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Beauty: The Invisible Embrace Paperback – March 1, 2005
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Beauty does not linger, it only visits.
Yet beauty's visitation affects us and invites us into its rhythm,
it calls us to feel, think, and act beautifully in the world:
to create and live a life that awakens the Beautiful.
Beauty is a gentle but urgent call to awaken. Bestselling author John O'Donohue opens our eyes, hearts, and minds to the wonder of our own relationship with beauty by exposing the infinity and mystery of its breadth. His words return us to the dignity of silence, profundity of stillness, power of thought and perception, and the eternal grace and generosity of beauty's presence. In this masterful and revelatory work, O'Donohue encourages our greater intimacy with beauty and celebrates it for what it really is: a homecoming of the human spirit. As he focuses on the classical, medieval, and Celtic traditions of art, music, literature, nature, and language, O'Donohue reveals how beauty's invisible embrace invites us toward new heights of passion and creativity even in these uncertain times of global conflict and crisis.
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"Indeed, the subtle touches of beauty are what enable most people to survive. Yet beauty is so quietly woven through our ordinary days that we hardly notice it. Everywhere there is tenderness, care, and kindness, there is beauty." During this past year I have been studying ancient Greek philosophy. Turns out, my favorite philosopher is Epicurus. One big reason is that Epicurus himself was noted for his kindness and incorporated the importance of being caring, sensitive and kind into his philosophy.
"Yet beauty's visitation affects us and invites us into its rhythm, it calls us to feel, think and act beautifully in the world: to create and live a life that awakens the Beautiful." I have been involved in the creative arts for many years but I have come to realize our greatest creation is to become ourselves a being radiating beauty.
"Even, and perhaps especially, in the bleakest times, we can still discover and awaken beauty; these are precisely the times when we need it most. Nowhere else can we find the joy that beauty brings. Joy is not simply the fruit of circumstances; we can choose to be joyous independent of what is happening around us." How true. John O'Donohue invites us to raise our own inner vibration and experience the inner joy of simply being alive. This is especially needed when we are facing our biggest challenges.
". . . if our style of looking becomes beautiful, then beauty will become visible and shine forth for us. We will be surprised to discover beauty in unexpected places where the ungraceful eye would never linger. The graced eye can glimpse beauty anywhere, for beauty does not reserve itself for special elite moments or instances; it does not wait for perfection but is present already secretly in everything. When we beautify our gaze, the grace of hidden beauty becomes our joy and our sanctuary." Thank you, John. `Beautify our gaze' - the experience of beauty is an inner transformation not a change of scenery.
"To behold beauty dignifies your life; it heals you and calls you out beyond the smallness of our own self-limitation to experience new horizons. To experience beauty is to have your life enlarged." Again, thank you, John. There is a rightness and clarity when we see beauty in the world and we become fuller and more attuned to not only the outside world by also to ourselves.
"Beauty is not to be captured or controlled for there is something intrinsically elusive in its nature. More like a visitation than a solid fact, beauty invests the aura of a person or infuses a landscape with an unexpected intimacy that satisfies our longing." Indeed, intimate and mysterious beyond any words.
"To the human ear, however, music echoes the deepest grandeur and the most sublime intimacy of the soul." I find this true to my own experience. Music hits me at a much deeper level than the other arts. It is like an internal dance with my nervous system.
"In contrast to most other forms of art, music alters your experience of time. To enter a piece of music, or to have the music enfold you, is to depart for a while from regulated time. Music creates a rhythm that beats out its own time-shape." Music is so much connected to Eros and love. Both have a dynamic aspect that short-circuits reason and reflection and both are transporting, absorbing, sensuous, kinetic, and involve your whole person, body and soul, in a most corporeal and bodily way.
"There is a profound sense in which music opens a secret door in time and reaches in to the eternal. This is the authority and grace of music; it evokes or creates an atmosphere where presence awakens to its eternal depth." I never tire of reading these words over and over again.
Again, a beautiful book written by a beautiful man. Please pick up a copy and be inspired.
The book was required by my composition class, and at first glance I didn't see how it would fit into the subject matter, but I am very glad my instructor placed this on her readings list!