23. Beauty
Session 1
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 12 Feb 2000

Ben< ALL: Tonight is the first session of a new seminar. The subject is beauty. What is beauty? Where does it come from? What can be done with it? Is there an underlying reason why some things are beautiful and some are not? Is it all just cultural conditioning? Is there any such a thing as a sense of beauty?

Ben< ALL: Yes, I know Socrates said beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That's why I think it is an appropriate subject for a seminar on spirituality. Ready? Let's go.

FreeLoveFloating< There is beauty in all. There are no limits to the perception of it, except for the limits imposed by the self and/or cultural upbringing. I shall interject here and there, and listen to the rest.

misstree< Ahhhh, beauty, a most interesting topic *vbs* and most suitable for spiritual discussion. Beauty is a set of aesthetic parameters or conditions deemed to be pleasing to the senses ... highly mutable and suggestive on both cultural and personal levels.

Ben< QUESTION 1: Here comes a man wearing a red hat, red scarf, yellow coat, blue epaulets, purple vest, green-and-red striped trousers, and grey shoes. Is he beautiful? or what? YOUR TURN

greyman< He is quite colorful.

FreeLoveFloating< *laughing joyfully* He is magnificently BEAUTIFUL! Specially when he holds his head high ... :O))

myalba< Zoot suit, eh? Well, subjectively, it is relative to the eyes of the beholder; however, does it look good? does it make sense? back to the eyes of the beholder! In it's own way, it is or may be beautiful.

Yopo< *LOL* Not my idea of beautiful, but he is certainly gonna be noticed.

FRAML< Beautiful? No. Gaudy, yes. At least his clothes. However, his features have not been mentioned. And also there is the inner beauty of a person, which one knows only from knowing them, and that is currently out of your scope.

guitarist< Ben: What shades of these colors are you talking about? Is there any subtlety to them? The grey shoes definitely have to go. *s* The saturation level is really important here. Too much is garish; a moderate amount probably would help these colors not clash too much together -- but that would be really difficult, especially with the trousers. Probably would have a very comical effect altogether.

misstree< He's certainly colorful, but I would need more information to be able to decide whether I found him beautiful. Is there harmony in the tones, how are the colors composed over his body, how do the colors look on his body, how does his physicality contribute or detract from the outfit?

FreeLoveFloating< He is one I may grab and begin dancing with on the street, should his energies be inviting. Beauty is as Beauty does. :O))

Ben< I would say the man's clothing is colorful, garish, showy, funny-looking -- but not beautiful.

misstree< Ben: That is of course your subjective opinion about his lack of beauty *lol* though probably most in this room would agree since we probably tend to base our opinions upon the same set of ideals of harmony and grace that compose beauty. *vbs*

FreeLoveFloating< *sigh* I am afraid I am out of my league here. :O((

Ben< FreeLoveFloating: Nah, not out of your league. I'm posting these questions with a playful intent. There are no wrong answers to these questions. *S*

LEGS< Beauty to the eyes ... the colorful garb ... sounds like a uniform ... can be pleasing ... but beauty of spirit is something else. We have lost a beautiful man from our world today ... Tom Landry died of complications following surgery.

myalba< Objectively, he/it is beautiful (child of god) in whatever dress code he chooses?

Sprinkles< I would say a real eye-catcher. Beautiful to the extent of freedom of expression in one's taste in clothing. :)

myalba< In a line of a song: "Everything is beautiful in it's own way."

Ben< QUESTION 2: There sits a bird with a red head, red neck, yellow shoulders with a patch of blue on each shoulder, purple chest, green-and-red striped body and tail, and grey feet. Is he beautiful? or what? YOUR TURN

misstree< Good second question. *lol* Which begs the question: do we apply different standards in different contexts?

Yopo< I would probably think the bird beautiful. Most things of nature are. Form and function are usually in harmony there.

misstree< Yopo: You hit upon a good point: our perceptions of beauty are partly based upon harmony and balance. *s*

myalba< Yes, in my opinion, a most beautiful bird. Although the color match or combinations may be out range of the norm, nevertheless, unique and beautiful.

greyman< I never met a bird that I did not like, except for a buzzard or two.

guitarist< Maybe it's my TERN. ;-) Are you describing some sort of parrot? I would probably find it beautiful, because the colors would be blended in better than those of the man in the suit.

FRAML< Since we know that animals are always correct, it is beautiful. *G* However, the shading and blending of feathers is gentler than the sharp color lines I imagined on the man's clothes. However, he sounds like a buzzard, and they are not beautiful.

Sprinkles< Bird is a real eye catcher, beautiful in the freedom of nature's given colors. (Reason possibly for protection)

greyman< Ahhh, the concept: Beauty can be interpreted as a "universal" and the effect becoming some type of desire. To experience, possess, internalize.

misstree< greyman: Can you explain what you mean a bit more?

greyman< Sure, misstree. We all know the word beautiful. The universal understanding is, that which is appealing. We desire that which is beautiful, and are repelled by ugliness. Perspective helps us perceive our interpretation of our reactions. We follow our desires and are repelled by our dislikes.

misstree< greyman: Thanks. *s*

tiggerlily< greyman: One of the best teachers I had in life is a woman named Maggie who was disfigured in a fire. At first I was scared to look at her. But she was the most positive person I ever met in my entire life. She taught all around her something. She was so beautiful ... but that beauty I felt in my heart, not in my eyes.

LEGS< I nearly walked right up to a robin today ... and though he was much less colorful, he was beautiful. Birds are the showiest of God's creatures, are they not?

Ben< I would say the bird is beautiful. Colorful, garish, showy -- and beautiful.

selki< Beauty is that which is pleasurable to any individual, whether is it visual, auditory as in harmonious sounds, perhaps music, inner beauty of a person's character, or an experience that would create everlasting memories of happiness.

misstree< selki: Excellent description. *s*

guitarist< misstree: I think, as you do, that we apply different standards to different contexts. Consider the color chartreuse: bad on a rug, but good on a flower?

misstree< guitarist: Indeed, we do apply different standards in different contexts, and many of those standards are culturally defined, though we do tend to accumulate our own version of the ideal beauty which is built upon our experiences. *s*

Yopo< guitarist: *G* Chartreuse was pretty questionable on my grandfather's '52 Ford, by ANYBODY'S standard.

misstree< Yopo: Now that's really a question of taste, which is most definitely culturally defined within even more rigid parameters than beauty. *vbs*

tiggerlily< Beauty depends perhaps on perception. If I were blind, and met the man in tacky clothes, but talked to him and had a conversation in which he showed humility, compassion or grace, I might perceive him -- from a soul level -- as beautiful ... a beautiful person ... meaning beauty as what values you have not based on visual perception.

FRAML< tiggerlily: Yes, to say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is a statement showing one's prejudice for sightism and therefore is to be avoided, so that the differently sighted folks aren't insulted. *G*

tiggerlily< FRAML: I am fascinated by alternative ways of perception. One thing about our cyberworld is that it is an alternative or experimental way of perceiving one another. Here you do not have to have a face to be beautiful. We speak with hearts ... and energy ... and perceive from that place.

LEGS< For instance ... greyman is a name that does not sound very colorful, and if you attach colorful as a prerequisite of beauty, then not beautiful ... Yet, I know greyman to be beautiful of spirit and grace.

greyman< LEGS: *vbs and blush*

FreeLoveFloating< Might I ask, when was the last time any of you saw a man with a disfigured face, and it almost made you nauseous, yet you saw the beauty there? You wanted to share in it, therefore spoke to him, bid him a good day? Beauty is more than what you are all speaking of. True beauty, you have yet to touch on. In Love ...

misstree< FreeLoveFloating: But the real challenge, my friend, is to find the beauty in the disfigurement, not to overcome your aversion to the disfigurement. All forms contain beauty if we have eyes to see it. *vbs*

guitarist< FreeLoveFloating: I think Ben will get to the spiritual part ... hopefully soon.

FreeLoveFloating< guitarist: It is NOT spiritual to see beauty in all. It is in being aware. There is no separation between spiritual and physical. If there is, then incorporation needs to be tended to. *S*

misstree< FreeLoveFloating: How do you know it's not spiritual to see beauty in all?

FreeLoveFloating< misstree: What I meant in my post was that it does not take spirituality to see beauty in all. People have a way of separating spirituality from themselves. It is awareness that creates sight. I am having a hard time getting my point across, because I do not intellectualize a lot on what IS. I just flow with it, experience, and AM. I shall keep my opinions to myself now. In Love ...

misstree< FreeLoveFloating: Thanks for clarifying yourself. *vbs*

guitarist< FreeLoveFloating: I was responding to your statement that we weren't considering inner beauty, only outer. I think that we will, yet.

FreeLoveFloating< guitarist: Why separate them? It is one and the same. (Okay, now I will keep my opinions to myself.) *sneaks back into the shadows to listen*

swami< Depends on whether you are looking for physical beauty, or a beauty within, or whether your belief is that God is All, in which case there is nothing that is not beautiful.

ewfsrb< I have and I do see beauty in even those who don't know it exists in themselves. I have just uncovered my own beauty. I picked up a guitar, and the vibrations bring my heart to places it's never seen before. Does anyone here play any sort of music?

guitarist: ewfsrb: I play the guitar.

ewfsrb< guitarist: Do you find that when you pick your guitar up and play it outside the earth's soul feels your beauty and responds to your touch?

misstree< ewfsrb: You touch upon an interesting point. Beauty (visual and sonic especially) is often about harmony, so part of our choice of what is beautiful will be based on if that particular note or color resonates with us vibrationally.

ewfsrb< I love that you said that, misstree. The beauty in this world is harmony, and life is a constant flow of it.

misstree< ewfsrb: The kicker is, though, that there can be beauty in dissonance too. *lol* And to answer your question, love and joy make me feel beautiful (though a good haircut can help, too. *lol*)

ewfsrb< What does dissonance mean?

Yopo< Dissonance is a lack of harmony. Parts of a thing that are at odds with each other. It produces a sense of tension ...

misstree< ewfsrb: Dissonance is when a note or color is out of harmony or is discordant (can mean a lack of agreement). So think about that in terms of music or color, something that clashes, sometimes subtly and sometimes spectacularly.

Ben< QUESTION 3: If your answer to Question 1 wasn't the same as your answer to Question 2, why were your two answers different? YOUR TURN

guitarist< Good Question 3! I think Yopo, FRAML, Sprinkles and Legs, at least, touched on the reason I found the bird beautiful, but the man less than beautiful in appearance ... nature. G-d's creation. "The lily is clothed with more beauty than the robes of King Solomon ... " or so I remember it.

Sprinkles< The man's clothing was of his choice; the bird's nature's. The man can choose; the bird not. Therefore, his taste in attire was questioned, not the man himself. The bird was given his colors by nature's choice.

Jello< Although, of course, colors tend to evolve through birdie choice (or evolved choice ... a lot like generally hardwired human preferences.)

myalba< "In the eyes (or lack thereof) of the beholder" must take on a broader meaning, and the god presence makes beauty relative to the eyes of the beholder, from his vantage point, subjectively objective!

tiggerlily< Depending on this man ... on his intent and energy ... his choice of clothing might strike me as creative and bold. I might think that choice is a beautiful choice, depending on if it is authentic to him.

guitarist< tiggerlily: A clown cheering up children in a hospital might be a good context for beauty for the man. Am I on the right track?

tiggerlily< guitarist: Sure ... or maybe he's a black blues musician and just in his element and ready for a gospel number. He might be more accurately joyful than beautiful, but to me joy is beautiful. I see what you mean ... physical beauty is just one feather on the bird of beauty.

LEGS< tiggerlily: I agree, it is not the eyes that perceive the lasting beauty of someone, but the heart or spirit ... or perhaps the spirit led heart?

greyman< tiggerlily: Yes, and I am not worthy to be Steven Hawking's graduate student.

tiggerlily< greyman: *S* Well, he's certainly not physically beautiful ... but he did marry his nurse. Kinda romantic, don't you think? I would not make it as his grad student either. I'd have to go back and take high school math. I still have nightmares about not "getting" it in Algebra II and having no one to explain things to me.

greyman< tiggerlily: Mathematics is on my top ten for beauty.

misstree< greyman: hehe, you might be closer to a particular truth than you know. Many cultures have had mathematical equations for beauty. *vbs*

Yopo< Hmm ... I dislike affectation. The man is dressed as if he is the military dictator of Lunatovia. The bird is just being what it truly is ...

misstree< Yopo: But what if this man's clothes truly expressed his soul ... no affectation? You do not judge the bird by his feathers, but you judge the man by his? *s*

Yopo< misstree: Good point. Maybe he IS the dictator of Lunatovia. *S* And there IS something to be said for deliberately defying expectation.

selki< misstree: Beauty to me isn't just visual. There are other stimulants that create an individual's impression of what they feel beauty is. The spectrum of beauty is so broad, we can never assign only one constant. The most "beautiful beauty" to me is knowing the inner beauty of someone.

misstree< selki: Quite agreed. *s* I've personally found that once you 'see' (in the non-optical sense) someone's inner beauty, you also see it externally. Have people not had the experience of falling in love with someone that on first glance you found rather plain but upon getting to know them, they became ravishing beauties? *lol*

tiggerlily< Synch on falling in love, misstree.

Emerge< Beauty (to me) is grayed beauty is bright beauty is what you see when you look without a blinded eyesight. Love to all. And, if you are blinded, eyesight. Then that's for you to see, no judging here. Beauty is where ever you choose to see. Once I was on my way home from a visit to Nevada. I didn't see the beauty of the desert until on the bus. I had problems there that I had to conquer not by turning away but by facing them without fear but great wonder.

myalba< What one sees with third eye is beauty? Would not yes be the conclusion!?

swami< To see beauty in All things is to see as God sees -- to realize your own Divinity -- to see beyond the outer trappings into the beauty and perfection of creation -- to see the perfection we All are -- that is what is beautiful IMO.

myalba< Conclusion? "Everything is beautiful in it's own way"?

ewfsrb< I would like help. I find it hard to let myself be who I am, and the beauty in everyone and myself gets tucked away. I wonder, what makes all of you feel beautiful? Let me know if this is against the guidelines, please, to ask a question. I am not familiar yet with this setup.

Ben< ewfsrb: Hello! Welcome. Please ask that question again, right after the hour of (semi) guided discussion.

ewfsrb< I will do so. Thank you, Ben.

Ben< I said the man was funny-looking but the bird was beautiful. Apparently, I think those colors are appropriate for a certain species of parrot but not for a man.

Ben< COMMENT: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- but you could dissect all the eyes you wanted to and never find it that way. Beauty is deeper than that in me. This is why I was showing how I use questions about beauty as a tool for introspection. I use them to look into my own mind and heart, to see what are my semi-conscious and subconscious concepts of beauty. And that type of tool was the point of these three questions.

Emerge< Hmm ... Interesting tool to see. Tool in emotions and in perceiving beauty. You are all wonderful and beautiful just the way you are. Love to you. Thank you for listening.

Sprinkles< Ben: I agree. My experience of having encountered others I feel I have done a lot of growing from the thoughts and views of others in my life since childhood 'til now has made me see beyond the focus of my eyes to the focus of the person, and being fascinated with each and every individual.

LEGS< Actually, a certain 'comfortableness with self and one's own looks' can be intriguing, if not beautiful, and so we might later describe that person as beautiful ... when, if one dissected their features, they might find one or more that would not qualify as beautiful.

Ben< QUESTION 4: Suppose you are watching TV and see a woman figure-skating. Her every motion is absolutely perfect. Then you see her face -- and it is NOT pretty. Ugly, even. No doubt about it. Now, how would you tell someone what you saw on TV? How would you describe this figure-skater? Would you say you saw a beautiful dancer? Or an ugly woman dancing beautifully? YOUR TURN

Jello< Most people who have trained very hard and are inwardly disciplined reflect that in their faces, at least "in my eyes". :) ... so I'm sure a person doing stupendous figure-skating must have that "inner beauty" (not the hot sauce) reflected in the face.

tiggerlily< I'd say I saw a beautiful performance, probably. Interesting ... I would not focus on "ugly" ... I might note it, but find the truest beauty that I could describe. She might look beautiful to me anyway. When you "fall in love" with something, it looks beautiful to you regardless of visual stimuli sometimes.

ewfsrb< If the beauty inspired me, I would see her as a beautiful woman that skated beautifully.

FRAML< Hmm ... ugly face? How's her body? Is it the person or the performance one is focusing on? I've seen figure skaters who weren't "great lookers" but their grace and poise on the ice was what I was focusing on. Just as a "femme fatale" who can't stay on her feet would be a joke in a figure skating demonstration.

greyman< The "animal" part of my being would be overridden by a beautiful talent. I am glad that most figure skaters wear tights (covering the many practice leg scars) *g*.

guitarist< I would say that I saw a beautiful dancer, particularly if she were smiling or in some other way radiating the beauty from within.

myalba< Again same answer. If her form is beautiful, then it's all beautiful. The beauty of her performance cannot be negated by her perceived facial lack of beauty. imho, she is a beautiful dancer.

misstree< Curious as to why so many think the face is the focus of defining beauty?

LEGS< The figure skater, like some ballerinas, might radiate beauty in action, and yet be strikingly un-beautiful ... but memorable ... unforgettable ... intense. It is often striving to overcome one's personal looks that leads to near perfection in the chosen activity.

Ben< Okay, good thoughtful answers to Question 4. As I said, there are no wrong answers in my seminars, but I do want to stimulate your thinking, and perhaps expand the envelope.

WhisperW< "Beauty before you" is a wish or a prayer that all you behold reflect the beauty that is you.

Ben< I would say I saw a beautiful dancer, because I see a difference between beauty of form and beauty of function. (I plan to do more with this difference next week.)

FRAML< Ben: But we all wait for "the fat lady to sing" and it is the beauty of her voice usually, not the size of her body, one is focusing on. (Good Old Wagnerian operas.)

Sprinkles< I would say a beautiful dancer. Because that is what in fact she performed to perfection. I don't think the features would be the reason for watching the dance.

myalba< Case in point: while looking for a parking place in Balboa Beach, I was following a beautifully built blond on a bicycle for a couple of blocks. She was a perfect 10 from behind. When she turned around, I was shocked at her seeming lack of beauty on her face. However, I treated her with the same dignity and respect that I would give to a "10". We became friends, and over the next 5 years I discovered she was truly a beautiful person.

ewfsrb< Beautiful. Are we still in discussion or not?

tiggerlily< ewfsrb: What makes one feel beautiful? Good question. I am going through a mid-life review. When I was younger, I was more biological beautiful. I was wired, I guess, biologically to attract certain things. I had no idea I was beautiful. I thought I was ugly. Now that I am not in the biology race, I find myself bereft somewhat and confused, but somehow I know it is my character that has to take the front seat as beautiful. However, I also dislike feeling things like out of shape ... or unhealthy ... so it is a new commitment to self care that I am taking ... and in this, perhaps a new health can help me feel "beautiful"... but not young girl beautiful ... just taking care of myself as best I can.

Ben< ALL: The server is slower than I expected, so I'm running late. I have one more question for tonight, and will go ahead and post it.

Ben< QUESTION 5: Suppose you're teaching a class of fifteen-year-olds. The subject for today is art appreciation, so you talk about beauty. One of the girls comes to you after class and asks, "Don't you think we're the most beautiful now, that we'll ever be?" What do you say to her? And why do you say it? YOUR TURN

ewfsrb< I would say I have thought that very same thing, but I came to the conclusion that being alive makes me beautiful as it does all of us. And I believe that we project the image of ourselves as we imagine ourselves to be.

guitarist< Ben: You were an art teacher? My, but you do surprise. *g*

[Ben< guitarist: No, I wasn't an art teacher, as most people would think of that role. This was a Sunday School class. The subject was art appreciation, but I was teaching the art of appreciation. *smile*]

Jello< Ben: I think I know the story you're getting to, so no comment other than "physical beauty is hardly everything."

tiggerlily< I would say there are different seasons of beautiful ... and that you are now very beautiful, and it will change in many ways, but you can always be beautiful.

myalba< If one removes desire and lust from the equation, then the sense of purity that comes with being 15 could lead one to say that they are as beautiful (in form) as they will ever be (generally speaking); however, there are exceptions and pretty is as pretty does!

misstree< Hehe, I'd ask her if she'd slept through the whole class. *lol*

Jello< OK, I lied. I will comment. I remember seeing a magazine cover of a man convicted of a crime ... and the impression I got was of darkness and ugliness. Then I saw a picture of former President Carter on a different cover, smiling ... it was a radiant cover.

