The Contradiction of Beauty

the great beauty

We live in a culture of distraction. Excessive information, over consumption and technological advances at an alarming rate. Inertia overwhelms our bodies and minds forward, allowing barely enough time and space for our spirit to catch up. In our ever quickening complicated daily lives, how do we find the magical within the mundane, the sacred within the profane?

Slowing down, simplicity and awe of everyday life is the starting point for finding a place where it all can reside, if not harmoniously, at least respectfully. When we understand that to truly experience and embody life, we must experience it all on whatever level is authentic to us. It is the acceptance and the embrace of everything, every thing. There is beauty to be found in the everyday ordinary, in whatever form it takes.

This is the contradiction of beauty. Beauty isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it’s the bittersweet ache of life’s everyday suffering and pain. Suffering is something we all experience, almost wrestle with deeply at some point or throughout our lives, and yet no one dares to talk about it. We wear happy smiles and speak of nothing like ceaseless chatter at a cocktail party; we learn to play the part in a superfluous performance. I don’t have the skill or fortitude to endure these kinds of conversations for very long. They leave me empty and longing for quiet and calm.

I have a reverence for the beauty of silence.  And yet, I need to experience the awe of unspeakable beauty in the company of others. We need each other. We need the kindness and compassion of both strangers and friends. We need the comfort and care of those who know every beat of our heart as if it were their own. We need the chaos and confusion that lets us know we are truly alive. You, me, all of thee.

How do we wrestle these contradictions with grace? We find something worth being for, something that drives our interior world and brings meaning to what matters. The question is, do we know what really matters? Beauty is a sense of having a purpose, something to focus one’s Self with a kind of devotion that becomes a daily discipline. Once you know what truly matters, your way of seeing and being in the world changes. You can no longer tolerate the superficiality, whatever that is for you, for very long. You must seek solace in silence and refuge with those people and places that offer the kind of sustenance that feeds you wholly (holy). Beauty is in the quiet contemplation, without getting lost in our own sentimentality. This practice is not easy, but there are so many riches if we can see and be grateful for the good. When we see the good, we see our God.

Let life teach you a thing or two. Dare to do something, not just experience it on an informed intellectual level. Live it. Write, paint, dance, cook, sing, do whatever you must. Be both witness and participant. Our life, our movement within this world, is a meditation. It is our sacred prayer. Dig deep to find the substance that fuels the art of living, your daily dance. Go deeper, into the darkness if you must. Let your unrest fuel the quest. Embrace the sublime meaning of it all, the good, the bad, the profane, the sacred, the beautiful. (more…)