Monday, June 28, 2010

Creating Beauty

Why do people spend so much time planting beautiful gardens, creating beautiful works of art, decorating their homes, deciding what to wear, or practicing a skill? We are drawn to beauty. It makes us feel good and is soothing to the soul.

Creating beauty is a process that takes time and love. It is a form of self-expression. When the inspiration comes from the heart, others find their own personal meaning in the creation. We can think about how to create beauty, but ultimately if we are not working from our heart, the creation will feel lifeless.

Our motivation to create beauty is not always from joy. Recently my dog Jasmine died. I buried her in a spot that was overrun with weeds but is also in a private setting. The process of turning this ugly, weed-ridden space into a beautiful sanctuary has been very healing for me. I spend time just sitting in the space and feeling where to place plants, how to arrange stones and tuning into how the space feels as I work on it. I want to honor Jasmine's beautiful spirit. This has motivated me to put in the long hours of digging up the weeds, lugging stones and searching for the right plants. I feel a sense of peace and I am drawn to this space now. The sadness of losing her is mixed with a feeling of beauty and tranquility.

When you are working on creating beauty with a heart-felt intention, time is irrelevant. You get in a zone where you are completely absorbed in the feeling of what you are creating. The mind and heart feel in balance.

In yoga tantric philosophy, chit/ananda is the view that our true nature sees the oneness of the individual self with the Divine. Chit is our self-knowledge of this connection and ananda is the creative expression to celebrate the Divine which resides in all of us. As you practice yoga turn to your breath. This is the ultimate expression of chit/ananda - the pulsation between awareness and expression. Our poses begin with the breath and we move from the core. This creates beauty, strength and freedom in our practice.

Life would not be worth living without the experience and appreciation of beauty. It is intrinsic to who we are and life around us. Sometimes we can't feel the beauty because it may be obscured by pain and suffering. That is part of the pulse of life but coming back to the recognition of beauty makes it that much sweeter.

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