LEGS< I would truthfully tell the young fifteen year old girl that beauty develops daily ... and grows with one ... that the appropriate beauty for her age is indeed well represented by her and her friends, but that their mom's are quite beautiful as well ... and their grandmoms? Well, who can hold less reverence for beauty because it is found in the aged?

ewfsrb< I am a 17 year old girl, and maybe this is the most beauty I will ever see in myself, but many people have thought that I am not beautiful, but when I see myself, I see a beautiful body.

tiggerlily< Why wouldn't you continue to be beautiful? Is aging unbeautiful? Well, I think you'd just get better and better personally, ewfsrb.

greyman< Ben: *SMILE* Well, sir, sometimes it is OK just to say nuttin'.

FRAML< Ben: I'd avoid answering that, out of fear of getting hit with a sexual harassment suit, or a statutory rape charge, if the girl decided she didn't like my answer.

ewfsrb< FRAML: lol I have a feeling she wouldn't. Then what would you say?

Jello< Wow, FRAML, do you think things are really that bad??

tiggerlily< FRAML: Oh, come on ... put on your wise and loving father hat and answer the question.

FRAML< Jello & tiggerlily: Not that bad (I hope), but I don't know what I would say. And I probably would avoid answering it, if I were in the setting Ben gave. However, if it were someone I knew who was a family friend, I'd probably say something along the lines of what LEGS posted.

LEGS< Dear FRAML, I hate it that people must guard their answers, even those that might help someone, because of the rampant civil suits ... of harassment.

Jello< When lawsuits threaten, try for Inspiration!

Yopo< I would tell her that her definition of beauty will deepen with the passage of years, as will the lines in her face. I wouldn't expect her to understand or believe that, though.

guitarist< I would say "It depends on what kind of beauty we're talking about. Physically, you are probably at your most beautiful. But you are not going to be fifteen forever. It would behoove you to look at other kinds of beauty ... such as that of a lined face that has laughed and loved much ... beauty of talent, such as the picture you drew today ... beauty of thought, word, deed. It is easier to find ugliness among people than beauty, but we find what we look for." Why? Because simply answering "Yes" will (1) confirm the cultural bias toward youth, and (2) not last long for her. As she gets older, she will find herself uglier if she can't see the beauty in what she and others are becoming. Americans (I can't speak for others) tend to believe that maturity = ugliness. This is self-destructive in the long run, if we have the luck, smarts and blessing from G-d to live long enough to see it. (Sorry for the long post.)

Ben< guitarist: Excellent post. Thoroughly thought out and clearly stated. Thank you.

Sprinkles< I would tell her that we are beautiful -- but, to learn to see what others can and do see in their perception of beauty, can enhance your own beauty to it's fullness. Knowing beautifulness in it's glory.

Ben< This scenario happened to me 33 years ago. I said to her "I see many different kinds of beauty, and I think you girls will become more and more beautiful as you grow older." She smiled sweetly and walked away. I said that because I wanted to expand her concept of beauty and her view of her future. I wonder what she thinks about this now that she is 48 years old.

tiggerlily< I love your answer, Ben!!!!!!

Yopo< Who would deny that Olympia Dukakis or Jessica Tandy were beautiful as elderly women? Beauty shined in spite of the ravages of time.

tiggerlily< Yopo: How about Lena Horne ...

Yopo< tiggerlily: Indeed! And there is something sad about trying to artificially maintain the appearance of youth as one ages, rather than enhancing the beauty that comes with age. Somebody said something earlier about dissonance? *S*

guitarist< Yopo: Olympia Dukakis, Jessica Tandy, and Lena Horne (and I can name many others) are excellent examples of why age should not be considered a negative.

Jello< (And my final point to the Carter anecdote is that spiritual beauty, when etched into every line of a kindly face, is an amazing thing. And often it takes age and experience to truly bring that out in a face.)

ewfsrb< Aging is what you make of it, just as youth can be. I guess I am basically saying it is all in the person.

misstree< Thanks to all for sharing their eye on beauty ... must be off for beauty sleep. *lol*

Jello< What's amazing is that certain types of beauty can be seen just through text ... like in a chat. Like seeing so many comments that are supportive of those who are experiencing difficulty.

Ben< /topic Discussion of beauty

Yopo< I am thinking of an elderly man who came into my office some months back. Very old guy, who had dyed his hair raven black. *LOL* It gave the appearance that this vigorous growth of jet-black hair was sucking the very life out of the rest of him.

tiggerlily< Yopo: There is beauty in acceptance ...

Sprinkles< Yopo: What was your reaction, and did you say anything?

Yopo< Sprinkles: *S* I didn't say a word. I was too busy concentrating on not staring and keeping a straight face.

Sprinkles< Yopo: That reminds me of a so-called comedy about the person leaving the rest room with toilet tissue dragging behind them. Comical, yes, but sad, too. I would more than likely laugh, but go to the tissue and remove it. I would also have taken the man aside and, in a polite way, conversed with him, saying what I am not sure -- I would have to be there. If I was the one, I would appreciate some honesty on or in behalf of my self. Not to say you should have, just mho. *S*

Yopo< It reminded me of a similar experience with my late uncle, Max. He bought a cheap toupee, and wore it to a family dinner. Everyone was trying to avoid looking at him. It looked like some sorta little animal perched on top of his head.

LEGS< But Yopo, there are many great hair pieces today that can't be detected, and men should care how they look, also. *s* Although I love a nicely shaped bald head ... having been married to a bald man for a very long time. *s*

Jello< LEGS: I'm more for hygiene than looks, though to an extent aesthetics are nice. I like working at a place where the phrase "bad hair day" will bring blank looks of, "What? Should I care about how my hair looks?" :-)

droagonstone< I realize I have stopped by late in this discussion, and only long enough to smoke a cigarette and see who is here. I would like to say, beauty is so subjective. What one finds beautiful, another finds horrid. True beauty is in the mind and heart. True beauty is the mountain lion taking down the stag. True beauty is a waterfall. True beauty is the maggot and the raven. All things in their way ...

Jello< I see a culture (American) that is sadly distracted by flash and form, so much so that, upon seeing something with more substance, mistakes the affinity for the flash and form.

FRAML< Jello: I agree with your comment on flash & form. It is one of the things that we can work at avoiding in our own lives, though. But teaching others how to do it -- Ah, there is the rub.

Jello< FRAML: Yes, indeed. But that's why the WWW is so wonderful (and dangerous, too).

LadyV< Yopo: I give up! I can get into PM faster than the on-line chat. I just opted to listen tonight.

Yopo< LadyV: *s* Same here. I've been bumped half-a-dozen times tonight. Made it hard to concentrate on the discussion.

Ben< LadyV: Hello, friend. Sorry about the slow server. It bogged me down, too, though not as much as it did you.

Jello< It'll be nice to see the whole thing on Ben's site (says the person who arrived late).

LEGS< (((((((Ben )))))))) Thanx for another good class. Did you say 'difference' is the subject? or that the subject will be handled with a difference next seminar?

Ben< LEGS: I plan to do more with the difference between beauty of form and beauty of function next time. With a twist. *S*

LEGS< Ben: *deliberately misunderstanding* Oh, I love the twist. It's a fun dance. *g* Actually, that sounds quite interesting ... and I'm eager to see your version of a twist with that subject. *s*

tiggerlily< I need to go, too. Thank you Ben ... this was a really very timely topic for me!

Ben< tiggerlily: Thank you, friend. Glad it was a timely topic for you. Good night.

FRAML< tiggerlily: Blessings to you & Remember to count them before you sleep.

guitarist< Goodnight, all who are leaving. Blessings on all of you.

FRAML< I guess I'll call it a night as well and go get my "handsome" sleep. (Only ladies have beauty sleep).

Jello< Oh, come on, FRAML, I think you and I both know a certain amazing "guy" who is commonly described as "beautiful". :)

FRAML< Jello: ????????

guitarist< Jello: Who could that "amazing guy" be? *LOL*

Jello< I think guitarist is in on it! *LOL*

Ben< FRAML: You reminded me of a story. Years ago in SAC, my crew was on alert. I went down the hall to the shower room wearing a towel and carrying my soap and washcloth. As I passed one of the other rooms, a wise-guy yelled "Hey! Ben! Where ya goin?" I said "Down the hall to get beautiful." And he said "Take a lunch!"

FRAML< BEN: ROTFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

guitarist< Ben: My husband would have done similarly in your situation. *LOL*

LEGS< Ben: You got me grinning now. *s*

Sprinkles< Why is it that, if a lady's slip is showing, for instance, or a man's fly is open, people will approach or point this matter out, discreetly or otherwise. But they limit themselves where the sense of humor in regard to another is kind of a refreshing moment to let linger as long as possible?

Jello< Sprinkles: Unfortunately I didn't quite understand the question ...

Sprinkles< Jello: Aaaah, forget it. *S*

Yopo< LEGS: *S* As one who has a personal interest in the subject of hair-loss *ahem* I am decidedly opposed to the concept of toupees. I guess I consider the preoccupation with the presence or absence of hair a result of efforts to extract money from people by promoting and exploiting unnecessary insecurities. I feel the same way about dangerous surgical procedures done solely for cosmetic purposes -- breast implants, face lifts, liposuction, etc, etc, etc. Even risky eye surgery done solely to dispense with glasses. Totally nuts, in my opinion. As my hairline recedes, I will think of Yul Brynner and Patrick Stewart, rather than The Hair Club for Men. *G*

Ben< Yopo: Well said. And that certainly is germane to the subject of beauty. Obsession with some concepts of beauty can be used for what amounts to extortion.

LEGS< Yopo: Sure glad you're not having any breast implants right away. *G* Now ... me ... I am in awe of liposuction, but having read the follow-up procedures. have decided that beauty for me is perhaps more of me than less. *G*

FRAML< LEGS: I remember getting some tremendous lip o'suction once from a gal.

guitarist< Yopo: I saw your picture last night on your site, and I totally agree with you. But to have the Yul Brynner look, you'd probably have to shave your head. What do you think of that? *g*

Yopo< guitarist: HA!

FRAML< Yopo: Yes, how much to pay for a toupee?

guitarist< FRAML: It must be well past my bedtime not to see your play on to-pay and toupee.

FRAML< guitarist: Now you've gotten me on a pun-roll.

Jello< Mmmm ... pun-roll. Lightly toasted, with golden sesame seeds, and some butter.

Yopo< FRAML: I am quite sure my Uncle Max must have paid about $19.95. *LOL* (Someone apparently found a use for road-kill possum pelts. )

Jello< Yopo: Alas, we live in a society where cosmetic appearances can lead to jobs lost or jobs gained ... though if it's a job lost, then perhaps all the better that way (go to a better place where they care about the inside more).

FRAML< Jello: But a good income if you develop and successfully market a line of cosmetics. *G*

Jello< FRAML: Hmmm, I think I do see what you mean. :)

Yopo< Jello: Ah, is that ACTUALLY true, or are we only conditioned to BELIEVE that it is?

Jello< Yopo: You mean jobs lost, etc? I did read about a study that showed that tall men were more likely to be promoted or to be higher ranked or some-such. Unless there's a genetic link between height and pure charisma ...

Yopo< Jello: Ah, I guess I remember reading about the "tall guy, high stature" thing myself. And those expressions, like "people look up to him". In Egyptian wall paintings, the Pharaoh is always painted larger ... I suppose some cultural conditioning goes very deep.

FRAML< And don't forget those who "ride high in the saddle" or "get on their high horse." *G*

Yopo< Jello: Maybe tall guys buy into the stature thing themselves, and it increases their self-confidence.

Jello< Yopo: And I have heard anecdotes of people hired just for their looks. We could enter the arena of racial issues, too ... or gender issues.

guitarist< Jello: I agree with you about the race and gender issues. That's a whole 'nother seminar. *s*

Jello< Isn't it, though? :)

guitarist< Jello and Yopo: I saw a film in a communication research class that dealt with the reaction people had toward people they perceived as attractive, versus people who weren't so attractive in their eyes. Attractiveness correlated strongly with perception of competence, being chosen, and higher salary. One pair of women and one pair of men were used. The thing I found nefarious about this experiment was that one person of each pair was groomed meticulously to be the attractive one, and the other's bad features were emphasized to make him/her look worse than they actually did. I wonder what would have happened if they had reversed the roles -- had the previously unattractive person become the attractive one, and vice versa.

Ben< guitarist: Another excellent point.

Jello< guitarist: Yes, also saw an article about how people tend to marry within their approximate "attractiveness range." Scary, huh? But I personally don't like people who are at the top of American society's "attractive scale." They aren't that attractive to me at all!

Yopo< guitarist: I suppose maybe I just don't want to admit that we unconsciously put so much emphasis on superficialities.

Jello< I know I have my own perception biases, but I'm going to keep fighting them and learn how to REALLY see people. Not everyone's the same, of course, but there are some criteria that work, and some that are just broken stereotypes.

Yopo< Jello: *S* Much of my own opinions and perspectives were formed during the anti-establishment 60's era. I am automatically suspicious of well-groomed people in business suits. There IS an absurdity to what people place emphasis on. I once had an older female co-worker tell me very seriously that the first thing she looked at in judging a member of the opposite sex was his shoes. If they weren't polished, she wrote him off. HA!

Jello< Yopo: Very scary indeed! And I tend to share your biases. That said, I was going to comment that biological attractiveness sometimes seems a tad off the mark to spiritual or mental or even sometimes physical (!) attractiveness.

Yopo< Jello: Yeah, but I suppose that is to be expected. The business of biological attraction is the production of healthy children, so the emphasis on physical strength, agility, appearance of health, etc, is probably not surprising.

guitarist< But, Yopo, it's different with men. Men's faces can be rugged, baby-face, intelligent, and others I can't think of right now. All of these point to different types of men. Women's faces are scrutinized more and have more rigid requirements for beauty, I know not why.

Jello< Yopo: I meant facial attractiveness to a large extent, though some of that is ascribed to facial symmetry (which is a good genetic survival sign, apparently). So if anyone can prove that movie stars have better genes for survival, well, that'll explain that! :)

guitarist< Jello: The most famous and idolized movie stars don't have such a good survival rate. Did Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlowe, and others like them have children? If they did, then we'd know!

[Mutual farewells as everyone still in the chatroom signed off for the night.]

23. Beauty
Session 2
Sat 19 Feb 2000

Ben< ALL: In ancient Greece, beauty was one of the central problems of philosophy: Why are some things beautiful and some not? More recently, emphasis shifted to rules for creating or interpreting good paintings, sculptures, poems, music, etc. Now aesthetics includes many aspects of art other than beauty. But this seminar isn't modern aesthetics. I am exploring the older questions. Ready? Let's go.

Ben< QUESTION 1: Suppose you have just returned from a month's vacation. You find the electrical power failed while you were away. You open the door of your well-stocked freezer. Everything in it is rotten. Is this a beautiful smell? Do you speak from experience? YOUR TURN

guitarist< I have never been on a month's vacation. But, I can tell you that a rotten food smell would catapult me right out the door! The only useful thing I can think of for it, particularly the vegetables, would be the compost pile.

twowinds< Interesting. For me, the "experience" of the un-beautiful smell could be a program, but looked at another way, perhaps the rotting smell is a reminder of my continuous recycling?

Sprinkles< No, it's not a beautiful smell. It is gross. I speak from experience. I make sure now that if I have to leave for an extended time I definitely will leave it free of food that will turn.

guitarist< The meat might as well be buried. I wouldn't know what else to do with it. As for whether the smell is beautiful, in both cases (vegetation and meat), I don't think so. I'm sure something (animal, plant, whatever) probably thinks it is, though.

LEGS< Speaking from experience (but a friend's freezer) ... it is a dreadful smell.

Ben< The smell of rotten stuff was no doubt more common in ancient Greece than it is now. That's why I had to invoke the freezer and power failure.

daCrone< Unpleasant aroma ... I think: "Uh, oh ... post note not to open freezer until plan to clean it is finalized."

twowinds< I think that we can find beauty in every thing, if we look beyond the surface.

DestinyB< The only beauty I can see in that is the fact that you'd be forced to clean out the freezer. Just one of those things. I have returned from vacation to find my stained glass lamp's chain broken and a dent in the oak table where it had fallen.

guitarist< DestinyB: I think you're right. Sometimes we need a kick in the derriere to do something we have to do, but hate doing.

Lo< We've found a freezer that lost power while we were gone, and I can't imagine connecting any concept of beauty with THAT! Lots of work to get it all cleaned up enough to use again.

twowinds< Perhaps there is a lot of work to cleaning up our dead energy as well? Could be a beautiful representation.

guitarist< After being catapulted out the door, I might find something to cover/pinch my nose with, and go back in there to do the inevitable.

Ben< COMMENT: Some people say that everything is beautiful, but not everyone agrees with that statement.

Ben< QUESTION 2: Two people are watching TV. One switches to a nature program. Three lions are eating a zebra. One person says "That's beautiful" and settles down to watch. The other says "No, it isn't!" and jumps up and leaves the room. Which of these people represents what you would do? And what do you think of the other person? YOUR TURN

Yopo< Uh, I don't think I would react like either. Wouldn't find it beautiful, but wouldn't be horrified either. Each reaction seems to me like an opposite extreme.

guitarist< Yopo: Horror might seem to you an extreme reaction, but I associate the smell of rotten meat with death. Come to think of it, it *is* a dead body, and now it's decomposing. FRAML might say that that's what Beethoven is doing nowadays. *lol*

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I presented the extremes to provide contrast. Many people's reactions are somewhere between those extremes.

LEGS< Ben: I would not like to see the devouring of the zebras, either

Emerge< Interesting.

daCrone< I would not think 'beautiful' so much as 'interesting' ... and I would wonder about what the photographers were doing when they shot the footage. I would not necessarily leave the room, unless I was really queasy, but I might avert my eyes ... it depends.

Sprinkles< The beauty in the lions eating is that it is a natural thing for the lion to do. Younger, not having an understanding of it, I would definitely have gotten up and left. Having understanding now, it doesn't have the same effect. I will sit but just divert my vision on the close-ups.

DestinyB< I'd leave the room. Though it's the natural order of things for animals to kill and eat, participating in the food chain, I don't want to watch. It would also be hard for me to kill animals, even in order to eat for survival.

LEGS< I realize the dining of the lions is natural; it just wouldn't appeal to me. At the least, I would look away.

Emerge< I understand we all have to eat. I think maybe also that it's OK for the other person's reaction as well as mine. Animals are beautiful as people. Just one opinion.

Sprinkles< Isn't it kinda weird that one may turn away from such a scene, yet to look at a piece of raw steak is not the same? :)

Yopo< Sprinkles: *S* Most people think their steak originates in the grocery store.

Sprinkles< lol @ Yopo

Ben< I don't like to watch animals eating animals, and I think those who really do like to watch it are rather blood-thirsty. My wife immediately leaves the room. I think she's sentimental and tender-hearted, and identifies with the victim instead of the predator, and that's OK with me.

Lo< I would not agree that the scene is beautiful. Nature happens whether or not it is beautiful. If the lions were on the verge of starving, I suppose it would be satisfying that they had found something in their food chain to relieve their hunger. However, I would feel sorry for the zebra. I think both animals are beautiful in themselves, but not necessarily what they do.

Emerge< I guess we as two-legged critters have to eat somewhere, in restaurants or McDonalds. Some don't like slaughter of cows: eat chicken. Some don't like chicken: eat vegies. To life. Love you all.

guitarist< I have seen nature shows where lions are eating zebras, and have not left the room. However, I don't enjoy these scenes; I just consider that sometimes you bite the bear, and sometimes the bear bites you. I usually like it when the prey gets away.

Jello< Hmm, I dunno, I look at the "nuisance" Canada geese and often remark they look tasty. To a predator, I imagine the scene must look pretty mouth-watering. As a meat-eater, I must accept that I am also responsible for the deaths of many critters.

Emerge< Without running the risk of offending any religious denomination, sounding sacrilegious to them, I am thanking the animal that GAVE its life to feed my face (at least to me, this is also in my vocabulary) and God for providing the nourishment.

Jello< But if I had to kill an animal to eat it, I wouldn't, and I have trouble pulling up carrots because I feel sorry for them, so I must be a modern-era person to be so spoiled in terms of squeamishness in regards to survival.

guitarist< Jello: I often wonder also whether many people would eat meat if they had to kill it themselves. I probably wouldn't, either. But, as Emerge does, I thank G-d for providing the nourishment. My father once told me that kosher butchers are very gentle with the animals they slaughter (it's nothing like the knock on the head they get elsewhere) and thank the animal beforehand, as well as G-d.

Jello< This is interesting, because this topic came up earlier today. Someone else said thanking the organism for its life is appropriate (which I think it is), but I don't know if the organism willingly gave up its life -- more like we took it.

Emerge< Nor do I feel that the animal would understand consciously, but in the spirit, maybe. But I just kept the idea to myself. I respect the opinion of verbal gratitude and non- verbal.

Awenydd< I would salute the lion for following his path, doing what he knows to be his way. I would feel sorry for the zebra, but expect that the zebra understood his place. If he could not avoid the feast, then he must become the feast. It's sad, but it's life. I may or may not watch, depending on what I was doing and what is important to my life.

Emerge< Awenydd: I like that ...

