Painting: Vilhem Purvitis, In Spring (Springtime), 1933
We want all beautiful creatures to reproduce themselves so that beauty’s flower will not die out; but as an old man dies in time, he leaves a young heir to carry on his memory. But you, concerned only with your own beautiful eyes, feed the bright light of life with self-regarding fuel, making beauty shallow by your preoccupation with your looks. In this you are your own enemy, being cruel to yourself. You who are the world’s most beautiful ornament and the chief messenger of spring, are burying your gifts within yourself. And, dear selfish one, because you decline to reproduce, you are actually wasting that beauty. Take pity on the world or else be the glutton who devours, with the grave, what belongs to the world.
In front of beauty like the beauty of the flower, man has a desire and a hope that beauty will be everlasting by reproducing it. Beauty always creates joy for the mind, the heart, and the soul and refreshes all of them in an incomparable way. Of course, beauty is everlasting meanwhile man is a mortal being so his time to see and enjoy beauty has a limitation and the beauty of man will fade away. Then, by reproducing beauty in the span of his life entirely, he can see and taste beauty as long as he has still the time.
When the time of departure will have come yet, that is the death, man will leave the memory of beauty to his heir. By memory, this desire for beauty has become a heritage for the next generation. It seems the memory has a role to continue and to fix beauty in the heart and the soul of every man. That’s why every generation loves and enjoys the play of beauty.
Being a man and his existence are beauty itself and man is the most beautiful creature because man is the incarnated beauty. This fact is the nature of every man: You are the world’s most beautiful ornament but also a gift for them. The gift loads also the task and obligation to every man that is to reproduce beauty. That is why it said that man is the chief messenger of spring. Reproducing beauty has the goal of spreading beauty to the world, everywhere and every time, throughout all the ages so that all have a sense of beauty.
Reproducing beauty can be done by maintaining the given beauty and beautifying the other. Maintaining the given beauty is not enough only by procreation through marriage. Yes, procreation or having a child is the way to maintain the given beauty biologically. But maintaining the given beauty integrally is achieved by keeping body healthy, by doing goodness for the heart, by practicing virtue for the soul, and by learning new things for the mind. These actions and practices make a beautiful life in every aspect and decision. All of these are only half way to reproducing beauty. The other half is the duty and the responsibility to beautify the other. But how can it be done? By doing goodness and look after of all creatures like the fellows, animals, plants, the environments such as seas, forests, and rivers with love and compassion. Beautifying the other means that we beautify ourselves. Beautifying the other reveals that we reproduce beauty in all the ways because beauty radiates and shares itself with all being. This task must aware as early age as possible and the old must educate the young man to reproduce beauty as soon as possible.
Because beauty always shares itself and radiates to all, beauty rejects selfishness. Man as the most beautiful creature has the inclination to be selfish. The selfishness takes the form of centering on own beauty, particularly in the beauty of the body and to forget to beautify the other. That is why is it said by him “but you, concerned only with your own beautiful eyes, feed the bright light of life with self-regarding fuel, making beauty shallow by your preoccupation with your looks”.
Looking after the beauty of the body only just to crave the acceptance of the other and for carnal pleasure is a shallow beauty because this effort makes man the slave of the body. No doubt that the body as the gift of beauty needs care but, only focusing on the body, being a slave of the body, and forgetting the other is burying the gift man has. The body itself is not everlasting and it is full of change. The body is made of flesh and bone. And from the body appeared oldness, death, arrogance, and envy. Shallow beauty is an attachment to the body which leads to mental illness caused by selfishness.
Selfishness destroys beauty and selfishness creates an enemy to self, being cruel to self. The reason is that when one avoids reproducing beauty it means that one is burying the gift within the self. By selfishness, man is trapped only in their beauty, busy only for himself, and forgets his task which is to spread beauty. Meanwhile, beauty is found in the other beauty. The other beauty awakes the beauty of the self. By beautifying the other, one finds beauty in oneself and in everything. Beauty blossoms when beauty beautifies other beauty. The consequences of selfishness are wasting beauty and the flower dies. Selfishness is the part of the world that rejects beauty.
