Sunday, August 9, 2009

Of socks and the sublime

If you need your glasses or that missing sock, your best bet is to look for them.

But many of the most precious things in the world cannot be found by looking for them. In fact, looking for them almost guarantees that you will never find them.

You cannot write a beautiful poem by sitting down and searching for beautiful words and sentiments. You do not create beautiful music by looking for beautiful combinations of sounds. You cannot produce a beautiful photograph by looking for beautiful scenery. You do not experience transcendent moments of love, wisdom or the divine by carving out time and setting your mind to it.

These precious things flee from your efforts as fast as you try to catch them. While you are trying to hunt them down out there, they lodge themselves ever deeper in your soul - where they resided all along.

The poem, the music, the photo... they are not out there. You will expend your life in the search for this beauty if you look outside. They are inside of you. If you wish to find them you have to stop trying. You have to let go of your goals and objectives. You have to abandon your plans. You have to stop feeling so proud or confident in your skills. You have to take off the lenses that have helped you see so clearly the specks of dust that are on your eyes at the expense of the majesty of the world that lies just one inch in front of your face and stretches out forever within your grasp.

Yes, you have to prepare yourself for this beauty. To write a beautiful poem you must have a vocabulary. To produce a beautiful photo you must have a camera and know how to use it. But you do not find the scene that will become your beautiful photo. It finds you. It finds you if you are not looking. It finds you when your heart is open to it and your mind is clear.

When you quiet the voices inside your head that tell you this and that path to success, that encourage you to make your mark, that point out to you all of those people and circumstances that have robbed you of what should have been yours... Only then in the peace of not wanting or needing, of not looking for greatness and beauty, will beauty and greatness reveal themselves to you. It will come from within. You will know it right away. And whether you choose to share it with others in the form of a poem, a symphony or a photograph, it will be your beauty that they see.

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