December 4     

Today's quotation:

We all long for things of beauty-- beauty of nature, of appearance, of life, a beautiful family and so on.  But these cannot be gained if we are withdrawn and isolated, just looking at ourselves.  We must create better relationships with other people and interact with our community and society with an open heart.  We must be kind to nature.  It is only through this process that we really grow and cultivate our own beauty.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day

Today's Meditation:

I think that many people might wonder why their lives aren't full of beauty.  After all, they have good jobs, nice families, and nice homes.  And they can go and buy beautiful pictures to hang on their walls, as well as beautiful bedspreads, cars, towels-- you name it.  But Daisaku isn't talking about decorative beauty here.  He's not talking about aesthetics; rather, he's telling us about community and our need to be a contributing part of it.

Somehow we're led to believe that beauty is all about aesthetics, that it's only something that we see, or possibly hear.  But beauty is something that is inside of us, and it comes out when we're doing things for others, when we're contributing to the life around us rather than simply living our own lives separate from the world we live in.  If we simply go to work all the time and then come home and never make an effort to be a part of our communities, then we're not giving the beauty inside of us a chance to manifest itself, a chance to become a part of who we are.

Some people have jobs that drain them, and they often can do little more than make it home and spend the evening trying to recover.  Many of these jobs, though, are exactly what Daisaku is talking about-- giving to the communities we live in.  But if the job is so draining, there's a chance that we're approaching it as something that's difficult and that we dread, rather than something that is trying to bring out the beauty in us by allowing us to work in ways that contribute to the lives of many other people.  Our goal should be to try to bring our love to the job, for when we work in love, our beauty shines.

If you feel that you're missing beauty in your life, think about how you spend that life-- alone, or with others?  Passively, or actively?  The person who spends eight hours a day in front of the television set isn't likely to be able to create or find much beauty in their lives.  It's okay to take from our communities if we're also giving, but there must be a balance, or the beauty simply won't be there.

Questions to consider:

How can you create beauty in your own life by contributing to the community around you?

Why might we not be able to create or find beauty in our lives if we're withdrawn and/or isolated?

What is the importance of beauty in our lives?

For further thought:

Looking for the essence of beauty is comprehending and appreciating that quality in an object which is fairer and better than only what our eyes see or our ears hear, whether that be a patch of blue in an overcast sky, the fleeting laughter from a voice we love, or something as unexpected as the rainbow colors in a spot of oil on the driveway.

Luci Swindoll

more thoughts and ideas on beauty



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