This morning I am reflecting on beauty. In his book Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Times, Matthew Fox describes a “Mystic- Warrior” as “one possessed by beauty, one alive with radical amazement.” In spring we seem to pay more attention to beauty, perhaps since we tend not to see it in the starkness of winter; but it is there as well.
The Romantic poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about beauty in “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo: Maidens’ Song from Saint Winefred’s Well.” It has long been a favorite of mine. The Leaden Echo describes a young girl gazing at her image in a well, musing on what will become of her as she ages. Hopkins dwells on poignant images of diminishment in age, striking a somber note:
So be beginning, be beginning to despair.
In the second half of the poem, The Golden Echo, the poet delves into the well of mysticism and seems to say that in God there is no diminishment. In God we ARE beauty, “beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.”
The flower of beauty…
Never fleets more, fastened with the tenderest truth
To its own best being…
Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God
Beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.
….The thing we freely forfeit is kept with fonder a care
-Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where-
Yonder.-What high as that! We follow, now we follow,-
Yonder, yes yonder, yonder, yonder.
A good spiritual practice for spring would be beauty-mindfulness. We could actually take a lunch break, sit outside and let our senses drink in beauty. We could sit alone with our sandwich in a cafe sans technology, paying attention to the beauty we see in the appearance and actions of people. In God there is no diminishment. In God there is only beauty.
Photo Credit: Sarah Levinson used with permission
https://m.youtube.com/?reload=2&rdm=1hu3wd4y1#/watch?v=JsosOoSdMv8Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Time