Did you know you actually feel beauty? No, not an interactive art exhibit that you touch, but a secret place deep inside where you can actually feel beauty. Five minutes of gazing at something beautiful makes me start singing a little Michael Buble – “I’m Feeling Good.”
Our eyes are like little mouths through which we digest visual food for our souls. Healthy visual food strengthens me. Watching little children playing in a waterpark makes me feel young again. When I first see the Rockies as I cross the Plains, my blood pressure drops ten points. Immediately.
However, visual junk food leaves me flabby. The evening news depresses me. Two minutes of a bad video from a guy with camera shakes and I’ll be nauseous.
We were assigned in art classes what I called a “sit and stare.” At art museums or galleries, we would choose one piece to contemplate. We had a basic set of questions to answer:
- What is the subject of the piece?
- What emotions does it stir within me?
- What memories does it trigger?
- How does it make me feel?
Contemplating art taught me to recognize deep feelings that come from gazing upon an object. Therefore, I have become very deliberate in positioning myself before objects of beauty.
While camping in Colorado for a week, I snuck up on wild trout, tricked a bull elk into bugling, laughed at a buck-toothed beaver gnawing on a tree, and gazed at a stand of aspens raising golden arms in worship. I feel so much better.
Here are things I deliberately gaze on:
- Nature- I cannot look at the Rockies without singing, “How Great Thou Art.”
- Art – Instead of trying to see all the works in a gallery, I sit and stare at one that seizes me.
- People – As many different shapes and sizes and colors of people, we are the only things on earth created in the image of God. Gazing at the beauty of my wife is good for my heart. Does good things for my marriage, too.
- Animals – A Labrador retriever is the closest thing to unconditional love you will ever experience.
- Words – Solomon says that words breathe life or cause death.
The Ancients called it contemplation: I call it “gazing on beauty.” Not one second is ever wasted.
Enlarge the photograph on this blog I took by Steamboat Springs I call, “Peace in the valley.” Sit and stare. See if it makes you feel better.
So what objects of beauty cause you to feel good while you gaze upon them?