It’s the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. Joan Chittister
There is a Navaho blessing that says “May you walk in beauty” which at its very essence is the spiritual practice of beauty. It is not a reflection or society’s definition of beauty; but rather it is a path you travel on, the perception of how you “see” what surrounds you. It is an inner reflection of life. Thus, the first aspect of the spiritual practice is to work towards a new definition of what the word itself means.
We begin with knowing that there is beauty everywhere and we simply need to discover it. When we know it is there, the experience of beauty can be felt in the physical; simplicity rather than complexity. Taking away all the old excuses and definitions of why something may not reflect beauty can be difficult. Our routine and habit of seeing the world my society’s definition causes us to become lost in a rut of habit. It narrows our mind.
It can be startling, stimulating or soothing. It can be cultivated, nurtured, and experienced. It is not simply an adjective.
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” Mulan – Walt Disney
Practice: Imagery exercise
We will work with the Navajo prayer “May you walk in beauty” for this exercise.
- Close your eyes and breathe out three long slow exhalations
- Using your favorite color, see and sense beauty before you
- Letting the color float away again inhale and allow yourself to see and sense beauty before you
- See and sense the beauty behind you
- Inhale again see and sense beauty in front of you
- Inhale again see and sense beauty above you
- Inhale again see and sense beauty below you
- Inhale again see and sense beauty all around you
- Breathe out slowly and see and feel yourself walking in beauty
- When you are experiencing beauty all around you, breathe out again and open your eyes.
There are many ways to practice the experience of beauty. From the crack in a sidewalk that is creating an intricate pattern. One exercise that can really bring the experience into focus is to spend a week writing down every experience of beauty you have during the course of the day in your journal, whether the experience is material or an ahha moment.
The soul’s beauty is harder to see than beauty of the body. Aristotle
Practice: Journal Exercise
Expand upon the idea of writing everything you experience of beauty in a day to the following outline.
- Day 1 journal about an experience in childhood
- Day 2 journal about an experience either at school or work
- Day 3 journal about an experience in nature
- Day 4 journal about an experience in your home
- Day 5 journal about an experience that surprised you
- Day 6 journal about an experience that few consider beauty
- Day 7 journal about an experience when looking in the mirror
Carla Goddard, Msc.D. is a Creality Visionary catalyst weaving soul spirituality and business together transforming the chaos of life into a path of peace and prosperity. She is changing the way we engage with life and business by bringing spirituality, ethics and integrity into alignment of who we are by illuminating and expanding ancient wisdom, the power of collaboration, the spirit of creation and the expansion of conscious awareness.