Monday, May 30, 2011

In Love with Beauty

Beauty. It is intangible, our sense of it fleeting -- though in itself, beauty is all pervasive. Rather than celebrating the object we find beautiful we should rather celebrate the moments our minds awaken to it. Beauty is up to us to perceive. We tend to wait for it to pounce on us, to assault us with its power, to overtake us with its awe-inspiring qualities. 

If we wait like this and do not reach, search, look, and become curious about beauty, then there is no foundation for an ongoing relationship with beauty and we will experience it rarely. 

When I wake in the morning, surrounded by beautiful objects, selected and arranged by me, the start of my day is beautiful. My home, where I land for rest and rejuvenation, is beauty. With endless places and angles and scenes upon which my eye anrest, I remain nourished by my home. My aesthetic is not functional or modern, but historical -- the objects in my home, most acquired second-hand, have stories in themselves that go beyond my possession of them. This is what I find beautiful.

There are the traditional faces of beauty -- a flower arrangement, a painting with harmonious colors, and woman with almond eyes, cascading hair, and full lips. An elegantly shaped vase, mountain peaks covered in the previous season's snow, a lake that reflects the moon. All these are beautiful to the senses. But what is beautiful to the mind? 

I would say that when the mind engages with beauty, it does so through stories. The history of an object, a place, or a human being enriches our appreciation, our admiration of what this thing in front of us is. As a result, we begin to expand our experience of the five physical senses into a mind and heart sense. Through this, we can more deeply understand the object and our hearts open and reach out to the beauty we perceive. 

In doing so, we are no longer distant observers. We are now in relationship, allowing beauty to enter us and become part of us. Our emotions begin to dance around the form, color, and story, imagination can take hold as we engage empathy to put ourselves, for example, into 17th century England when a portrait was painted, into the feeling of silks and robes and jewels, into nobility, into the personality that has been revealed. 

It is through this reaching out with our minds and hearts that we fall in love with beauty. And this is how we begin to see it everywhere we look.