The Importance of Beauty

Lately I have been thinking about things that carry healing properties — and one of the most potent forms of healing is offered by the beautiful. Beauty truly heals. And most times, beauty is a result of the authentic, the essential being expressed; whether reflected in a face or in a piece of art, we respond to that which flows from the soul, without self-consciousness or contrivance.

It can be a helpful exercise to expand our awareness of the beautiful, to enlarge our boundaries of what beauty is. I don’t know that I’ll ever forget the scene in the movie American Beauty in which a character, who made videos of his experience, captured the haunting, ethereal dance of an abandoned plastic bag floating on the wind. The magnificent can be found in the mundane; beauty is all around us, if we take the time and set the intention to really see.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”

May we see the beauty and the cups of blessing that surround us every day. May we share beauty with others; may we be beauty — our authentic, essential selves.

—Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon

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