- Religion and Philosophy»
INNER VS. OUTWARD BEAUTY
Exploring our Spiritual, Creative & Mental Abilities
If you read modern magazines or news stories on the internet, you will soon realize outward beauty is one of the over-emphasized topics on these forms of media. Our mental, spiritual, creative and career capabilities are often not even mentioned until later on in these articles. In some cases they are not mentioned at all.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is a prime example of this type of treatment. Early in the article about her you find out what outfit she wore that day before you read about what transpired in her meetings. Even when she is interviewed, reporters are often more obsessed about her outfit than what she accomplished that day. You rarely see an article on male celebrities or politicians describing how they are dressed that day.
For my new year's resolution, I have vowed to put more emphasis on my spiritual, mental and career capabilties. Women have to say "no" to this over-emphasis on outward beauty and men need to join them. What makes a beautiful woman and a handsome man is their inner qualities.
What is that inner essence which is real beauty? It is that soul expressing itself through right actions which is the real inner beauty.
Sometimes I over hear young women who say they want a cute guy. I tell them I would rather have a helpful, kind, intelligent, creative man in my life. When you live with a person, character is more important. The inner qualities really start to count more than outward appearance. A recent survey of young women and older women is very revealing. The young women are more attracted to outward appearance than older women who are more attracted to inner qualities. Part of this is because older women have more life experience and have had more relationships. I do also think that women of that generation were also the pioneers in the women's movement and grew up more conscious of these issues. Many had to work hard in their careers to be accepted as equals. They had that influence of consciousness-raising groups, too. All kinds of of issues were discussed back then which I think we should be discussing now.
Some modern women can be slaves to fashion. When I attended high school, our mothers fought for our right to wear pants in the winter time at school. If you live in a northern clime, you really need to dress warmly in the winter time. It's a practical, common-sense approach to wear pants in this season. What do I see on the streets of Minneapolis in the winter time? I see young women who reveal bare legs and mini-skirts when it's cold outside. These women are slaves to fashion because they are sacrificing their health just to look attractive.
What kind of practices can be be engaged in which foster our inner qualities? There are a number of spiritual practices which can help us do that. Daily prayer and meditation can help us in our relationship with God or Goddess. These practices help us also develop our intuitive and creative abilities. Meditation is connected with psychic development on many levels. Communion with God or Goddess feeds our souls and inner life. We become more of what we can be as human beings when we develop our spiritual life. According to Parmahansa Yogananda, "Everything one has done to develop the 'sixth sense' of intuition while on earth helps one after death." So psychic development has very long-term benefits.
Service to humanity as a volunteer in the community and at your spiritual community can help you develop your inner qualities and social skills. By being on boards you also develop your mental abilities and self confidence. Unfortunately, we do not see enough women on these boards. This is where a good spouse or family member who supports you makes a big difference. Shared child care and housekeeping in the family is a good goal, so women can serve on these boards and work outside the home.
Chanting and singing are also good ways to develop your spiritual and creative life. When I get home at night, I chant and sing for an hour or more. Not only does it develop your creative and spiritual abilities, it helps your mental health and reduces stress.
The Russians have done quite a bit of research on psychic abilities. Those in the creative arts and sciences, as a group, scored higher on these on sending and receiving psychic information. Those individuals develop the right hemisphere of the brain more extensively. Use of Zender cards in testing psychic ability is a common test administered in research. Zender cards have symbols. The sender and receiver take turns at stating which symbols have appeared in right sequence. As a social work student, I remember doing this test in psychology class with a person who was also a good sender and receiver, like myself. We had a success rate of 80%, well above any other pair in the class. The teacher admitted our pair was unusual and above chance. Chance, in this case, was 25%. Psychic abilities are very connected with spiritual development, besides being helpful and practical in your life.
All of these inner qualities and abilities develop your soul and empower you in the world, too. If we all put more time into our spiritual life, we would not only develop our inner beauty but also develop more geniune relationships with others. We would be happier and less in love with temporary material things. We would be more in love with life, spirit and nature.
Going into nature, by our selves, is also important in developing that inner creative, soul connection with the Divine. I always feel so happy after walking in the park or gardens. Seeing creatures does help us be conscious of taking care of the environment. You come to appreciate the beauty of creation. It reduces stress and allows God or Goddess to break through in your life. Some have mystical experiences in the woods and other settings which are very profound. A number of surveys on the topic revel that 40% of the population have had these experiences. I will never forget my mystical experiences of seeing various forms of the Mother in the woods. May you all develop your own inner beauty!
JAI SHRI INNER BEAUTY! JAI SHRI SPIRIT!