How to Practice Beauty Mindfulness
Another way you can train your operating system to unplug from from its habitual relationship with mental narrative (and thus its habitual relationship with the narratives of establishment propaganda and other power-serving cultural mind viruses) is to simply make a habit of constantly looking for opportunities to experience beauty. It also happens to make life exponentially more enjoyable.
Beauty is secretly just a word we use for the experience of truly having seen something. There are places that society has designated as Authorized Beauty Experiencing Zones, like art, conventionally attractive human bodies, flowers, sunsets etc, but it’s actually possible to have the “Whoah! That!” experience of beauty in everything which shows up in your field of perception. It’s just a matter of learning to make space for that experience in the crowded cacophony of the labeling, dividing mind.
You can begin creating this space by deliberately making a constant practice of seeking out opportunities to experience beauty. Like a novice weightlifter, at first this will mean starting with things that are easy for you; in the beginning of this practice, you will likely be mostly noticing things that you have already learned to appreciate as beautiful. Art and music you already like, faces you already find beautiful, aspects of nature you’ve already cultivated an appreciation for, etc.
But, just as with weightlifting, the apparatus for appreciating beauty is something you can strengthen with training. Making a constant practice of watching for opportunities to appreciate beauty will see your beauty appreciation apparatus opening more and more often. You will learn to find beauty in the most unexpected places; in fast food wrappers on the freeway, in the conversation between strangers on the bus, in the lines and hairs on the back of your hand, in an old dead tree, in pigeons on the sidewalk, in an old memory resurfacing in your consciousness, in the faces of people you pass on the street, in sadness, in heartbreak, in depression, even in the confused, flashing frenzy on the television screen.
Keep strengthening your beauty appreciation apparatus and it will drastically change your relationship with your sensory field, with your mind, and with your consciousness. Rather than having your interest and attention immersed in the churning babble of the labeling, dividing mind, your interest and attention begins moving to the sheer gorgeousness of everything that appears in your field of awareness; sensory input, thoughts, feelings, and the experience of being alive itself. Eventually you become so skillful at appreciating beauty that you can spot it in the crackling aliveness of your body just lying in bed, and even in your field of consciousness itself.
This shift in interest and attention makes life vastly more enjoyable, but it also sucks you out of your habitual relationship with mental narrative. Thoughts take on a kind of weightlessness as the beauty of their appearance becomes far more interesting than belief in their content. This necessarily changes your habitual relationship with the thoughts which have been deliberately implanted in your head by your parents, your education system, and the mass media, and all the propaganda and power-serving cultural mind viruses which comes with it.
The reason people who meditate, practice self-enquiry, or use entheogens so often find themselves objecting to the status quo of their society is because when you learn to see the status quo as if for the first time, it is self-evidently unnatural and awful. The only thing which makes it seem acceptable is the fact that we have been conditioned to think of it as normal. It has been normalized, and if you turn on the TV you’ll see a bunch of talking heads helping that normalization along by acting like political third parties aren’t a thing, by acting like war isn’t inherently horrific, by ignoring vast wealth and income inequality, etc. Against the canvas of a perspective which isn’t wrapped up in that normalization, the pervasive evils of the status quo and the narratives meant to facilitate them stick out like a black fly against a white sheet of paper, and you aren’t sucked in by the lies.
Beauty mindfulness is a highly effective method for stepping into such a relationship with narrative. Learn to be astonished by life and see it as if for the first time, and you will find yourself ceasing to take things for granted, both the good and the bad.
It is possible to step outside the mental funnels which have been created to streamline you into consenting to a status quo of death and servitude, and into a relationship with mind which allows life to express itself on its own terms. From there, it’s far easier to effectively attack the narrative matrix which is exploiting and abusing your fellow man and driving us all toward dystopia and extinction.
About the Author
Caitlin Johnstone – Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerrilla poet. Utopia prepper.
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