Lo< If people are raised in an environment where their food supply comes from their own animals, raised and fattened for that purpose, eggs, garden vegetables, etc., I suspect that it seems natural to them; however, when it involves an animal that has become a pet, it's a different matter, even if it is a matter of survival.

DestinyB< Perhaps squeamishness at seeing animal innards is a culturally learned response to such a situation. I can't watch operations on the television, either.

Ben< ALL: I think both people in this scenario illustrate the fact that beauty comes from criteria (preferences) in the mind of each person, and isn't a property of the object to which it refers. Therefore, although we tend to think that concepts of beauty point to the objects they refer to, they actually point to the person who holds them.

Yopo< Hmm ... But would that also be so if we weren't discussing examples so prone to "push negative buttons" in some people? If we were talking about a colorful sunrise, for example, or a sea shell, or a flower?

Jello< Subjectively, it seems that those who see beauty in peaceful and conventionally beautiful things (as opposed to say, seeing beauty in crime) would also be perceived to have a more beautiful spirit/outlook.

Ben< QUESTION 3: I think this is an easy question, easily answered. At least, I hope so. Two old ladies are in a nursing home. Neither of them is about to win a beauty contest, especially not in a bathing suit. One looks out the window and says, "Oh! Come look! The trees are all covered with ice, with sunlight shining through! It's so beautiful!" The other old lady snorts "Nah! Been there. Done that. Seen it all" and goes back to bed. What does this scenario say about beauty -- and ugliness? YOUR TURN

Sprinkles< One perhaps has the need for more beauty sleep, the other prefers to be awakened by the beauty. :)

Emerge< Brrr. Cold. But I think ice is like crystalline wonder. When I went to Georgia once, the road was clear but everything else was covered in ice. It was magnificent. Yes, been there, done that, too. Wonder in the season.

LEGS< I admire people who can find beauty in whichever direction they look. My mom is one of them. She can rhapsodize over sunlight on a daffodil bloom.

guitarist< It says to me that the first lady still has vital life in her, and therefore is as beautiful as the trees she is appreciating. The second is probably ready for the grave, and her lack of caring makes her ugly. I would rather be the friend of the first than the second.

Yopo< One old lady has lost her sense of wonder. Her world is a dimmer place than that of the one who can still see with the eyes of a child.

daCrone< On the surface (because there may be reasons I don't know), one is open to experience; the other is less participatory. One has a sense of wonder; the other is more jaded. One looks out; the other does not feel the need.

Awenydd< I would say the ugly one is the one who sees ugliness.

Emerge< I don't know, maybe the second has been raised on "I don't care about the environment, just me" attitudes, and finding in her golden years it's hard to change it. But I apologize now, for I have judged her. Only to learn why, maybe.

Jello< Emerge: I think it is one thing to observe, another to judge. If one can't observe things like others' attitudes, then it is harder to help someone in need.

Emerge< Jello: So true! I apologized to a person that wasn't real -- but what if she had been? Would it be harsh of me to call her UGLY because she finds no muse in the seasons? To me, no.

Ben< COMMENT: Some people say that true beauty is inner beauty, and not outward appearance. Not everyone agrees with that, but it has considerable merit in light of the statement "Beauty is in the eye (mind, heart) of the beholder."

Lo< Perhaps the saying should be: "Beauty is in the eye (mind, heart) of the beholder and the eye (mind and heart) of the beheld."

Emerge< What is ugliness but a hidden path of uncompassionate unbalanced natures? They had lives. The light would be the beauty in seeing that both ladies are beautiful just the way they are. THANK YOU for letting me sit here tonight; it's been interesting. Thank you, BEN.

Ben< Emerge: You're welcome. *smile* I have one more question for tonight. I'll post it shortly.

guitarist< Maybe I should say the ATTITUDES of each woman are beautiful and ugly, respectively. But attitudes like these couldn't have developed overnight. They say something essential about the person. Naturally, if I found that one is much sicker than the other, or has suffered a blow that she is dealing with, that might change *my* attitude.

LEGS< I know little old ladies who bloom with love and youth ... and others whose mouths are so pursed from disapproving of others that they are not pleasant to look at.

Yopo< Yes. That which is loved is most often beautiful. What is beautiful is not always loved ...

DestinyB< One old lady may have lost her ability to see the beauty in everyday things. The other can still find the magic in living in the moment.

Lo< The one lady's cynicism suggests that she is in serious trouble in her inner attitudes. I feel sorry for her. I tend to find such scenes refreshing and always different somehow in some interesting way. I tend to disagree with guitarist a bit, in that the second lady is really NOT ready to die yet, but in even greater trouble if she passes on with such ugly attitudes. Guitarist is right on the importance of CARING though. Caring is the essence of what makes spiritual people so special.

guitarist< Lo: I can understand why you don't think the second lady is ready to die yet. I took the question as representing consistent attitudes on the part of both women; if this is a correct representation, then I think a person who is consistently negative -- especially an old one -- will feel its effects more strongly.

Lo< guitarist: Yes, I feel very sorry for the lady with the negative responses and enlivened by the other lady's joy.

Ben< QUESTION 4: Shortly before I left Vietnam, a group of the Vietnamese people I worked with gave me a farewell present. It was an ornamental Chinese table-lamp, like a pagoda, painted in very bright colors, with red tassels hanging down from each of its many turned-up corners. As soon as I saw it, I knew my wife wouldn't have it in the house, and it would wind up in our garage or basement. What do you think I should have done in that situation? And why? YOUR TURN

daCrone< You accept the lamp in accordance with the spirit in which it was offered.

Emerge< Sounds like a pretty lamp. I think if it were my husband, I would ask if he wanted it in the house, if it meant that much. But if it was too harsh a reminder, I would respect his wishes. War time isn't easy on anyone.

Yopo< Thank them profusely for their kindness, say truthfully that it is an object like no other, and that your wife will most certainly insist that it be kept in a special place in your home. *G*

twowinds< That was a great one, Yopo.

DestinyB< Ditto what Yopo said!

Jello< I guess it depends on what you want and how much say you think you can get in the interior state of the house?

daCrone< Why be kind about the lamp? It was offered in caring spirit ... you should not slap the givers in the face with the tassels ~ it would show you to be unworthy of the gift.

apples< Hmmm ... I would put the lamp in my workshop in the garage if I had one.

guitarist< Ben: I could be wrong, but I don't think you could have refused the gift without insulting these people. But you might have accepted the gift, and then bring it back home and give it to someone who would appreciate it and put it in its rightful place.

LEGS< Oh, Ben, there is no way you could have turned it down ... it was given in appreciation and meant to be a pleasing gift for you as well as useful ... but what you do with it later is your own business.

BLUEKNIGHT< And never insult the givers. What you do with it afterward is your choice.

Sprinkles< I have had an experience like that with my hubby. I too have had things that didn't appeal to the visual sense of my husband. We have learned to accept that our tastes are different at times, and we came to where we both have a "your collection, my collection" room. When room was not available, the item was stored until a decision or room was available. Mind you, there is a lot of collection going on here. (giggle)

Jello< Oh, whoops, the question is about what to do at the time when the lamp is offered ...

Ben< Jello: I didn't confine my question to what I should do at the time the lamp was offered.

Jello< Oh, OK. I sort of assumed you were the type who would accept it ... have too little data about your wife's views on house interiors.

donoma< Ben: Accept the gift graciously and thankfully. You don't need to use every gift, but certainly it would be in bad taste to turn it down.

Ben< ALL: Last time I said I would revisit the difference between beauty of form and beauty of function -- with a twist. Here is an example of how I think about such things. I offer it for your consideration. (continued)

Ben< ALL: When those Vietnamese people gave me the lamp, I remembered that red tassels symbolize blessings raining down from heaven. So I realized the intended function of that lamp was not only to light a room but also to convey a blessing. I mentioned that thought as I accepted it. They were very pleased. On the other hand, I knew my wife would think the lamp was gaudy, and I thought it was too nice a gift to wind up in our garage or basement, so I gave it to the old Vietnamese woman who cleaned our barracks. She was thrilled to tears. I thought to myself "The form is gaudy to Western eyes, but the function is beautiful to anyone who understands and appreciates the symbology" -- and went home feeling I had lived my respect for the individuals and cultures and their various concepts of beauty.

Ben< /topic Discussion of Beauty

daCrone< Perfect, Ben. *S*

Jello< I think that might be considered insulting to some givers, but if you think it was appropriate (and you have all the data), and it seems to have had a wonderful outcome, then great!

DestinyB< I like what guitarist said about finding the lamp a good home later with someone who would appreciate it. I used to be an antiques dealer and there are all kinds of tastes out there in this world. A friend once sold a hideous lamp made of fish scales. The funny part is that it sold in a matter of days of it's arrival in the shop. Everyone is so different!

apples< Perfect solution, Ben.

Jello< I know one person who gets a bit miffed if something given is then given away soon thereafter ... really depends on the person.

guitarist< Jello: I'm sure Ben was discreet about giving it to the old woman. At least he should have been! *s*

Ben< Jello: The Vietnamese people who gave me the lamp would understand what I did and why. They knew about giving a gift that can be given again.

Jello< Ben: Then perfect!

guitarist< Ben: I posted that about discretion before I saw that you had already taken their feelings into account ... and that they understood giving it to someone else again.

Emerge< Ben: Bet you made that Vietnamese woman's day. Love radiated when you said that.

Sprinkles< Ben: That was a great way to handle the situation of the lamp. The senses play a big part in beauty. Be it taste or smell, in sight or hidden, the feelings of stimulation of object or person all participate and can alter all of the perception of beauty in different ways to each individual.

Lo< Ben: Your response to the Vietnamese people was indeed beautiful -- BOTH times.

Awenydd< I have faced a similar experience. I bought a hand-woven prayer rug from some Kurdish refugees when I was in a operation supporting them. I found it to be very beautiful and special to me because of my memories and the fact that it is hand-woven and special to the people who made it. My wife doesn't think as highly of it, and it has resided in our garage all this time ... mainly because I am spineless and never conveyed how I felt about it. I realize we do many things to get along with our spouses and avoid conflicts. To me, the rug represents hard work, faith, and love. To her it is just another tacky souvenir. To the people I bought it from it represented their faith and probably a few meals. I suppose if they were willing to sell it to a westerner, they knew it couldn't possibly be appreciated for what it was, but if they could at least get some satisfaction out of it and please another (myself), they felt it had served its purpose ... which I feel it has ... for I have not forgotten them.

LEGS< Ah, Awenydd, telling your story helps those of us in the room share the beauty of the feelings conveyed by the facts behind the rug which made it meaningful to you.

Jello< Awenydd: You remind me of something I just read recently: when reminded of someone by something, pray for them ... so I bet you've been in some way praying for them whenever you remember the rug. Which is great, and one of the best reasons for keeping a material thing. (IMHO)

LEGS< For further discussion: How many of you have been in the presence of someone who made you feel beautiful ... and the glow lasts even when you just recall it years later?

Jello< LEGS: What kind of beauty? :) How does one make another feel beautiful? (I have some ideas, just wanted to expand the discussion.)

LEGS< I have read in some inspirational material that the habit of thinking in a certain manner will attract the things upon which you dwell to you ... like the idea that fearing something brings that which you fear to you ... so one would be wise to think on lovely and productive things, rather than the reverse if one is going to draw such to them.

Jello< LEGS: As long as one doesn't thus come to the conclusion that those suffering misfortune thereby deserve it ... yes.

Sprinkles< LEGS: With the meaning, "What you put out comes back. What goes around comes around." (agree) *S*

Jello< LEGS: Sorry for that last rather abrupt post; I was speaking from personal experience from having almost been led down that path. I do believe that what we "saturate our minds with" will affect what we do and say, and thus what we create and attract around us.

LEGS< Yes, Jello, that was the way I understood it as well.

Tracey< Beauty is the expression of loving others more than yourself. It shines from within you when it is true. The beauty of loving makes everyone feel beautiful. Gifts of the heart and soul are the most precious gifts of all. *S*

apples< Tracey: When something comes from the heart and soul and is sincere it often feels pretty beautiful. Music can be like that, even though you can't "see" it.

Tracey< apples: *VBS* Yes ... music makes my soul smile many times when my heart thinks it can't. *S*

apples< Tracey: If music can touch us in such incredibly beautiful places ... and it is basically non-visual, then it really is a statement about depth and sensitivity. I think that depth and sensitivity of feeling enhance beauty.

Sprinkles< apples: Because it comes from the heart and soul, doesn't necessarily mean it is beautiful. For example, an enraged person being very sincere in the expression of his or her heart doesn't come out beautiful (IMHO).

apples< Sprinkles: I know what you mean.

Jello< Sprinkles: Hmm, a person expressing sincere beliefs just comes across better to me, rather than someone hiding sincere beliefs behind a mask. The latter just comes across badly.

Yopo< Ben: Your comment about beauty-in-the-beholder's-eye reminds me of something similar that came up many sessions ago; about absolute measures of good/evil, as I recall. *S* I am still a proponent of the existence of absolutes, on some level. Some sort of idealist mind-set or something. Plato or Aristotle (can't remember which) sorta appealed to me, with the idea of a realm of idealized forms that underlie our less-than-ideal reality.

Ben< Yopo: Concepts of beauty are idealized forms, or functions, or symbols, etc. That's a lot of what the ancient Greeks were discussing and debating.

Yopo< Ben: Yes, I understand beauty in that way. *S* Similar to Ahab's thought about the white whale. It is not the form, but the thing behind the form ... Though it wasn't beauty that was on ol' Ahab's mind when he said that.

Jello< Yopo: Oh, you might like C. S. Lewis' essay on Transposition ... gotta check the title.

Yopo< Jello: I will maybe look that up. Have a few of C. S. Lewis' books around, though I don't know if that's in any of 'em. (Also have "The Chronicles of Narnia" sitting atop a 1930's radio at my bedside. *S*)

Jello< Yopo: Yes, it's "Transposition," and it's about how something very high and beautiful must by necessity lose some of its depth when brought down to a "lower medium" (extract from a web page I'm checking).

LEGS< Ben: Do appreciate you and your classes and examples for life ... thanx again ... and what will be next week's subject?

Ben< LEGS: I might be able to present another session on beauty -- but I'm not sure I need to. What do you think?

LEGS< I don't know, Ben. What are the effects of feeling beautiful? What can you do to make your acquaintances experience such beauty? How can thinking beautiful thoughts change one's general outlook?

Jello< Hmm, maybe a little more expansion on beauty of form vs. spiritual beauty? I dunno. The way so many can create form-wise beautiful pictures or text, yet the heart is rotten ... (been there, done that myself)

Ben< LEGS: Okay, I had several questions in the original set-up that we haven't really addressed. One was "What can be done with beauty?"

apples< Ben ... wow ... I am not sure, but I am going to think about that question. It is such a good question. I am a little sad because I am not sure I have ever had my defenses down enough to feel that in front of another person ... but it's never too late. I just love that question. Thinking about it now. I think this has come more through friendship than anything else.

Yopo< What can be done with beauty? Hmm ...

donoma< Ben: Enjoy it. *S*

DestinyB< Cherish whatever beauty you can find in your life.

Jello< I still have concerns about the issue of gauging spiritual beauty, for the twisted mind will find horror to be beautiful. Then again, broken minds are hard to reach.

Sprinkles< What can be done with beauty ... live it, love it, see it, feel it, be in awe of it, despise it, loathe it, tear it apart, put it together, charm it, scorn it, breathe it, etc. Are there limitations set on it ? Is it endless ?

LEGS< What indeed? Were we to become promoters of beauty, would we seek to run pageants such as the various "Miss" pageants? Or would we begin with our own minds, and purge that which is unlovely and depressing ... filling our lives and minds with what evokes beauty to us, for as Lo said, it is in the eye of the beholder. *s*

Yopo< LEGS: But there is a difference between attractiveness and beauty? Seems to me there is.

LEGS< True, Yopo, it can be different ... and that is where discernment comes into play again. Makes me think of the Broadway play about the exciting gambling coming to town ... very attractive but destructive to their mode of living.

guitarist< Yopo: I agree that there is a difference between attractiveness and beauty. The fascination for the grotesque, for example, is a form of attraction.

Jello< guitarist: Yeah, that's part of what I'm trying to think about. What draws a mind to, say, a travesty that most others would find reprehensible?

Sprinkles< Jello: Of course the honesty of another's feelings can be appreciated regardless of the beauty or ugliness. The beauty can be in the honesty and yet the ugliness can be portrayed. imho :)

Jello< Sprinkles: Yep! Beauty and ugliness mixed together. Some day it'll be nice to see beauty upon beauty without the ugliness.

Lo< There is something undefinable about real beauty that speaks deeply. I am thinking of some of the Greek sculptures, architectural innovations, etc., that I have been privileged to see with my own eyes. Perhaps there is something of an artist buried deep within each of us. I found some of the Roman "improvements" in style less than satisfying. For example, there was a lot of sensitivity about how to depict that Greek bronze Charioteer statue found at Delphi which showed his tenseness, pride, youth, etc.

Ben< ALL: The thought I had in mind when I listed the question "What can be done with beauty?" was: Share the beauty you see. Offer it to others. But do not try to impose it or insist that they see beauty as you do.

Jello< Ben: I think that offering beauty as we see it, without forcing it, is indeed an important thing. The Web again is a powerful medium in this regard.

Yopo< Beauty might perhaps serve as a means to elevate and refine our perceptions? To draw our attention to the existence of higher realms of experience?

Jello< Yopo: Yeah, I think so ... if we can free ourselves from the trap of just looking at physical beauty (a rut in which a lot of society seems to be stuck). The question is how to help draw attention upward? I guess it is to just provide the material, make sure it is worthy, and wait.

Ben< Yopo: Recalling (specific) beautiful memories is a way to elevate one's spirit toward higher realms of existence.

DestinyB< People who have Near Death Experiences and visit "Heaven" talk about the overwhelming beauty there.

guitarist< Yopo: I think it depends on what sort of beauty is spoken of. To the mind and heart of the desirer, a false path can seem beautiful.

Yopo< guitarist: Hmm ... Beauty can be false? I'm not sure. Its meaning might be misinterpreted, but does that make it false?

guitarist< Yopo: La femme fatale comes to mind. Also the man who thinks he is G-d's gift to women. *lol*

Jello< Yopo: I think beauty is "false" if it is one form of beauty (e.g., physical) used to mask an inner ugliness. Like how a swindler will appear to be sweet on the outside. Words can be falsely beautiful as well ... I'm sure many a charismatic speech or book has led people astray.

Yopo< We seem to confuse "beauty" with an "object of desire". Beauty often resides in things we cannot hope to possess. Perhaps most often it does. Seems to me it then serves to beckon us to a higher place, where the experience of beauty can be found more often.

Jello< ... and odd how that it is always looking through the surface beauty toward the spirit behind it that is what is important ... always trying to look higher.

Yopo< Jello: Yes ...

guitarist< Yopo and Jello: The sweet voice of the swindler over the phone trying to seem like a friend, but is trying to take away an old lady's life savings is another example.

Jello< Yep. Wow, I think we're in violent agreement here. Any more thoughts from others?

guitarist< Yopo: I suspect that most of us think we desire beauty. Therefore, whatever we desire is beautiful.

Yopo< guitarist: Perhaps I misunderstand, or we're talking about different ideas or something.

Jello< Yopo: Your comment about beckoning us to a higher place ... or to create that around ourselves. As guitarist said, it is our desires that drive that. May we desire that which is really good. :)

Yopo< I suppose we desire the EXPERIENCE of beauty, and mistakenly think we can possess the experience by possessing whatever object has given rise to it. Then we go after the object. Yes. That could and does get us into trouble often ...

Ben< Yopo: We confuse beauty with an object of desire -- if we think our concepts of beauty point to the object they refer to instead of pointing to our own minds and hearts.

Yopo< Ben: *S*

Jello< It occurred to me that my last comment about agreement isn't quite right. (I think this is another C. S. Lewis observation here.) It has been pointed out that because we see different aspects of beauty and can see it in our own unique way, we bring joy to others by offering a new way of seeing beautiful things. So difference is good.

DestinyB< The creative spirit in each of us strives to create beauty ... perhaps the beauty is in the creation, perhaps it is in an effort to make the world a better place.

Lo< DestinyB: I tend to agree that the creative spirit in each of us strives to create beauty. I don't associate desire with the beauty of the Greek bronze statue of a Charioteer who has obviously just won a race. I sense his exhilaration, nervousness in front of an approving crowd, his attempt to maintain his footing over bumpy terrain while controlling the reins of his steed, etc. I sense an empathy and joy for him, but I don't really recognize desire on my part. I know I would not like to have ridden in that race! LOL!

guitarist< DestinyB: You have been so right (last couple of posts)!

Jello< Ah, now if we could all only agree on what "a better place" is! *G*

DestinyB< Maybe surrounding ourselves with beauty is an effort to bring about Heaven on Earth ... because we all remember our "Home".

