Episode 103 – Awakening to Beauty
Life is ecstatically beautiful. A new baby is awake to it. But somewhere along the way, most of us stopped paying attention to the beauty of the world and got entrenched in another one. We became conditioned to think that beauty is subjective, something we decide. But what if we could see beauty in everything – as God’s handwriting? What if beauty spawned our feelings of love? When we slow down, pause, become present and behold beauty in all its magnificence, we can fall in love with life and see everything in a new way. In this episode we share our relationship with and experience of beauty, and how we can make it a centerpiece of our lives.
We live in a world of beauty. Babies and children see it.
But we grow up. Why do we fall away from beholding the beauty all around us?
Story of the Garden of Eden
Dr. Zach Bush:
“If we are here for anything, it’s to experience beauty and to recognize it and to shout it from the rooftops when we see it. And if you just do that in your day-to-day, if you dig into beauty, and you make sure that everything you do is grounded back to a pursuit of beauty, you are going to find a different life…”
“Love is not the fabric of everything. The fabric of everything is beauty. And our reaction to seeing the beauty is love.”
Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats May 1819
Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.
O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’
We have a cultural idea of beauty – that it is something we decide; something we are or are not
In Bible, it is often denounced as a false vanity – not a worthy use of our time and energy, frivolous, corrupting, not Godly
American Beauty movie, 1999
“Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world … I feel like I can’t take it… and my heart is just going to cave in.”
So much beauty? Or a piece of trash?
What are you willing to see?
Select something in your world – animate or inanimate, ordinary or extraordinary, visual or auditory – and spend 15 minutes with it, perceiving its beauty
Make this your meditation
Observe the experience that arises in you
Dialogue and Inquiry
What is your relationship with beauty?
How do you experience the interrelationship of love and beauty?
What was your experience of perceiving beauty in something? What did you select? How did you experience time while doing this? What arose in you?
What is your response to the American Beauty scene?
If beauty is God’s handwriting, why do you think we block it from our awareness?
What do you do to make beauty a centerpiece of your life?
I see the radiant light of God in all that is. Grass flows in a sea of green. Flowers burst in radiant colors. Trees stand tall, clothed in lush leaves and gentle blossoms. God is in the flight of the robin, the trickle of the stream and the pounce of a squirrel. When I am present and look at the world with willing eyes, I see God in all things — in and around me, in the ordinary and extraordinary, in grand and humble places. From the smallest subatomic particle to the grandest mountain range— beauty is divinely created. Beholding the beauty of God’s glorious creation, my heart is filled with love and gratitude.