by: Jane Bishop Halteman
November 16, 2015
Have you ever noticed that beauty, whether it be found in nature or artwork, music or dance, food or the faces of people around you, offers rest for the weary?
A blog post I read last week by Brad Nelson says this about beauty: “Experiencing beauty does something to restore the soul. Regular exposure to beauty makes us feel alive, in part because beauty is what we were made for, and (in part because) ‘beneath the broken surface of our lives’ as Thomas Merton would say, beauty is a reflection of who we are and what the world is. I know of no better word to describe what I sense in moments of beauty than the word wholeness.”
Our encounters with beauty, Nelson postulates, propel us beyond a kind of momentary wholeness, to which beauty is able to restore us, toward a “renewed capacity to call forth the hidden loveliness of all things.”
If you are intrigued at the thought of noticing beauty as a spiritual practice, Spirituality and Practice offers a journal exercise that suggests describing and reacting to a variety of beauties: 1) recall a beauty experienced in childhood, 2) a beauty experienced at school or work, 3) a beauty in nature, 4) a beauty in your home, 5) a surprising beauty, 6) something most people consider to be beautiful, 7) something few people consider to be beautiful.
At the close of your reflection on what you find beautiful, consider these words from Matthew Fox: “Beauty saves. Beauty heals. Beauty motivates. Beauty unites. Beauty returns us to our origins, and here lies the ultimate act of saving, of healing, of overcoming dualism. Beauty allows us to forget the pain and dwell on the joy.”—Matthew Fox in Original Blessing
“We all share beauty. It strikes us indiscriminately….There is no end to beauty for the person who is aware. Even the cracks between the sidewalk contain geometric patterns of amazing beauty. If we take pictures of them and blow up the photographs, we realize we walk on beauty every day, even when things seem ugly around us.”—Matthew Fox in Creation Spirituality
In German the word “beautiful” is related to shining. A beautiful person is one whose inner brilliance permeates his/her entire being. What has been your most memorable encounter with a person who was shining? How does this shining draw you to God? How can you be part of the shining as you relate to those around you…here at KRMC, in your family, at work, in school settings, or wherever you find yourself?