I stood at the end of the pier. The snow-clad Olympics glistened over Puget Sound, coruscant from end to end on this particularly warm evening in April. Rigging on hundreds of boats tinkled casually amid an occasional seagull’s cry, and in the distance… as is common if you listen around dusk this time of year… was a frisky chorus of sea lions, barking.

There was no call for urgency right now.  Nothing to defend, and certainly no cause for harshness. “God… this place is SO beautiful!” I thought, absorbed for a few long moments in the mountains and water and sounds and salt air.

Even as it galvanizes us, we tend to calm down in the midst of beauty, don’t we?

Whether a captivating tableaux in nature, a favored work of art, or a special moment with a loved one, a beautiful experience tends to feel full and rich and complete. It opens wide the door to quietude, beckoning to the peace within us… from which a quiet joy leaps so easily! So naturally! Doesn’t it?

At no point did I think:

“I should try harder to focus on this.”

“Perhaps I could earn it if I struggled more.”

Nope. Just stood there. Sights, sounds and smells somehow tugged on my inner dimensions automatically, pulling gratitude and contentment from the depths that stretch well beyond the surface of this body.

I’ve noticed a big adventure is not required for this experience either. An evocative piece of music in my earbuds or beautiful photo will nudge me towards that inner quietude and peace too; as will a tail-wagging dog.

Just talking about a beautiful experience doesn’t carry the rich, energetic power of the direct experience. Better to be in it… soaking.

Sure, there may be more to our stories. Life will bring other experiences, including the difficult and painful.

But from what better place could one meet whatever life brings?

In the midst of a beautiful experience, it’s almost hard not to feel loving. When really grounded in love, it’s almost impossible not to see and accept more of what’s really true.

Beauty –> Love –> Truth

As such, experiencing the quiet peace of beauty has deeply practical implications for our daily grind. Beauty opens wide the door to Love and Truth, and from this sanctum we make better decisions about our lives.

There can be a time and place for counting one’s breath, or prayer or chanting or practices of any kind. But in the meantime, in richness and fullness, may these beautiful doors crack wide open, within you.

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© Copyright 2019 Jonathan Van Valin