John O’Donohue on the need for beauty in the quest for truth

“There is a relentless search for the factual and this quest often lacks warmth or reverence. At a certain stage in our life we may wake up to the urgency of life, how short it is. Then the quest for truth becomes the ultimate project. We can often forage for years in the empty fields of self-analysis and self-improvement and sacrifice much of our real substance for specks of cold, lonesome factual truth. The wisdom of the tradition reminds us that if we choose to journey on the path of truth, it then becomes a sacred duty to walk hand in hand with beauty.”

John O’Donohue

We think this is such an important perception. In our experience, the quest for truth comes alive only as an embodied heart-based quest – yet so many of us pursue it cognitively. We are, of course, thinking beings. The writer thinks Bertrand Russell had something when he said: ‘Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man’ (although she might argue with ‘chief’).

So this is not about knocking the cognitive. It’s rather a recognition that to approach ourselves as if we are first and foremost a puzzle to solve – or as if living is – misses the point. We are far more likely to find meaning and aliveness in the touch of a hand, lying in the springtime meadows, in the lines of a poem, in the practices of wonder and gratitude, and a sense of the sacredness of life.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

This entry was posted in awakening, beauty, cognitive, consciousness, core conditions, gratitude, growth, human condition, John O'Donohue, kindness & compassion, loneliness, love, meaning, mindfulness, perception, presence, spirituality, therapeutic growth, transformation, vulnerability, wonder and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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