The Place of Beauty in a World in Crisis
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground
Beauty is our sustenance and our purpose. We know when we are in the beauty of nature, dance, music, good writing or art that our spirits rise up and our souls find satisfaction. Beauty has its own energetic vibration that passes between the observed and the observer. When we see the face of a beloved—whether a child, lover or parent—our heart sends waves of energy to the beloved. Who has not experienced that indrawn breath at the landscape we love, whether mountains, redwoods, deserts or plains? One person’s idea of beauty is not always that of another, but we recognize the energy as each of us beholds our own particular idea of beauty.
Yet, today, as I write about when explaining Global Grief, we are not in a beautiful time. Language is all around us, and right now it is the most divisive and coarse language that we have ever experienced in our public discourse, especially in the media and social media. Poetry and essay are still hanging on in some areas, but there is a negative global energy that is taking over the planet. That energy accumulates, creating more negative feelings and a new acceptance of uglier behavior. Divisions don’t only exist between nations, but individual groups and families within nations. Each attack on the environment or a person adds to a miasma that surrounds our planet like dank fog. If you think the negativity doesn’t affect us all, imagine the energy of one person that can incite a mob through their hate rhetoric. There is only one answer. Create a new energetic presence purposefully.
And therein we find the importance of beauty. As Rumi says, it is up to us to work and live in the beauty and kneel to the beauty. It’s also about being grateful for what is beautiful in the world. The smile of a child, the tender hands of a caretaker for the young or the elderly, the kind volunteers at missions of many stripes and intentions—all are beautiful. And so is the fern on my porch, the first tomato in my daughter’s garden, a peaceful evening with my beloved as we talk poems, gatherings in my daughters’ homes, the trees in the park. My meditations have been focused on finding the energy of beauty and cutting back on my attention to the hateful and negative. I care about others, which makes it hard not to notice those who are mistreated and threatened all over the world. I have determined that this year I will send loving energy and choose less often to watch news and argument about that treatment. I will also continue to support good work wherever I find it, but I am focused on my work of sending beauty, not fear, into my world. It helps to use the following exercise to guide your heart, mind and soul into a peaceful place from which to send energy. Begin and end your day with this simple process.
Step One: Sit quietly, breathe deeply into your heart: in for a count of four, out to the count of four. Do this until you feel your heart slow and your body relax.
Step Two: Ask your heart to find a memory of a time you felt like you were in the presence of beauty.
Step Three: Breathe this memory into your whole body. Feel the place, the energy, and the emotions that arose in you. Be grateful for this experience in your body and heart.
Step Four: Think of who and where you would like to send this peaceful feeling of being in beauty, and imagine it lifting from your heart as energy and finding its way to a person, place, or group.
Take your time before returning to your day. Try to do this exercise on arising and again before sleep. You’ll be amazed at how many experiences of beauty you have had in your life. We know we were created for this, or we would not feel such emotions when we touch into nature or love. May this New Year be one in which you find the beauty in what you think, do and say. You will be a shining light to others in your family, at work, and anywhere you go.