What is the wound that Beauty heals?”
At the end of the Beauty Dialogues teleconversation the other night we set the question for the next (and last of this series) session. This time it was a double-sided queory that emerged as we listened for it…
On beauty as both wound and healer; "What is that sadness or nostalgia
we sometimes feel when contemplating Beauty?", "What is it about Beauty
that is able to heal that wound?", or "What is wounded in ourselves and
our cultures that needs the healing power of Beauty?", or, even more
simply, "What is the wound that Beauty heals?".
I held those questions in my awareness as I went out for a walk afterwards with an old friend of mine (this friend is a man who has been deeply wounded recently, having just emerged from a 6 year odyssey in the Australian prison system).
As we walked I saw his pace slow and his breathing deepen again and again as his heart was touched by Beauty – a profusion of rose blooms in a cottage garden (he said he'd seen it earlier and knew he wanted to share it with a woman, as a gift), and then when, climbing to the top of a hill, we saw the Marin headlands way across the bay and the majesty of Mount Tamalpais disappearing into blue fog.
We were talking about the juxtaposition of Truth and Beauty. I started thinking about the two of them being very powerful together. How Truth has to do with the head, and how its clarity can heal the wounds of the intellect, while Beauty is of the heart and has the capacity to heal us emotionally.
Beauty is that part of the feminine principle that connects us to one another… the homebuilder who draws a circle around us and our environment and fills it with comfort and beauty, the caregiver that loves us and wants to bring us pleasure and delight. When we are in her presence we open up, our chest expands in a sense of appreciation or even awe.
When we experience something of profound Beauty in the presence of others there is often an incredible sense of unity that characterizes that shared collective moment. It's almost that in the collective apprehension of beauty is a semi-conscious recognition that we are each, in our essence, beings capable of awe and wonder. And to have that capacity as a fundamental core trait is so wonderful that sometimes its blessing helps us regain faith in ourselves. Just for that moment it makes us whole, perhaps even heals the part of us that feels separate and alienated, or helpless in the face of despair…
This is obviously an ongoing queory, and we'll be talking about it more in the next online Beauty Dialogue, but I'd be curious about your response to these early musings … any thoughts to share on this idea of Beauty as wound or healer?