Jello< Some do say that humanity's original spiritual occupation was as a gardener ... any wonder that it apparently brings peace to many? :)

Ben< DestinyB: Yes. And even more-so, filling ourselves with beauty ...

Yopo< Ben: Uh, wait ... *LOL* I ALMOST had it, then it got away. Gonna think about that for a minute ...

Ben< Yopo: For me, the main insight was (and is): beauty isn't out there; it's in here.

Sprinkles< Hmmmm ... thinking ...

Yopo< Ben: Are you saying that the experience of beauty is an experience of something that is actually WITHIN ourselves? That it is a moment when something within us is revealed?

Ben< Yopo: Yes, that is what I'm saying.

Yopo< *S* Got bumped on the last post. Yes. That IS what you were saying. *S*

Jello< Ben: Gotta admit that lost me a bit, unless the point comes back to "beauty is in the eye (spirit, attitude) of the beholder" (and that is what makes the beholder beautiful as well). I am of the opinion that some things are absolutely beautiful, like, say, mathematics, but maybe I'm off on a different tangent?

Ben< Jello: I merely apply the statement "Beauty is in the eye (heart, mind, spirit) of the beholder" to myself when I am the beholder.

DestinyB< I agree, Ben ... the beauty is within.

Jello< In other words, the beauty seen takes up residence there, or that one has a glimmer of internal beauty for having seen the beauty? (Is there causality even involved here?)

Yopo< Uh, oh ... But there is a down-side to that observation, I fear. It would seem to suggest that the opposite of beauty that we sometimes see, is also within us?

Lo< Yopo: Could it be more appropriate to say that the APPRECIATION of beauty is the something we experience that is actually WITHIN ourselves? The object of beauty, itself, surely can exist outside ourselves, eh?

Jello< Yopo: But if one had rose-colored glasses and saw everything as beautiful, then does it follow the person is beautiful? Or if one sees something as not beautiful, then is the person therefore ugly, or is the ugliness just taken up within? If one sees ugliness, will another see that person as beautiful anyway? Wheee! I am confused at this point.

Yopo< Jello: Yeah. I'm not altogether sure I like where the corollary seems to want to take me ...

guitarist< Jello: I am confused as well. What's the difference, people, between the perception of beauty/ugliness that reflects our spirit and the perception of good/evil which is necessary for our ultimate survival?

[Ben< guitarist: Some people think that beautiful=good and ugly=evil, but for most people, beauty/ugliness and good/evil are two different sets of mental categories. Thus, they can think something is beautiful and evil, or ugly and good.]

guitarist< Ben: What happens if someone thinks that the smell of rotten meat is beautiful?

Ben< guitarist: I guess a person who thinks the smell of rotten meat is beautiful would hang around (haunt) slaughter-houses and such.

guitarist< Another question: what if someone confronts you (the 'you' is in the general sense) with the assessment that you are not beautiful?

DestinyB< guitarist: Isn't that THEIR problem? They are choosing to make a judgment and choosing to share it. That doesn't make it so!

Ben< guitarist: If someone tells me I'm not beautiful, I agree immediately, with the silent thought: "That's his or her opinion. Is there any substance behind it, or is it just a cheap shot?"

Ben< ALL: As a suggestion for discussion, you might want to think about the two old ladies in a nursing home, and post whatever that scenario reminds you of.

Jello< Ben: How about myself? Depending on my mood? Heh.

guitarist< Actually, having worked in nursing homes as a teenager, I wondered then that any of them wanted to live under the conditions I saw -- especially some of the staff. I didn't have the best experience there, either.

Sprinkles< In regard to the two old ladies: first, they are old, which means they have experience behind their age. Experience in life a little longer than most and perhaps not enough. Who am I to say that the one (ugly) has not experienced enough of the beauty or ugliness in the path of her life? Perhaps in her mind she is fulfilled and longs to just rest in the arms of her creator? The body might be exhausting to her, and her spirit wishes to be free from it. The one who perceives in awe the beauty of nature's amazements, vitality, may yearn to hang around for the endless beauty and delight in wishing to do so.

Ben< Sprinkles: Suppose the two old ladies die (leave their physical bodies) and take their attitudes with them. Then what?

Sprinkles< I really couldn't say for sure what would become of their attitudes. For I would hope that they both would become a teacher and student. Perhaps these two opposites were joined together in their creator's reasoning before their departing. Hmmm. I have to give it more thought, Ben.

DestinyB< Chances are good that the two elderly ladies won't be on the same level of Heaven. The positive lady will be rejoicing in the wonderment of the experience. The more negative lady might be thinking, "Maybe now I can get some rest".

Ben< ALL: What happens to one of the two old ladies reminds me of something I wrote long ago. It's called "Obituary for the Habitual Bitcher" and it reads (like a New England tombstone) "Old John is gone. And it's just as well. He never liked it here. Kain't see as how it matters where. He ain't about to like it there."

DestinyB< Ben: That's funny! But there's some truth in it.

guitarist< Ben: Sounds like many people I work with. *LOL*

DestinyB< guitarist: Perhaps one's outlook on life makes it possible or impossible to find the beauty in their surroundings.

[Ben< DestinyB: Yes. Well said. "The eye of the beholder" is a metaphor for one's outlook, which is one's habitual way of looking at things. The habitual bitcher has a negative outlook: he sees things in the worst possible light (another metaphor).]

Yopo< I will keep that in mind the next time I'm tempted to complain about something. Which, alas, probably won't be long. (*LOL* I suppose that comment might ITSELF be taken as a complaint. Apparently keeping the rhyme in mind didn't work.)

Jello< Ben: Hmmm, but I think some "places" are higher than others, more beautiful on an absolute scale. I know people who are miserable in some workplaces who blossom in others, who had to leave the previous workplace for their own good. Sometimes it takes beauty to awaken beauty? Oh, yes, that's the phrase ... sometimes it takes beauty to awaken beauty ... love to awaken love. I think that's the utilitarian thought that is most useful to me right now.

Sprinkles< I don't know, but to address something as beautiful or ugly in terms of attitudes is just putting labels on something or someone. But the contents don't always contain the so-called beauty or ugly, unless it is experienced by oneself. (imho) I don't care too much for labeling, especially of people. The only one who wears my shoes is me. I have to take the responsibility of the path I journey.

Jello< Sprinkles: Sounds like good advice to not label people, though I do think that to objectively gauge someone else's attitudes can help others see where they can best help that person (if that is called for).

Ben< Jello: Those who think everything is beautiful, and those who think nothing is beautiful, have no discernment.

pansera< And where would duality fit in? Where would projection fall 'in-two'?

Jello< Ben: Unfortunately (?) I think I got a little lost in tonight's session on beauty's internal/external aspects. I do agree with the discernment. Rose-colored glasses reduce one's ability to perceive and help, as do light-shading glasses.

pansera< What is objectivity? Is that a dead man's aspiration?

walk_in< Beauty is as we define it. Old sayings again ring true: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

pansera< True.

pansera< Masks are everywhere. People hide all the time. Does that take away from their internal truth?

Yopo< pansera: Hmm ... It might, to the extent that we wear masks even when we look into a mirror. *S*

pansera< Agreed.

Sprinkles< Yopo: I think there is good and bad in all things, be it human, animal vegetable, mineral. How these are used is the responsibility of the user. Yes, there are as many masks as there are roles that each play in life.

Yopo< Sprinkles: I have been turning over the old idea of "specific evil" lately. It goes that each thing existing has its specific evil -- that being whatever tends to destroy that thing. It is a strange system. Evil becomes relative to the thing. Water would be evil to iron, causing rust, but good to a seed, causing growth.

Jello< Yopo: Though iron (the atom) is not destroyed ... it is the chemical form's enemy, you mean? And in humans, our own selfishness is our specific evil?

Yopo< Jello: *LOL* The idea dates from a day before atomic theory. But yes, I guess the basic assumption is that all things would prefer to continue, or become more than they are. Evil is that which destroys, or stands in the way of the thing's growth. Good preserves, or enhances growth. (This may also be too simplistic in the final analysis. But it does seem to maybe apply on a spiritual level, too. Leastwise as far as I've thought it out.)

pansera< Good ... not-good. Aligned with the spirit ... uncentered. Duality has many faces, many of which we do not see.

Ben< pansera: Duality is a simplistic form of discernment that only has two categories. Rather than jump from duality to either "all" or "nothing", a more functional way of thinking is to add a middle term: "good -- neutral -- bad" or "beautiful -- Okay -- ugly" and then proceed to look at degrees of difference between the extreme cases.

pansera< Relativity ... and absolute.

Ben< pansera: Yes, relativity between absolutes (limiting cases).

pansera< Intention ... mindfulness. Responsibility ... ohhhh, let's not go there.

Sprinkles< When seeds are planted, is it not revealed in the plant the care it has received?

pansera< Beautiful, Sprinkles.

DestinyB< As in ... nothing is black or white, only shades of gray in between?

Ben< DestinyB: No ... some things are black, and some things are white, *and* there are a lot of shades of grey between those two extremes.

Yopo< DestinyB: I think Ben is proposing a simplified continuum. A graduated grey-scale. Black and white are still at the extremes.

guitarist< DestinyB: As in ... there is black, white, and all shades of grey. All possibilities exist.

pansera< Polarity ... the great hope of humanity. This has been my lesson.

Jello< I think our perception of white is apt to be flawed ... what looks white is often still gray, but I still think there is an absolute white somewhere. :)

pansera< What of karma and dharma?

Ben< pansera: Karma means deeds, and deeds have consequences. However, desires have consequences even if (and perhaps especially if) they're not acted upon. Dharma means work -- as in "work it out of your system."

pansera< Karma = working through our sins = Latin based word, missing the mark. Dharma = stepping into our light, and shining = living in non-attachment.

DestinyB< A sin is a spiritual mistake.

pansera< Latin translation: sin = to have missed the mark (nothing less, nothing more). Religious dogmas have made it into something else.

DestinyB< Hmmm ... I was just showing my 18 year old Ben's description of the difference between Karma and Dharma ... since he'd asked about it the other day. (I wasn't sure.)

Ben< DestinyB: Dharma literally means "law" as in "natural law" or "cosmic law" but it is translated as "dutiful adherence to law or custom" and in practice it means, as I said, "Working your karma out of your system."

pansera< The translation was my own simplistic way of looking at it. At least, that is how my inner child looks at it.

Ben< pansera: My first translation of Dharma was also a short-cut. *smile* But I felt I needed to set it straight.

Jello< And of course, an item or action that is good in one situation may be bad in another. But to try to live up to the best good is, I think, still the best good. (Recursion, anyone?)

pansera< The highest good of all? -- god's will?

Jello< God's will would be what I believe is the highest good, though figuring out when one is doing it or not is very hard sometimes. :)

pansera< What is your highest good, or what is the highest good?

Sprinkles< pansera: I don't know what the highest good is in terms of being human. I know only to do and be the best of what my abilities allow me to, and to look beyond self and apply myself in what my heart and soul have the capabilities of providing for all that come into and touch my life.

pansera< Beautiful! It is in the constant connection with spirit ... the higher self ... your higher self ... (personal belief = attachment) that we (I) do G's will ...

guitarist< Jello and Sprinkles: If they can help, and if the person wants to be helped.

Jello< guitarist: Yes, if called for only. I am thinking, for example, of a psychologist who is trying to help a patient.

Sprinkles< Jello: Perhaps if it's required, or offered in a way to better understand.

guitarist< Jello: I agree; at the time when we are doing the deed it is hard to tell; but do you suppose that maybe the results of that deed tell us something about whether we've done G-d's will in a given situation?

pansera< Well said.

walk_in< Yes, but some for whom by all accounts there was no care, dazzle us.

pansera< It is in the intent with which the action is done. Evolution then proceeds to take its natural rhythm.

Jello< guitarist: Yes, though sometimes you don't know the results for a long time ... maybe not in this life ... makes it hard to get data.

guitarist< Jello: True; and sometimes we are tested to see whether we will try to look back or not, our intent being a direct reward for ourselves. I'm thinking of a question like: Is it better to give a homeless person money or to buy them lunch? And does this gift reach out beyond that moment? We cannot tell, but at the time it seems like the right thing to do.

Jello< guitarist: I once did that kind of thing and had no idea whether it was good to have done it or not. It logically seemed right, but didn't necessarily feel right. I don't know the fruits, and I'm guessing it varied from recipient to recipient.

pansera< Humanity ... what a "" experience? What sensations, what losses, what joys ... humanity ... oh, humanity.

guitarist< Jello: I have done likewise. *S*

pansera< Is it in the discomfort of the ego that we help another? Or is it out of the purity of the soul? Where does the projection and owning take place?

Jello< Well ... I try for connection with God rather than anything of my own in particular, but I think the motivation to do God's will is the important part.

guitarist< pansera: Perhaps we are made uncomfortable so that we will reach out and help. *s*

Jello< guitarist: Good point. Discomfort within the soul is often a sign that something is wrong, though of course sometimes we lie to ourselves and don't notice discomfort until something wakes us up. :)

Jello< pansera: Maybe your question is another one that is best answered by stepping away from duality. Perhaps it is a combination of ego pain and purity, with different degrees in different people.

pansera< For me, at this point in my evolution, that statement resonates.

guitarist< pansera: I don't think we need to wait until we feel we are pure in heart to help someone. (Although expecting to gain something from it is definitely the wrong attitude.)

Jello< In fact, if we wait until we are perfect before we help, I think we will never become perfect. :)

pansera< For it is only in pruning the tree that it shall bear fruit.

Jello< I wish my maple trees would stop bearing fruit! *G*

pansera< Be careful what you wish. What you seek ... seeks you!

Jello< Yet oddly enough, as much as we may attract what we desire, it is by giving that we receive. So desiring to give is the way up and out? (Wish I could follow my own thinking tonight.)

pansera< Who do you really help, then? Your own need to help yourself, or truly another soul? If so ... if we live in a conscious universe ... won't the other soul be able to manifest his own freedom? And if we aid someone else out of our own discomfort, won't we be holding them back from their process? So they may stumble upon enlightenment at their time ... not ours.

Sprinkles< Pansera: I find no discomfort in the helping of another. The discomfort would come when the person takes for granted the help I am giving and wants me to live it for them. For instance, it would be of no good to continue to carry someone who is not willing to apply themselves to taking the responsibilities that life requires. I would be uncomfortable if the person thought I would live their life for them. This is the discomfort. I would not hesitate a moment to be of help, to get and do what is needed, if the person is down and out or had some setback, but there are those who take it for granted, and this is where my discomfort comes from -- doing what I can and yet it has failed.

pansera< I know what that feels like (compassion).

Jello< Sprinkles: The other side is someone who does not want help ... not always good to help when a natural growth is taking place ... though since it's too easy to use that as an excuse to NOT help, I guess it's better to err on the helpful side. :)

Sprinkles< Jello: I agree, I would offer my help, and if it were refused, I would accept that as well, but I would also let it be known that is was available if they were to change their mind.

Jello< Sprinkles: Sounds to me like a great approach! Be ready to help, unless you get the command not to (which happens sometimes, right?)

guitarist< Jello: I like your continuum with ego pain at one end and purity at the other. Of course, it is better to be pure at heart, but any gift is better than none, for the one in need of it. It's the strings attached to some gifts that makes me twist as though a knife were stuck in my gut.

Jello< guitarist: Sounds like you have had too many gifts with strings attached? Like supposing Ben had received that lamp with the condition he had to keep it and use it? Ouch.

DestinyB< LOL @ Jello!

guitarist< Jello: Might be. Have to think. Have seen strings attached. Doesn't feel very good. Want to give gift back. Ouch.

Jello< guitarist: Attached strings usually have hooks attached to them. They hurt.

guitarist< Jello: Yes, they do. Makes one feel untrusted. Like the gift is not given freely.

Jello< Yes, I think so. I guess there are many things one can do, including returning the gift, but blessing the item given and getting the strings cut and the giver cared for would seem to be good things to do in general.

guitarist< How do you suggest getting the strings cut? I for one think passing it on to someone else (not the same gift, but another) when you are able is good.

Jello< Some can cut strings themselves (e.g., cut it with mind and spirit, like with a mental blade). Divine blessing of the object would be very good, and if you can get divine help to clean it up, and so on. I know people who have moved into a spiritually dark physical space, and have brightened and healed it by their presence, for example. Most of all, sending divine blessings to the one who put in the lines and hooks in the first place. God knows when to help and when to wait, and what to do! :)

pansera< Are you ready to cut the stings? What does that mean to you? What does it really mean to YOU? What are the repercussions of that action? What are the losses that are to come? What are the insights that are to greet you in your dreams?

guitarist< pansera: I don't think we're talking about tearing a cocoon open so that a butterfly, who must struggle out of it to be strong enough to survive, can emerge. That kind of help, BTW, will kill the butterfly before it even has the chance to live. A small gift at the right time can work more than we will ever know. Who knows whether the time is right or not? The right time is usually NOW.

Ben< pansera: I help if I can, because I choose to do so. It is an exercise of my free will, and therefore doesn't need any other or underlying cause.

pansera< Interesting. And do we ask for guidance and assistance in our times of need or is it imposed upon us? And if we do, is it our conscious mind or the unconscious? Conditional? Unconditional?

[Ben< pansera: I ask for divine guidance and assistance, sometimes for my own need, more often for someone else's need. I employ a set of inner disciplines that involve both my conscious and subconscious mind. The guidance and assistance I will accept is offered but not imposed, a manifestation of unconditional good-will.]

DestinyB< No matter where we are in life, there is someone more advanced than we are and someone less advanced. If we can give a helping hand to another to point out the way, it lifts us up a little bit (enlightens and inspires). Always a good thing! Hopefully someone will help us in our hour of need, as well.

pansera< We are the children of the spirit. We are one ... and we are alone. In being centered with our own knowing, we can give to ourselves and others. It is knowing when to stay and when to go, for the highest good of the soul. People give and take energy all the time. Why not be with conscious people?

Sprinkles< pansera: Why not be conscious people? There is perhaps the need for the unconscious people to have the conscious people around and vice-versa. *S*

pansera< We attract what we emit. We attract who we are (belief). Individually we isolate at a specific frequency. Anything lower or higher is basically not where we are meant to be.

guitarist< Yes, pansera, and we are always to seek higher and higher frequencies.

pansera< Must we? And if we must, the presence of spirit must eternally be present joy, for without it, it soon may turn sour.

DestinyB< The idea of divine abundance is that you give to keep the flow going. You have to, in order to make room for something to be given to you. Not so sure I believe it really works that way ... maybe a little too "New Age" for me.

Sprinkles< DestinyB: Oh, it does work, at least that is my experience talking. For even the giver is worthy of receiving. And the bounty of giving and receiving is plentiful for all to enjoy.

DestinyB< Does this have more to do with trust than giving?

pansera< guitarist: Are you familiar with holotropics? I would highly recommend <www.holotropics.com> It has helped me tremendously.

guitarist< pansera: What is holotropics, briefly?

pansera< Breathwork ... through intensive breathing ... it induces higher states of consciousness in which one can see the misinterpretation at the root level. Check out the website.

Jello< Any time one goes to a different state of consciousness, it is usually best (I've learned) if one orients one's spirit toward God first -- i.e., caring for others and loving God. Otherwise it can turn into a down trip!

guitarist< I'm getting fuzzy, folks. Thank you for the URL, pansera. I will look at it when I am awake again. // Jello, thanks for all your help. :)

Jello< I've heard that when we give freely, God is free to do the right thing with the gift. :) (Just as, if we cling to something, we are to some extent blocking God's help from reaching us and the person or thing we are clinging to ... or at least, that's the gist of many stories I've heard where people learned to give their troubles or even their loved ones to God.)

DestinyB< My brother needed some $ and asked if I could loan him some. I gave him the $ and told him it was a gift. (He's irresponsible, and it made my life easier to "give" it to him.) After some time, to my surprise, he gave me the same amount of money back!

Jello< DestinyB: Sounds like a good sign, at least to me!

DestinyB< If anyone here wants to hit me up for some $ ... I'm a little short right now! LOL!

Jello< Heh! *G*

Sprinkles< LOL @ DestinyB. What does your height have to do with it? LOL (Only kidding, couldn't help it.)

pansera< And what was your lesson, DestinyB?

DestinyB< pansera: Since I never expected him to return the $, I learned that when I don't attach strings, it leaves the other person free to do the right thing and gain self respect, too. I judged him as irresponsible, when he doesn't have to behave that way. I just didn't want there to be any hard feelings between us if he was unable to pay it back.

pansera< That is beautiful, DestinyB. You are all beautiful! Thank you for your wise words. Hope we meet again. La vie continue. Bon nuit.

Sprinkles< DestinyB: You see, you didn't expect to have it come back to you. But when it did, it was surprisingly delightful. If you did it with the expectation that you would have to pound him for it, it wouldn't have been as delightful receiving it. *S*

DestinyB< Sprinkles: That's very true.

guitarist< DestinyB: I have done that exact thing with my mother.

