“Although we travel around the world to find beauty, we must carry it within ourselves,
or we never shall find it.”
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
I knew a good man, a farmer with whom I shared long conversations in my childhood and teens, who was able to find the handful of beauty in the everyday things, in the most trivial details: in the ear of wheat, the reflection of the sun on the stone, the ivy bower, or that insect on the pond water and the waves that traced its steps, also in the mane of draft animal, or a bird song and the calligraphies of its flight, or the mature fruit falling from the tree, or the flower and the bud which were asking to live. That old farmer offered to anyone who could be with him in silence a look that harvested wonders of simplicity and amazing grace. He not only knew how to look, he knew how to see.
It was his eyes, his sense of wonder, the way he gave permission to let himself go through life that never allowed him to crystallize it. He seemed to have the gift of seeing without conceptualizing. Maybe that is why he was a great discoverer of aesthetics (and ethics) in everyday life. And from the inner joy gesture full of curiosity and instantly recognizing love, life, realization, that he could unfold his innocent look. That look that we keep for just three or four years from birth, and that we should never lose.
His eyes were not passive. It was a matter of permanent awakening to observation of detail, appreciative inquiry. José discovered paradise on the obvious. And you know why? It was because he was a good man. And that goodness, coupled with his generosity, simplicity and beauty which dwelt in him allowed him to capture all that in his near environment. He had suffered hunger and misery, he could barely read, he had always worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset. I remember his hands were more grooves that the ones in the land he tilled in order to eat. No, he was not naive. But mysteriously no suffering could kill that joy that he gave away aimlessly. No, he never became a cynic, or a ‘tavern’s critic’. Perhaps his joy was a conscious and permanent choice. Probably he had lived much horror and misery in the Civil War and he decided to make his days a seeding of serenity and delivery. If something was wrong, he fixed it. If he could help, there he was. He was a simple, hardworking, kind and generous, discreet man, of whom I remember his great love for his wife and children, people who are also good, styling their country life, and for the friends of their children. A man who would go unnoticed by his humble appearance in the crowd, but had one of the brightest souls I have had the privilege of knowing. That was my luck: being close to his clan.
Yes, José discovered the beauty that is gracious and so often we neglect because we do not appreciate it. So the word is about: “dis-cover” is to stop covering, to conceal. To discover something new, maybe we should start by allowing the discovery of ourselves. An easy exercise, as it requires the habit of the conscious presence, silent knowledge of the trained choice, fertile humility, elected joy, and many other habits so exquisitely subtle, powerful and difficult to integrate.
To find something that we believe unknown, we must depart for a journey, but does the fact out in search of something unknown does not suppose that we have the impression what we longed to discover is there already? Of course. It is deep inside. Many lucid souls have found lost paradises are essentially within ourselves. Only from there and calling one’s best can invite the other to find their best too, and from there we can become aware that there is much more beauty and meaning around than we imagine, although those who exercise power strive to make us believe otherwise. Because only good people have the gift to make us think and discover.
I wish you all the best.
Shall we discover it?
Hugs and kisses,