~ awake in this moment, at home in the world ~

The Gift of Beauty

April 2, 2020

In the end, the world will be saved by beauty.

~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Oh, beauty, how you save us, with your daily revelations of shimmering light. You pull us up from the muddle and confusion of our lives and return us to full blooming color. You shock us into wonder. You remind us what a gift we have been given to revel in the amazements of this world.

Time and time again, dear beauty, you startle us out of despair, out of laziness, out of a too casual relationship with the world. You enlarge and expand us. You comfort and reassure us. You breathe life into us, even when we've felt we would never breathe again. With the tint of the sky in the early morning or a few quiet bars of a favorite melody, you return us to our lives.

And yet we treat you so casually, as if you were nothing more than an incidental grace notes to our days. We cast you aside in favor of efficiency and speed. We pretend we don't need you to live well. We forget that if we dare to live with our eyes wide open, then you are as necessary as the sun that warms our cheeks and the air that keeps us alive.

Starting now, let's return beauty to a place of priority in our lives. Let's say yes to the beautiful and the bright. Let's keep our eyes wide open and stalk the magnificent and miraculous. Let's cultivate the vision of an artist who can unearth a shining shard of light even in the drabbest day, or perhaps can even revel in the secrets of the darkness. Let's save ourselves - and the world - by drenching our lives in amazements that clear our vision and awaken our hearts.

For surely, beauty brings our days back into living color. Beauty clears our head of the unnecessary. It quenches our soul's thirst for something more than smallness and simple comfort. It reminds us what could be, indeed who we could be. It reveals to us who we are when fully enlightened, when lit up with life from within.

Breathtaking beauties come in all guises, large and small: an exquisite meal lovingly prepared, words crafted in perfect order, Beethoven's Ode to Joy. A small and unexpected smile. Morning light shimmering across unblemished snow. Monet's waterlilies. Light on the water. Jasmine. A pair of blue eyes. A startling line of poetry. A baby. Beloved lilies in the summer garden. A loon cry piercing the pre-dawn light.

Let's stalk these beauties and more. Let's create beauty in any way we can and let's share it with everyone around us. Let's clear our vision enough so we may see the beauties scattered about us, just waiting to be revealed.

As we open our eyes to the wonders all about us, we see that beauty reunites us not just with a larger presence in the world, but with one another, too. Beauty brings us together. In its light, we stand together, jaws slack and eyes wide open. We grasp hands, we call out in unison, we slip just a little closer together. We bask in some greater sense of communion, and we exhale in the remembrance that we are not alone.

Oh, thank you, dear beauty, for all your wonders. You buoy us and comfort us. You inspire us to stand taller and shine more brightly. You offer us a deeper sense of unity with the whole wide world. You return us to the center of the circle out of which all life flows. You make us whole again, returning us to that force, that light, that amazement that gives birth to us all.

This essay was originally offered as part of Claudia's 
online immersion Gift of the World.