DestinyB< guitarist: You owe your Mom a whole lot more than $$$ ... after all, she went through labor for you ... and all those smelly diapers! LOL!

guitarist< DestinyB: There's a lot more behind my statement than you have any idea. But, because you don't know me, I'll leave it alone.

Jello< Oooh, diapers! LOL! Though technically, if we feel bound to repay everything good, then aren't those also chains? We should be free to use our free will, and hopefully free to move when and where we are directed.

Sprinkles< Jello: If the feeling is of having to, or bound to do something, it is not freely done. That is the chain, my friend. So, to give back or repay is also a sign of gratitude, but done with freedom.

Jello< Sprinkles: Yes, though I do believe sometimes a nagging feeling to do something means one may want to choose to do it ... but it should always be a choice, and not through coercion. :)

Jello< Good night, all! Thanks for the discussion tonight! :) DON'T dream about smelly diapers! ("Don't think of elephants!")

DestinyB< Oh great ... now I'm going to dream about elephants wearing smelly diapers! LOL! Until we meet again!

23. Beauty
Session 3
Sat 26 Feb 2000

Ben< ALL: This is our third session on the subject of beauty. Tonight, I intend to focus the first three questions on experience rather than theory. The fourth question will be a call for either experience or imagination. Ready? Let's go.

Ben< QUESTION 1: When I lived in New Hampshire, I knew a family whose old German grandmother came to live with them. They told everyone she was crazy. Among her other odd habits, she often sat alone all day in a chair on the beach, with blankets wrapped around her so she wouldn't freeze. When I asked her why she did that, she said "Ach ... yah ... sometimes I must go and vash my soul in the sound of the sea." What does this story remind you of? YOUR TURN

daCrone< Sounds like what folks say about me ... so I kinda think that her family may not have had a good understanding of her, or if they did, they didn't want to share it with others.

FlamingEagle< I just see her as finding solace in nature, despite what others thought of it.

guitarist< Very poetic. She doesn't sound crazy at all to me. Washing one's soul in something beautiful (as the sea often is) -- is it possible that she really wanted to swim, but the water was too cold?

Ben< guitarist: I don't think she wanted to swim. Way too cold for that. It was the sound and the solitude she sought.

FRAML< It was her time for prayer and meditation. When she spiritually cleansed herself. Too many of us don't seek that quiet time; in fact, we may be afraid of doing so.

guitarist< FRAML, I was thinking the same thing, but gave it more physical expression. *s*

LEGS< My tiny great grandmother loved to fish, but wouldn't eat a bite of fish. The sport of outwitting the fish drew her mightily ... and kept her young.

Sprinkles< It reminds me of a kind of Spiritual cleansing. The ocean with the flow of life, and the salt which it contains, brings to mind the salt of the earth and the breath of fresh air coming over the waters. All life-giving, and the blankets to hold and warm the spirit. Aaah, perhaps she is of the zodiac sign of the crab, and just felt at home. *G*

Ben< Sprinkles: It was a kind of spiritual cleansing. She knew she needed it, and she knew a place and a way she could do it.

LEGS< Water is the symbol of spirituality to many. Perhaps it linked them spiritually to their own dreams and hopes, and let them escape the reality of old age.

FlamingEagle< I like that she was washed in the SOUND ... very powerful image. Perhaps the sound evoked peaceful memories.

Sprinkles< I like that too ... washed in the sound. :)

DestinyB< Ben's question reminds me of Baptism.

guitarist< Ben, I was thinking a combined Christian/Jewish thought here: baptism, as you would call it. Observant women in Jewish culture immerse themselves in water once a month. The place where this takes place must not be stagnant, as a pool, and must have a natural water source. The ocean is perfect for this.

FRAML< guitarist: Yes, the 'mikva' I think it is called. I remember there was one in the German town where I was assigned in the late 70's.

guitarist< Yes, FRAML, you are correct. *s*

daCrone< She was also connecting.

guitarist< Another thought: she was being called "crazy" by all around her. Is it possible that she wanted to wash all that out? Just a thought.

Sprinkles< I don't think her crazy. The others just didn't or weren't close to her enough to take the time to understand her actions. Sounds as though they didn't or want to take the time, too. It is easy to dismiss things when lack of understanding prevails.

Ben< ALL: I told her family what she said, in hopes that it might help them understand her better. Perhaps it did. It certainly helped me. Like that old lady, I sometimes must go and wash my soul. However, before I heard her say it, I had not applied those words to what I do, and so I am grateful to her for giving me those words.

Ben< ALL: Sub-question: Do any of you use beautiful music to wash your soul? As a means of spiritual cleansing? I do.


FlamingEagle< Ben, yes, usually listening, but sometimes I must sing as well, as part of the release.

FRAML< Ben: I don't think so, not as a ritual. I've probably done it unconsciously though.

LEGS< Yes, definitely, Ben. And in grief, I sing endlessly ... keeps the bitter thoughts away.

DestinyB< Yes, Ben, I'm washing my soul with beautiful music right at this moment.

guitarist< Yes. There is a young lady who adapted selected Jewish prayers to Oriental styles of music, some of them Sephardic Jewish, some of them Indian. My husband recently found her CD among a stack that was going to be discarded, and brought it home. When I listened to it, I knew immediately that her purpose was to promote two-way prayer. The music was that beautiful and powerful. I believe that she is a Kabbalist.

Sprinkles< Oh, yes ... such a large variety. Cooking, cleaning, quiet time, inner thought time ... just about everything except for quiet time. *S*

guitarist< And in case you're wondering, yes, I do, too. And, like FlamingEagle, I *must* sing ... preferably harmony.

Sesquiq< Ben: I'm new here, so I won't talk much, but she was doing something we all see and feel, and know by touch. Its beautiful, so simple. I'll hold off more until later.

greyman< I create instrumentation to elevate/wash spirit.

Ben< QUESTION 2: There is a large difference between appreciation of beauty and the desire to own or possess. Here is an example of an exercise in appreciation. My next-door neighbors have a beautiful rose-bush on my side of their garage. They can't see it without walking around their garage, but I can. All summer, I take a moment to enjoy it every time I get into or out of my car. And each time, I enjoy their rose-bush even more because I don't own it -- I can drink of its beauty without having to water it and prune it and put fertilizer around it and battle the fungus that would destroy it. And each time, I appreciate my neighbors for doing those things and freely offering this bit of beauty to everyone who comes near their house. What does this story remind you of? YOUR TURN

Sprinkles< Unconditional sharing, consideration, the exhibiting of nature's awe, for whoever cares to enjoy.

daCrone< Gifts and blessings and gratitude ... how wonderful! *S*

Sesquiq< Music always (as now). Appreciation of Nature without interference; of not exerting authority.

guitarist< This is something I must learn. I think your way of thinking about the advantages of *not* possessing the beautiful rosebush is an example for me. I have always longed to be the possessor, not merely the appreciator. Perhaps, I must learn the lesson you are teaching in that one paragraph. *s*

Ben< guitarist: *smile*

LEGS< Ben: For some reason, the rose bush story made me think of taking food and clothing to add to that being given by others, for someone we don't know who will benefit from it. I wonder why? I mean why it triggered that thought?

Ben< LEGS: Yes! That is beautiful. Remember that bit of inspiration. It will be an answer to my fourth question.

daCrone< It also reminds me that it is in the simple things, the things often overlooked, that there is peace and beauty and connection.

FlamingEagle< I find myself thinking of the different ways we could offer our own beauty to the world ... just because. :-)

FRAML< Ben: Appreciating a person for who they are. For the kindness you see them do, for the help received from them. And perhaps for a physical beauty. But all that, you know they will share with you, or can be observed without the need to marry them.

Sprinkles< Sight and smell receives a gift. I love gardens of all sorts and the displays are incredibly fascinating. Although I have the brownest of thumbs. :)

daCrone< It is my habit to tell flowers, especially 'volunteers', how I appreciate them. *S*

Yopo< daCrone: *S*

guitarist< daCrone, I think that is beautiful. *s* I like to talk to plants, too.

verge< The work that we do is judged not by our appreciation, but by the benefit and enjoyment of others.

Sprinkles< I agree, verge. :)

Ben< Each year, my wife and I plant a large bed of flowers along our driveway. Many neighbors and passers-by have stopped to express their appreciation while we were working among the flowers. I always see and feel a spiritual glow in them and in us during those moments.

guitarist< Indeed, Ben, I have wanted to do the same. Maybe I'll carve out the time this year.

LEGS< Ben: That is a good way to get to know your neighbors. I taught many youngsters besides my own what the names of flowers, birds, insects, trees were/are, here in our desert area. Have had a couple mention that they have never forgotten the little folk stories about the flowers I told to help them remember the names.

Sprinkles< I planted such an assortment last year, and some were spectacular. They were all planted in the front, but I just went crazy with it. My children said I was gonna pay for the work. I wanted the Lord to, if by chance, look upon my plantings and be happy for the sight. Amongst all the negativity, this the Lord might enjoy. My payment was that there was some green among the brown, but such a nice contrast. :)

Ben< ALL: If we can appreciate beauty and not desire to possess the object of beauty, we are free -- free to enjoy many things without being bound to them or by them -- and the art of appreciating without wanting to possess can be improved by practice.

FRAML< Ben: And doesn't the art of not wanting to possess things help us in shedding links that will keep our souls here?

Ben< FRAML: Yes. Excellent point! Thank you.

Ben< QUESTION 3: Last week, LEGS asked "What are the effects of feeling beautiful? What can you do to make your acquaintances experience such beauty?" I would like to revisit those questions. Has someone made (or helped) you feel beautiful? If so, what did he or she say or do? And what were the effects in you? YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: I felt better after being positively commented to about the weight I've lost.

Ben< FRAML: Hah! Yes, a lot of people feel that physical beauty is inversely proportional to bulk. Then there's us skinny folks who aren't so sure about that.

FRAML< Ben: In my case, lack of bulk is also providing a drop in blood pressure and cholesterol, and an increase in desire to live. (And also reduces my chances of heart attack and stroke.)

guitarist< FRAML, I'm happy for you, then. But some who seek thinness seek an ideal that perhaps is unobtainable and, indeed, undesirable for them.

DestinyB< When I was young, sometimes when I entered a room of people (like in a restaurant), everyone would stop what they were doing and look at me. I felt like queen of the room!

guitarist< Question # 3 is not an easy one for me! But a recent example is the making of a couple of new, real friends. This always does wonders for making me feel beautiful!

LEGS< Although I am a great-grandmother, I'm not the oldest in my little town of choice where I grew up, and those older citizens who knew me then still address me as they did when I attended school. Makes me feel years younger. And they always brag on me. Makes me want to never disappoint them in my character or actions. They consider me one of the beautiful ones ... and I know they are.

greyman< You can possess knowledge, and thus the knowledge of beauty. It would seem that the above concept could be binding as well.

Ben< greyman: Good point. I think that wanting to feel beautiful can be binding, and it puts the power in someone else's hands. But it is something else when given as a gift. That's what I was looking at in this question.

Sesquiq< To help someone, to see them turn happy of spirit, for them to be appreciative, that creates within me the sensation of beauty.

DestinyB< I've tried to compliment something of beauty in others. Everyone has something beautiful about them!

FRAML< Ben: I also remember when someone said to me: "FRAML, we don't want to loose you" after I made a comment of not caring about myself or wanting to live. That comment made me realize that there were folks who cared for me without any strings attached. I realized that I was appreciated for who I was, not what they though they might get from me. It was a major turning point for me.

Sprinkles< The effect (now we are not referring to our physical casings are we?) There is such a glow as far as feelings go, and if you are aware of having a white light fill you deep into your soul, it is very contagious. By being open to it and sharing it. The sparkle, or should I say Sprinkle, in the eye as well as the heart. Yes, when I had learned to be myself, and to express all things in a positive note, it just seems to grow, and the hug, tear, joy, laughter abounds. Just how I approach others and vice-versa.

LEGS< In the everyday world, I try to give compliments like blessings. If you think someone has a lovely smile even though they are harried and rushed in their work, why not let them know you appreciate their smiles? or their dedication that makes them so tired they don't feel like giving out their sweet smiles as often?

daCrone< Many people do not feel beautiful or appreciated. I think it is important to use every opportunity to point out to them their positive attributes, their talents and their kindnesses, Sometimes the strength and vitality of an offered compliment is immediately visible.

Ben< ALL: Expressions of genuine appreciation can help almost anyone feel more beautiful.

DestinyB< One of the most beautiful faces I've ever seen belonged to an elderly lady. It was covered with wrinkles -- laugh line wrinkles! What a life of happiness she must have lived!

Ben< ALL: I said at the beginning of this session that Question # 4 would be a call for either experience or imagination. I will post it shortly.

peaceangel< Does anyone know how to get ahold of TheFire? There seem to be harassing going on in Stonehenge.

guitarist< peaceangel: You are free to stay among us. Please stay.

peaceangel< Thanks, guitarist.

Ben< QUESTION 4: Last week, I said "Recalling (specific) beautiful memories is a way to elevate one's spirit toward higher realms of existence." But (given that beauty is in the eye of the beholder) that statement is only true if one's concepts of beauty correspond to concepts of beauty in higher realms of existence. Therefore, what do you think beings in higher realms of existence consider beautiful? YOUR TURN

peaceangel< Well, I was abused sexually growing up, and I have been having bad dreams lately. I went to the Henge to just relax, and it don't help my memories to hear that kind of sexual garbage.

humble< Realize, peaceangel, that what happened to you was because of someone else's needs, not yours. You are a pure spirit and must realize it. Pity the abuser and love yourself because you are you.

peaceangel< Thanks, humble. Sometimes I still blame myself. If I would of just screamed out when this happened.

guitarist< peaceangel: I have seen you in the Henge seeking prayer from others. Don't give up because there are some there who would make fun of all things spiritual. There are other rooms, such as this one, where you can relax and find others of like mind and heart.

FlamingEagle< peaceangel: There are others here (like myself) who have experienced sexual abuse. You are not alone, and we are here to support you.

humble< peaceangel: Understand that we are all on different paths. Please, my wonderful spirit, realize that it is only important that you love yourself ... and you are worthy of that love.

guitarist< Love, joy, peace, kindness, truth, mercy, and many other things like these are what I think higher beings would consider beautiful.

humble< Beauty is, to each of us, the beauty we behold. Just as each is in a different place, our concept of beauty is also different. Not lesser or higher but different.

LEGS< I would think that the spiritual beings would find beauty in right action, promotion of peace without trodding over others, consideration of others to the extent of sharing what one has in a crisis, or perhaps just to promote harmony.

FRAML< Helping another person. Blessing others. Treating others as I want to be treated. For me personally, doing my Father's will as best I can.

daCrone< Purity of motive.

guitarist< I also agree with FRAML and daCrone. And, refraining from treating others as I would not want to be treated. *s*

daCrone< I think they like gardenias, too. *VBS*

verge< Higher realms experience only what they can relate to, which is beyond the physical, beyond emotion, beyond the limitations of our thoughts, and allow themselves to be that which is divine, and therefore just is beyond beauty, as there is nothing else to compare it to, and therefore just is.

Sesquiq< (My opinion, of course.) Beauty to spirituality is the ability to perceive Creation, to literally sense it, to live it first-hand, to learn through experience, to experience material life: the act of appreciating Nature's beauty.

Yopo< Here, that which is beautiful clothes the ineffable in a form revealing an inner truth. Here, the form of a rose clothes a mystery. Perhaps a being on a higher realm would see more of what the earthly form of the thing only hints at?

Tracey< Loving one another and seeing past any prejudice we may have been taught. Caring for others as much and more than for oneself ... and standing up for what is in your own soul, not being afraid to express yourself even if it is not a popular belief.

greyman< Beauty is understanding the "Grand Design" and the paths to those ends is kindness.

daCrone< Purity of motive in context of harmony.

Ben< I know angels see it as beautiful whenever a lost soul is found and rescued and helped to rise to the Light. Angels see it as beautiful and rejoice whenever an evil spirit changes from malevolent to benevolent and therefore lights up and becomes a radiant being.

Sprinkles< I think they marvel at us. Such individuals we are. Each so very special just to be here. Knowing that we have the power of free will. To choose anything, anything at all, and having the ability to do so. The thought of having the senses that can tune in and be able to help another. The strength as well as the weakness. All things that we take for granted and lay aside for another time. How we lose ourselves, find ourselves. Oh, what an adventure, and yet know we are worthy.

DestinyB< I think beings in higher realms of existence find beauty in purity of the hearts, love given freely, and those who strive to walk in the light.

LEGS< Nice explanations ... Sprinkles ... DestinyB.

Ben< I know angels smile when they see a mother caring for a child. A father caring for his children and the other children around him. A brother gently leading his little sister by the hand. Angels see it as beautiful whenever anyone truly helps anyone else. This I know from experience.

Tracey< Ben: Yes, dear heart, they smile at kindness and love ... in any form. *S*

guitarist< And I agree with Yopo and Ben. Turning evil into good, and finding the lost, is beautiful. And sensing the mystery in the beautiful creation ... that's why Genesis says, "Behold, and G-d said it was very good."

FRAML< Ben: The concept of beauty I think my Father has is not in material things, even how we look, but in what our souls yearn for and strive to achieve. There is beauty beheld by Him in our helping others to rise to Him, not in how we are dressed, physical shape, or even in flowers and trees.

Yopo< Would a rose still be beautiful, if it grew and blossomed and died in a place where there were no eyes to see it?

peachrose< Yes.

FRAML< Yopo: It reminds me of a similar query: If a man says something when he is alone in the woods, is he still wrong?

guitarist< Laughing @ FRAML! Ha!

Yopo< FRAML: *G* A question perhaps asked by one woman of another?

Sesquiq< FRAML: Thank you for the note earlier. (I don't know how to use private message yet, else I'd have replied during the discussion.) Your freely given help, that to me is beautiful. Thank you.

FRAML< Sesquiq: Thank you.

humble< Yopo, the rose is still a rose, whether it is observed or not. We are who we are: we need not be observed to be beautiful. We are, regardless who is watching.

FlamingEagle< Yopo: Like Ben seeing his neighbor's roses even if his neighbor didn't see them, God still does -- and appreciates their beauty.

Sprinkles< Yopo, of course. Does a tree make a sound in the forest when it falls, even if no one is around to hear it ?

Yopo< Sprinkles: *S* I would echo FlamingEagle's observation. The presence of beauty in a seemingly deserted place to me implies there are eyes unseen by us that see.

humble< Yopo, it seems to me that those eyes are the eyes inside of each of us.

Ben< /topic Open discussion of spiritual beauty

verge< To know something, you must have something to compare it to. If there is no other, there just is that which is. Beauty cannot exist without its opposite.

Tracey< verge: That is probably true here on earth, but perhaps not in other worlds. I would be quite happy with only the beauty part ... quite happy indeed.

verge< Tracey, how would you measure beauty?

Tracey< verge: You would see it with your soul, darlin'. When I was a kid, there was only beauty, and I was quite happy with it. Never felt the need for an opposite for me to appreciate it. Only in later life did I get the opposite stuff, but it is not necessary. IMHO

verge< Tracey, you have the soul to see what you wish, and I wish you nothing but happiness. Night all, hope to meet.

Tracey< verge: Honey, I was not arguing with ya. I've always been told I look at the world through rose-colored glasses, and I suppose I do. Love and peace, darlin'.

LEGS< Looking around us at all of the lovely things in nature, how could we think God didn't appreciate beauty? And I believe He appreciates it far more than we ever could ... in all the phases thereof.

daCrone< Yes, LEGS, I agree ... there is beauty in the form as there is beauty in the struggle and beauty in the birthing ... the heart, the essence, of each natural form abides in beauty. *S*

DestinyB< Spiritual Beauty is knowing that we are always unconditionally loved by our Creator, that we are never alone. Spiritual Beauty is feeling the oneness with all of humanity, Earth, the Universe, spirits, our Creator -- everything and everyone.

guitarist< This seminar every Saturday night is a thing of beauty, and may it be a joy forever! (Thanks to Ben and all attenders -- not to mention G-d and TheFire, without whom it would not be possible!)

Sprinkles< Spiritual beauty is what lifts the heart and soul of anyone who allows it in. Spiritual beauty makes the flow of tears swell in your innermost being, knowing the beauty of Love, and your skin tingles and seems to melt allowing the overflow of the spirit to rise, and the freedom of all limitations being seen and felt, and the finding of self. The knowing of why we are here. Beeeeeutifuuuuuulllll!!

