Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beauty Is In The Heart

"In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty" (Christopher Morley)

To begin with today, before you read any further, I have an assignment for you. "Rats!", I hear you mumble under your breath.  "I just sat down!  I hate homework!  What kind of rotten blog-ographer are you?  I just wanted to read something light and funny while I sipped my coffee!"... 

Please continue on.  It'll be worth it.  I promise - it won't hurt.

Click on this link below and watch the entire video to the end.  It'll be good for you.  Trust me.

A Surprise Celebration in Sabadell, Spain

Did you watch it?  Good!  I told you you'd like it!  I did too the first time I saw it this summer, and it's stuck with me ever since.

Sabadell, Spain is a city of 207,721 people in NE Spain - about 12 miles from Barcelona.  On May 19, 2012, a banking organization organized this flash mob performance in homage of the city (and the bank's 130th anniversary!).  The city's orchestra and choirs all agreed to perform Beethoven's final movement to his 9th Symphony, known as his "Ode To Joy".

The whole performance was stunning and inspiring - the music was bright and lifted my heart - and I'm sure it did the same for you.  Which led me to ponder this inescapable question:

How is it that Beauty seems to be Universal?

Watch the video again if you like, and notice what I noticed:

  • How just the very first notes played by the cellists stopped people in their tracks.  Young and old.  Men walking to work.  Women with their strollers.  Tourists with cameras.  Grade school kids. The little girl in pink who stands stock still in front of the players.  It didn't matter.  All were brought to a standstill by the beauty they heard.  They knew it as beauty.  As something very special.
  • As the other musicians, cellists and strings, join in, the crowd grows larger, but you can also tell they grow even quieter, stiller.  Amazing!  Smiles begin to appear on their faces.  Latecomers run to the music, afraid they'll miss what they know is something special.
  • When the rest of the orchestra, the choirs, and the conductor appear, the symphony erupts and cascades over the people.  You can tell they are stirred by the beauty!  People waving fingers to the tune, singing words that they may never have known that they knew; little children bouncing and swaying; and still that little girl in the pink stands motionless, in rapt admiration.
  • In the final minute, the crowd (and me!) hang in suspense as the players gently slow down, and then burst once more into a final explosion of joy, which sweeps across the people like a wave, taking their breath away and washing them in love.  Wow!
I used to think that "Beauty was in the eye of the beholder" - meaning it was subjective, up to the individual.  I love short, sassy Italian blondes (which I do!).  But you may like tall, sultry Argentinian brunettes.  You say "to-may-to".  I say "tow-mah-to".  You're a Mac guy; I'm a PC guy.  Dog person.  Cat person.  

My sweet Italian blonde

All of which may be true.  But when it comes to what is truly beautiful in Life, I know now it's not a matter of taste, or of circumstance.  It's all a matter of attention.  

Beauty is found within us.  Beauty lives within us.  And its home is not in our minds or in our thoughts about it.  Beauty lives in our hearts. woven into us by our Creator, just as he neatly stitched it into the fiber of everything else on Earth.  

There it sits, just waiting to come to life.  A note to be struck, a whisper of a breath to gently stir it, the color of an autumn leaf to ignite it.  And then beauty is alive within us, and can spill out of us, to be shared with all.

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I want to remember this.  To try to be open to the beauty that is part of Life and surrounding me all the time. And to not get caught in my own little world of thoughts, "scurrying after nuts like a squirrel", as my wife said recently.

There's hope for the world if we can do that.

I know that would make even old Ludwig smile!