There are only two attitudes to this situation. Take pity on those who reject to reproduce the beauty. Take piety must be the behavior and the heart 0f movement of the doer of reproduction of the beauty to those who reject to spread the beauty. They who reject to spread of beauty have been cruel to themselves. Take piety is built on awareness of nature, gifts, and tasks. But if one is still selfish rejecting to beautify the other, then one is the glutton who devours what belongs to the world miserly. Someone is a glutton because the shallowness of beauty never satisfies his true desire for beauty and indeed pushes down the self into the ocean of hungriness.
To perpetuate beauty means we have to make ourselves beautiful. being beautiful is -as Thich Nhat Hanh said- to be ourselves. To be ourselves is to know and accept ourselves as we are, such as our strengths, our weaknesses, our inclinations, and our body. Then fix what can be fixed, renew what can be renewed, and accept what cannot be fixed and renewed. With this attitude, we can be beautiful flowers because a beautiful flower blossoms when it loves itself as it is. When we are born as a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, do not try to be a magnolia flower (Thich Nhat Hanh) because everyone has a unique beauty. Just craving for acceptance and recognition from others will lead to suffering. The kind of suffering concerns ourselves simply to satisfy the expectation of the other. The result is “but you, concerned only with your own beautiful eyes, feed the bright light of life with self-regarding fuel, making beauty shallow by your preoccupation with your looks”. Furthermore, we will be the glutton seeking the expectation of the other.
To be ourselves is the first thing to reproduce beauty because being ourselves is the home where beauty is born and blossoms. Just remember we who are the world’s most beautiful ornament and the chief messenger of spring. This consciousness is arisen when we are to be ourselves. Without this foundation, it is impossible to spread beauty because we do not love ourselves. And it means we bury our gifts within ourselves. Procreation which is the biological way to reproduce beauty without loving ourselves, will lead to chaos. Reproducing beauty happens when the love finds and meets the love. Therefore, building a home inside by accepting ourselves and learning to love ourselves will make the beauty radiates from inside. Beauty is within. Beauty is not in the object, or people not even in the eyes of the beholder. It lies in the heart of every person.
The next way to reproduce beauty is to beautify the other. This way can be elucidated by doing virtue and kindness, fighting for truth and justice for all creatures and nature. Doing kindness and virtue to other creatures and the world is the best and the sweetest way to reproduce beauty. The reason is the truth, the kindness, the virtue, the justice are beauty itself. Being kind, being truthful, and being virtuous is the reflection and indeed the manifestation of beauty in reality. Beautifying others can be practiced by giving a soul to those who have lived without one; creating a sense of beauty in people whose lives have been sordid and ugly; stripping them of their selfishness and lending them tears for sorrows that are not their own (Oscar Wilde).
All of these actions by which we spread beauty make us the most beautiful creature; we become the loving creature. The essence of loving beauty is being able to offer compassion and happiness. The more we practice compassion and offer happiness through truth, kindness, virtue, and justice we have done, the more we become the incarnated beauty like the beauty of the flower and indeed we radiate the fairest beauty. Through compassion, we are the chief messenger of spring because we embrace ourselves and the other creatures with the sweetest love so that we heal, restore, renew, and grow everything in accordance with their genuine self. The result is everything will be beautiful. With compassion, we are the sunshine of beauty for another person and creature. On the other hand, rejecting and having little compassion for ourselves and others are more like the glutton who devours the beauty of ourselves with the grave. No compassion and just accounting for selfishness means putting the self in decline to reproduce the beauty and to waste the beauty.
Sharing and spreading beauty leave beautiful memories and become wonderful a legacy. The memories are also as infinite as love and as empty as the dead universe. It depends on the effort and the decision to create the memories based on self-will. Actually, no matter what happens in life, be beautiful to people. Being beautiful to people is a wonderful legacy to leave.
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