my heart is opened for You
-- kiss me,
Beauty is an invitation to rapture... to the complete annihilation of "self" in adoration of the One Love Consciousness pervading -- within and without -- every creature and all of creation... for mystics of each of the world faiths, there is Only One Reality: and beauty elevates the observer into the essential awareness of "no separation"... The Quran states, "Remember your Lord when you are forgetful" (18:24)... some interpret this passage as, "When you forget everything else, so you remember your Love"... The beauty that "takes our breath away", transports us into the sublime awareness of Oneness, triggers the automatic desire for a complete "immersion" in the experience, and offers a total "identification" with the "Beloved"...
The Beloved of the mystic is many "things": most basically, the Holy One, but also particular scenes of rapturous beauty and love: waterfalls, pools, gardens, trees, mountains, fields of grain, vineyards, fountains, roses, fine architecture, art work, poetry, the moon, the stars, rainbows, clouds, rain, the sun, smiles, tears, the human form -- both male and female, love-making, bread, wine, friends and companions... "Forgetting God" does not mean any sort of "fault" of things: rather, instead, a "faulty seeing": such as, the desire to possess a mountain and to deny others access, or the desire to dominate or control the body of a lover, or the desire to profit from another's suffering or troubles. "Remembering God", by the same token, is the reverence for the many moments of our lives in non-attachment: meaning, I cannot "possess" another human being; I cannot "own" a mountain -- I can, instead, be a good steward and create a public park that is freely available to others; and I cannot lend money at interest or charge fees for human kindness. Awareness of the rapturous invitation of beauty is to willingly enter into a "right relationship" with every "other" and all of creation: this awareness cannot exploit, oppress, or dominate: this invitation, for acceptance, requires identification: freely given, freely received, freely inhaled, freely exhaled, and freely touched and revered in the humility of surrender and adoration...
The "prayer of beauty" is the daily practice of "Not Two": this "no difference" between you and your Beloved, between you and beauty, is the essence of genuine prayer: you are no longer negligent! You can both chop the potatoes and make love! This radical -- to the roots -- approach to life is the revelation of the mystic: look at her hands! Look at her gentle smile! Remembrance is the cultivation of the extraordinary in the very midst of the ordinary: "Love one another as I have loved you" counseled Yeshua to his companions: love in the everyday of relationships... love in the rising with the sun for a hard day of work... love in the repast of simple food and hearty laughter... love in the recognition of radiant beauty whenever and wherever it is noticed... love in the simple blossom... love in the stunning field of ripening wheat... love in the kneading hands on tired muscles... love in the kiss and slip of passion... love in the service of someone in need... love in the organizing for justice and peace... The prayer of beauty is a simple sitting in acceptance of the Divine Mystery... and the sigh of "I love You" and "I thank You"...
And so we might on occasion use the form of words for our prayer, words such as, "Holy One, make me an instrument of Your Beauty: where I notice suffering and pain, may I be mercy and compassion; where I notice injustice and violence, may I organize for justice and practice kindness; where I notice discord and untruth, may I create harmony and be gentle; and where I notice potential and hope, may I serve liberation and opportunity... for I finally understand that it is by beauty that we are all being saved. Thank You!"
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.