There is a relationship between truth and beauty. To recognise our unique beauty is also to discover our personal truth. How could it be any other way? Each one of us contains rare and precious gifts for the world. And to find them, we must be willing to see by the light inside us.
Often if we’re feeling lost and confused, it’s because we’ve lost sight of that special spark inside… so we find ourselves fumbling around in the darkness… And yet, just as gold and gemstones are found in the depths of the earth, those dark times can lead to valuable discoveries… because our deepest resources always lie hidden from view - how else would we keep them safe?
I call this search for our deepest truth and beauty The Sacred Treasure Hunt… and that’s what I experience life to be… A kind of playful pilgrimage into the mystery in which you create your own map and destination. The point, I believe, is to enjoy the ride and to weave a web of mutual enrichment that supports your flourishing in service of something greater than your own needs.
Beauty is never a product of disconnection, but always a result of interplay - the light on the water, the dew in the grass, the web in the bush, beaded with dew, reflecting the light. Indeed there is a relationship between beauty, subtlety, complexity and integrity. Where beauty meets simplicity we find elegance, but never crudeness.
Beauty soothes us, connects us and enlivens us. Far from being superficial and frivolous, beauty is, I believe, our truest North and trustiest guide.
Einstein declared that he ‘never made (his) discoveries through rational thinking’, but rather through a pursuit of ‘kindness, beauty and truth.’ Indeed, the pursuit of truth and beauty has characterised the development of cultures throughout our history. Although ideas of what is true and what is beautiful differ across time and space, Truth and Beauty are abiding principles and guiding values in the cultivation of joy and meaning. So when we are feeling lost, we can turn to beauty to guide our way home. In the words of John O’Donohue:
‘In turning away from beauty, we turn away from all that is wholesome and true, and deliver ourselves into an exile where the vulgar and artificial dull and deaden the human spirit… The beautiful offers us an invitation to order, coherence and unity. When these needs are met, the soul feels at home in the world.’
And there’s another piece of the puzzle - the relationship between beauty and belonging... We feel at home in beauty because it reminds us of what we’re made of and where we came from. To recognise our beauty is to remember who we truly are and why we came here. And so to find our gifts is also to find our place.
What we find beautiful reflects our essence. And so to reveal what is beautiful to us, is also to reveal our own unique flavour and way of loving the world. Beauty touches us somewhere deep inside, and what ravishes our senses tells the story of our love affair with life. Indeed, the experience of beauty is intimate and sacred. And to share what we find beautiful is to commune at the level of soul.
I define the sacred as that which is both beautiful and meaningful, and in my life, beauty and meaning are very much intertwined. For me, to notice, appreciate and create beauty is to celebrate life and commune with the sacred. I show my devotion to the wonder and mystery of the world by watching sunsets, picking up pinecones, gathering leaves, arranging flowers and making altars.
I feel like I’m engaged in a kind of secret romance with the world made up of many stolen moments of silent ecstasy in which my heart bursts with gladness for the incredible gift of life.
The beauty that I create in those moments of exuberance helps to bolster and uplift me on the days when I am feeling tired and flat. Because there is also a relationship between beauty, gratitude and celebration: We are grateful for the beautiful and beauty makes us grateful for life; we celebrate the beautiful and we celebrate by creating beauty… In the words of Pierro Ferucci,
One element, more than any other, and more strongly and directly, can support us in our predicament and persuade us that life is worth living, that happiness is possible: Beauty in all its forms.
I couldn’t agree more. If you’re interested in exploring these ideas, join me for The Beauty Way, where we’ll be working with beauty as a guide to meaning and belonging.