FRAML< I think that spiritual beauty is learning to see what G_d sees as good in us and others. It is in learning to ask for blessings for others, whether we know them or not. I'm reminded of a member of our congregation who blesses people as she drives on the beltway. That in itself takes the patience and love of a saint. *G*

Yopo< FRAML: Certainly, spiritual beauty is found in highly evolved loving attitudes, motives, and the modes of behavior they give rise to. But it seems to me spiritual beauty is also found in THINGS. In the rose, for example. I am not sure what that sort of spiritual beauty is pointing at. At some higher level of order maybe?

FRAML< Yopo: Yes, I think there it is the idea of appreciating/loving but without the desire to possess.

Yopo< FRAML: Beauty is sometimes a strange thing. I was watching the movie "Glory" today, about the black Civil War company. (The 54th Massachusetts?) Found myself thinking how beautiful that last terrible charge was, where nearly all were killed. Then wondering how it was I found beauty in something so undeniably dreadful.

Sprinkles< Yopo, Oh, I agree, seek it out and you will find. *S*

Ben< Yopo: I added a note to the transcript of last week's session, in which I mentioned that many people think beauty=good and ugly=evil, but for many people, beauty/ugliness and good/evil are two different sets of mental categories. Thus, they can think something is beautiful and evil, or ugly and good. Perhaps "beautiful and evil" would apply to your view of that battle.

FRAML< Ben: Yes, that is an interesting point that "good & bad" and "beautiful & ugly" are not necessarily synonymous. Reminds me of where Patton says (in the movie): "War! God, how I love it!" but you can tell from his voice that statement is also a lament. He knows what war really is.

Yopo< Ben: Yes, maybe I have separate categories myself. Or maybe beauty can appear even in the most terrible surroundings. I suppose the beauty was in courage shown in the face of hopelessness, or in mens' ability to look beyond the hopelessness to something higher.

guitarist< Yopo, hi there! I didn't really think you, who wouldn't hurt a fly, would consider a blood-bath beautiful. I thought you would have noticed something, even subconsciously, like the qualities you mentioned. *s*

Yopo< guitarist: As I said, it made me wonder. With a movie, of course, we can look from a distance and be more analytical. Another terrible movie of war and beauty was "The Thin Red Line". An almost spiritual movie ...

Sesquiq< Goodnight everyone, thank you, Ben, and FRAML, everyone.

FRAML< Sesquiq: Good night, and remember to count your blessings before you sleep. (And in them you may also find beauty you never expected to see.)

Ben< I once met a beautiful blind man. He sat next to me on a flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. He casually told me how he painted his house, and worked on his car, and did many things around his house. He said he was thrilled when his daughter brought some friends home from school and he overheard one of them whisper to her "You didn't tell us your father is blind." I had a great fear of being blind. He relieved me of much of that fear. I am grateful.

Tracey< Ben: The blind man ... he saw beauty *S* within ... yes?

SpiritSearch< So many people here, yet so quiet !

Sprinkles< Yeah, my thought, too. (so quiet)

peachrose< Mid evening, SpiritSearch ... quiet ... yup ... feels kind of loud, though ... oh, maybe that is love on the piano. lol

guitarist< SpiritSearch, maybe some of us prefer not to talk too much for fear of affecting the beauty that is created here tonight! *s*

FRAML< SpiritSearch: Reading and thinking before typing.

Ben< That beautiful blind man told me that he was hurting. He worked as a stenographer in a court that dealt with child-abuse cases, and the pain of all those cases got to him. He was about to quit his job. He had come back East, to his family in Philadelphia, looking for some answers. He hadn't found any. A thought suddenly popped into my mind, and I said it aloud: "Well, there haven't been courts such as yours in all times and places in human history, where the power of government tries to do something to help abused children." He sat there for a moment, then turned to me and smiled, and patted my arm, and said "Thank you. That's what I needed to hear." I was glad.

Tracey< ****Ben**** I have a feeling that came from deep within your soul. It was wonderful you could comfort him when he was reaching out to you. *S*

FRAML< Ben: I think you were given that line to say to him. It was what he needed to KNOW, as I was just given the line in (..) to Sesquiq.

Ben< FRAML: I thought that line in (...) to Sesquiq sounded like it was inspired by a higher source.

Sprinkles< How do I go about reviewing the seminars? please

FRAML< Sprinkles: Just click on Ben's name to get to his site. Book-mark it. All of the seminars are linked to the word "Seminars" on his front page. All 22 of them are there.

Sprinkles< Thank you. *S*

SpiritSearch< Well, I am sorry I missed the talk earlier, and I'm afraid to repeat anything that was covered. Since we are all God's creatures made in His image, then we must all be beautiful.

DestinyB< Spiritual Beauty is the ability to recognize the little sparkle of the Creator in others.

SpiritSearch< Namaste.

[Ben< This conversation began earlier. I have assembled it here.]

peaceangel< Geesh! People are so rude in the Henge it makes me sick.

humble< Beauty is the ability to see in others, regardless of their behavior, the love that each of our spirits possesses.

Tracey< **peaceangel** Honey, a lot of people in the Henge are hurting, and react the way they do out of pain and fear. When you are emotionally raw, it usually is no place to be (unless you want to vent). You are a beautiful soul. (((((HUGS)))))

peaceangel< OK, thanks, Tracey.

humble< peaceangel, people are on different levels in their search to heal themselves. Consider that we were all at one time at that place. Perhaps we still are. Show them love and it will be the "Drano" that will overcome hate.

Sprinkles< Yep. Drano. :)

humble< Sorry, Sprinkles, that was at the top of my head and just came out that way. *S*

Sprinkles< humble, no need for apology, I liked it. It is my typing that seems serious, not I. *giggle* Love does unclog a lot of things. *S*

FRAML< humble: If you are giving psychic advice, I think you need to check your tuning.

guitarist< peaceangel, perhaps you need some time to rest first, before you venture back into the fray at the Henge. I wouldn't go back there now, if I were feeling as you do now.

peaceangel< Well, I just feel like a bother to some of them, so maybe I need to quit coming to the Henge for a while, and SWC. I don't want to be a bother.

Tracey< ***peaceangel*** you are no BOTHER ... EVER! Please don't stop coming to SWC. You found this place for a purpose ... don't let someone who is hurting and lashing out drive you away ... just go to the more peaceful rooms, darlin'.

peaceangel< OK, Tracey. Thanks, hun. It has just been a rough month for me.

guitarist< peaceangel, you are certainly no bother to us. Most Saturday nights at 11 PM, you'll find us here. You are most welcome to come and be with us.

peaceangel< Well, guys, was it just me, dear ones, or did F_YOU kind of make you uncomfortable? He did me.

Yopo< peaceangel: There are several who haunt the Henge that seem to enjoy making others uncomfortable. Some, I occasionally see redeeming qualities in. Others I never do. If you rise to the bait and respond to them, that usually only makes matters worse. Best to ignore.

peaceangel< I sure will do. Thanks, hun.

FRAML< peaceangel: There used to be an "ignore" function. Unfortunately it hasn't worked since the site was redone. One is forced to mentally ignore such folks, which is most difficult at times.

guitarist< FRAML: What "ignore" function? If it ever gets to working again, I'd like to know just what it's for and how it works.

FRAML< guitarist: One types "/ignore nickname" and that will keep posts from that person from coming up on your screen when you refresh.

peaceangel< Thanks, guys. You are angels.

guitarist< peaceangel: The person has to be in the room, and you have to spell it just as it is on the screen. Anyway, it doesn't work any more, as FRAML said.

peaceangel< Oh, OK, silly me. Sorry, hun.

Sprinkles< peaceangel, Don't be disheartened, dear one. There may be a few who I bother, too. But in time, and if you decide to stay and visit more, you too will find many of both friends and foes, for there would be none without either. *S*

Tracey< peaceangel: Even more reason to hang around people who care about what is going on in your heart. If you would like to mail me and talk about anything -- anything at all that is on your mind or in your heart -- please do. Deal? *S* ((((HUGS))))

peaceangel< Thanks, I sure will do that. I am Sheila. Nice to meet you guys.

FlamingEagle< We are all like roses -- we must occasionally be pruned to the point of looking dead (improper, diseased, damaged, harmful growth removed) in order to be able to express the beauty which is within each of us.

Sprinkles< FlamingEagle, yes, and with care given, oh, what a blooming bloom we can be. *S*

peachrose< Well, FlamingEagle, some would say that you are extremely good at setting the scene for visionary art ... the way you described a rose in death. lol Well, not me ... still, very well done.

FlamingEagle< peachrose: You'd never guess that I pruned my roses this week, would you? *S* Nothing but 18 - 24 inch twigs left on each of them, but I get 6" to 8" yellow blooms because of it.

peachrose< nice ...

SpiritSearch< Ben, I'll try to make it on time next week. I'd be honored to have you list your seminar in our new events calendar.

[Ben< SpiritSearch: I'm sorry I didn't notice this post. Please contact me by email if you wish.]

FRAML< Ben: Not to burst some bubbles, but is March still your month off to do taxes?

Ben< FRAML: I think I'll do one more session on beauty, and then go play with the Income Taxes for a month or so.

FRAML< Ben: OK. (pun deleted)

guitarist< So, Ben, the subject hasn't been played out yet! How interesting.

Yopo< Ben: Maybe you could do a session on preparing income taxes as a spiritual exercise? *LOL* Uh, I still have my own hanging heavy over my head.

Sprinkles< Aah, only one more. :( I do so enjoy, will miss you ... Oh, I can review the seminars, yay! But don't blame me if I'm off track with the one that follows after tax time. *VBS*

guitarist< Yes, Sprinkles, there is a lot to read. It will keep you busy for awhile, if you haven't looked at the past seminars before.

FRAML< Sprinkles, I usually post the next topic on Thursday or Friday.

Sprinkles< Thank you, Ben, for yet another interesting seminar. Good night. *S*

guitarist< Good night, Sprinkles! Blessings and a pain-free night to you.

[Ben< I usually delete "hello" and "good-bye" posts to save the reader's time. I kept this one to highlight what guitarist did. She remembered that Sprinkles lives with a condition that causes her a lot of pain, and sent her a specific blessing-prayer. I think this type of initiative is beautiful whenever and wherever I see it.]

Ben< Hah! I prepared a summary sort of paragraph, but forgot to post it.


Ben< ALL: I believe it is simply a fact that people have in their minds different concepts of beauty. Some of those concepts seem to be nearly universal among humans, but none of them are entirely universal. Many are cultural; that is, they are generally held by people of the same or similar cultures. Some concepts of beauty are almost individual: they are rare because they exist in the minds of very few people. And so I believe it is appropriate to think or say "She thinks roses are beautiful, and I agree" or "He thinks nematodes are beautiful, and that's OK with me" or "They think violence is beautiful and relish scenes with blood and gore all over the floor, but I do not agree with them."

[Ben< This conversation began earlier. I have assembled it here.]

Yopo< I am not always sure what is within me, projected outward onto the things of the world, and what is actually within the world, making a connection with me. It is a subtle distinction sometimes.

DestinyB< Yopo, I also believe that spiritual beauty can create physical objects, such as art inspired by the higher realms.

Yopo< DestinyB: Yes. What IS the spirit that manifests itself in the beauty of a rose? What is behind the form? There is something there we can truly connect with through love, and it is not just the outward form of the thing that delights us.

Sprinkles< Yopo, beyond the sight of the rose is the smell, the touch of the petals are like the softness of a new born child, the falling of its petals after it has bloomed, the assortment of types and species, the thorns of protection, all in it's way has to do with the beauty of life and can be seen in a plant. The spiritual beauty of life with which all can relate, yes? *S*

Ben< Yopo: What IS the spirit that manifests itself in the beauty of a rose? It IS the spirit in every being who considers the rose beautiful.

Sprinkles< Ben, yes, that too. :)

Yopo< Ben: *S* Ah. True. But don't forget Yopo's leanings toward animism, and occasional flirtations with pantheism. *LOL*

Ben< Yopo: Your previous comments about the inherent beauty of a rose don't relate to animism or pantheism. They go back to the ancient Greek arguments about archetypes existing in some other realm of existence. Socrates stopped those arguments with his statement that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I would state it differently: The archetypes exist in the minds of many people, but not everyone. They are ideals.

Yopo< *S* Yeah, I've been mixing topics a bit. Sorry. Uh, I actually WAS alluding to animism, though. Maybe even mixing it up a bit with the idea of archetypes and higher orders of perfection. I sometimes sense an underlying living presence in things. A rose, for example. *S*

Sprinkles< lol @ Yopo, it is not to say that both are not possible but that it depends on the focus of the eye.

guitarist< Ben and Yopo: Why not both? Why can't there be the archetypes and what is in the beholder's eye? It seems to me that the archetypes are heavenly and what is in our eyes, earthly. Sometimes (many times) they meet because, as Ben just said, the archetypes exist in the minds of many.

Yopo< guitarist: HA! This is getting complicated. Next we're gonna be speculating about the independent existence of archetypes as living spiritual entities. *S*

guitarist< Yopo, I'm not contemplating going that far. Just that, when we get there, we'll find out whether all our theories are true ... unless we are like Ben, who has had glimpses of 'up above' in more than his dreams! *g*

Sprinkles< Yopo, you just reminded me of a site someone mentioned to check out, The Wingmakers, I think (scratches head in confusion and unsurety). It runs along those lines of some supernatural finding in New Mexico. Haven't checked it all out yet.

guitarist< I find beauty many times in a book that teaches me things or reinforces things I need to hear (not necessarily what I want to hear! *lol*). It comes across when a person has been inspired from a higher source.

Ben< Yopo: Concerning the underlying presence in living things -- that is part of what I was hoping for when I posted Question # 4. Beings in higher realms of existence think LIFE is beautiful in all of its forms.

Yopo< Ben: Do you think there might be such underlying presence? I can't say I am certain, but suspect there is. Then again, it might only be the thing is a mirror that reflects back something in myself, much as you say beauty is within the beholder. I can imagine the presence in a rose being an extension of something having existence in a higher realm, though. A thing with a sort of "spiritual personality". It is that "personality" I sometimes think I sense.

Ben< Yopo: I once saw large bunches of little colored clouds, high in the upper astral levels, like an azalea garden in bloom, and an entity there said they were the spirits of flowers.

Yopo< Ben: *G* Ah, thanks much for that post! *S* The thought of the spirits of flowers delights me beyond words. *S*

Ben< Yopo: I already knew you would like it there. *smile*

Ben< ALL: Good night and great morning! *poof*

Yopo< Ben: A good night to you. Thanks. I was so unfocused earlier, I could do little more than lurk and listen. But it was certainly good to just listen. Blessings!

guitarist< Yopo, I even think oak trees have spirits too! And blades of grass! (ouch!)

Yopo< guitarist: *G* Wouldn't take much to convince me of THAT.

guitarist< Yopo, but I haven't seen them. Or at least I'm not sure I have. But why an oak tree spirit, and grass spirits, and not flower spirits? I mean, why would there be oak tree spirits and grass spirits, but not flower spirits? Or any other type of plant spirits? Which leads me to ask, are the spirits of poisonous plants evil? (I think of poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, curare.)

Yopo< guitarist, I'm not quite following. You mean you've SEEN oak and grass spirits, but not flower spirits? (I am a bit tired ... *S*)

guitarist< No, Yopo, I have not seen any plant spirits at all. However, if I am to believe Ben's testimony (2nd hand, of course), then there must be spirits for every type of plant, not just the ones we favor.

Yopo< guitarist: Hmm ... I can't imagine an evil plant-spirit. Actually, the poison ivy is lovely in the fall, when it turns colors. Is curare a plant? (I AM tired.) I was thinking dart and arrow poison comes from a tiny brightly colored frog. Uh ...

guitarist< Yopo, I could be wrong about curare. I don't think it's a plant either. Scratch that from the example. Maybe poison ivy is lovely in the fall, but you won't catch me anywhere near it, not even close enough to breathe it! I'm far too allergic to it. For that reason, to me poison ivy is UGLY.

Yopo< I haven't had anything like the range of experiences Ben has. I more "sense" presences in things than see them, and that is only at certain times. I DO recall one similar visual experience, though, as I was falling asleep. In that in-between place, where I sometimes have odd encounters. My bed was surrounded by small glowing orbs. They frightened me so badly, I sat up and shouted "Who are you?" They fled quickly, as if I had frightened THEM. I was left with the impression that they had been like a flock of startled sparrows.

guitarist< I am yet a raw beginner, Yopo, in these things. But I believe that the ultimate beauty is that of the kingdom of heaven, and would that more of it were manifested here!

23. Beauty
Session 4
Sat 04 Mar 2000

Ben< ALL: This is our last session on the subject of beauty. I will expand on two points that came up in last week's session, introduce two points we haven't addressed, and then wrap up this seminar. Ready? Let's go.

Ben< QUESTION 1: Last week, I mentioned my neighbors' beautiful rose-bush. All summer, I take a moment to enjoy it every time I get into or out of my car. Now, suppose I could print my memories of that rose-bush as a series of photographs. As you flip through them, you see a time-lapse motion-picture of the rose-bush, from early spring to the following winter. What do you think and feel as you watch? Does the rose-bush become more beautiful and less beautiful? Do you enjoy it as much in each phase of its cycle? Are you sad when the last petals fall? YOUR TURN

LEGS< Yes, Ben, sad when the blooms are gone ... apt to save petals myself ... to prolong the perceived beauty of form, color, and scent.

Hakki808< Ben: I feel sad.

FRAML< Ben: You would be able to relive the summer in the middle of the winter. Seeing them bud, bloom, and fall. But knowing that they will bloom again in your memory, and in the spring as well.

Ben< FRAML: Yes, you can take the memory-photos with you and enjoy them again and again. I do. *smile*

guitarist< Well, it isn't quite the same as watching a *person* go through this cycle. For one thing, unless something terrible happens to the rose-bush, the flowers will grow back every year. (I have a small rose-bush in front of my house, so I have observed this first hand.) I keep this in mind as I watch your time-lapse videography. It makes me feel better about the whole thing.

kitten< I do a lot of gardening and am as excited when it is time to 'bed down' the roses as when it is time for them to begin budding again in the spring. There is such contentment in knowing that something in this world can be counted on to follow the same path again and again and ...

LEGS< Nice balance, kitten. *s*

Ben< kitten: I like your comment about contentment. Thank you.

dancer< I tend to see beauty in all the cycles, though perhaps a more poignant beauty as the winter comes on and the plant goes into a period of dormancy.

kitten< Maybe 'sad' isn't the word ... nostalgic, rather. Just like when I see one of my grown children and am nostalgic for their childhoods.

guitarist< And, as the others have observed, there are the memories during the dormant season. *s*

greyman< I would assume that a normal (what ever that is) reaction is a feeling of elation as the roses grow and a "letting down" feeling as the roses die. I like to visualize a rebirth from the rose hips. *g*

FRAML< greyman: Yes, I remember Rose's hips, too. *G*


guitarist< Laughing @ greyman & FRAML!

greyman< guitarist: nyuck, nyuck, nyuck. Wise guys.

Sprinkles< I think the rose bush would be stating that of time and change as well as it's beauty. I would feel the absence of its blooms and saddened that they too have to pass, but also know that without the continual change and fading of blooms, new life would be hindered, so it would be understanding of the cycle of life.

kitten< Everything has to have it's own time and place. Today's beauty has to fade so that tomorrow's can have it's own impact on the world. Not just in gardens ...

grizzly9< "A rose is still a rose; by any other name, nothing could smell so sweet."

guitarist< Perhaps it's more of one kind of beauty taking the place of another. As much as I don't like the cold weather, I enjoy the sight of a snow covering on everything. Every season has its own special kind of beauty.

5foot2< I appreciate the beauty in all seasons, yet confess, as the last petal falls, I am already anticipating spring. *S*

Ben< ALL: Please go through that series of photos again. See if you can change what you feel, so it isn't what you felt the first time. Are your reactions linked to the rose-bush, or can you reprogram your reactions? YOUR TURN

kitten< Ben: I think my reaction is to beauty rather than to the rosebush ... so ... reprogram how?

Ben< kitten: As an experiment (which this is), can you enjoy the rose-bush more when it has no blossoms than you did the first time?

greyman< Ben: Only if you can convince your internal reactions otherwise. As roses die, they drop pedals which become food for the next generation.

FRAML< Ben: I think I may change what I feel, that I'd not morn their falling at the end of the season, because I've created a way to keep their beauty fresh in my mind.

kitten< Or you could make rose petal jam and keep their beauty fresh in the 'fridge.

LEGS< Ben: A nice exercise ... akin to de-stressing, I suppose ... with the playing of possibilities and controlling responses ... but the familiarity of knowing what is to happen would probably have me weeping with the first photo ... though I would try the exercise.

