Issue 872
This week's practice

 

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Dear Friends,

Before it closed Patti and I went to Tate Britain to see  the Turner exhibition.  Looking at the paintings you might come to the conclusion that many of these paintings are about the elements in conflict, but the interesting thing about them is that despite the ferocity of these elements which many of the paintings depict there is an undoubted underlying serenity.

One of the paintings in the exhibition is Snowstorm’- It has this caption: Ssteam boat off a harbour's mouth making signals in shallow water, and going by the lead. The author was in this storm on the night the Ariel left Harwich.'

In his book ‘Looking at Pictures’ Kenneth Clark comments on the painting.
Looking again at the Snowstorm, I am astonished by the way in which Turner has accepted the apparent disorder of nature, but I do not question that his version of the subject is correct. it has the visual tremor of an immediate experience. The chaos of a stormy sea is portrayed as accurately as if it were a bunch of flowers.

It's interesting how Clark juxtaposes something as wildly chaotic as a storm at sea with something as serene as a bunch of flowers, but the fact of the matter is that they do have something in common.  Captured at that moment of the conflict of wind and wave there is in this work like all his other work a sense of dynamic balance, the eye of the storm.  It’s this very thing that gives the painting it’s undeniable beauty.

All the very best, William

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This week's reflection

KEEP THE FEELING FOR BEAUTY ALIVE

We might consider that these emails are devoted to the principle of harmony.  By holding that principle in mind in the practice of living, there comes automatically a deeper appreciation of life’s fullness and an ability to respond more creatively to what comes our way.

And why do we feel it necessary to consciously undertake something like this?  Why doesn’t it all come readily to hand?  The great German poet, Goethe, was certain as to the reason.

Man surrenders so easily to the commonplace, his mind and his senses are so easily blunted, shut so quickly to supreme beauty that we  must do all that we can to keep the feeling for it alive.  No one can do without beauty entirely; it is only because people have never learned to enjoy what is really good that they delight in what is flat and futile so long as it is new. 



Our task must be to find delight in something beyond the commonplace, allow beauty in some form to touch us, for only in this way may we be granted insight into the true nature of harmony.

By attempting to penetrate the surface of human experience and by exploring the principles that live within our own hearts, we may learn to listen to our own inner knowledge.  That knowledge may of itself possess its own beauty.
 
Existing within us are common features which we all recognise, if but dimly, and even though these features are often ignored they periodically burst through and find their expression.  Rather than waiting for events to force an awareness of them upon us, they need to be attended to and understood, in the confidence that, with greater understanding, there follows a more creative approach to life, greater understanding and fullness. 
 
PRACTICE: 
Keep the feeling for beauty alive.  Seek it out in any way that suits your nature.  Consciously recognise it, whether it be in the form of words or music, art or architecture, the forms of nature.  Don’t try to seize it.  Simply rest in its presence, even if it is merely momentary.

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Plato Forum

Expand Your World INNOVATION/COMMUNICATION/CREATIVE THINKING Sunday March 2nd 10am-5pm understand what life is asking of you. Tickets including tea and coffee available in advance from the office - 15

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