A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Peace is the number one beautiful ornament you can wear, I really believe that. They say you should always wear a smile, but I don’t believe that you should “always” wear a smile, seriously, you’re going to look stupid! But peace, you should always carry peace within you, its the most beautifying thing you could ever have or do. Peace makes your heart beautiful and it makes you look beautiful, too. You want to have perfect physical posture when you stand, sit, and walk, and peace is the perfect posture of the soul, really. Try perfect posture outside as well as inside. Peace creates grace and grace gives peace.
~C. JoyBell C.
Kindness itself is a way of life. There will always be those who wait for others to lift the heavy load, those who count on you or me to make the extra effort. Do not begrudge them. For though they suffer, they have not suffered enough. They cause themselves more harm than they know. When you lend a hand, you open a way for your heart to touch the heart of everything. This is a wealth that only grows. While those we help may leave or die or simply grow into their own beauty and be loved by others, the closeness uncovered by kindness turns to light in the body, until the closeness generated by kindness makes a lamp of the heart.
~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What is Sacred
pathwriter’s note: I highly recommend this (or any other) book by Mark Nepo. He has been a constant spiritual companion/teacher for me for the past four or five years.
There is a way of seeing without projection, and it’s beautiful.
I can’t remember exactly when I first bought and hung a crystal prism in a sunny window, but I know the first time I walked in and saw rainbows dancing across the walls, I fell in love. Such a little thing, and yet such joy! All from a tiny ball of glass.
The kitchen of my house faces east and receives wonderful morning sun through its two small windows. I’ve hung a crystal in each one, and on sunny mornings, I’m greeted with magical dabs of color on the walls and ceiling and cabinet doors. The sight never fails to make me smile, even in difficult times.
On the surface, these dancing rainbows are a small, perhaps (to some minds) a frivolous thing. On a deeper level, however, they’re a link, a tether, to all that’s good and right about the world. They’re a momentary respite—or even a way out of—whatever darkness or heaviness I might be caught up in. I can look at them and think, Even in the midst of (fill in the blank with my current “problem”), there is this—these fairy-like splashes of color and light. Even in the midst of strain and stress, beauty goes on, the light still shines.
For you, it might be something else. It might be the birds that visit your feeder every morning, or the dog that wakes you with a lick or a paw on the side of the bed. Whatever it is, take a moment to see it, to receive it. Carry it with you through your day. It’s the small joys—digging in the dirt, sliding between freshly laundered sheets, watching my cat sleep in a sunny shaft of light—that have gotten me through the tough times, and luckily, the small joys are always there to be had. I just have to take the time to notice.
…and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.
~Ruskin Bond, Scenes from a Writer’s Life
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.