This beautiful coptic processional cross served as the centerpiece for the altar created for us as part of a separate chapel/meditation space. The proportions of the cross are deliciously pleasing, and the glow of the iridescent ribbons in the candelight had an additional appeal.
When my eyes are fed by sights like these, my soul is fed as well. I find myself wondering, is this true for all people, or only for artists? I know that Beauty becomes something of a sacred quest for those of us who are Fours on the Enneagram. But quite frankly my love of beauty often seems more a curse than a blessing -- it both triggers an urge to possess (of which some part of me cannot approve) and a critical eye that gets in the way of my being to open to possibility.
Yes, it's true -- it drives me to create. But it also pushes me to reject much of what I create, and, even if I don't, to anticipate rejection by being all too aware of imperfections. The critical eye keeps me improving, but at the same time it means it's terribly rare for me to settle into an awareness of success or completion.
Ah, we humans -- such complex creatures we are! At times like this I am grateful for all the Ones who have gone before and considered these questions. Today, as I continue addressing this issue (which played a huge role in my Soul Collages over the weekend), I find solace in the words of Sr. Joan Chittister, from her book, Illuminated Life:
"It is Beauty that magnetizes the contemplative, and it is the duty of the contemplative to give beauty away so that the rest of the world may, in the midst of squalor, ugliness, and pain, remember that beauty is possible. Beauty feeds contemplation, and Beauty is its end. A sense of Beauty evokes in us consciousness of the eternal in the temporal. ...An encounter with the beautiful lifts our eyes beyond the commonplace and gives us a reason for going on, for ranging beyond the mundane, for endeavoring ourselves always to become more than we are.
In the midst of struggle, in the depths of darkness, in the throes of ugliness, beauty brings with it a realization that the best in life is, whatever the cost, really possible. Beauty takes us beyond the visible to the height of consciousness, past the ordinary to the mystical, away from the expedient to the endlessly true...To be contemplative we must remove the clutter from our lives, surround ourselves with beauty, and consciously, relentlessly, persistently, give it away until the tiny world for which we ourselves are responsible begins to reflect the raw beauty that is God."