Have you ever thought about Nature’s beauty? Not just observed it, but really contemplated it?
All that abundant, awesome beauty…Why? Why such effort? For what purpose?
This crystallized for me last summer when we hiked to an immense waterfall on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is stunning enough to be alongside a great river cascading over a mountain surrounded by dense, moist, nourishing green, with views all the way to the sea. But what really struck me was what I saw as we were leaving.
Tucked far off the worn path, somewhat around the corner and a bit behind the source of the water’s fall, high, high up, far beyond reach and almost out of sight, incredibly and all alone, was a soaring white orchid lifting its blossom breathtakingly toward the sky.
The beauty of this was overwhelming. I stopped, stood, stared. I took long, deep, expansive breaths. I grounded in and opened my arms, trying to muster enough of myself, enough presence, to absorb the magnificence.
It was a long time before I harkened to the call of my family, already at the car and confused by my delay. But I wondered later as we drove off, if I hadn’t accidentally spotted this glory, would it have been seen by anyone at all? What if it had never been noticed, its beauty never appreciated? How many other flowers, gifts of nature across the world, offer their beauty in that same way ~ to the sky, the sun, the world, to nothing, to anything, to hope, or to a simple bee, a wing even, a prayer?
So, why? Why such beauty, then, if it might never be regarded?
“Brahman is full of all perfections. And to say that Brahman has some purpose in creating the world will mean that it wants to attain through the process of creation something which it has not. And that is impossible. Hence, there can be no purpose of Brahman in creating the world. The world is a mere spontaneous creation of Brahman. It is a Lila, or sport, of Brahman. It is created out of Bliss, by Bliss and for Bliss. It is created from the waves of Beauty and Bliss. Lila indicates a spontaneous sportive activity of Brahman as distinguished from a self-conscious volitional effort. The concept of Lila signifies freedom as distinguished from necessity.”
~ Ram Shanker Misra, The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo
Beauty exists for the joy of being, as the divine expressing itself in infinite ways, as the spontaneous play we call Lila.
That same beauty that makes a flower so elegant, that makes a sunset so magical, a sunrise so refreshing, a Grand Canyon so potent, the whole of the natural world so inspiring, is in you. It is a beauty that arises from a force, an intelligence, a state of being we call pure consciousness. Beauty is pure consciousness expressed through your physiology, reflected in your physical being. Just as pure consciousness projects into the manifest world as light, when you are healthy and balanced, beauty radiates through you as a luminescence.
Since this is true, the same intelligence in nature that creates beauty can help the beauty in you shine bright. The right ingredients, drawn from their source ~ the pure essence of nature versus laboratory altered or synthesized ~ potently delivers the self-correcting, self-regulating, anti-aging, healing wisdom of the life force that emanates from pure consciousness.
From nature’s harvest then, I like to make my own “beauty” products and I make them from the very food we eat. Below are a few simple favorites for you to try.
The first two were handed down from Dr. Manisha Kshirsagar, an Ayurvedic Doctor practicing with her husband, Dr. Suhas, at their clinic in Aptos, California. The final one is inspired by Reenita Malhotra Hora, from her book, Inner Beauty, but adjusted for ingredients that were available at our local market.
For Normal Skin
2 tablespoons Almond Oil
1 teaspoon Rose Water
1 teaspoon Bees Wax
1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek powder
2 shakes of Nutmeg
Mix ingredients together, store in an airtight container, and use within one week.
This Rose Cleanser thoroughly cleans the face, neck and eye area while soothing normal skin. Rose is an astringent so there is no need to follow with a Toner. It is also anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and has a cool, soft aroma.
For All Skin Types
1/2 cup Sunflower or Almond Oil
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
Orange, Sandalwood, or Rose Essential Oil
Warm the coconut oil and mix in the sunflower or almond oil. Stir in a few drops of either one of the essential oils.
If you have warm, red, or irritated skin, use the Sunflower Oil, add a pinch of Turmeric and, optionally, Neem.
If you have dry skin, or it is cool to the touch, use the almond oil and, optionally, stir in a teaspoon of Ghee.
You can also massage this into your scalp before showering: Give your head a good rub, then comb the oil out to the ends of your hair. Reducing the tendency for hair loss and premature greying, coconut oil massaged into the head adds body and luster to hair, while cooling the mind, and balancing your nervous system.
For All Types
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup of Red Mill Corn Meal, Coarse
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
2 tablespoons Mustard powder
Leaves of one sprig of Cilantro, crushed
3-4 tablespoons Rose Water
Mix well. After giving yourself a full body oil massage, scrub this all over. Wait 15 minutes before rinsing off, if you have time. Repeat weekly.
I use Bob’s Gluten Free Flour because it is primarily a chick pea flour, called “gram” in Ayurveda. Gram is the flour most used for Ayurvedic body treatments. In the form of a paste, it is a popular exfoliant. When cooking with it, I use it to thicken soups and stews, add crunch to sautéed vegetables and, mixed with an equal proportion of water, it is a great replacement for eggs.
It is amazing, intelligent and efficient, that nature offers beauty, nourishment and medicine synergistically. But even if you wouldn’t “eat” your beauty products, you want to know that you can. Skin care should be edible, and delicious. Delicious means harmonious, and harmonious means complimentary ingredients that give a balancing action. Therefore, look for skincare you can eat. Only if it is deliciously edible is it absolutely fit for your skin.
Remembering John Keats’ famous line that “Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty” ~ would the poet then agree that Edible Beauty is delicious Truth?
Indeed, True Beauty can be delightfully nourishing. It gives a joyful aliveness and permission to others to shine their light, too. So let yourself be Beautiful. All the forces of nature want to support you in that. Go ahead. Reach upwards, open your heart, reveal, blossom, radiate. Do it if no one is looking. Do it in a crowd. Maybe you will turn to find someone breathing deep, expanding into pure presence, trying to absorb the magnificence ~
Contemplating the Beauty of You.
À la Beauté!