“The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere – in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves… When we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.” John O’Donohue
He was around four years old when I introduced my son, Austin, to sunsets. We were driving up Laguna Canyon Road when I looked in the side view mirror only to be stunned by one of “those” sunsets. You know the kind I mean—the ones that are quite literally breathtaking.
Sonny, Look at That
I pulled the car to the side of the rode, took him out of his car seat, and held him tenderly as I whispered, “Sonny, look at that! That’s a sunset. Isn’t it one of the most amazing things you have ever seen?” Even at four years old he understood and we both just stood there basking in the glorious scene.
To this day Austin remains enamored by the beauty of a sunset. All because we took the time to notice.
Poet John O’Donohue nailed it when he wrote, “the human soul is hungry for beauty.” Like food for the soul, beauty satiates a vacant longing that is often barely perceptible. But when it comes we recognize it as if it is a part of us, as the poet wrote, “there is a [strange] sense of homecoming.”
The Gift of Noticing
Only one thing is required: NOTICING. Noticing most frequently involves a conscious effort. And as a conscious choice it is rooted in a sacred garden of awareness. Yes, today’s close to overused mantra of mindfulness and meditation still offers a pleasant life in the midst of times when life doesn’t seem so pleasant.
Busyness and the requirements of our everydayness get in the way. We seem to be more concerned with getting there than being there. And then once we are there one of two (or both) outcomes emerge: we are either so involved in our task that we fail to notice little else around us, or our minds are already drifting off to our next engagement or task.
A few ideas come to mind, in an effort to fill your soul with the beauty for which it so desperately desires. And that is “being home” with yourself and the beauty that surrounds you, whether it be a sunset or art or the beauty of a wonderful friend or relative. The list is literally endless.
May I suggest a handful of options?
- Take time to notice. I have told the story of the years I spent driving weekly to a regular meeting with ever noticing the surrounding area. When, out of the blue, one day I noticed the magnificent landscape of Fullerton Junior College. It became the one thing I looked forward to each week.
- Plan a day to enjoy the beauty. Every Saturday I go to the Montage to eat breakfast and then write at my special table sitting next to a fireplace and gazing at the ocean. What is YOUR PLACE OF BEAUTY? My friend Terry has a garden. My friend Cynthia has her art and the wonder of art museums. I have friends with a love of vintage automobiles and they love visiting Vintage Car locations.
What is it that completes your heart with a sense of wonder? Whatever that is, Do it!
- Schedule times with the people that replenish your soul. Few things are more beautiful than time with a kindred spirit.
- My final suggestion is Travel. And do so with unbiased and curious eyes.
Oh, the things our culture has engrained within us to long for that so often fail to deliver. Beauty rarely even makes the list, and yet Beauty never fails to engage an emotion resident deep within that fills your life like none of other desires for conquest and success.
Be Good to Yourself and
Intentionally Seek the Beauty All Around You
Photo courtesy of acongar at istockphoto
2 thoughts on “The Human Soul is Hungry for Beauty”
Ah, Beauty!…I have that book by O’Donohue. It is all around us and a noble pursuit to see it in even the smallest momment.
Check out “On Being” with Krista Tippett and the interview with O’Donohue. Amazing!!!