When was the last time you enjoyed watching the sunset? I don’t know about you, but during the quarantine I often looked at the sky. Almost every evening I would observe the sky painted with colours and I would send the Sun to rest. Staying in the quarantine helped me rediscover what I had forgotten, what I might pass by every day, but not notice it’s there. What might have remained hidden from my senses forever was revealed during that time. Yes, I started noticing more things around me. It sounds unbelievable, but I rediscovered the beauty of the sky. It is always above us, it cannot be hidden, but we often do not notice it because our gaze is turned to the ground – material things, problems, troubles or disappointments. So many things push us down, so sometimes it’s hard to look up, stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment.
After the quarantine ended, I continued to watch the sunsets. I can say that it has become my new hobby. Looking at the celestial luxury of incredible colours, I wondered about the Artist who tirelessly paints a new and unique scene before my eyes every evening. How come He never gets tired? How can He not run out of inspiration? Why does He try so hard for something that is temporarily and only lasts a few moments? It’s beautiful because it vanishes, and it vanishes because it’s beautiful, I told myself. But why is something beautiful to me? What is beauty and where does it come from? How do we experience it? Is beauty a subjective category which depends on our taste, or does a source of beauty, of which we can say that it is beautiful to anyone who looks at it, exist?
For me, beauty is much more than what is visible. It participates in the relationship between the spiritual and material realities. I believe that beauty has its source in God who is Beauty itself and who is the inexhaustible Source of beauty. Therefore, something is beautiful to us because it contains (to a greater or lesser extent) a drop of the original beauty that comes from God. We are all given the opportunity to experience the beautiful, it’s just a matter of how open we are to that experience. Having an open heart means allowing God to work in our lives in many different ways. And to explain the way we perceive beauty in more detail (the way I experience it), I will use a pictorial representation. First of all, please look carefully at the image below the text.
Imagine God (1), who is Transcendent (unreachable, unfathomable, beyond our comprehension) as a source of light so powerful that it cannot be looked at directly. That Light resides beyond time and space. That Light is at the same time pure Beauty. In order for us to experience Beauty, it is necessary for it to become accessible to our senses. That is why Beauty enters in our material reality through the spiritual reality, which I imagined as a mirror (2) that reflects the rays of light. Also, for the spiritual reality we can say that it is like “matter without form”, because it is there – present, but we do not see it. Furthermore, we know from experience that when we direct light towards a mirror, due to the refraction of light it becomes so bright that we cannot look at directly. In a similar way, we cannot see the spiritual reality, but we can truly feel it. Finally, the rays of the original Light of Beauty are reflected from the mirror unto the (3) “canvas of the world.” The “canvas of the world” is all that we can experience with our senses, hence all material reality. In this case, we use the sense of sight (4) to experience beauty. We can see how long that process in which Beauty enters our reality is. However, this is not the end, because it depends on our availability to what degree we can experience beauty (here we return again to the question of the openness of our heart). Figuratively speaking, if we stand close enough to the “canvas of the world” we will find it easier to see what is depicted on it. If we are too far away from it, the image will not be clearly visible to us, and the beauty will be lost in blurred outlines.
In the end, it all follows that Beauty can be first felt, and then beauty can be seen. Beauty (written with a capital letter) cannot be seen. We can only see and experience beauty in its imperfection of the final stage. Yet even then, beauty is so amazing and magnificent. We can’t even imagine what it will be like to one day see Beauty face to face. Until then, we have no choice but to admire the beauty of the world we can see.
Image taken from: https://unsplash.com/