symmetry in environment

Symmetry in Our Environment and Our Lives

“The Mysteries held that man, in part at least, was the product of his environment Therefore they considered it imperative that every person be surrounded by objects which would invoke the highest and noblest sentiments. They proved that it was possible to produce beauty in life by surrounding life with beauty. They discovered that symmetrical bodies were built by souls continuously in the presence of symmetrical bodies; that noble thoughts were produced by minds surrounded by examples mental nobility. … Thoughtful men of antiquity realized that their great philosophers were the natural products of the aesthetic ideals of architecture, music, and art. …

“The substitution of the discord of the fantastic for the harmony of the beautiful constitutes one of the great tragedies of every civilization.” ~Manly P. Hall

Man’s Environment

There is little doubt that we are affected by the environment we live in. The only question is how much.

Recent studies have shown that people who grow up in poverty and surrounded by nothing but poor people will almost certainly spend his entire life in poverty. That is because he knows nothing else. The abandoned child from such an environment who is adopted by a wealthy family will be far more likely to have financial success as an adult. He grew up with it and knows how it works. Perhaps most of all, he expects it.

A person who grew up in an environment of fear and worry will probably grow up being fearful of everything and constantly worrying. The one shown that there is little to fear and worry solves nothing will have a much healthier mental attitude and be open to learning new things.

Environment with Beauty

The mystery schools and spiritual schools of the ancients did teach students to surround themselves with the things they wanted to be. Beauty was certainly a big part of that. The type of beauty Mr. Hall is talking about is not limited to humans. We can surround ourselves with beautiful plants and flowers. Beautiful housing with beautiful furniture also. The more beauty around us, the better. But beauty doesn’t have to be in the physical appearance of the person or thing. Beauty can also be in the way a person acts and thinks. It can be in a plant that struggles to survive in a rocky environment. It can be in a pet that survives and is happy despite having a handicap. Surrounding ourselves with true beauty is more effective than surrounding ourselves with the superficial beauty of vain people.

Beauty of Symmetry

For many ages, spiritual people have known that symmetry is a big part of beauty. The laws of Divine Proportion are all about symmetry. Symmetry creates calmness, mental peace. Symmetry is pleasing to the eye, the mine, and the spirit.

Being symmetrical doesn’t mean that one side of a thing must be a perfect mirror image of the other side. It just means that the differences are balanced so it doesn’t look lopsided. For example, India’s Taj Mahal uses the mirror image type of symmetry. Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle also has a symmetrical design but without both sides being identical.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Taj Mahal

Life of Symmetry

An environment of beauty and symmetry is a great aid to spiritual growth as well as mental and physical peace and happiness. But living a symmetrical life may be even more important that living in a symmetrical environment.

In a symmetrical life, we don’t limit ourselves to developing only our physical body. Neither do we develop only our mental side. We must make spiritual development just as much a part of our daily life as the physical and mental aspects. There are many people today who will spend five or six hours a week at the fitness center working on their physical body. Other come home from work and spend two hours in the evening doing online classes to develop the mind. Yet many of those same people balk at the idea of spending even ten minutes a day working on the development of their spirit and soul. That isn’t a symmetrical life. Considering that the spirit and soul is all of you that will survive physical death, the spiritual self must be developed along with the physical and mental. In truth, the spiritual should take priority.

God's will, Overflowing Beauty

Overflowing Beauty in Spiritual Realms

“When the soul cleaves to what is kindred to it, how can it turn away from what it loves to anything inferior? It will even resent its incarnate life, finding it a hindrance to the attainment of the beautiful. For though the intellect, while living in matter, beholds intelligible beauty but dimly, yet intelligible blessings are such that even a slight emanation from that overflowing beauty, or a faint vision of it, can impel the intellect to soar beyond all that is outside the intelligible realm, and to aspire to that alone, never letting itself lapse from the delight it offers, come what distress there may.” ~The Philokalia

Soul and Intellect

The fist thing that must be said about the quote is that the author seems to be confusing the soul with the mind (or intellect). Perhaps he was using intellect in a different way than we generally do today. In any case, the soul and the mind are not the same and only the soul witnesses that overflowing beauty. The mind knows of such things only when the soul links to it and shares knowledge with it as much as possible.