Ben< LEGS: This type of exercise can be an antidote for that kind of weeping, as I will explain in a minute.

dancer< Ben: Mine stay pretty much the same ... all loving ... nurturing in the spring, breathless joy and anticipation as the first buds come along, pride and joy at their radiance in the summer, nurturing loving gratitude as I collect and dry their petals in the fall, bedding them down with thanks, watching them as the snow covers them, knowing they are safe in mother's womb, to bloom again in spring. I guess I don't really want to reprogram. I love all of the stages.

kitten< Ben: Last year I spent some time in Tennessee in February and March, and so enjoyed the starkness of the trees against a stormy mountain-filled sky ... and their reflection in the lake.

guitarist< Actually, I wonder whether our attention should be on the whole plant, rather than just the blooms. As kitten suggests, it's the rest of the plant, the ground it's planted in, and the environment, as well as the advancing of the seasons, that support the process. *s*

Sprinkles< Yes, reprogramming reactions from photos can be applied. The different seasonal photos can bring on memories; for instance, the first year it bloomed, in that summer, little Johnny had his first goal in football. Or the summer that all was in bloom as well as Fido, her pup got caught under the bush, etc. The fall was hit by the first biggest storm.

LEGS< Yes, Sprinkles, hard to separate such memories to a single segment of recall.

Ben< ALL: This exercise was an example of meditation on transient beauty. Meditation on transient beauty can be used as a tool for introspection: to see if and how our reactions are linked to what we observe or remember or imagine; to learn how to reprogram our reactions; and to learn how to enjoy transient beauty without clinging to it, or longing for it, or grieving for it after it is gone. What we can learn from this type of meditation can then be applied to other forms of transient beauty -- such as the transient beauty of a place or a pet or a person.

LEGS< OK, Ben, I've had to learn to apply that rule to relationships because of losses thru death and/or distance, but hadn't considered the analogy of them being similar.

FRAML< Ben: And on how to remember ourselves "young & strong & beautiful" when we are old & decrepit, including afterwards when we don't have to carry the ills of our physical form with us.

grizzly9< One can be transient, yet as a rose bush and all its beauty, there is a root, and one can never forget the root, for it is the life of us all. If the roots of the plant (or us, for that matter) are not nurtured and cultivated, we will not flourish and become a beautiful rose bush.

dancer< grizzly9: Yes, much truth to be found in observing the simplicity of nature ... how nurturing influences life on every level.

greyman< Ben: Interesting. Transient beauty requires some appreciation on the part of one who observes. On behalf of the rose, do you suppose the rose can feel the appreciation?

[Ben< greyman: Perhaps it can. There have been experiments that measure how plants react to the people around them, and there is a book titled: The Power of Prayer On Plants. They flourish in a positive psychological-spiritual atmosphere.]

Ben< QUESTION 2: Beauty and ugliness don't only refer to things we perceive with our senses. They also refer to attitudes and actions, words and deeds. Suppose you are chatting in Stonehenge. X starts harassing Y and Y retaliates. Most of the others ignore them, but some take one side and some take the other. A friend you invited to SWC sends you a private message asking "What's happening here?" How would you explain what is happening in terms of beauty and ugliness? YOUR TURN

LEGS< Ben: I would say to my friend "It isn't always like this, and only a few have fallen into this trap of discouraging and verbally abusing each other. Please help me keep the focus on what is healing and loving and beautiful to say and discuss instead."

FRAML< Ben: If the person is a regular "harasser" I'll explain about him. I have also stated that I was going to another room, and have had good discussions there, leaving the harasser behind.

DestinyB< The beauty is in those who choose not to get involved in the squabble.

Ben< If it got bad enough, I would be likely to say "Ugliness is being expressed here. Let's go to another room."

5foot2< I'd say "The topics here can definitely get people going. It's a shame they can't express it without the anger. Most here speak with kindness." I'd explain the ignore feature or suggest another room.

FRAML< Ben: I haven't thought of the situation in terms of beauty and ugly. To me it is ugly when folks insult others just to get their jollies off.

dancer< It pretty much is a microcosm of society. Those who are centered in their truths feel no need to attack or to prove their perception as any greater than another's; they are willing to listen with an open mind. What we attack is the fears and prejudices that linger within. I think when we argue we are in many ways arguing/debating/enlightening self ... though often we use another to play the devil's advocate rather than acknowledge that something of their perception lingers within and offends our perception of the ideal self we would like to be. It's hard to explain ... hope that made any sense.

guitarist< This is tough. I'd probably say that X is definitely acting in an ugly way, for having initiated the harassment. Y is not helping because s/he is reacting, not acting -- or ignoring, which probably would have been better. The others who are taking sides are absolutely not helping, either. I'd end up saying to my friend, "Let's go to Amazon. It's probably empty, and it'll be better there." (I believe some of us have done this more than once. *s*)

greyman< Ben: A lesson that requires an objective perspective. I suppose I would try to get to the "heart" of the matter and start the explanation from there.

LEGS< If possible, Ben, I like to help keep the caring and uplifting energy high, rather than leave. And often the people causing such ugly disruptions only want attention. One can pray that they get it in more positive manner than what they are handing out.

grizzly9< My way is that I speak the truth. If it offends some, I am sorry, but I have been in surroundings where there is a lot of beating around the bush and sugar coating of lies. I am one who believes in shooting from the hip, so to speak. A rose in all its beauty and fragrance still has a down side, for when you go to pick its blossoms, one will always find a thorn that will prick the finger reminding us of the dangers of this beautiful flower ... and reminding us that maybe we should only admire but not touch.

Sprinkles< Lack of emotional control or understanding. I would explain that perhaps these people are hurting and are expressing everything other than that which hurts. But until they get to the real reason behind the harassing, nothing can be resolved. Misunderstandings of others are part of lack of understanding. I wouldn't choose sides, just try to understand them and come to an understanding respectfully.

Ben< QUESTION 3: Suppose you and your friend go to another room. Several people are chatting. The conversation is friendly, mutually supportive. After a while, your friend sends you a private message saying "It is beautiful here." From your own experience, where does this kind of beauty (or ugliness) come from? YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: It comes from people being civil with each other. Respecting others as they wish to be respected, and treating others likewise. The beauty is in the harmony of the room. Also in the participants acting in a mature way.

LEGS< Ben: Where does such beauty come from? It is the caring exchange of energy within the room because of the uplifting conversation.

grizzly9< I agree with LEGS; there will be a feeling of peace and energy from the others within the room. Peace will overcome and beauty will be found.

greyman< Ben: Clearly the experience is a perception from the friend.

Ben< greyman: Yes, in this scenario, her appreciation of beauty is a perception in the mind of your friend. However, many people (not everyone) would agree with her.

greyman< Ben: Zackly!

Jello< I've found that (in my opinion, at least) true mutually supportive behavior comes from an inner wisdom and compassion that ultimately (I think) comes from a higher source. So, to be totally biased, I think that this type of beauty (if we experience it as such) comes from an inner sense of absolutes and "higher" vs. "lower" ...

LEGS< Jello: I like your comment, partly because it tends to offer us a compliment if we are able to perceive beauty in chatting with others, and partly because I find it quite deep.

DestinyB< That view of beauty (or ugliness) comes from within.

Jello< And of course, it would seem that most of us are a mixture of both beauty and ugliness (as perceived by the people in the example, as well as myself).

Lo< I sort of view such an exchange as an expression of these people learning how to grow up, for I believe the more mature person tries to objectively understand the position, attitude, etc., of the other and learn a little more about them, rather than to get so emotionally involved as to lose their cool is such a discussion.

kitten< Tolerance of others, their belief systems and human foibles ... if you live in a glass house ...

LEGS< Tolerance is important ... but not to the point of being walked on ... right?

dancer< It is natural to gravitate towards a peaceful, loving environment ... it affirms the worth and beauty of all.

guitarist< From my experience, it's from the way they're communicating their friendliness and supportiveness. And, even more likely, my friend agrees with much of what they're saying.

5foot2< I feel it comes from the eye of the beholder, the state of mind, the individual's reality ... with some completely unaware of those moments of beauty, or unable or simply forgot how to find the inner silence to step all the way into the beauty that seems able to freeze-frame those moments.

LEGS< A nice thought, 5foot2 ... one to freeze-frame itself. *s* Thank you ... a neat trick to help the mind capture and preserve such transient beauty. *s*

grizzly9< Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if we look past the ugliness that someone is verbally expressing, it may be a cry for help to calm the inner soul so that the beauty within may shine. Just like a rose that needs to be pruned to allow more blossoms to flourish.

Ben< These two scenes (in Stonehenge and another room) aren't only perceptions in the minds of the beholders. Human beings create this kind of beauty (or ugliness). Whether beautiful or ugly, the mouth speaks and the fingers type what the heart is full of. Some play games, pretending to be something they aren't, but even pretense comes from the heart.

greyman< Ben: *G* Some play the games even when the rules change.

guitarist< Ben: Are you saying that beauty is not merely in the eye of the beholder?

Ben< guitarist: I'm saying that beauty and ugliness can be intentions as well as perceptions.

kitten< Ben: I absolutely agree. I have acquaintances who seem always to not only intend to be ugly, but seem to revel in it, and it seems to happen around them all the time. I tend to exit the area ...

intention< I am one who wishes to seek a spiritual truth but have found falseness in those that make themselves out to be spiritual leaders and guides.

Ben< intention: Yes, there is a lot of that falseness going around. May you find what you seek.

Jello< intention: All that glitters is not gold, but that doesn't mean gold doesn't exist. Though personally, I find that which tries to glitter and catch the eye is usually not gold. :)

kitten< I suppose that we all feel the need to let loose the 'uglies' or possibly an inability to control them in ourselves at times, but we don't have to impose them on others and we don't have to glory in those times.

Sprinkles< I don't know if I would go to another room. If all the ugly were in a room, heck, they just might need the little beauty that my friend and I possess. I believe there is ugly and beauty in all, as well as the good and bad. How much care or lack of care is in it's results? And the beauty of it is, if it lacks, it still can receive care. If it is cared for, it can still lack.

Lo< If it's true that BOTH beauty and ugliness come from within the beholder, that then says a lot about what we see in ourselves when we ascribe such to other things or others.

grizzly9< Are we not all a rose bush? We have a great beauty at first glance, but deep within our branches there is still an ugliness that is hidden, like the rose has its own thorn? Or is the thorn there for protection of its own beauty?

Jello< Oddly enough, I think botanists point out that rose thorns don't stop most creatures, though I guess they hurt rosarians quite a bit!

Ben< grizzly9: Good point. However, the people involved will still choose what they create in the room, by what they will and will not express.

grizzly9< Ben: Then those who will project ugliness in a room have chosen only to show their thorns and not their inner beauty. Then I would say they are a rose bush that requires the pruning of the thorns so as to reach the beauty within.

Lo< grizzly9: Re: "They are a rose bush that requires the pruning of thorns so as to reach the beauty within" -- chuckle, chuckle! Or LOL!

[Ben< grizzly9: Yes, some people hide their inner beauty under a prickly exterior. With that type of people, trying to provide a place where it is safe for them to reveal their inner beauty usually works better than trying to prune away their defenses.]

Ben< QUESTION 4: Is there a sense of beauty? Of course, it can't be any of the physical senses, or even extrasensory perception, because what one perceives as beautiful another perceives as boring or ugly. But do you know or think of someone who has (or seems to have) a sense of beauty, like an instinct for beauty, or the creation of beauty? YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: The wife of a friend is an artist and can do things in that area which are (to me) beautiful to see. And I've another friend who has taught me the beauty of working with others, and how to accept being cared for without fear of conditions. That is another type of beauty to me. And it is part of the beauty of her soul which I see.

Jello< I personally go by a biased form of observation. It seems to me that people share a common sense of what is beautiful, including a number of people who could be described as "beautiful" or as having created something "beautiful" on that particular scale.

kitten< I've always thought that my sense of beauty is limited to either assisting in creating beauty or in enjoying that created by some other being ... be it visual or more esoteric.

Jello< kitten: And "go to help" is one of the internal pillars of my internal and personal sense of beauty. :)

5foot2< Ben: How about, beauty is *created* by the eye of the beholder?

DestinyB< I like that, 5foot2 ... beauty is created by the eye of the beholder.

LEGS< Ben: My mother is a great practitioner of preserving beautiful moments ... from the sharing by telling of enlightening glimpses of beauty, such as catching the sun's rays on frosted dandelion puffs, to creating poetry to immortalize such instances. And, Ben, I am still reveling in the beauty your mother's words evoke as I read them.

Ben< LEGS: Yes, my mother had a highly-developed sense of beauty, and no doubt still does. (Our sense of beauty is one of the things we can take with us when we depart this life.) *smile*

DestinyB< Yes, I believe there is a sense of beauty in many people. As in other areas, like attracts like.

dancer< Ben: I find myself thinking of art ... some artwork is intended to be stark, ugly, dark, and there is an intrinsic beauty in it's raw emotion ... be it either rage, pain, or despair.

Jello< dancer: Great point! I have long looked at sincere expressions of inner thought and feeling as beautiful, even if I don't agree with the thought or feeling. A lot of artists seem to lose that pure honesty as they get technically better and become more famous.

dancer< Jello: Yes, they do, and it is an unfortunate loss. We feel the same. It isn't so much about agreeing as it is understanding the purity of the emotion.

Jello< dancer: There are a few cases where I think people get better as their surface technique gets better. I think (not enough evidence yet) it happens with people who are always reaching higher.

dancer< Jello: I would agree with that theory.

LEGS< Yes, Jello ... *s* ... go for the heights ... and pull others up with you.

Serenatnight< Beauty is as beauty does, the saying goes, I think.

DestinyB< dancer: Maybe some artists want a reaction, such as shock, and aren't interested or inspired to create beauty.

dancer< DestinyB: I think that is exactly what some artists strive for, and whether intended or not, there is often beauty in the starkness of their work.

Jello< I get the feeling it's when people try to conform to something, they lose. As C. S. Lewis (I'm quoting him again!) said (very, very approximately): "When people try to be original, they fail. It's when people try to tell the truth that they produce something original."

FRAML< DestinyB: I have to agree that a number of today's artists are more interested in shocking/offending people than in creating something that will be appreciated over hundreds of years: e.g., The works of Michaelangelo versus the guy who did the "piss-Christ".

Sprinkles< The people that remind me of what I think is beauty are all the newborn babies. They play such an impact to how beautiful life really is, and to think we could accomplish anything with it.

LEGS< Oh ... there is that so-called rule: "You get out of something what you put into it" ... though sometimes we may feel very lucky or partially short-changed, it seems to be quite true.

Jello< LEGS: I've noticed that even times where we failed to put something into a project can ultimately yield wonders if we learn from it ... but since it requires that we put something into learning from it, it's exactly what you said. :)

Ben< It seems to me that Helen Keller had a sense of beauty. She certainly understood and appreciated many kinds of beauty despite her sensory limitations.

greyman< Ben: The sum total of our experience is a collection of moments, containing attributes such as time, space, reference objects, environmental conditions, and our conscious and unconscious reactions to each moment. As we experience life, our entire being is the reference for the appreciation of beauty. I know our spirit is more sophisticated than that, but the interplay of these life moments becomes the framework of our sense of beauty.

LEGS< Well said, greyman, dear friend. I count your acquaintance as one of the beautiful things in my life.

greyman< LEGS: *G*

Ben< My wife is the most artistic person I have ever met. She creates beauty effortlessly. Whatever she touches, draws, paints, selects, arranges, fashions in ceramics, etc., turns out to be beautiful. I deeply respect her sense of beauty. I know it isn't merely cultural conditioning. I think it is hard-wired into her soul.

Lo< Ben: If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then it is probably understandable why you might see beauty in your wife and what she says and does, eh? (LOL)

Ben< Lo: Yes, my wife is beautiful in my eyes. And the things she creates are beautiful in the eyes of many, many people in addition to myself.

Jello< Ben: I do want to meet your wife one of these days! (And your mother, though I know what that entails.)

guitarist< I have several friends who have great sense of beauty; each one has a gift in a different area. One, for instance, is a wonderful writer; another could be an interior decorator if she wanted to; another is a great mother and homemaker.

Lo< Yes, I've known such people that express sensitivity/creativity to/of beauty, and perceive they are people who have developed this sensitivity by mastering their choices regarding the options available to them for possible viewpoints. Great masters in many fields seem to express appreciation of beauty which often takes on many dimensions.

Ben< ALL: Now I would like to post Webster's definitions of beauty and ugliness, and then a short summary.

Ben< beauty (from Latin *bellus* meaning pretty, lovely) is the quality attributed to whatever pleases or satisfies the senses or the mind, as by line, color, form, texture, proportion, rhythmic motion, tone, etc., or by behavior, attitude, etc. The adjective, beautiful, suggests that what it refers to approximates one's concept of an ideal.

Ben< ugliness (from Old Norse *uggligr* meaning fearful, dreadful) is the quality attributed to whatever is considered: 1. unpleasant to look at; aesthetically offensive or unattractive; unsightly. 2. bad, vile, disagreeable, repulsive, offensive, objectionable (an ugly lie, habit, etc.). 3. threatening, ominous, dangerous (ugly storm clouds). 4. ill-tempered, cross (an ugly disposition).

Ben< SUMMARY: In this seminar we have explored six questions. What is beauty? Where does it come from? What can be done with it? Is there an underlying reason why some things are beautiful and some are not? Is it all just cultural conditioning? Is there any such thing as a sense of beauty? Consensus answers were not required, so we each have our own. Hopefully, we have expanded our thinking about this subject. For me, this is the bottom line: each of us can choose to perceive beauty wherever we find it, and -- more important -- we can choose to create many kinds of beauty and expressions of beauty, within us and around us.

Ben< /topic Open discussion of Beauty

[Ben< Many thanked me for the seminar, which I always appreciate.]

grizzly9< Can a person not be like a rose bush? Projecting the beauty outside, and all its wonder, but yet the thorns that protect its branches are actually turned inward? Therefore, you may see its beauty but never know the pain the bush is really feeling?

[Ben< grizzly9: Yes, good point. Many people "put on a happy face" to project the appearance of beauty, even though they are hurting (or hurting themselves) within. This type of pretense is dangerous for them, and very difficult for anyone else to do anything about.]

guitarist< Sprinkles: About staying in a hostile Stonehenge with a friend you brought with you for the first time: I wouldn't, only because I wouldn't want that impression to stay with my visitor. Perhaps after a few times in friendly rooms, we'd go and spread our light in there together. If my friend were ready for that.

Sprinkles< guitarist: I would leave the Henge if my guest felt uneasy, but knowing my friends, they would not like to have an ugly harassment chase us away. We would more likely try to get an understanding of the situation, and take a stand on our inner beauty without tearing down the ugly, but slowly reveal the beauty. I just know my friends have a more stable groundedness for patience. *S*

guitarist< Sprinkles: How wonderful for you, that you have such confidence. I'm feeling maybe a little cynical because I actually was in Stonehenge a couple of weeks ago and helped brainstorm a way to deal with a certain regular harasser. Someone who shall remain nameless walked in and began taking me and another person to task for our brainstorming session, when they obviously (to us brainstormers) hadn't read the whole conversation. So, I wonder how much good it does. Or maybe I'm not good enough at it yet, and I actually did wrong. The harasser was in the room when we first began the session. The person left; I can't do anything about that.

greyman< guitarist: Those who are of "good will" will see your intention for what it is.

guitarist< Thank you, greyman. I appreciate it. I haven't been back in the Henge since that day; my schoolwork has claimed my extra time for awhile.

Jello< guitarist: There is a problem in any world where people can't do anything to get rid of a problem. The flip side of giving them the power to deal with their own problems means that those with selfish intent can almost as easily use that same power. Ah! The problems with an on-line community.

guitarist< Jello: Every word I wrote that day was meant to be read by the harasser. I found out that the person is computer literate to a high degree, and of course, if I know how to access the logs, so could this person. So, I wrote for this person's eyes. I hope it helped.

Sprinkles< guitarist: If you handled it to the best of your ability, then I believe you did good. I try not to judge others on the first encounters. Each are like a book, and the cover may be pleasing, maybe not. The contents are not to be changed, but the understanding or knowledge of the contents can enlighten one's decision on the book. I have found some good that came about in similar situations, and then again not. But my efforts to look into the pages have always been there. I don't know if I would call it confidence, just acknowledging the diversity in all. *VBS*

Sesquiq< guitarist: Don't let rowdies get to you. We all go through stages of growth; some people just seem to never learn. As unbelievable as it is, I've finally reached a point where I can pass by heated discussions without feeling a need to jump in with my 1.5 cent's worth. Feels good. :)

Jello< Sesquiq: Cool! :)

guitarist< Actually, Sesquiq, I wasn't arguing with people; I actually had cooled things down in there. The misunderstanding came later.

Sesquiq< guitarist: Oh! Oops, sorry, I misunderstood.

Sprinkles< guitarist: Yes, I agree with Sesquiq -- don't let them get to you. It takes time and learning to do just that, and I guess I have learned that too. I don't jump in and add my 2 cents (inflation); I ask if there is something I can be of help with so the negativity can stop. For people's feelings are being hurt over what might be trivial matters. If I get a response, then I apply myself in the understanding of what is taking place and come to some compromise.

guitarist< Sprinkles and Sesquiq: See what can happen in a chatroom? and we're not even arguing. Lots of room for misunderstanding. I lurked for something like half an hour before I decided to enter and change the dynamics of the situation.

