“I have relinquished all that ties me to the world, but the one thing that still haunts me is the beauty of the sky.”
– Kenkō in Essays in Idleness
I think our lives should be guided by our sense of beauty. At first glance, that may seem like a contrived way of looking at things. After all, the idea of seeking beauty as a goal almost immediately conjures up thoughts of excess and luxury. But think about it for a moment. What kind of life would we lead if we chose to seek beauty?
We could very well find ourselves driven to objects that are simple and unadorned, because that’s what we find beautiful. Or we may very well love elaborate, expensive things. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is when we seek beauty, we also inherently cultivate a deep appreciation and gratitude for what we have.
We may find ourselves driven to help create beauty in the work that we invest our time and attention into — work that connects with people, touches people, changes people. To strive for beauty in the work that we do is to push ourselves to express what we find meaningful and important for the world to have.
We would also seek beautiful moments by spending time with remarkable people and allowing ourselves to experience love, vulnerability, and friendship. These human connections are what I believe we must strive for most in a life that is guided by a sense of beauty, and we must guide ourselves towards them each and every day.
To let beauty guide you is to let gratitude be your guide in life. And that would be a life well lived.