Today I’ll take you on a walk through our beautiful gardens with photography taken by me, and we’ll discuss the spiritual importance of beauty.

We may often think of beauty as something purely physical, experienced through our eyes or physical senses, but beauty is an experience all encompassing and has deep importance in our spiritual life.

When our senses are fully engaged to recognize true natural beauty, we are transformed on every level of our physical, emotional and spiritual being – something within us softens, opens and expands. We are most fully alive in that moment. The way of beauty is the way of life is the way of love.

Beauty matters, and if we ignore this inner spiritual need we may find ourselves in what may feel like a spiritual desert. In the words of Plato, “The contemplation of beauty causes the soul to grow wings.”

Beauty matters, and it matters what we look at and absorb because it shapes us from within and shapes the way we experience ourselves and all external also. We live in a world of fillers, filters, potions and lotions, and inverted visions of what natural beauty is. When we look at something long enough it shapes our vision and perspective, and we are essentially living in a world of increasing dehumanization, distortion and inverted images and twisted understandings and perceptions of what real and natural beauty are.

This impacts us because then we can’t recognize the real things, the ones that truly matter; and moreover, people have begun to be incapable of recognizing the difference between true and false, and good and bad, which affects their choices and path forward, as they lack in discernment and connection to their heart. Beauty is an inner movement, because beauty is an experience.

It is so important what we look at – what and whom we surround ourselves with; ugliness, superficiality, shallowness, fakeness – these are not beautiful things, they harden us and harden our hearts and spirits. We need beautiful words, language, beautiful movements, gestures.

Because love too is a movement of beauty, a way of beauty. There is purity in beauty that is unmistakable, like the innocence of heart in true love, and it moves us emotionally and spiritually. This is why when we are in love all suddenly becomes beautiful and we find beauty everywhere – because love opens us, opens our hearts, our eyes, our senses, and we recognize true beauty. And we ourselves become softer – softer speech, softer hands, softer movements. Harmony enters us, and radiates from us. We become beauty itself. Just like the dancer becomes the dance itself, the dreamer becomes the dream, the lover the love, the beauty becomes us.

Beauty has spiritual essence, and is a spiritual thing; one may be able to recognize true beauty because they have the eyes and hearts to see it. Beauty is spiritual and we are here to embrace it because it is God’s creation for us. God created a beautiful world that we are meant to treasure, appreciate and rejoice in its delight. For those of you in the Christian tradition, Genesis 2:9 speaks of how God chose to create trees that are “pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Our attraction to beauty is an intrinsic part of God’s good design. Genesis 2 reveals a multisensory world with stunning vistas to gaze upon, luscious fruit to savour, the wafting scent of aromatic resin, and the gentle gurgling of streams

In other religions and traditions as well from all over the world such as Indigenous traditions, Buddhism and Hinduism, beauty is deeply treasured. I’ve written previously of this in How to Walk the Way of Beauty, and even in monasteries and ashrams we see how beautifully the monks take care of the gardens and flowers and spend time each time to treasure the beauty that nature offers us. In Christian Orthodox churches when one enters they see icons adorned with gold – and these are not meant to be worshipped, they are meant to be windows for us to enter an energy that softens us; they are not the ocean itself, they are the window. In the same way, beauty is a window that allows us to enter worlds that essentially can open worlds within us also – worlds of love.

I believe we need to be encouraged and encourage others, and inspire them too, to take moments to notice real beauty. Because we need to remember what it looks like. We live in a world where culture and art seem to diminish our lives, rather than enriching them and inspiring us.

As an art lover myself who goes to art galleries, well, I can’t even remember the last time I saw something that I’d describe as beautiful, and most times there isn’t even any depth or meaning at all. I often wonder what kinds of worlds must people live in within in order to perceive ugliness as beautiful, or vulgarity as beautiful. And then there are the distorted standards of physical beauty, as we see on social media – fillers, filters, imjections, extensions, people look dehumanized. Natural beauty needs to be treasured.

And there are the other real beauty of life of course – the laughter of those we love, the hands we hold, the gentleness of movements with kindness and patience. We need to notice the beauty in our life and treasure it – because this is a sacred gift to us for our souls, hearts and spirits to be nourished.

Beauty inspires us to move and act in more harmonious ways, and it inspires us to be better human beings. It is believed that human beings are motivated less by what we know to be true, or by “doing the right thing”, and more by what we find beautiful. We are attracted to love, harmony, beauty – it is just how it is, because its essence is light.

The way of beauty is the way of life is the way of love. It’s about a movement in a specific way. It is cleanliness, beauty of language, beauty of gestures, beauty of the fragrance we leave for other people in the way we’ve touched their life.

Compassion, tenderness, joy, forgiveness, and openness, are all just different shapes of love, different movements of love, different speeds of love. When we express them through our actions, we become fully embodied in love, rather than only ideas and thoughts about love, like clouds flowing the sky. We have to be able to build love, contain love and emit love.

The natural impulse towards beauty is the impulse towards spirituality and love. The greatest work of art that any artist can create is himself; and this is why we, as human beings, each of us, is a great poem of God.

In this sense, we are all artists made and who make continuously something of our lives and of ourselves as human beings. If we choose to create in the way of grace and alignment to God’s will and higher spiritual values, we create so much beauty through all our gestures, words and hands each day for humanity.

The virtuous artist creates beautiful art with the intention to be aligned to higher values, connect to God, be spiritually pure and contribute to others – and inspiring those who see it, in turn, to the virtuous life. A life of virtue is a life of love and because beauty is the radiance of love, and so the life of love is also a beautiful life.

The impulse for beauty, when it aligns to virtues, acts in harmony with the moral conscience, one complementing the other. There are of course those artists who may create beautiful art but internally are immoral, unhappy and cruel. But when one marries the internal with the external aligned to purity of heart, beauty always radiates from them in all ways.

We need to develop the impulse for true beauty, to be able to recognize it and aspire towards us. Cultural influences may often distort our perceptions of what is good and true, and they can diminish our abilities to apprehend beauty too, just as love too can become difficult to recognize.

As such, we need to find a way to develop our capacity to recognize what is truly beautiful in order to be able to follow the Way of Beauty – and the path is the path of love; the love that unfolds through all of its movements, speeds, shapes and forms, such as compassion, tenderness, patience, joy, gratitude, compassion … the all and everything that opens us, softens us, and inspires us to be more loving human beings.

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Photography by me. All rights reserved. 

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