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Yoga: Experiencing the Aesthetic Harmony of Reality

Awakening Your Aesthetic Sensibilities

by Leon Miller

The Western religious traditions teach that humans are actually a reflection of creation (or humans are made in the likeness of the Creator). Western traditions believe that in the beginning humanity lived with a feeling of complete harmony with existence. Of course they lived closer to nature. But the three monotheistic traditions teach that the earliest humans enjoyed the feeling of paradise. American Indians also say that this is the way they enjoyed their lives until just a few centuries ago. They describe the feeling as living beyond the ego (something like living in a dream) and everything around you reflects beauty, the meaning of life and harmony. Yoga teaches that this is the primordial experience of life. The purpose of life is to enjoy (or restore) this feeling. Then the things around you disturb you less, frighten you less and upset you less. You become awakened to your aesthetic sensibilities.

Eastern philosophy teaches that an aesthetic awakening enables a person to experience more of his or her creative potential. It begins with the conceptual realization that the phenomena one perceives in the surroundings are an outward manifestation of the essence of existence (life force). When a person perceives aesthetically he or she is aware of the phenomena but is also sensitive to something unseen. With aesthetic awareness a person begins to have an intuitive sense of the unseen essence of existence and accompanied with this intuitive awareness is a feeling of interconnectedness. This sensitivity stems from a deep intuitive perception which excites an awareness that sparks marvel, the feeling of wonder and a bit of a magical feeling.

With aesthetic awareness a person is able to see and experience the objects in reality as everyone else does. But unlike most others the aesthetically aware person realizes that these are only forms. There is a fundamental unity that permeates all life forms (this is especially evident in all living forms). With this sensitivity the person begins to understand (or begins to have an intuitive sensitivity to) the deepest, most fundamental mystery of life. In terms of Eastern philosophy this is what we call the awakening of self-realization. You begin to understand that the force animating all things is the same force animating your being. The earth, air, fire and water (the basic elements) you see as manifest all around you in many different forms is but a reflection of the earth, air, water and fire you are also composed of. “You are indeed a reflection of creation.” It is in this sense that you begin to understand how you also potentially become a reflection of beauty and harmony. It not only stimulates a higher level of mental and physical abilities but sparks a significant increase in your creativity and aesthetic sensibilities.

When you expand your ego you realize that earth nourishes trees and trees nourish the earth in return. So you can see how they are both a reflection of the other. You also begin to understand how this creative force is actually one big, interconnected, harmonious unity, but at the same time this creative force is uniquely the tree, uniquely the earth and uniquely awareness. The earth is the tree that has been transformed into another form. Now if you enlarge the circle you see how humans nourish the earth, the earth nourishes trees and trees/plants nourish humans (it is all interconnected). It is like a circle of relationship(s)-it is always the same but always changing. Step out of your ego and you see that this giving and receiving (like an act of love) is the process of life and life is all there is (life is potentially the experience of a beautiful, loving reality).

Stepping out of the ego does not diminish your being (by stepping out of your ego I actually mean to quiet your normal mind so that higher consciousness is awakened). In fact this process enlarges your circle of concern which enlarges your circle of influence. By diminishing the ego I mean to stop the ego from dominating your total experience and realize that it provides only one perspective. For a more Holistic perspective you must take into consideration your deeper consciousness and your intuitive potential. In my experience with people in meditation groups everyone who does this discovers that they enjoy a greater ability to experience more of what they value or desire most. Many members of our groups find themselves more often experiencing life in a way they enjoy more.

It does not mean that this is without challenge. Buddha had enormous challenges in his attempt to finally experiencing Nirvana. In my own experience I find that there are also enormous challenges to my attempt to continually believe in the greater significance of deeper consciousness when so much of today’s reality is based on materialism and consumerism. It is also a big challenge for me to try to maintain physical, mental and spiritual balance (wholeness) with so many obstacles to maintaining this “Peak Experience.” But the challenges give one the opportunity to deepen convictions. You will also find that from time to time you will be tempted to make a choice. Sometimes you will have to decide whether or not to seek more material abundance or to seek the more aesthetic, creative and non-material path. The decision you make is always a matter of your values. I always advise that you must choose to experience more of what you value most. I am also very sure that if you make the right choice you don’t lose more you gain more. Making the wrong choice you lose things you value more and sometimes these are things we can never get back.

The important thing is the aesthetic aspect to all this. When this creative power expresses itself through a flower we witness a very natural and beautiful expression (we often even get a scent of perfume). This is a very simple and natural way that this creative life force expresses itself through a form. A flower does this by just adhering to its inner most nature. However as human beings we must make choices as to whether or not exploring and developing our inner most nature is important. If you choose to manifest the same creative force through your form then you must also decide which discipline is best for you personally and which discipline best expresses your understanding of this creative force. Then life is all about perfecting the expression of life force through your form. As life force is perfected through your form your physical and mental abilities improve. Just as people marvel when they see creation’s power in a sunset over the sea, when they view a mountain panorama, or when one takes the time to appreciate the wild flowers people will marvel at the unique expression of creative energy expressed through your chosen art form.

Leon Miller is a lecturer at Tallinn University of Technology in Ethics, Comparative Religion, Intercultural Communications and International Relations. He also teaches Tai Chi, Yoga and Meditation in the community. He has a number of peer reviewed publications in the areas of The Philosophy of Religion, International Relations and Business Ethics in a Globalized World.


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