Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Sense of Beauty and Sincerity

Inayat Khan writes: "There are two things needful in the development of personality: the sense of beauty and the preservation of sincerity." (View the full text here:  ).

He defines the sense of beauty as the ability to incorporate all that appears beautiful in thought, word and deed. He points out that we readily respond to those people who treat us respectfully and in a humble manner , but that we may look the other way when we ourselves fail to behave in this appealing way.

The two basic reasons for this are: One, that we tend to look outwardly rather than inwardly, and so we see the other person before we "see' ourselves. The other is that we are selfish by nature, wanting what is good for ourselves but not wanting to give that goodness so readily to others.

If we focus on others, it is always much easier to blame them for our failure, unhappiness or the like. What is more difficult is to look inside and to see where we may be unwilling to face our own contributions to what is mucking up our own lives. Probably the vast majority of our projections onto other people are not about their faults; rather, it is about some issue of our own that we have not yet embraced. What we may see as pushy and arrogant may be a disowned reflection back to our hearts about how we would like to be more assertive or confident in our work or personal lives as the person we dislike is doing so successfully! The list could rife with possibilities for development of a beautiful personality if we abandon our false ego to learn from what is in front of us.

Khan's reference to the rose is also illuminating, since we have the choice at all times to be either the rose or the thorns, both of which spring from the same root. Perhaps this is that choice to succumb to the nafs, or the pain body, as Echardt Tolle calls it, or, to elect beauty in manner by recognizing when this choice of thorns or rose is arising, and then, hopefully, choose the path of fragrance, color and unique form.

Lastly, another aspect, sincerity, is necessary to beauty. There is a tremendous difference between developing polish and having true sincerity, which rises from the inner essence. A good example of this might be the sales person who has a pleasing manner  on the outside, but has the agenda to close the sale, whether to the other person's benefit or not. We can also see this in the current political posturing where candidates are very polished in manner or speech, and may even have a level of physical attractiveness, but, depending on your viewpoint, you may see them as also having an agenda, not emanating from a true place of sincerity. This is where Inayat Khan correctly assesses that we must have sincerity in our beauty and beauty in our sincerity, otherwise it is nothing other than dross, and the true emanation of the heart cannot occur.

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