Wealth of the Whole World Seen in the Sun

“When the air is filled with the brightness of the sun, the beauty and the wealth of the whole world are revealed, and the eyes of men become enlightened and rejoice in the manifold diversity of colors. And so it is, when we are onefold within ourselves, and our power of understanding is enlightened and the Spirit of Understanding shines through it. Then we can become aware of the high attributes which are in God, and which are the cause of all the works which flow forth from Him. Although all men may understand the works, and God through His works; yet no one can truly understand, neither in their appearance nor in their reality, the attributes of the works of God as they are in their ground, save by means of this gift. For this teaches us to seek out and to recognize our own nobleness, and it gives us the power to discern the virtues and all practices, and the way in which we should live without error in accordance with eternal Truth: and they who are enlightened by it can dwell in the spirit, and can, with enlightened reason, rightly apprehend and understand all things in heaven and on earth.” ~John of Ruysbroeck

Worldly Wealth and Beauty

The wealth and beauty that Ruysbroeck is talking about aren’t found in banks and beauty salons. H is talking about the beauty and abundance of Nature, not the synthetic version created by men.

The false beauty fades and has to be replenished with chemicals and surgery. The wealth of money and stocks has to be kept growing or its value in comparison with the overall material wealth of the world drops. Yet foolish people get trapped in the game and illusion of pursuing such wealth and beauty.

The beauty and wealth of the whole world are found in fields and gardens, on mountains and in the sea, in the wild places unchanged by man. It is true that such places are not really from God since the physical realm is the creation of the Demiurge, yet they are closer to the original creations of God than are the manmade treasures and edifices found in cities and museums. And their value is certainly greater than that of money and stocks. Many seem to forget that the only value money actually has is in buying the things that make up the wealth of the whole world. If you hoard the money and don’t buy things with it, you are just letting it go to waste. It is like putting a dam in a clean, flowing river, and turning it into a stagnant pond. And the wealthy who do that wonder why people dislike them for making stagnant ponds of wealth, when a flowing wealth could do so much good in the world, even that false manmade wealth. If nothing else, that money can be used to protect nature and wealth of the whole world, but few rich people see it that way. Continue reading “Wealth of the Whole World Seen in the Sun”

good beauty

Good Beauty is Spiritual Beauty

“The perception of Beauty and the awe and the stirring of passion towards it are for those already in some degree knowing and awakened: but the Good, as possessed long since setting up a natural tendency, is inherently present to even those asleep and brings them no wonder when some day they see it, since it is no occasional reminiscence but is always with them though in their drowse they are not aware of it: the love of Beauty on the contrary sets up pain when it appears, for those that have seen it must pursue. This love of Beauty then is later than the love of Good and comes with a more sophisticated understanding; hence we know that beauty is a secondary: the more primal aperition, not patent to sense, our movement towards our good, gives witness that the Good is earlier, the prior.

“All that have possessed themselves of the Good feel it sufficient: they have attained the end: but Beauty not all have known and thaose that have judge it to exist for itself and not for them, as in the charm of this world the beauty belongs only to its possessor.

“The source of this error is that while both the Good and the Beautiful participate in the common source, the One precedes both.” ~Plotinus

Good Beauty

When it comes to physical beauty, what is considered beautiful changes. We find over the last century or two that what most considered a beautiful woman has gone from abundant curves to rail-thin and back again. And what women consider an attractive man changes also. Even at the same time, we find different ideas of beauty in different countries and social structures. The pampered male model of New York City would not be considered a thing of beauty among primitive people or country folk who would find his spoiled dandy look and pasty pale skin sickly.

But Plotinus is complicating the concept of beauty even more by adding in that to a good person beauty is different than it is for others. He goes so far as to indicate that only the good can even have a concept of beauty. That, I think, is nonsense. Everyone can have a concept of beauty, but it differs depending on whether or not they are what Plotinus calls good.

Beauty of the Good

What Plotinus is saying, I believe, is that the good see beauty in a way that differs from how others see it. That is not at all surprising. But he goes a little beyond that and says that the good beauty is the only true beauty. While he has a point, I’m not sure we can say that it is entirely true. But to understand it better, let’s look at the beauty of people who are not “good”, which really means those who are not spiritually awakened.

Ordinary Beauty

One way of looking at what is beautiful among a particular group is to look at their art. When we look at the art of today, even if we ignore abstract art and art that is intentionally ugly to make a point, we see art that often ignores such things as divine proportion and divine harmony. It is like the hard-rock of painting or sculpture. Many find it beautiful, but not because they feel peace and harmony when they look at it, but because it grapes them with discord and uniqueness. Many think that the more unique the art is, the more beautiful it is. But art can be unique without violating the rules of divine proportion and harmony.

Good Beauty is Spiritual Beauty

It is fairly clear that those people who Plotinus calls Good are those who are spiritually awakened to some degree. They are people who put spiritual values above materialistic ones. So such people will see art different than most. They will notice divine proportion and harmony and value it. They will notice are that invokes positive thoughts and images like peace, love, and joy. They will generally not care for art that depicts the horrors of material life such as war, murder, and disease. They know that despite what the artist may think he is doing, such art will normalize the horrible making it more acceptable. The spiritual person wants to stop the horrors. They see good beauty in art that depicts the best of nature. They see good beauty in people who give off an aura of goodness and sacredness. Good beauty is something they value. Art that exists simply to make money is of no value to them at all.

So Plotinus says we must be good before we can know good beauty. While there is some truth to that, there is another way to look at it. We can train ourselves to love the art that is truly beautiful, that is spiritually beautiful. We can promote good beauty and surround ourselves with it. That can aid us in our spiritual growth so we can become good spiritual people. Then we become part of the Good Beauty in the world.

musical sensibility

Musical Sensibility for Spiritual Inspiration

“One needs to sing with inspiration. By singing beautifully, one also perceives beautiful thoughts and feelings. When you listen to talented singers and musicians, you make a connection with advanced Beings who manifest themselves through them. The vibrations of these beings penetrate far into space through the voices of these singers and are uplifting to human souls. Few are the songs that are carried through space. Seldom is when an ancient Egyptian song can be received. A song or musical piece that doesn’t remain in space is not true music.

“The subconsciousness, the consciousness, the ego consciousness, and the Higher consciousness should all participate in the singing. Those who want to sing well need to be calm within. If you sustain negative thoughts and feelings within yourselves, you cannot sing or play an instrument. Technically, you can play and sing, but not with your soul.

“Wisdom makes use of music. From now on the world of music belongs to Wisdom. Performance, which is the external aspect of music, cannot be manifested without Wisdom.

“Music is a great art. … Sublime beings apply music readily, whereas it is much harder for ordinary people to apply music. … The more advanced a person’s musical sensibility, the more stable his character.” ~Biensa Douno

Sing with Inspiration

Part of musical sensibility is to sing with inspiration. Of course, all musicians and composers will probably say that they are always inspired. In a way, that might be true, but not in the sense Douno means.

A musician can see a person running to catch a bus and be inspired by that vision to write a song. A popular singer can break up with her latest boyfriend and be inspired to write about it. But that is not the type of inspiration needed.

Douno is talking about music that is Divinely Inspired. This can happen in one of three ways. First, the musician or composer can be an awakened soul and inspired through their own spiritual knowledge. That is the best way to be inspired. A musician might also be inspired through a spiritual being putting ideas in their head, the classic “muse” method. Or third, another person who is divinely Inspired might give an idea to the musician to use. All of these methods are good, but as already noted, being divinely inspired by your own spiritual experiences is best. Continue reading “Musical Sensibility for Spiritual Inspiration”

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.