Is Nature Beautiful?

I really like contemplating what the difference, in day-to-day life, is between yea and nay. What comes to mind these days, is how there really is no difference between satisfying a desire I might have, or doing without. For example, if I really want ice cream, because I've had a hard day, I'll probably eat too much, feel a bit sick, feel guilty, etc. If I have to do without, I may feel deprived, or frustrated. But either way, I still have to deal with some kind of "suffering". (Mainly caused by my own thinking, of course!)

It helps to "turn back" to basics, in letting go of desire. If I don't chase after a desire I have that's caused because I'm feeling some lack, or some fear inside, it feels more grounded to look at the basics of what my actual needs are. Am I really hungry, what kind of food really takes care of hunger and nutrition, etc. And, as Carl talks about lately, how much do I need to feel full. And how much can I just let myself feel hungry, without immediately jumping to stuff myself?

(For the answers to these, and other burning questions, send a SASE to: ...)


  • edited January 2007
    Beauty rests in the eye of the beholder,... and it is a package deal -- a two for one special. For example, if we love beauty we'll hate ugliness; if we love goodness, we'll hate the badness. From a Taoist point of view, Nature is neither good or bad, ugly or beautiful. Thus, if we desire to experience nature on its terms, we need only [chref=52]use the light, but give up the discernment[/chref] of beauty, ugly, high, low, [chref=2]difficult, easy, good, bad,[/chref] and so on. Give up discernment? Well, if we can't give it up, at least give up the belief in what we discern. And if we can't give up the belief, at least be more [chref=15]tentative, hesitant and murky[/chref] about it all. And if we can't be more tentative? No worries, time will take care of that! (i.e., [chref=36]if you would have a thing shrink, you must first stretch it[/chref].)

    While Andy understands this in principle, he says he prefers to love the beauty and suffer through the ugly. Basically then, beauty equals what we prefer -- what we prefer equals beauty, as Andy illustrates. Moreover, our naturally self centric outlook will convince us that the beauty we 'see' is true 'objective' beauty in its own right. This makes it all the more difficult to give up. I am awed by the [chref=65]hoodwinking[/chref] power of this illusion - 'my way is the true way'. I imagine this gets its energy from the tribal instinct, i.e., 'our way is the true way'.

    Even as he realizes the unintended consequences of 'seeing' beauty, Andy doesn't want to let go of the 'beauty experience'. Not that he could choose [chref=16]impartiality[/chref] even if he decided to. (You know, good old free will and the illusion of choice that goes along with that.) Nor should he!

    The only important thing, for sanity's sake, is to [chref=70]understand[/chref]. Then perhaps one can gracefully accept the inevitable tradeoff. Although, our 'wanting to have our cake and eat it too' usually makes even this acceptance [chref=71]difficult[/chref]. Perhaps life experience must first convince each of us personally that we can't have it both ways. In truth, we [chref=42]myriad creatures[/chref] must all pay our way. No free passes ever, despite our fantasies to the contrary. Ah, but hope instinctively springs eternal doesn't it. :D
  • edited December 1969
    There's an artist up here in Murphys who does lots of pictures of auto wrecker yards ... old cars and trucks, rusting away, piled up on each other, surrounded by weeds. When he paints an old house, it paints it with all the crap around that humans accumulate, particularly in rural areas. When he paints a landscape, he puts in all the rotten old logs and twigs and sticks sticking up in all directions randomly. I just love his work because he just paints what he sees with no judging and no prettying it up.

    I asked him if he ever studied The Tao or Zen and he hasn't, which surprised me. Maybe I am reading more into his work than is there? Or maybe his work is what we read into it. Anyway, your comments today reminded me of him.
  • edited December 1969
    I went to Death Valley the last weekend in January on my motorcycle. There were times I was nearly moved to tears by what I was seeing; along the way and while I was there.

    I get that way about this world we live in. It inspires me. It moves me. I enjoy some of my man-made conveniences, expecially when they get me out into nature. But, to me it is all inspiring: the tree and the rock, the green grass and the brown grass, the mountain and the valley. Maybe I would say it is beautiful.

    But then I went to San Francisco a year ago (a place I might have said was ugly a few years ago) and I saw beauty in the clean streets and the dingy dirty streets, the tall buildings and the short buildings, in the quiet streets and the busy streets.

    I think when you are enjoying life and inspired by what you are up to, any where you are seems beautiful. When you are not, any were you are seems ugly.
  • edited December 1969
    Topher - I had a similar experience on McKee Road in East San Jose, not the best part of town. I saw the strip malls, signs, billboards, wires hanging everywhere in front of the green of the foothills and it all was beautiful. Basically, though, I've just expanded what I call beautiful.

    What would be better: no judgment.
  • edited December 1969
    [cite] Lynn Cornish:[/cite]What would be better

    Appreciation for everything?
  • edited December 1969
    If I had my drothers, I would choose no judgment; neutrality. Appreciation draws you into the pendulum, good/bad, which leads to suffering. Or maybe neutrality and appreciation for everything is the same thing. After all, if you appreciated everything what would be left to compare appreciation to? Nothing, so it would become neutral.
Sign In or Register to comment.