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“Beauty is that which glistens on the edges of our yearnings and lures us into the depth of things.”
— Patricia Adams Farmer, Embracing a Beautiful God
Whether we are contemplating a work of art or the striking form of a red cardinal against a snow laden tree branch, the experience of beauty involves us in something larger than ourselves. We feel pulled into the experience as if called into another world. Suddenly, we are attuned to a deeper reality that is both welcoming and transforming. The experience of beauty, in this view, is a taste of heaven on earth, the very dream of God for all creation. The early twentieth-century philosopher Alfred North Whitehead suggests this when he states: "The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty." Seen in this light, beauty can transport us "into the depth of things," serving as a catalyst for meaning, gratitude, hope, and planetary well-being.
"Living with Beauty" explores how the experience of beauty found in nature, art, music, poetry, religious ritual, and the quotidian of daily life can enlarge our souls and offer great solace and delight — even as it "lures" us into new ways of thinking, creating, and imagining a better world.
You can schedule this 12-session e-course at a pace that works best for you, choosing your own start date. In each e-mail you will find:
- Insights into the nature of beauty from the great wisdom traditions, philosophers, poets, mystics, and religious texts.
- Reflections on beauty's transforming possibilities, even in times of darkness and tragedy.
- Artistic prompts for contemplation (and discussion in the practice circle), including nature photography, paintings, poetry, and links to music.
- Practices for taking regular "Beauty Breaks" as we explore ways of tapping into the hidden beauties all around us.
- An invitation to reflect on each session in a journal that you keep for this course.
Patricia Adams Farmer (patriciaadamsfarmer.com) is an ordained minister and author of several books including Embracing a Beautiful God, Fat Soul: A Philosophy of S-I-Z-E, and Replanting Ourselves in Beauty: Toward an Ecological Civilization (co-editor with Jay McDaniel). She has led retreats and conferences on beauty and the spiritual life in both the US and Canada. After a recent five-year adventure of living and writing in Ecuador, she now pastors a rural congregation in the Midwest and writes for several websites, including a co-authored blog for Spirituality & Practice called "Process Musings." She lives with her husband, Ron Farmer, and two feline studies in beauty, Alfie and Oliver.
(choose your own start date and frequency)