All of the people connected with this paperback collection of essays on beauty have tried to honor its link to the spiritual practice of wonder.
Rosemary Winslow is a writer, researcher, and teacher. Catherine Lee is a PR professional who currently freelances as a writer across various platforms. As editors they have divided the essays on beauty into these sections: On the Arts, On the Body, On the Body Politic, On Difficult Tums, On City and Country, and On Holy Spaces.
Thomas Moore, one of the best introduction writers around, sets the mood for Deep Beauty with his foreword where he notes:
- "All the essays are poignant, largely about relationships and life-changing events."
- "The writers understand that beauty has a special connection with ugliness, whether it is soft like wabi-sabi — the beauty of a well-worn object or life — or hard like death and illness."
- These creative writers agree with the philosopher Plotinus who noted that the soul's primary virtue is beauty, and it doesn't come easy."
- Perhaps the most uplifting take-away, according to Moore, is "Dark times breathe fresh vitality. I try to keep in mind that the astonishing beauty of Renaissance thought and art arose in a time of constant warfare and sadistic rulers."
You may not recognize a lot of these writers — we didn't — but no matter. You will recognize the experiences and the observations they share — the beauty hidden in a messy place, in small things like socks, in a protest, in the last months of a life, in a city. Especially meaningful to us was the chapter on holy spaces. In "Lilacs at Auschwitz," Kim Dana Kupperman writes about feeling safe as Hasidim men prayed in the galley on the airplane as she flew to Europe. In "My Varanasi Lakshmi," Katie O'Connell describes encountering "one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen . . . an in-the-flesh version of the Hindu goddess who represents abundance and prosperity"; she was selling malas, bangles, necklaces, and bracelets to the tourists. In "God Is Beautiful and Loves Beauty," Asna Husin, a Muslim, reflects upon a hadith and how she has tried to manifest divine beauty in her life.
"Beauty saves. Beauty heals. Beauty motivates. Beauty unites."
— Matthew Fox in Original Blessing