Sep 21, 2008

Seeking Beauty

I read an article in the newspaper yesterday about a man coping with Parkinson’s disease. He started having symptoms at age 47 and the story was about how he has adapted his lifestyle to accommodate his disease. He previously led a very active life, and cannot do what he used to do. By lowering his expectations, he said, he can do many things that still make his life meaningful – rock climbing, dancing, kayaking. Some of the things that helps him cope include developing a support network, seeking beauty and keeping a positive attitude.

It reminds me of the samurai who lived with death every moment. They studied the martial arts and they studied the cultural arts such as flower arranging and tea ceremony to give their deaths meaning. If they went to war and died without creating beauty, then they would have died no more than animals. The loss of life is also the loss of beauty yet to be created.

Today, in our study of Chado, we seek and create beauty. It is a valuable lesson too, that we have a short time in life to give it meaning. A deeper understanding of ourselves, serving others, creating beauty, and living this very moment can be very meaningful.


  1. Hi - I was introduced to your blog by a member of an incense email group I'm a part of (via your post on kodo).

    I just wanted to say in regard to this post that I feel beauty - or seeking beauty - is an essential way of doing combat against depression and related disease. We come from different disciplines to get here: as a Christian of Orthodox Christian background, for me Beauty is one of the names of God (to put it in Plato's terms which shaped Christian theology: beauty, truth and goodness) - and the beauty of the world is part of the immanence of God in all creation. Whichever way we look at it, to seek beauty is to come to the essence of an important riddle in life and to choose wisely. Thank you for this!

    May I also say that for me haiku sensibility is in some ways very close to the Eastern Christian understanding of icon: it opens to a reality that is present to us, and works like a window onto something true & beautiful & good, a moment of recognition of something. Not meant to be merely a literal representation.


  2. Hello Janine,

    Welcome and thank you for reading the blog and leaving your comments regarding beauty.

    I really appreciate your perspective on beauty and haiku. It just shows me that we are all on the same spiritual path, but come at it from a different perspective. Please feel free to visit often and comment when you see something of interest. I'd like to continue the conversation.

    Take care,