Did you ever wonder what it is about beauty that touches us so deeply? I’m talking about beauty that reaches down and seems to ignite something within. You feel loved. You feel whole. And you assign that feeling of love or wholeness to that person, place or thing. It’s that welled up feeling of rightness you get when something beautiful becomes your object of attention. Like when you look at your children with a love you never could have imagined or when you have deep appreciation or compassion. It’s the feeling you get when the wind blows across your face on a warm summer’s day, carrying with it a wiff of sage, or when your puppy crawls up onto your chest and nuzzles into your neck for a nap. It’s the feeling you get the moment you believe you have found your soulmate. You feel whole. You feel connected. And you want to feel that way forever. But what happens when that object of your attention moves away? When your children grow up and move on, creating a family of their own, when the sweet breeze turns to a dead calm and the hot sun begins to scorch the very ground upon which you walk. What happens when your soulmate becomes your ex?
Today I had a most extraordinary experience. I was feeling a little cooped up, having had pneumonia for the past week. So I found a nature preserve and ventured out into the unknown. I hiked for three hours and finally came upon a bench up in the higher elevation, far from the eyes and ears of less adventurous hikers. Inspired by the abundant beauty all around, I laid down on that bench, looking up into the trees, watching the birds dart from tree to tree and wondering what life is really all about. Then I closed my eyes listening to the sounds of the forest all around me: the tiny tweets of the sparrow, the scampering squirrel in the leaves, the deep hoot of an owl and the resonating sound of a woodpecker drilling away on a hollow tree. Completely enveloped in this extraordinary surround sound experience, I felt compelled to turn my head to the side and open my eyes. There, not five yards away was a little deer looking straight at me. I couldn’t help myself, “Well hello there, beautiful.” Slowly, I sat up to find there were two, no, three, no, four little deer eating their way toward me. One by one they perked their ears and looked at me, wagging their cute little white tails as if to confirm, “You’re cool, right?” Understanding that there is an energetic language between all beings, I put my hand on my heart and allowed the appreciation to surge. And there it was: the feeling of wholeness.
As I walked with them for the next 30 minutes, singing a low, repetitive tune along the way, I was struck by the power of nature and its beauty. Being there with these perfect creatures amidst the magnificence of the preserve, my heart felt whole. I felt that love, that rightness. In my youth I would have said, “I love those deer.” Like I said, “I love my boyfriend,” or, “I love my sister.” But as I get older and experience more and more aspects of love through varying objects of my attention, my understanding expands: It is not just the deer or the boyfriend I love. It is the love within me that they inspire. It’s the love, the beauty within me that they bridge me back to. And I realized:
“When I see something that makes my heart sing, like a flower blowing in the wind, my heart sings because that beauty lies within me, close to the surface. My heart recognizes a part of itself in that flower. It is the beauty from within that I’m feeling, not the flower outside. The flower is just a mirror.”
But there was more. Walking with the deer, in the beauty of nature, I was attuned to something higher in vibration and felt connected to everything. What is that connectedness? And what does beauty have to do with it? And how can I hold that feeling forever?
In most ancient traditions, there exist 4 elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire. But in some traditions, there is a 5th. It is described as the element that is the binding part that runs through all matter. Some Native Indian traditions call it the Web. Albert Einstein referred to it as the Ether. Sanskrit calls it Akasha. And in some ancient traditions, Beauty is considered the 5th element. Beauty! It was all beginning to make sense.
When we are touched by beauty, beauty of a person, place or a thing, we are instantly reunited with our own and become whole again. But Beauty is merely a bridge to a state of being: The state of being love. It is our lack of recognition of our own beauty that separates us.
When we don’t recognize our own beauty, those feelings of elation and connectedness are attributed to “I love you,” or “I am being loved.” When the truth is, what you’re experiencing is “I Am Love.” That’s a profound difference. And incredibly powerful. This is what is meant by “Love is eternal.”
As I turned and walked away from those beautiful deer, I felt no sadness, no regret for leaving them behind. I had no need to capture them, own them or label them. And I had no need to turn back around for more, for I was filled to the fullness of my heart. I took the path back down the mountain and rather than saying goodbye, I said hello. “Hello dear, beautiful friend. Hello me.” I started up my car, sat there for a moment, touching my hand to my heart still feeling that connectedness and I gave thanks, but not just for the deer. I gave thanks for myself, for I recognized the truth of who I am. I am love. And Beauty was the bridge that brought me home.