s was the first mountain I climbed, two years before she erupted. I also spent many summers at the Girl Scout Camp on Spirit Lake beneath this snow-capped mountain. I saw the stars for the first time. Like really saw the stars at age 15. I would lie on the dock and count the shooting stars and it felt like I could reach out and touch the Milky Way. But on that day…..May 18, 1980, I watched from Olympia, a plume of rocks and lava take all of that away. What was I left with but grief and disbelief. But as time went on, the memories held strong. Maybe even stronger since that is all I had now. I have climbed my dear mountian many time since. The last time I was on the mountain, I watched my boys climb their first mountain. So what I found is that my sweet mountain still opened her slopes to me and that beauty still awaits for those who will see.


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