Why Beauty Is Such An Integral Part Of Life (and Meditation)
Many of my friends are very much interested in politics and current affairs. They regularly go to protests and support humanitarian efforts around the world. For example, one friend is using her PHD in eye surgery to help solve blindness in developing countries. Another works for a wiki leaks style company, passionate about preserving our online privacy. Another is interested in the politics of sex and gender. She works tirelessly to rebalance feminine oppression and promote equality.
"Pavel Konstantinovitch," he said in an imploring voice, "don't be calm and contented, don't let yourself be put to sleep! While you are young, strong, confident, be not weary in well-doing! There is no happiness, and there ought not to be; but if there is a meaning and an object in life, that meaning and object is not our happiness, but something greater and more rational. Do good!” - Chekhov, Gooseberries.
Reflecting on this quote from Chekhov leads me to think back to the times that I have been directly involved in the political sphere.
In a previous incarnation, I studied politics and worked in The House Of Parliament for MP’s Iain Duncan Smith and Greg Clarke, also making a cameo at The Centre For Social Justice in Lambeth North in London. I was really keen to get the world moving. If a girlfriend had said to me back then that they didn't know who the Prime Minister was, or how voting worked, I would have been utterly aghast.
As time has passed my interest has changed shape and moved from the political to the psychological, through the spiritual and now as it rests to today, in the poetical. My exploration of these fields has been a result of following my interest as it blossomed moment to moment.
How Is Beauty Relevant
I often work with spas and other health and wellness providers and very much appreciate beauty as it is understood in that context. However, this article is here to consider beauty in a wider perspective. For example:
- A beautiful sunset or painting
- A beautiful shot on the 8th hole
- A beautiful conversation
- That fruit salad, is a beauty
A friend recently asked about my work and it’s emphasis on celebration-- on beauty and the beautiful, and how that fits in the political sphere. We deliberated and considered that both the appreciation of beauty and a celebration of life are both very wonderful things. Perhaps, it was suggested, beauty isn't a body of work practical enough to help a person struggling with some of the more essential parts of life like hunger or poverty.
I thought about this question as I always do with dear friends in conversation and considered how on earth the appreciation of beauty, and the sharing of beautiful things like poems, flowers or works of art, improve things in life. Are they simply ornamental, a lift in a busy day?
Yes. At one level that’s exactly what they are and what a lovely gift they make. Who here does not like the smell of sweet roses or watching a sunrise of a morning?
And there is more. There is something conveyed to us in beautiful things and it goes beyond aesthetics. Beauty is a calling card from eternity. It calls out to us, from within the dream to say…
They (beautiful things, flowers let's say) reach down within us and grab hold of the part of us that has a quiet remembering of a distant beautiful place we have once known and now know again through the flower. A place like home where we are splendid and magnificent. The flower is a stooge in the science experiment.
'……you are travelling far away from home in a remote place…Everything is different somehow here…It’s been so long and you feel homesick. You cary on covering the ground of life. Slowly the homesickness fades and you begin to fall sleepy and forget all about your old life, of home and all the things you once knew....
One day, years later, you sit down to dinner at a restaurant and find a bottle of Tomato Ketchup. Something about the sight of it brings a deep reassurance in your heart, a joyful flutter. It reminds you of something. Although you can’t say what…..’Surely I’ve seen this somewhere before?’
Slowly but surely, more and more of these little tokens of home pop up in your travels and with each sighting comes a building reassurance and a resurgence of interest and tenacity to go to that place. Each squirt of Ketchup brings the flavour of home.
And so it is with beautiful things. They lift your spirits on a day to day level, but somewhere at another level they are the little calling cards love leaves you along the track. Each petal a breadcrumb, singing you home.
Where do you find beauty? I usually post the beautiful things I find (flowers, beaches, poems, music, people) on Instagram so please do tag me @emmamillslondon to show me yours too.
*Image credit, this image is taken from the back of a Tiffany Jewellery Booklet. “Anyone who was a rebel at one time in life cannot return to being conventional.” #ElsaPeretti http://bit.ly/1w3flin