"Beauty feeds the soul, wakens it, and brings it to life as nothing else can. Beauty is a deep-seated reaction to some meaningful and stunning presentation of life. It stops you and gives you an instant promise of pleasure. But if you have no soul, you won't even see the beautiful in the thick layers of your practicality and in the density of your own ego. All your senses and your full imagination have to be alert when beauty makes its appearance. If you miss it, it is like going without food. . . .

"Beauty is to the soul what truth and fact are to the mind. The beauty of a thing is its depth and meaning being revealed. To perceive that beauty, you need an eye for both appearances and for the invisible radiance of a thing. You also need the capacity to be affected. But many people walk through life defended against all positive influences. They are not open to the invitations and messages coming at them at every turn. They wonder why life feels empty and meaningless, when the problem is not the absence of meaning but their blindness and deafness to it. . . .

"The discovery of your own beauty — and I don't mean this sentimentally — is the foundation of well-being. Your beauty is complex. It is not all good and wholesome. It is not a superficial thing but is the very substance of your being. Truly beautiful people are not necessarily physically healthy, emotionally together, easy to get along with, or productive and successful. Beauty usually requires some imperfection, transgression, or lacuna. The whole of your being, the good and the bad, is the stuff out of which your beauty makes an appearance. A lover may see it. A parent may embrace it. A friend may struggle with it but love it. . . .

"Beauty nurtures the soul by serving the spirit. Beauty takes you out of your cramped, merely personal worries and sets you down in a field of eternity. The essence of spirituality is an enlargement of vision. The experience may only last a moment, but in these matters a moment is enough. You need a transcendent sense of things, not one that lets you escape from your situation but one that gives you an added perspective. In this, beauty and religion serve similar purposes, and so it's no wonder that they are so often allied.”