Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Are the seven principles beautiful?

Unitarian Univeralism has not inspired great art of any kind except perhaps poetry, some work by the transcendentalists, and a flaming chalice logo. If Unitarian Univeralism is to flourish it must become more mindful of beauty.

Some artists, according to Steve Taylor in his book, The Leap, are awakened. Taylor writes, "People who are spontaneously awake are more likely to become creative artists than spiritual teachers." p.47 Where are the Unitarian Univeralist artists? The dearth of them may indicate a spiritual impoverishment.

Taylor gives examples of artists he considers awakened such as Walt Whitman, D.H. Lawrence, William Wordsworth, and Richard Jeffries. There are undoubtedly many others. Architecture, paintings, and music also inspire, uplift, and fill us with awe.

In Christianity, Catholicism has given us the greatest artistic expressions of beauty while Protestantism has downplayed and stifled it. The liturgies of the sacramental religions outshine the often dull and dreary protestant worship services. Is it time for Unitarian Univeralists to make efforts to create more beauty in their covenantal relationships? Is it time to not only affirm and promote the seven principles but also to articulate their beauty?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What are two things of beauty you have become aware of today?

Unitarian Universalists, like other Protestant denominations, threw beauty out of church after the reformation. The Protestants are nothing like the Catholics when it comes to beauty. Protestants saw the Catholics use of statues, paintings, architecture, music, liturgy as a form of idolatry and so they purged their churches of the Roman influences. It is too bad. Where are the great UU cathedrals, icons, music, liturgies? There are few things that UUs can point too when the topic of beauty is raised in religious imagery. The flaming chalice is about it. The "living tradition" has not motivated or inspired much else beautiful when it comes to expressing and articulating its religious vision for human kind and the world.

Beauty is what moves us. The path of the ego pushes the ugly in front of our awareness constantly to capture our attention and encourage our emotional arousal and response. The path of the ego is littered with fear, contempt, disdain, criticism, rejection, and abandonment. These tactics are woven into our lives causing angry attacks, depression, anxiety, and to their extreme: homicide and suicide. The path of the ego is the path to hell.

Exhausted, totally demoralized, on the verge of a nervous break down we cry out to the Universe, "There must be a better way!" And the Universe gently and lovingly responds with signs that there is. And we become aware of what A Course In Miracles calls the Atonement or At-onement.

We come to understand that the path of the ego is hell on earth and its main motivating force is fear. We realize that the path of the spirit is heaven on earth and its main motivating force is love. We come to the fork in the road and realize that we can continue on the path of the ego which is filled with rear and ugliness or the path of the spirit which is filled with love and beauty. Which will I choose: the high road or the low road?

The low road is easy because we can sleep walk it. It takes no effort. The high road is difficult because we have to be awake and awareness while it may not take more effort, it does take discipline.

Beauty is comprised of the true and the good and it illuminates our consciousness. We are moved by it and surrender to it and it fills us with grace. A thing of beauty is a wonder to behold. To make heaven on earth we need to recognize and acknowledge at least two things of beauty we have become aware of every day.

While the path of the ego is littered with ugliness, the path of the spirit entails abundant beauty.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What do you find most true, most beautiful, most good?

Roman Catholicism has described truth, beauty, and goodness as the "transcendentals." Unitarian Universalism often relies on the transcendentalists as prophetic women and men who have contributed to the living tradition of UU. In the pursuit of truth and meaning, paths into the true, beautiful, and good have provided sustenance for the search and journey.

Psychotherapists focus on the three aspects of the human personality: thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In the world of values we name truth, beauty, and goodness as the pivotal touchstones of our consciousnesses. These values correspond to the aspects of the personality: our thoughts desire truth, our feelings desire beauty, and our behavior desires goodness.

When we apply this trinity to the spiritual life we can wonder: what is truth, what is beauty, and what is goodness? What are the circumstances and factors that contribute to experiencing these three qualities?

It is the pursuit of the truth, beauty, and goodness that comprises the spiritual life and the life worth living. Wherein do these three qualities lie?

In my life, my truth is found in _____________________________.

In my life, beauty is most intensely experienced in ____________________________.

In my life, goodness is found in ________________________________.

In other words, what is the most important truth for you? What is the most beautiful for you? What is the most good that you appreciate most?

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