SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does Beauty mean to you? Can you share a story that illustrates Beauty also performing the work of Truth and Good? What practice helps you bring this Beauty into your work and life?
This question will generate a different answer from different people, but perhaps beauty is something that invites us to rise up beyond what we thought possible, because it speaks truth. I am a huge fan of music, and I tend to listen for beauty in music, which is to say that I like to feel that the artist is expressing what is truth to him/her. I have also read books that are beautiful. I try to bring this beauty into my work and life by remembering to be true to my values and ideals. This is often a challenge, since many forces pull us in directions that encourage us to be someone else, but when I can remember, it is empowering to feel this beauty.
What did Dostoyevsky mean by Beauty? Beauty is a very relative term. What is beautiful for me might not be so for someone else. Everyone has his or her own definition of beauty. Beautiful eyes, beautiful face, beautiful grace, beautiful body language, beautiful occasion, beautiful nature, beautiful morning, beautiful crowd, beautiful music, beautiful this, beautiful that.....Yes, beauty is certainly a blend of truth, good and many more things that are beautiful.
I feel that there is a truth to what Dostoyevsky said, but that it is far more esoteric than what Solzhenitsyn has written about here. My sense is that Beauty resonates with us in a way that is beyond the intellectual mind, under the table of the ego. As Rashimi wrote, Beauty pulls us toward it perhaps because it reminds us that we are one with it already; Beauty tickles our hearts in that place where we are not separate from anything.
I felt a bit saddened reading this piece. Did Solzhenitsyn contradict his meaning with his form? To my ear, the way he expressed his ideas did not sing or dance. Where did the poetry go? Was his beauty was lost in translation? Or is beauty so relative, as David has suggested, that another reader found beauty here that I missed, because I did not have the ears to hear it?
I will continue to ponder the notion that untrue ideas cannot fit into a beautiful form—yet I see an attempt to convey that very thing in advertising on a daily basis. And many of us are hooked by it, seduced...
The ancient Hindu story of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk is a wonderful story to study when we wish to look at the place, the need, and the power of Beauty. It's a tale of how Beauty did save the world. In that myth, Divinity alternates between manifesting and hiding, between the numinous and the seductive, found among the perceptual world—then hopelessly lost—and only recovered again by going deep, deep within.
(Curious that I seem to struggle more with what to say about this topic than with any topic so far.) For me, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or more accurately, in the soul of the beholder. Beauty is that which catches my attention and touches my soul in a positive way, and I feel some amount of awe, joy, and appreciation. There is a Greek saying that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Beauty stimulates my senses and imagination, and I am caught up in it, present to it and with it and disconnected from other realities of life for a few or many moments. For me, an example of Beauty is a ballerina performing impeccably with grace and balance which simultaneously opens me to the impeccable grace and balance of Truth and Good. The practice of being in the present, seeing and responding to what is happening brings Beauty into my work and life. I suppose what appears as beauty pulls out a sliver of Beauty that is in the beholder.[Hide Full Comment]