The Beauty Effect

What if you focused on something beautiful right now? Look for beauty in this moment. Just stop and look either within yourself or outside, using any sense you choose to perceive it. What is beautiful right now? Is it the sound of birds chirping? The way the light is reflected through the leaves of a tree, the laughter of children playing in the park, the smell of coffee freshly brewed? What if this became a habit? What if finding beauty in every moment became reflexive? Can you imagine how different your life would be? I am not talking about the external circumstances of your life that you may or may not have any control over…I am talking about the experience of your life that only you can determine. This is the choice I am pointing to. This is the invitation.

We are human beings with a physical body. If we look closely we recognize we are more than bones and tissue and blood. There is that which enlivens this substance we call consciousness or awareness. We can use this capacity of awareness to direct our attention within and become curious about what is here, what is arising in this awareness from moment to moment. Without needing to know anything, just notice. This is the beginning.

We may feel hopeless or overwhelmed from time to time. It is usually because we are focused on things external to ourselves competing for our attention. When flooded by all the stimulation, it is easy to become overwhelmed or even paralyzed by it all. The truth is we have a choice. Each of us has the capacity to choose where we rest our attention from moment to moment – and that will make all the difference.

This capacity to become aware of what we are focusing on is like developing a muscle, the muscle of awareness. When not exercised then any old thing that comes along can trap your attention (you are caught unaware) and before you know it you are plunged into an emotional state. This could be a happy thing when you are surprised by a loved one with an unexpected gift or it could be a distressing thing when you are blindsided by a physical, emotional or mental attack that plunges you into a state of pain and suffering.

We can’t control whether we experience pain but we can control whether we suffer.

In the beginning, as we practice becoming aware of what arises in our attention, we realize that what we identify with we become. So if we identify with pain then we become immersed in it. Suffering occurs because we can’t distinguish between our awareness and the pain that arises in our awareness. There seems to be no separation. But if you stop to notice you can recognize there is a difference. There were other moments that were not full of pain. There have been moments of laughter, joy and happiness, too. All of these feelings arise in your awareness. With practice, you can choose what to follow, what to identify with, what to allow to dominate your attention. More importantly you become aware of the source of all of these feeling, thoughts and emotions. You become aware of awareness itself. In that moment a (r)evolution begins.

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