Beauty awakens the soul and is the deep environment and ecology of its flourishing. We perceive beauty when it is in accord with our own soul. Beauty is a property of the soul, and we possess it most intensely when we are true to our own being. To find and know beauty is a way to find ourselves in a form of self-knowledge, for in finding it we are finding lost parts of ourselves.
Often we are drawn towards news for entertainment which perpetuates the culture war, division and violence. The feeling of separation that results is the hoax. The virus that has invaded our lives is proof positive that we are much more united than we ever imagined. The whole world is experiencing the effects of this pandemic. It is difficult not to become withdrawn, depressed, overwhelmed by grief when so much of the national response is a denial of the reality of unity. A deepening of the false divisions among human beings and communities. An attitude of denial, hatred and greed obscures the soul and maintains a deep level of unconsciousness.
To seek, or create beauty is the most important thing we can do to bring balance into our lives during this difficult, and often harrowing time. It would be quite easy for me to simply escape into the beauty of the life I have created and to forget the horror that our country is experiencing. But I know that we are all connected, so I spend measured time each week, attending to events in the wide world. I am careful to choose reliable sources of information. It helps to stick to the facts and to create my own commentary. I try to live my values and to look deeply at the views and perspectives of others. It is so much to hold in my heart. There is so much pain and grief, violence and oppression. It effects us all. We each have an important part to play if we are going to survive the current crisis and grow into a more beautiful world the heart knows is possible. I believe the wisdom that is needed to guide each individual through these dark times is to be found in the depth of our soul. The importance of beauty is that it is the language of the soul. Through the experience of beauty we can begin to touch and live out the beauty that is found in the depth of the individual soul.
Beauty surrounds us, but is often hidden from our perceptions, so when we seek it out and find it, the harmonies within the hidden things we find are in truth the hidden laws which exist already within us. It is this discovery that begins to awaken us. The master key is this, when the beauty in the world around us touches us at the deepest point of our own souls, the nous, the doorway to Eternity opens within, and a greater Light coming from the depths of Being itself begins to shine and awaken us.
One of the ways that I nurture my soul during this time of isolation and quarantine is by facilitating a Wednesday morning zoom meditation group. I need a certain amount of structure and commitment in my life in order to accomplish anything of purpose and value. This group provides the motivation I need to spend time contemplating and formulating a focus of meditation that will hopefully be a respite for our souls. The following is this weeks meditation offering.
Before you continue, I invite you to stand a moment, take a few slow deep breaths, then find a comfortable seat and read slowly aloud the following words, once or twice.
The Beautiful: An Invocation of a Whole and Holy Order
The beautiful offers an invitation to order, coherence and unity. When these needs are met the soul feels at home in the world.
The beautiful unifies feeling, thought and dream.
Beauty offers us refreshment, elevation and remembrance of our true origin and real destination.
The beautiful is the true priestess of individuation, inviting us to engage the infinite design that shapes our days and dreams.
Beauty, the true priestess, invites us to surrender so we can participate in a new and vital coherence that is native to our desire.
In such uncertain times, we yearn for this order and coherence, which brings the emerging forms of our own growth into rhythm with the concealed order of creation.
From a place of resentment, or fear or blindness, beauty is often refused, repudiated, or cut down to the size of our timid perceptions.
What we refuse to attend cannot reach us.
In turning away from beauty, we turn away from all that is wholesome and true.
Beauty does not force on us any manufactured coherence towards which we must falsely strain.
The existence and autonomy of the beautiful is a threshold which holds the real and the ideal in connection and conversation with each other.
This acquaintance coaxes the soul to the land of wonder where the journey becomes a bright path between source and horizon, awakening and surrender.
Adapted from the writings of John O’Donohue
When we meditate, we slow and deepen the breath, so that the in breath and the out breath each take 5 - 6 seconds. After a few breath cycles, we bring our awareness to the heart center, by simply focusing attention at the level of the heart, or placing the hands on the heart in whatever way feels natural and comfortable. This allows the mind to drop down into the level of the heart. It is in this mental/emotional space that healing occurs. I encourage you to rest in this place allowing the breath to be naturally deep and slow, perhaps in rhythm to the natural phrasing of the music.
Come. Come, whoever you are!
Wanderer, worshiper, Lover of Leaving.
This is not a caravan of despair.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your vow a thousand times,
And yet again come.
Jalal al-Din Rumi
Blessings to each of you on the journey.
Om Shanti, Shanti.
The first two quotes are from writings by my friend and teacher Lynn Bauman.