How does one define beauty? Some might say it is symmetry with everything in balance. If you look at the universe as a whole, the performance of this great creation appears to operate with absolute precision. The clockwork rotation of the earth around the sun gives rise to glorious sunrises and majestic sunsets. Although they are regular occurrences, we continue to be in awe of these gifts from the universe. The perfect features of certain people are usually deemed as beautiful. A similar conclusion would be for certain animals with coat colors in perfect harmony or with elegant stature which draws our attention. The peacock haughtily struts around self-assured flaunting the most beautiful and brilliant attire. The swan swims with grace displaying its lovely neck and high head atop. Yes, there is something quite stunning about symmetry.
What about asymmetry? Many find beauty in something less exact. If you look at some of the paintings exhibited in museums of modern art, there appears to be much asymmetry.
Even if one does not refer to the artwork as beautiful, interesting, intriguing or original are words often used to describe it. The same attributes may be offered to a human being. A prominent nose or eyes to large for a face may be regarded as attractive. In fact, such imbalance may be viewed as giving someone or something more character preferable to perfection.
Frequently, people describe beauty in visual terms. Because sight is front and center, images are our first fallback. For those of us with good vision, we forget about other senses. In fact, do not tell a visually-impaired person that they cannot see beauty. They may not be able to visualize it with their eyes but through the magic of touch. Also, they are able to appreciate the exquisite sounds of music and delicious aromas which can be defined as beauty.
How about those individuals whose vision is twenty/twenty but are hearing impaired? Their experience around lyrical sounds may appear to be one of silence, but many will remind you like their visually-impaired friends, they can feel it through the touch and vibrations beneath or around them.
Speaking of touch, what about the beauty of positive touch? Many adults and sadly some children have rarely been hugged which is the reason I offer a hug to certain people whom I know welcome it. Several years ago, I recall a scientific procedure done on monkeys. The researchers took a baby monkey and had a wired-version of the mother feed and hold the infant. The primate became extremely distressed and failed to thrive as a result of this botched experiment. Nothing can replace the authenticity of a living being whether it be a monkey or a human. The beauty revealed through a true physical exchange often cannot be put into words.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about collateral beauty for another publication. The theme was derived from the movie with Will Smith and Helen Mirren. I was so taken by the notion of collateral beauty that I devoted a section to it in my book. Several weeks ago, I presented this idea in a Toastmasters’s speech. During my evaluation, I was mildly critiqued for my lack of clarity around the meaning of collateral beauty.
Last week, I tried to elucidate by sharing my belief that the idea of collateral beauty is finding beauty around us. Each and every individual must find their own unique version. I expressed the various areas which exemplify my interpretation of beauty finishing with my belief that the greatest beauty of all is the experience of love. What could be more beautiful than to love and be loved? Nothing replaces matters of the heart as many sages have opined throughout the ages. With a treasure trove of glorious poems and quotations celebrating the beauty of love, there is a simple one which I believe captures the depth and importance of the heart. The quote comes from the Book of Samuel. On occasion, I share it with clients. Although the Bible is its source, none are ever offended because I talk about it from the position of beauty of the heart which transcends all. The quote reads as follows:
The Lord sees not as man sees;
man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Nothing can replace the perpetual
beauty of the loving heart!
How do you define beauty? Are you able to find it in simple things which we often take for granted? Do you agree that the experience of all forms of love is the greatest beauty of all? Look around as well as deep within you. As you do, notice the beauty sparkling and shining through.