Heart and Mind (Part 2)

Rejoice Thou his heart with the light of the  knowledge of Thee, draw Thou his mind unto Thy luminous beauty…
~‘Abdu’l-Bahá

I mused over the idea of pondering in one’s heart in part 1, in this post I will continue to muse over the idea of one’s mind being drawn to beauty.  Again, to clarify, I am not trying to create a false dichotomy between heart and mind, beauty and knowledge, for I have certainly experienced the beauty of knowledge and the power of both to touch my heart and mind.  Rather, I wanted to ponder a bit about the importance of beauty in today’s fast-paced world, especially how recognizing the beauty around us can actually help ground us.

… the beauty of the scenery and the geographical configuration of the country display a great effect in the world of minds and thoughts.
~‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan

Previously I mentioned that there is room in life for analyzing and thinking critically about things; we are, after all, rational beings blessed with a consciousness of ourselves and the world around us.  It would be an absolute shame if we neglected to use the gift of our intellect to explore reality, striving to advance our understanding of that which inspires us.  Like the capacity to ponder in one’s heart—which requires awareness and practice—we have a capacity to be drawn to beauty, which, when exercised, can assist us in cultivating the power of our minds to the fullest potential.  When I say beauty, I am referring to that which is true, eternal, whole, and authentic, that which is. We all recognize beauty even if we cannot explain it—a glorious sunset, a soul-stirring melody, a refined character.  Beauty inspires us, stirs our sense of wonder and curiosity; it enlivens the mind which leads to breakthroughs and discoveries.

In contrast, when we allow our minds to be drawn to that which is not beautiful—that which is artificial—our minds suddenly become mechanical, dull, disengaged, and uninterested.

In turning away from beauty, we turn away from all that is wholesome and true, and deliver ourselves into an exile where the vulgar and artificial dull and deaden the human spirit.  In their vicinity we are unable to feel or think with any refinement.  They cannot truly engage us because of their emptiness….  They are not a presence but an absence….
~John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace.

Allowing our minds to be drawn to beauty increases our capacity for curiosity and ingenuity; the edge of what is known becomes a frontier of learning.  Allowing ourselves to be drawn to beauty ensures that that which we are investing ourselves in is worthy of our time, energy, and resources.  Being drawn to beauty enables us to develop courage coupled with humility and to recognize that beauty itself is mysterious.  Having respect for such a mystery gives way to reverence.  It has been said that beauty is a “stirring of the invisible in visible form” and that “when your mind becomes more acquainted with reverence, the light, grace and elegance of beauty finds you more frequently”.  Thus, when our minds are drawn to beauty we awaken, our senses and souls are alive to the present moment and to the possibilities that surround us.  When our minds are drawn to beauty our hearts are far more free to ponder on the important things of life.

True beauty is a ray that springs from the sacred depths of the soul, and illuminates the body, just as life springs from the kernel of a stone and gives colour and scent to a flower.
~Rumi

At its deepest level, beauty holds everything together as one pervasive presence.  Nature and self have beauty because they participate in and express the presence of one who is beautiful to know….
~John O’Donohue

So what would my mind look like if it was drawn each day, each moment, toward the Beauty of the “one who is beautiful to know”, the Beauty who “gives colour and scent to a flower”?  It is little wonder that  in the Bahá’í Faith the Prophet-Founder, Bahá’u’lláh, is known as the Blessed Beauty, for it is through His luminous beauty and the knowledge of Him that hearts are delighted and minds awakened.

I started this series with a prayer that I recite for my husband.  How grateful I am to utter these words each day:

Rejoice Thou his heart with the light of the  knowledge of Thee, draw Thou his mind unto Thy luminous beauty…
~‘Abdu’l-Bahá

© Lindsey Lugsch-Tehle 2014-2015

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