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Beauty as a Gateway

“I will not of a certainty believe that there is nothing in the sunset, where our forefathers imagined the dead following their shepherd the sun, or nothing but some vague presence as little moving as nothing. If beauty is not a gateway out of the net we were taken in at our birth, it will not long be beauty, and we will find it better to sit at home by the fire and fatten a lazy body or to run hither and thither in some foolish sport than to look at the finest show that light and shadow ever made among green leaves.” – W.B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight

We, born as we are with a shelf life, chase the divine. In big ways and small, putting yourself in the way of beauty is a gateway to the divine within our mortal existence. It’s why we stumble through muddy paths to find hidden waterfalls, wake in the deepest part of the night to make our way to sunrise vistas, and brave the sounds of the forest to dwarf our egos amongst the giants. In nature we encounter the divine, and in doing so coruscate an otherwise dim life with grace and wonder.

Admittedly, some of us are schemers, carving out time in our lives for glimpses of the otherworldly. On a recent flight north I glimpsed a spectacular sunset above the clouds and cursed myself for not getting a window seat on the western side of the plane for that particular trip. We must be deliberate even with the mundane if we are to enter the gateway to the divine. That particular world of magic and light was meant for others to witness.

It’s no surprise that Yeats was a fellow seeker. You can’t be a poet without first being a collector of moments of dazzling infinity. If there’s an afterlife, the westernmost reaches must get crowded with poets and philosophers lined up to see the green flash of another epic sunset. And if there isn’t an afterlife, shouldn’t we catch as many while we’re here as our time allows? Who’s to know until we get to whatever come next? But why risk missing out on the divine in our daily lives? Seek it now.

It’s all around us, waiting for you to notice.

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