On Beauty

Big Sur

I stand on the edge of a precipice. Physically I stand looking down into an abyss of sea, rocks and sand, hundreds of feet down. It is beauty. It is awe. It is wonder. It is scary. It is big, bigger than us. It is demanding, demanding of us.

Snapping a picture I do not. In my mind, yes, but here, the image is part of the universal conversation that takes place between existing formations continuously. The formation of rugged coastline, deep below my feet, and the formation currently taken up by me. A meeting of bodily sensation, mindful observation, emotional wonder, and spiritual awe.

This is the definition of Beauty and suffering is involved. Sadness that this beauty is not permanent. I will turn my back, get in the car, and go home to what I do. To my work, to my coffee, to my glass of red wine, to my favorite TV show, and so on. Beauty is difficult to behold because there is suffering involved.

Unlike Pretty. A pretty dress, a pretty face, a pretty room, a pretty painting, a pretty song, a pretty landscape. Pretty sustains. It feels more permanent. It feels more safe. And it is possible to cuddle with the sense of Pretty. Pretty is feast for the eyes and makes happy.

I have a fetish for Beauty. The immediate and impermanent sensation that is unsustainable in relation to ordinary living. But still, I manage to re-visit as often as I can. When looking out the window from an airplane at the immense sky and vast cloud formations; when looking up into the top of large redwood trees; and when driving up hair pin bends to the top of a mountain.

I challenge these moments of Beauty to enter my life or at least, to not ignore them but have them join the continuous and conversational reality that is here.

For this piece I was inspired by the poet David Whyte

 

 

4 Comments »

  1. Beautiful post! I love what you say about “the universal conversation that takes place between existing formations continuously,” and how it is “a meeting of bodily sensation, mindful observation, emotional wonder, and spiritual awe. It’s true what you say about beauty and suffering, at least at the human level. We suffer with the knowledge that such beauty is so fleeting, and seems so terrible because of it.

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