Sesquiq< guitarist: Misunderstandings are normal for us humans; we're all destined to have quite a few. (I seem to have used my share and many other's as well. *G*) Difference here, though, is we're mature enough to accept our faults, laugh at ourselves, forgive others for their imperfections, and move on without hard feelings, still as friends. Some people just have more difficulty reaching that point than others. Sometimes they need to make really big mistakes before they learn, so I keep my distance and let them. :)

kitten< Sesquiq: Good plan. *G*

guitarist< Sesquiq: I agree with you. We have to move on, grow up, and let others do the same. *s*

spdnc< All: It may serve us better to focus on the present moment and not the negative moment just passed.

Sprinkles< guitarist: Here is another way of looking at harassment. Suppose it was a neighbor next door and quarreling was going on. It got so loud that you decided to move? (I don't think so) If it sounded like it was getting out of hand, what would you do? If it was brought outside the house into the street? I would hope or think that you would dial 911. Too many people feel the need to turn away and walk or go to another room when it is in that room that the help is needed. *S*

Ben< Sprinkles: Good point, about staying and putting positive energy (beauty) into a negative room. It is a choice, and often a good one.

guitarist< Sprinkles: I'm not sure what you're referring to now. Was it my reaction when I thought of taking my visitor to another room, or when I tried to help and ended up being misunderstood by someone who wasn't there when it started? I hope you're not thinking I would not call 911. That's like calling TheFire, here in SWC. BTW, how do you get hold of TheFire when you need him?

LEGS< guitarist: At the bottom of the chat page where it says "contact us" you can click and send an email addressed to TheFire.

guitarist< Thank you, LEGS. I will be certain to use it. And to call 911 when there's a domestic incident near my house. *s*

Sprinkles< lol @ guitarist. If the need to call TheFire dial 911. What I am trying to say is, don't be afraid to offer your help.

guitarist< Sprinkles: Are you saying that, despite my seeming failure to help, I should not be afraid to try again in the future? Thank you, dear one.

Sprinkles< guitarist: I don't think you failed; you doubt yourself. Considering your circumstance, I feel you did your best. *S* Just don't let it deter you from trying to give your help. *S* (hugs)

FRAML< Ben: I understand that this will be the last seminar until early April, after you have gotten through another taxing season?

Ben< FRAML: Yes, this is the last seminar for a month or so. I may drop in some Saturdays at the usual time just to chat, though.

guitarist< Ben: I'm glad you may be dropping in. I may be there too.

FRAML< Ben: Shall I tell folks that you are visiting "Hiatus" again, or just that your time is being taxed away?

Ben< FRAML: No ... Hiatus is a time of rest, so I won't be in Hiatus this next month. It will be a taxing time ... or better, a doing taxes time.

Lo< Ben: If each of us can choose to perceive beauty wherever we find it, then I suppose that could also be said about perceiving ugliness wherever we choose to find it. I sense the real lesson here lies in learning how to properly choose either one! Methinks this may have BIG implications on just how our soul can and will develop its spiritual characteristics and thus the inner nature of our being, as a person.

Ben< Lo: Yes. I was pointing toward the very large spiritual implications of (habitually) choosing to perceive and express either beauty or ugliness.

FRAML< Lo: Good point. How we conceive of beauty will affect where our soul seeks its home, above in the Light, or below in the Darkness.

DestinyB< Is this saying true? ... "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

Ben< DestinyB: The saying "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" is true -- if and only if the memory of that thing of beauty is held in the mind of a being who lives forever. *smile*

DestinyB< Ben: I agree ... the beauty remains in the memory forever ... long after it has gone.

guitarist< Ben: Thank you again for this learning opportunity. *s*

greyman< Ben: You are spoiling us with the time you are spending in preparation for these seminars. Thank you.

Ben< greyman: Am I spoiling you? Ah, well, why not?

greyman< Ben: I do not know of many who take the time and effort to shine light into the darkness. I can appreciate that ... If you will, it is beautiful to me.

FRAML< greyman: DITTO'S

Ben< greyman: Thank you, my friend. (Now I'll probably spoil you some more.)

Jello< greyman: Interesting you mention shining a light into the darkness. I just read a few stories about the effort and dedication it takes to do that, even if it's in a profession as seemingly unrelated as cooking. The thesis in these (unrelated, different author) stories is that to do a job (task, career) right, we should be seeking to shine a light or otherwise bring something wonderful to those who will experience it. It was refreshing to read this philosophy in fiction.

DestinyB< Jello: The media around us tends to focus on the dark/ugly. As we're exposed to the negative side of things on a continuous basis, it can cloud our view of what is true. Those who have the light within them don't allow the negative into their lives.

Jello< DestinyB: Do you mean that we can make it so that nothing negative happens to us, or that we don't have to recognize things as negative, or that even when negative things happen we don't have to let it remain negative?

DestinyB< Jello: We can't help the things that happen TO us (many are tests). There is a big difference between recognizing something as being negative and allowing it to affect us on a personal level. And we can often change a negative to a positive!

Jello< DestinyB: OK, that was my meaning #3. Thanks for clarifying. Though honestly, I think most of us aren't strong enough to NEVER let something negative affect us, but it's what we do in the long run that matters, even if we at first crumple.

DestinyB< Jello: Even dealing with being affected by another's negativity is a learning experience. Looking back and thinking about what happened may make it possible to change future outcomes. I'm not claiming perfection (those pesky hormones to blame! LOL)

SilverFox< DestinyB: So true ... it's not the action ... it's the reaction. Very good.

Jello< DestinyB: I rather suspect we are in agreement here. Though I for one am NOT looking forward to the next negative event in my life ... not that advanced yet!

kitten< I don't personally know anyone who looks forward to the negative things in their lives, but have met some in the Henge who profess to ... I don't buy it.

DestinyB< Balance is positive. Non-judgment is positive. Being able to reach a point in one's own journey to allow others to make their own mistakes and learn their lessons at their own pace is a very positive thing.

kitten< I was once told by a very wise man that it is not the things that happen to you that matter; it is the way that you respond to and deal with them ... and what you make of them.

Jello< kitten: I suspect (not positive) that everyone here would agree with that statement, at least in principle. *G*

Lo< Ben: Regarding what you said about your wife: "And the things she creates are beautiful to the eyes of many, many people in addition to myself" -- that's the point I was trying to get at in one of the earlier sessions on beauty. This touches on a deep and perhaps unresolved issue we've brought up. It seems to me that something is usually considered beautiful (in itself) when there is generally agreement that it is so, yet I know too that those perceptions all exist within each of those beholders. And further, we observe that, as we offer it to more and more others, they in turn tend to agree with the same conclusions we've observed with those who preceded. Perhaps our language is just not capable of expressing the real truth of this matter? What should we say about the beauty of some object or thing that has such a seemingly universally common impact on most all who experience it?

Jello< Lo: I personally start using capital letters: capital-T Truth and capital-B Beauty. :)

Ben< Lo: I believe the evidence supports the statement that beauty isn't a property of the objects of beauty themselves. It is in the minds and hearts of those who perceive beauty -- and as I was trying to point out tonight, also in the minds and hearts of those who create and nurture and express what they (and others) perceive as beautiful. Thus, concepts of beauty can be taught and learned.

Jello< Ben: Though if there is an absolute Beauty, then to me it suggests that some things/people are intrinsically Beautiful on that scale.

Ben< ALL: Does anyone here read The Reader's Digest? There is a story in the last [March 2000] issue about the rescue of a man off the top of a high construction crane while the building beneath him burned. I think that was BEAUTIFUL.

Jello< Ben: Is that the one originally from Guideposts? "Two Perfect Minutes"?

Ben< Jello: The article I mentioned is titled "Into The Scorching Heat" -- it is a helicopter rescue, and barely in time.

guitarist< Ben: I'll have to run out and get a copy.

Jello< Reader's Digest's articles are a mixed bag to me. Some are positive and caring, some are spite-filled, and some just seem to promote Wealth Via Hard Work.

guitarist< Jello: Reader's Digest articles spiteful? I confess that I don't read them often, so I haven't seen a spiteful one.

Lo< I have some concern about those that see only beauty in everything they see -- a sort of pollyannish attitude. My observation is that they do not fare very well in life. Surely, there is some virtue in being able to discern the difference between good and bad, and between what's beautiful and what's ugly, isn't there?

kitten< Lo: Being able to discern the difference is a good thing, but at the same time, deciding to concentrate on only the beautiful (good) things and turn from the ugly (bad) things is a matter of choice.

Lo< kitten: I tend to agree, but what about those who tend to go overboard in their assessments; i.e., finding nearly everything either beautiful (good) or ugly (bad)? Isn't there virtue in being able to have a more balanced or more realistic outlook?

kitten< Lo: Absolutely. I am a mother and grandmother, and would feel that I was not meeting my obligations if I tried to raise my children or grandchildren to not know that there are terribly ugly things in the world ... but I also try to share those things that I think are beautiful in the world, and encourage them to choose the lovely over the foul.

Jello< kitten: At the very least, it sounds like you provide an example of the better side of the world. (It can be terribly hard to recognize those examples in a world that is mostly hostile to one.)

kitten< Jello: It is a sad thing that it is very necessary for parents to inform their children of ugliness ... but how else to prepare and give them the means to protect themselves when I am not there to do it?

Jello< kitten: I don't know that it's completely a sad thing ... it is definitely a wise thing. :)

LEGS< Ah, that we could protect our young from all things we think bad ... and if we did, what all they'd miss, some things they'd wish they had ... and we in our wisdom would stifle them, I fear ... and never let others come too near ... and hold them so tightly their beings would sear ... and shrivel and die inside and out ... if we were in control of all they're about.

DestinyB< LEGS: I agree! How poetic! We can do everything in our power to protect our loved ones, yet sometimes fate intervenes and things happen to them anyway. A very hard lesson for me to accept!

LEGS< My grandmother often said "If you can't say something nice, don't speak" ... what a burden for a talker like me ... but I learned to focus on the positive as much as possible. *s*

Lo< I sense you made an important point, kitten, by saying that we can let some things just not get to us by concentrating on those that do not offend us. It seems unrealistic to me to just not recognize some things as bad or ugly; whereas, it's true we don't have to dwell on them, I admit. Perhaps this is the key here.

DestinyB< kitten: One has to know the negative to appreciate the positive ... there's a difference in being aware of something and in concentrating on it.

kitten< DestinyB & Lo: As I said before, I think it would be foolish in the extreme to ignore the ugly side of life. That's like turning your back on someone with a gun or a knife. But it is a conscious decision on my part to not walk in the mud.

LEGS< Ben: So, really, if we realize that we have acted or reacted negatively in the past, there is always a chance to change ourselves so we can gain positively from any type of exchange/banter/slander in a chatroom?

Ben< LEGS: Well, yes, we can change ourselves. And we can try to change other people, but we ought not expect to succeed very often, because they are free-willed beings. Sometimes the lesson to be learned is when to walk away or stay away.

Jello< LEGS: I think any negative event can be transformed! Though, of course, tell me that when I'm in the middle of one, and I might laugh.

LEGS< Looking around happily about having the chance to be in the seminar tonite, but sadly considering that it is going to be a long time 'til we have a new one here with Ben. *sigh* Perhaps some of us can still meet here and encourage one another. *s*

Sprinkles< LEGS: I would like that. There are more seminars on Ben's site. I will be reviewing them, too.

kitten< LEGS: I would very much like to continue to meet in this room at this time to just be together ... need this bit of loveliness A LOT sometimes.

SilverFox< OK, I'm gonna try this again ... hello everyone ... help me or throw to your local cyber-therapist! =^..^=

LEGS< Welcome, SilverFox. We are having a post-seminar discussion on Beauty. Your nic is certainly a beautiful one. What problem are you experiencing?

Sprinkles< SilverFox, ***((((hugs))))*** How are you, my sly and wise fox? *VBS*

SilverFox< Thank you, Sprinkles. Maybe I just can't find my place tonight. Fox on the Run, as it were. I know a little about beauty ... is that your topic? For example: I know just how beautiful you are. There! I'm an Authority! =^..^=

Sprinkles< SilverFox: You not only tinkle, you tell beautiful stories. Perhaps you can enlighten us with some for the seminar?

JamesRD< Namaste dear friends ...

Ben< JamesRD: Hello! Welcome, as always.

JamesRD< At the edge of the sand the vision contemplates the warmth that resides within the mirage. Held closely the sparkle of crystal shapes dreams and all that one desires. Reality breaches dreams and the mystical enhancements to acceptance of that which surrounds this humble flesh. Smooth returns to grit and the scent of the rose becomes filled with dust of the essence that was. Still you can place your hands within the sands and feel the warmth within, as is thy future, if embraced. The sun warms with love and seas hold not the tempest as imagined. Serenity is found where once anger and confusion were prevalent. Becoming one seems not as distant, for birth is but one small step beyond pride and the reality thee knew. Hold as profoundly to this step as you have in what you had thought was you. Relief is yours if you wish it. Hope takes upon new revelations, death becomes seen as thy home, and you are as you were meant to be, One with the Lord. Written with tears upon this weathered face March 4th in the year 2000 -- James R. Donk (JamesRD) NAMASTE

Ben< James RD: An expression of hope. And serenity. Namaste, friend.

LEGS< Ben: Yopo is visiting his immediate family this weekend, and asked me to pass on his greetings as well as his apology for not attending seminar tonite.

Ben< LEGS: Yes, FRAML also forwarded greetings from Yopo. I hope he has a good time.

guitarist< LEGS: Tell Yopo I said hello. And give him a hug for me.

Ben< DestinyB: I'm thinking about the point you made earlier, about putting positive energy into a negative room. I do that fairly often, and so do many others who gather here. Maybe we should have a practice session sometime, as to how to do it more effectively?

DestinyB< Ben: Good idea! I have also practiced this (in Stonehenge). Not an easy task with someone bent on causing trouble!

guitarist< Ben: I think that a particularly lovely idea! I'll be sure to attend that one! ***VBS*** I NEED SOME LESSONS!

Sprinkles< Ben: That sounds good. I would be interested. *S*

kitten< Ben: I too would like those types of lessons. *s

Ben< ALL: Okay, I'll think about it. Maybe copy some ugly stuff to practice on? My first response to that thought would be to ignore the nasties and post something lovely, like a little story.

Jello< Refocus, re-fill ... if they are open ...

SilverFox< That would be my first response, too: "Ignore the nasties and post something lovely" -- that's me, Ben.

LEGS< Ben: A good idea! A positive "put-in" rather than a negative "put-down"! Yes, we can all use such practicing!

Sprinkles< LEGS: That was gooood!

guitarist< Our LEGS ... always one with a *bon mot*.

Jello< Ben: I'd love to see suggestions for how to do so on your web site. It sounds like something universally applicable, in and out of network space.

Ben< Jello: Hmmm ... the transcript of a practice session could be posted as a seminar. Or maybe what we're talking about *is* a seminar.

kitten< I think you may be right, Ben ... we seem to have created a new seminar ... and I like it.

guitarist< Yeah, Ben, why not! Something very practical, and that we can use right here in our favorite hangout.

LEGS< I agree, guitarist ... practical and needed ... and if posted on the website, it could continue to serve as a source of how-to for any who needed it ... not excluding myself.

DestinyB< One night there was someone who wanted to warn everyone about the end of the world (coming up in the near future, according to him). It made him mad when I said, "What does it matter if the world goes on or not? If you have everything in order, you'll be ready." I told him people have been foretelling the end of the world since the beginning of the world. I was about to ask if he had questioned his source of information (yes, I've read Ben's site), and the guy insulted me and left! He said there wasn't anyone intelligent in that room! LOL!

Jello< Internet Aikido!

DestinyB< I've often found that many want to lecture rather than discuss ... too many teachers, not enough pupils!

kitten< It's so nice to be back ... have missed these discussions.

Ben< Two more thoughts come to mind. Act rather than react. And consider (care about) the lurkers.

stonyj< I listened ... I liked ... I left ...

Jello< I find that I usually can't just act without part of it being a re-action, but just realizing that and accepting that it will be that way for now is, in and of itself, a big help.

Sprinkles< Ben: Yes! being a do-er. I love to challenge in doing. :) I would like this seminar .*VBG*

DestinyB< Here's a challenge: attempt to get everyone in a chat room to understand that everyone is there for a purpose, and that everyone has something to give and receive from the discussion.

kitten< DestinyB: That should be CHALLENGE ... *VBS*

DestinyB< The problem is that you're dealing with those who are at many different levels and of many different belief systems.

LEGS< DestinyB: I have found that quite true. Sometimes a solution to a question I've been trying to frame in my thoughts will be answered for someone else without me ever entering the conversation, but reaping the benefit ... and sometimes I just decided to jump into the room on the spur of the moment, and it would be exactly the right time. *s*

DestinyB< LEGS: That happens to me quite often, as well ... makes one wonder just how much is left to chance?

kitten< DestinyB: Those different levels and belief systems are what bring me here. Sometimes, as LEGS said, I reap the benefit without ever saying anything, and sometimes I feel that I might be able to say exactly the right thing and feel compelled to do so ... if it works, good; if not, at least I tried.

Sprinkles< DestinyB: Yes, it is a challenge. If all keep in mind: to respect the others' thoughts and feelings, to accept or not is fine, to inquire or understand is permissible, and the right to agree or disagree with respect for each opinion.

Ben< Well, this new seminar would follow from what I said at the end of this one, about choosing to create beauty. Sounds right to me.

kitten< Ben: And where is the sign-up sheet?

Ben< kitten: I think several have already signed up. *smile* I will be doing taxes for a month or so, but we can all be thinking about this, and practicing it, in the meantime.

LEGS< I don't guess a sign-up sheet is necessary, kitten, if we just meet here on Saturday nite ...

Sprinkles< Ben: I know I can gather many pupils, and all the eyes will look forward to this seminar. What will be the title or subject title of this eye-opening seminar?

Ben< Sprinkles: The title? Ah, there you have me. I'm not sure. Any suggestions?

LEGS< (Tongue in cheek) "Practice Makes Perfect" would be a choice.

Jello< Practical Applications of ... (insert missing word/phrase here)

Sprinkles< Jello: Yeah, "Practical Applications on Acting and Reacting" ?

Jello< Sprinkles: Or maybe "Practical Applications of Caring"? (Hey, this is fun :)

kitten< "Ten Not So Easy Steps to Being a Nice Guy/Girl" ?

LEGS< *smiling* I like the suggestion by kitten ... *s*

kitten< Ya'll excuse LEGS, she's a tad prejudiced ... *s

Jello< Caring the Hard Way?

kitten< ((((Jello))) That's it ...

Jello< Thank you, kitten -- your suggestion inspired me! I think this is what they call "synergy in action" ... positive ideas building on positive ideas.

LEGS< "Care to practice Caring too?"

Sprinkles< LEGS: I like that, too. *S*

guitarist< How about "How to Brighten Your Environment and Not Get Burned"?

Sprinkles< lol @ guitarist ... I know I will encounter a little burn here and there; it is the singed part I want to avoid. *lol*

guitarist< Sprinkles: I know what you mean. My hair can take all kinds of weather, but not burning! *LOL*

Jello< guitarist: One thought came to me: perhaps it's because we risk getting burned that it takes courage to really care ("dare to care") ...

guitarist< Jello: You got it!

kitten< I agree, Jello. That's what I meant about 'compelled' to speak ... even suspecting that it won't be appreciated.

LEGS< Oh, Jello, "Dare to Care" is really wonderful ... if not for this seminar, then certainly for the follow-up. *s*

kitten< This just gets better and better ...

LEGS< How about "Managing Manners"

kitten< "How to Brighten a Room and not get Set on Fire" ?

Sprinkles< Or how about "Lose the Dare, Apply the Care"?

Jello< "Dare to care" is quite strictly something I borrowed from Ben, so credit goes in that direction. :)

guitarist< This might also be a good time for "The Art of Blessing."

Sprinkles< My goodness, we all have some pretty good titles. *S*

Ben< ALL: My alarm clock just buzzed, so I'd better get some rest. Thanks for the next seminar topic, and your suggestions for its title. Peace and blessings to each of you. Good night. *poof*

Sprinkles< Does anyone know when or about when in April this seminar will take place? Did Ben say what Saturday in April?

[Ben< Sprinkles: I don't know yet. It depends on how long it takes me to do my own and some old people's income taxes. I hope to be done by the 1st of April -- and I have to be done by the 15th of April!]

guitarist< I am also preparing to depart. (Guitarist looks up to the heavens and spots a solitary rain cloud. But, lo! It is no ordinary rain cloud. It radiates, and it showers sparks of light that do not burn! Guitarist captures a couple of handfuls and *sprinkles* them around the chatroom.)

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