I was rereading one book recently that said that the things that nourish the soul are creativity, beauty, humor, and work. Other teachers have said that what the soul yearns for is beauty and love.
Regardless, the point of this post is that one can go through life, through a day, through a moment and either see all the ugliness and dysfunction that is out there in the world and often indeed within us. Or one can go through life and each moment and see beauty, love, creativity, humor, or work, while still being aware of the things that we label ugliness and dysfunction, but without the labels.
What one sees and experiences is a product of our mind’s focus, our attitude. It’s similar to the old question, is the glass half full or half empty. If our ego-mind is in control, for some reason it seeks only to see everything that is wrong in the world or in us, everything that in some way is a threat to us. And when we are in that mode, everything that is beauty, love, etc. is blocked out from our awareness.
On the other hand, if we are present and one with our heart, our Buddha nature, and we seek beauty, love, creativity, humor, or work, then that is what we will experience every moment regardless what the situation is. Because at a minimum, all of those attributes are present within each of us, in our heart, our true self. So even if we were in the most dire of circumstances, there would always be these things to nourish us; we would nourish ourselves.
So for example, if we were in solitary confinement with no window and nothing but ourselves and four walls, we would still find nourishment if that is what we were seeking. In other dire circumstances, even such as a concentration camp, there would in addition be beauty in the form of nature … the sun, clouds, rain, the stars. There would also be creativity because creativity is the essence of nature. And even in a concentration camp there were ample examples of love. It’s truly a question of what we seek out, our attitude.
After this teaching of seek and you shall find was presented to me in my meditation the other morning, I put it into practice as I went about my day, and indeed I experienced the things that nourish me, while not being oblivious to that things around me that were not what they could be. But while being aware of them, they had no negative labels and thus did not agitate me.