Monday, April 15, 2013

"Beauty is not caused. It is"

Photography by Yago Abeledo (Contemplative Photography Class)

"Beauty is not caused. It is."
Emily Dickinson

We are brainwashed into believing that sunsets, oceans, flowers, happy smiles, butterflies in springtime and supermodels in magazines are beautiful, but deformations, disfigurements, immense sadness, broken glass and broken hearts and broken dreams, circus freaks and dog shit are not and never will be. The Elephant Man we called ugly. Elizabeth Taylor we called beautiful. We separated the positive from the negative, beauty from ugliness, even life from death, and this was the origin of all violence - the conceptual splitting up of life into fragments, dividing the great Undivided, and then believing in that division. We have children now growing up feeling ugly, we have children desperate to be beautiful, trying to imitate the image of beauty we have spoon-fed to them. We cake ourselves in makeup, poke and tweak and mask ourselves, cover our beautifully imperfect features, and often end up feeling less beautiful than ever, always striving for that elusive perfection, or at least that elusive "fitting in".

Screw the brainwashing, and screw the living of a second-hand life, forever seeking the approval or even acknowledgement of others. It's all beautiful, all of it, or at least it's all a call to that underlying universal beauty that knows no opposite or bounds, the beauty of existence, of life itself, and everything, everything, is the invitation to this. The face of the homeless guy in the street, the stench of rotting things, the piss and the blood and the mucus and the sweat, it's all life, it's all holy, and though we might prefer some of this 'holiness' to holy itself away, still, despite our best efforts, it remains, to prod and poke and remind us to wake up to the vastness of things. Every single one of your 'imperfections', every flaw, every crack and spot and line, every secretion, every smell that you try so hard to mask and hide, is a little invitation to remember your mortality, your underlying humility and gratitude, and your unfathomable and immense power as a unique expression of Life itself.

Be what you are. They have always said it, and it has always been true.

Don't you dare let anyone tell you who or what is beautiful.

Jeff Foster