Monday, January 5, 2015

Beauty Ever Ancient Ever New

- in my meditation garden -

I was very taken with something I read yesterday by the poet, Gregory Orr:

One of the terms we poets use in our considerable effort 
to avoid religious and spiritual terminology is
Of course no one can define the word, or everybody defines it differently,
and yet we believe in it.
Beauty is an article of faith among poets.
I think we are trying to sidestep religion and beauty is a word we use to do that.

From my point of view, "Beauty" is another name for "God," only the word Beauty carries far less baggage than the word God. In my experience with writing this blog, if I dare to talk about "God" I am assured of angry responses demanding evidence and proof that God exists. I realize, of course, that the request for evidence is a demand for proof of the existence of some Supernatural Being - out there or up there. Obviously I have no proof of this because, as I see it, that's not who "God" is.

I also talk often about Beauty in my daily posts - especially the beauty I encounter living out here in the desert. Not once has anyone ever asked me to offer evidence that Beauty exists. Everyone believes in Beauty - that which is far more than "pretty" or "nice."  Every one of us has been touched by Beauty at one time of another- a majestic snow-covered mountain, a summer sunset, an innocent look on a child's face. And when we are touched by Beauty we are inevitably transformed, invited to come out of our "self," connected with something that is greater and deeper and truer. 

When we are touched by "Beauty" we are touched by "God." Beauty is another name for God. 

Centuries ago, Saint Augustine wrote a passionate poem about his conversion to Christianity. He doesn't offer any explanations or treatises about how God entered his life, rather he celebrates how Beauty reached out to him and tenderly pulled him into a life of faith:

Late have I loved you O Beauty ever ancient, ever new.
You called, you shouted and broke through my deafness.
You flashed, you shone and dispelled my blindness,
You breathed your fragrance on me, 
I drew breath and now I pant for you.
I have tasted you and now I hunger and thirst for more.

As I sat in my meditation garden this morning,  I glanced over at a simple desert cactus sprouting a tiny little pink flower. I had seen it many times before, but today I recognized its stunning beauty. Beauty was calling out to me, flashing, shining, breathing on me. 

Another name for God is Beauty. 

Everyone believes in Beauty and you certainly don't need to live in a desert to encounter it. 

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