Overflowing Beauty

While “beauty” can refer to many things on many levels, it is clear in the quote that the author is talking about the Divine beauty of the spiritual realms. There are beautiful things on the physical level, but they pale in the light of the overflowing beauty of spirit.

purple and white roseTake, for example, the beauty of an earthly rose. While the flower is beautiful, and smells wonderful, that beauty is limited. It is limited by the nature of matter and by your own mind. While you are enjoying the beauty of the rose, some part of your mind is dampening that pleasure with the fact that in a few days the rose will wither and die. How much more enjoyable it would be if you knew that the rose would never fall, but stay the same forever. That is what spiritual beauty is like.

While there are no roses or puppies in the spiritual worlds, at least not as we see them here, there are things of greater beauty. And since the spiritual world is permanent, those beautiful things are eternal. Continue reading “Overflowing Beauty in Spiritual Realms”

Tension and artist

Tension, Art, and Creativity

Tension in Creation

“Now the expression of vision, of reality, of beauty, at an artist’s hands—the creation of new life in all forms—has two factors: the living molding creative spirit, and the material in which it works. Between these two there is is inevitable a difference of tension. The material is at best inert, and merely patient of the informing idea; at worst, directly recalcitrant to it. Hence, according to the balance of these two factors, the amount of resistance offered by stuff to tool, a greater or less energy must be expended, greater or less perfection of result will be achieved. You, accepting the wide deep universe of the mystic, and the responsibilities that go with it, have by this act taken sides once for all with creative spirit.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Tension Between Worlds

While it may not seem that way, there is inevitable a great tension that exists between the lower levels of reality dominated by matter and the higher levels of spirit. It is like a tug-of-war where spirit is trying to reclaim that which was once part of it, and matter is trying to maintain its current state and bring more of spirit down to its level. This area of tension between the worlds is the place where all change occurs and is therefore the area where artists and other creative types work.

The artist sees the tension, sees the creative power of it, and tries to guide it. The great artists are those who themselves are being guided in this quest by higher forces and higher beings. Whether they call it a muse, a saint, or God Himself, this guidance is what turns a person into a truly great artist. Continue reading “Tension, Art, and Creativity”


The Ultimate Aspiration

“The eyes that were deceived on Earth now see clearly. O what splendors are revealed! The music unheard by earthly ears now sounds sweet melodious music. O what joyous rapture it brings! The nostrils inhale perfumes too delicate for the earthly nose, O how the heat sings! All dumbness, all dullness and all sordidness, which are of the Earth, are left behind. … The unmoving, empty body remains here before our eyes; it is nothing, it sees nothing, it hears not, it speaks not, it smells not, its breath is stilled, it begins to fall apart. … We, who are here, stand blinded behind the veil of flesh; we cannot see beyond ourselves; we hope, we believe and we trust. … O grant us fulfillment, grant us that which is the ultimate desire and aspiration of men!” The Kolbrin Bible (SCL:1:20-21)

Awakening3JYour eye doctor may tell you that yo have excellent vision, or that you have such with the glasses you are wearing, but she is wrong! She is wrong because all that you can see with your physical eyes are the distorted illusions of matter. Likewise, even the most beautiful music you can hear from an orchestra pales in comparison to Divine Music. The most pleasant smells your nose can detect are no match for the scent of the worlds of spirit and those who dwell there. As the passage says, we are blinded by the flesh. It doesn’t help us see better, it helps us see distortion, trickery, falsehood. We may see that painting of an angel very sharply and clearly, but that is not at all the same as experiencing the actual presence of an angel, especially since they look nothing like the bird-man hybrids that are usually painted as angels. Continue reading “The Ultimate Aspiration”