Week 14: Beauty
Start with noticing beauty within
Much will already be said about finding beauty in the life around us. I can look at my town, the nature around me, my home and see a real beauty. I think many who are part of Lifelabs will share a desire to explore the beauty of the world around us: it often goes hand in hand with acknowledging our gratitude.
So, starting from a place where I am (usually) willing to notice the beauty of the world around me, I decided to flip the experiment to try and find the beauty in myself. This may sound trite, but I can often meditate for several minutes about the beauty of a flower or a tree, yet get caught up in irritation at myself or those around me. I then feel disappointed at myself and frustration at an emotion that in many ways has 'contaminated' any feeling of real gratitude! Rather than look for the beauty outside me, I needed to see what was within.
Finding beauty in myself was thought provoking. If beauty is to notice something attractive, elevating, pleasurable it can feel quite clumsy attributing it to me! But each day I did: I noticed my energy, my desire to develop my practice of meditation, opening up my feelings to a good friend, my curiosity for life. I couldn't focus five minutes on this, but I could notice the impact this inner beauty has on the world around me. My energy is transferred into a smile, a positive word, a desire to share. My meditation feeds this energy, brings me peace. This in turn develops the curiosity for life and the willingness to open up emotionally with friends. And so it goes on....and yes I have many areas that are not 'beautiful', but they are me and I will no doubt continue at times to become irritated with myself and try to overcome them! Perhaps though by exploring the inner beauty on a more regular basis I may find contentment in a way that self-criticism can never do? After all, self- analysis can get pretty intense and irritating in itself, so I may as well look for the inner joy!
At the end of the four days my thoughts are that usually when I reflect on myself I will pick out the negatives and berate myself for them - often because they seem to be the same each time. Changing my mindset to see the other side and then more of a whole view has been useful and actually quite relaxing! It has also allowed me to be even more open to the beauty of what is around and, after all, is that not absolutely one of the main beauties there is in life?