Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. It is a subjective vision, a unique perspective that reflects our internal perception. Our individual memories consider certain things to be comforting or beautiful; for others, these same images may seem mundane or even unattractive. My British Bulldog Elizabeth is a perfect example of this. I have never seen anything more beautiful. The love she radiates, her special personality, her devotion; I find delight in all her idiosyncrasies. Yet as I walk down the street with her, mothers tend to grasp their children, desperately pulling them away from the clutches of this ferocious creature. Such is the nature of perception.
Our perceptions have been tainted by the experiences of our lives. Often, the fears and shocks of childhood have blinded us from the beauty that surrounds us, as we have shut down to the world, in order to protect ourselves from potential danger.
But how can we clean the glass of our perception, to see the beauty of the world anew, like a child?
Whenever you see something in your surroundings that you don't like, go inwards and see what it makes you feel. Often, you will find that you have some cellular memory of an event that happened in the past, which left an emotional charge in relation to what is happening now. If you allow yourself to feel that emotion, you will find that the internal discontent disappears, and you are able to embrace what is happening with more innocence and joy. In many cases, the external cause of your distress will also change, or even disappear completely. This is especially important in our personal relationships; the closest people to us are often our clearest mirrors, and more than often than not, the things we reject in those people are aspects of ourselves that we are not willing to accept.
I always tried to change the world; ultimately I ended up changing myself, and then the world changed automatically. Any attempt at changing the world that does not begin with internal change will ultimately fail; if I am focused on what is wrong, I will find an unending list of problems. Even in paradise, our whole focus will drift to the one plastic bottle that's been washed up on the shore, or the garbage bag blowing in the wind. All of a sudden, our paradise loses its splendor, as the restless mind claims it as yet another project to be fixed; something else to worry about.
When we start to become the love, we perceive beauty in everything. It could be a champion golden retriever at Crufts, or a scabby street dog - with dubious pedigree to say the least - in each individual representation of unconditional love, we start to discover beauty. This beauty can only be perceived from emptiness: devoid of the comparisons and opinions of a persona constructed through our interactions with society, the true beauty of creation reveals itself to us. In emptiness, the mirror of the world reflects only the light of love.
They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder; if only we could all perceive beauty with the eye of totality, each unique expression of existence on this planet perceived in its perfection. If only we could see beyond the judgements and opinions that separate us, that divide nations, races and ideologies, that create the illusion of "us and them", the need to defend what is "ours" and to protect ourselves from a seemingly hostile and unpredictable world.
Where can you find beauty? If you look, you will discover it. And if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then by changing the beholder, we can indeed change the world.
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Isha's latest book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? explains her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness. Her website is www.whywalkwhenyoucanfly.com.