Access The Beauty
I often forget I’m a human being. I forget to stop. To stop rushing away into some future moment or improved version of myself. In spending the holidays with Phoebe, my 18-month old granddaughter, she helped me return to the simplicity and the magnificence of who I am, who we all are. Her eyes were so wide open in wonder and awe at the beauty all around her. She found fun and fascination in the simplest of things: a collection of measuring spoons, a crinkled piece of wrapping paper and even the ring on my left hand. In noticing how quickly Phoebe was amazed by what we adults overlook, reminds me that we are all born into appreciation and that our loss of it reflects the ultimate disconnect from ourselves, each other, and world around us.
We instinctively know that this life is our birthright and the only place where true meaning and happiness resides. So why as we grow do we become callous — and cynical even — to the masterpiece right in front and all around us? How do we return to that innocent, wide open, appreciative state?
Are you still awake to a life infused with wonder and awe? Is the door open?
The Closed Door
Unfortunately our overthinking minds deconstruct everything and, in doing so, critique the world and categorize its “appreciation-worthiness” based on some subjective scale, stemming from our programming and expectations. And we don’t even know were doing it. What we do know is that we can no longer feel the beauty all around, so it takes more stimulation and even shock sometimes — as the Netflix profit formula points at — to become excited by the “every day.” This is because we get used to it; it’s no longer new.
Lyall Watson in Neophilia: The Tradition of the New explains that “our curiosity for, and our fascination with, everything that is new, strange and rare,” is normal. Unfortunately this drive for novelty has become a kind of societal obsession, eroding significance and joy along the way:
- We get lost in our minds.
- We give all of our money and our time to our fears.
- We stoke the fires of our distrust,
- Grow our worries, and
- Nurse our pain.
It is very easy to get lost in these places. To disconnect. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change course with wisdom and practice. We can pause. We can stop and take a moment to engage with this ecstasy all around us. To usher in the great “golden eternity,” as Kerouac calls it. To allow the beauty back into our exhausted bodies and aching hearts. To allow it to soothe our restless minds and wipe away our limiting beliefs. This, first and foremost, is a choice.
So how do we choose differently? How do we consistently live beyond our busy minds and reclaim the ecstasy… without mind-altering substances, obsessiveness, or Netflix?
Open The Door
Here are four steps to re-open the door:
- Decide — Breathe and get quiet. Set your intention: “I choose to see and experience the beauty all around me today.” Really allow yourself to feel the stillness, the silence and the power of your request. This helps you experience the world beyond form and remember that its divinity is one vast awakened thing.
- Feel — As you go about your day, feel the beauty, radiance and “feeling-realization” of the sacred oneness all around you. Set yourself up for success by starting with easy wins: noticing and appreciating nature, smiling babies, and being with someone you love or doing something you love.
- Catch — Notice when you slip out of this state. Notice the judgements you make about yourself, others and everything around you. Notice what limiting beliefs you hold that keep you locked in your mind and somewhere else. Notice what unplugs you from the timeless beauty all around.
- Return — Return to the silence and reconfirm your intention. Repeat the cycle once again. When you become aware that you’ve slipped, stop whatever you’re doing. Sit and quiet your mind once again. When you start feeling the stillness and its inherent grace, make it bigger. Expand it out, allowing it to surround and encase you in a bubble of unconditional wonder and awe.
This is how you can hear the quiet knocking of the sacred “golden eternity.” This is how you transform your life because as Kahlil Gibran says:
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity, and you are the mirror.