“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
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.
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.