It doesn’t come for free
The delicious Price of Beauty
The encounter with beauty may be a man’s greatest challenge in life. If you are like most men, you so desperately want it. You want to swim in beauty. To lose yourself in it. But losing yourself to beauty requires active surrender and the loss of control. It begs the question: Is the price too high?
Beauty is all around us. It’s in the snow crystals that drift through the air, filling the sky with diamonds at the height of winter. It’s in the first coltsfoot that blooms its radiant yellows through the snow at the first sign of spring. It’s in the ocean breeze through your hair as the sailboat carves through the warm currents at the height of summer. It’s in the reds and golds that drench us when we walk under maple at the coming of autumn. It’s in the cosmic mystery of an infant’s eyes. The delightful curves of a woman’s body. That beauty is easy. The beauty that is hard is the one present on a death bed. The one found in suffering years of chronic illness, only to realize it was the vehicle for rebirth. The beauty of losing a relationship, burning through the pain, only to emerge to find one more fulfilling. The beauty of seeing the world fall apart, only to realize it is our invitation to a new beginning. For many of us, that beauty is ugly. Though even the “easy” beauty can be challenging. Because we men have become so conditioned to repress our emotional lives and instincts, we have compensated by numbing out with TV shows, computer games, beer, crisps, porn. Many of us have become distant from life and all its inherent beauty. It hurts. The Lover archetype has been repressed in our civilization for centuries now, and it’s hit men hard. But Brother, you cannot appreciate the depth of beauty around you unless you have reclaimed your own depth and beauty. You cannot allow rapture to suffuse your being unless you have let go of your armor. This is the challenge we are faced with: Let go of our needless defenses, or live a life without beauty. Which path will you take?
I wasn’t one of those kids who had early childhood experiences of transcendent unity consciousness. And yet, I longed for them. I can remember being in nature in my early years, feeling such a desire to feel at one with my surroundings, but feeling so painfully separate. I could see the beauty, but I could not feel it. Many years later, in my mid 20s, I sat on a freshly cut stump in the woods of my childhood. It was in those woods that I had become fascinated with frog eggs in a tiny pond, bringing them home to set up a frog farm, much to my parents’ dismay (the experience taught me much about life and death). It was in those same woods that I had learned how to ski (a skill I later lost as I succumbed to computer gaming addiction). Across the fields around it, I had gone snow-sledding. And in spring, as the sap rose in the goat willow trees, I would sometimes make myself simple flutes, just like my father had taught me. I had loved those woods, yet I had always felt somehow separate from them. That day, for the first time, the separation dissolved, and I became one with the trees around me. Sunlight entered the cells of my body and I was filled with a feeling so blissful, and became so utterly suffused with the recognition of beauty, that I lost myself for a moment. And so it happened that my first revelation of the full impact of beauty did not involve a woman. But life was just beginning…
Last winter, pretty much straight after I finished my round of RYIT, I spent six weeks surfing on the Spanish island of Lanzarote. I have been a photographer for a good ten years now, but never before have I felt so in touch (and therefore able to capture) the beauty of the world around me. This feeling of being awake, in touch, and infinitely grateful to experience the miracle of life, opened up tremendously during RYIT. I’m softer with myself, much more connected with my innate innocence. And yet I’m also tapping into my masculine power and strength like never before. Aho brothers, have a great ride, and let’s be a force for desperately needed positive change.