Everyone in this world longs for beauty in his or her lives. Many people the world over spend large portions of their incomes seeking to add some measure of beauty into their lives.
Many of us love to possess luxurious and beautiful fabrics manufactured in Italy. There is a special attraction to clothes and other objects designed and made by incredibly talented artisans and craftspeople.
Who has not stood transfixed by the glory of a particularly spectacular sunset or some other stunning natural vista?
Why does time seem to stop when we stare into the face of newborn child?
Why do the faces of certain people and particular works of art cause the deepest kind of stirrings in our hearts?
All of these questions are related to our attraction to and longing for beauty in our lives.
We spend so much of our lives desiring after and seeking to include more and more beauty in our lives. For many, it is their primary preoccupation.
Yet, how many of us take the time and the energy necessary to truly investigate and discover what real beauty is?
How many of really understand on the deepest level what real beauty is?
If you asked many people for their own definition of beauty, more times than not, you would get an answer that included mostly a combination of physical or external elements (elements such as symmetry, composition, size, color, texture, consistency and the like).
Now, while the physical characteristics of any person or object or situation are certainly an aspect of its beauty or appeal, are these elements what give anything its real beauty?
In other words, are the physical characteristics of anything the reason why we are moved to tears and touched in the deepest parts of our hearts. Are the physical characteristics of anything the reason why we remember an experience for our whole lives?
I would suggest to you that it is time that we all took a much deeper look at our assumptions and beliefs about the nature of real beauty.
I would suggest to you that it is our misbegotten beliefs about the nature of beauty that has gotten us so much in trouble with ourselves and with others. A false assumption about beauty in this life can cause countless amounts of suffering and grief.
If we really believe that beauty is composed mostly of its physical or external elements, our ideas about beauty become extremely fixed. We expect to find beauty only in certain places and in certain people and not in others. As we become more set in our ways and opinions, it means that we generally become more and more rigid.
As we become more rigid in our ideas, it means that we stop being fully present in all situations and with all people. It means that we will stop looking deep beneath the surface of things in many, if not most situations.
Let me suggest to you that real beauty has very little to do with its physical or external constituents. In fact, it has little to do with anything outside of our own selves.
Real beauty flows from the the heart of life itself. And where does the heart of life dwell? It dwells in none other than our own inner heart, in the essence of our own being. It is deeply and intimately connected with our own presence.
The more we are able to dwell deep within our own inner hearts and presence, fully, intensely and with no judgment, the more we will be able to gaze out into the world and witness real beauty in more and more places and people.
The more one focuses on the physical or external aspects of their world, the more infrequently that person will witness moments of real and breathtaking beauty. The more one focuses on the essence of their own being and dives deep within the deepest reaches of their own heart, the more frequently, he or she will be brought to their knees in the presence of staggeringly beautiful moments.
There is actually no limit to how many experiences of real beauty you can have in one day. Because, you see, real beauty does not exist as part of the limited, external world. Real beauty is an essential part of life itself and as such, it permeates all things and all situations.
Even situations that conventionally would be considered the farthest from an experience of beauty would be, for a person of deep heart and spirit, a moment of staggering beauty. It may not be a comfortable or a pleasurable experience, but it would be one that would stir the heart at its deepest levels.
For example, I have a friend who is currently going through an extremely painful separation from her husband. It is perhaps the most difficult time in her life that she has ever known. The experience is literally ripping her whole life apart. And yet, as she begins to breath deeply and embraces everything that is happening to her and everything that she is feeling, she is beginning to see a subtle kind of beauty shining forth. She is feeling an intensity to her feelings and a sense of possibility, a rawness and freshness that she has never felt before. This, to me, is real beauty. No amount of money can buy that kind of experience.
Each and every one of us has that power and beauty inside of us. At any moment in our lives we can begin to reflect and to shift our understanding such that we can awaken the capacity to experience and to share this kind of beauty.
I believe it is our spiritual birthright.