Beauty feeds the soul. It is important to recognize this and incorporate beauty into your everyday life. Beauty can be visual, auditory or tactile. It can be found in nature, in your home, in your leisure activities and at work. Because our inner life is reflected in our outer life and vice versa, the environment that we attract and create around us is a mirror of the beauty inside of us.
I was reminded of the need for beauty at a symphony concert last night. Classical music is a testimony to the highest emotions and spiritual yearnings of a human being. So much of classical music is religiously inspired or is the composer’s attempt to express his/her life’s meaning in the midst of its joys and sorrows. Listening to classical music, especially instrumental music, is the equivalent of reading a book vs. seeing a movie of the same book. The music invokes your imagination and emotions just like a book does, but it does not proscribe the visual images that you create with it. That is up to you.
Visual art also reflects the artist’s attempt to express his/her highest self amidst human frailty. I need to view art on a regular basis to feed my soul. In fact, I need some in my home. Nature is another form of beauty that is vital to the nourishment of our souls. Many people crave the sensory beauty of nature because in nature comes their most poignant connection to Source.
We need to incorporate beauty in everyday life. To some, that may mean preparing a beautiful meal every night. To others, it may mean wearing beautiful, stylish clothes. Or it may mean savoring a good glass of wine or beer. Or creating a beautiful home and garden, or bringing in a flower arrangement into the home or office every week. To some women, it may mean getting her fingernails done every other week. Thank goodness there is an endless variety of how humans can seek beauty. This diversity of tastes and preferences results in the rich and varied world around us.
Everything that we experience in this human body is spiritual, so our quest for beauty to feed our souls is a spiritual pursuit. Contrary to what you may have learned as a child, our whole body experience is God-given and everything about it is designed to provide joy and pleasure, and also challenges and learning opportunities.
In pagan religions, you often hear a quote about the Goddess: "All rites of love and pleasure are mine." In other words, enjoy beauty, enjoy bodily pleasure as long as it is loving, love lavishly and live abundantly, because to do so honors Divinity.
Where does our search for beauty become ego-based and not spiritual? There is a fuzzy line between yearning for beauty to feed our soul and yearning for more and more things because of a need for prestige or social standing. When does the need for beauty turn the corner into a want for more?
Each person must examine their own values and motives in seeking beauty. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting a beautiful house, car, clothing and other accoutrements of the abundant life. If your motive, deep inside, is to acquire more for show or prestige, then that is a want or a grasping. However, if your deepest motive is to seek beauty in order to live large and abundantly or to seek pleasure in love, then it is a pure desire. A puritanical approach to abundance, in which you eschew pleasure or worldly possessions to be a good person in God’s eyes, serves no one, including God. Again, God wants you to experience beauty, pleasure and abundance, because those are integral parts of the human experience - the human experience that God and your soul co-created for you.
And, because no life is without suffering, the experience of beauty provides a contrast to the experience of pain. In the midst of pain, the most comforting moment can be the recognition of beauty and pleasure - a reminder that life is never all bad.