When I first came across the concept of beauty hunting, I was reading Jen Pastiloff’s book on being human, in there, she talked about the importance of seeking beauty in the world as a form of well-being practice; is as simple and yet as complicated as it sounds: looking for beauty EVERYWHERE in the world, in the daily chores, in mundane activities, amid celebration and grief. I admit that I was a bit cautious with this concept because I usually try to fast-forward when experiencing difficult chapters in life; I want to go through them with the least possible scars while maintaining my cheerful image to the outside world.
In part, that is why I learned to meditate; because I wanted to live in happiness for the rest of my life without ever experiencing difficulties again…I know, let’s all laugh our heads off at my idea.
To be fair, my belief of meditation finally bringing the promised ever-lasting happiness wasn’t completely self-fueled, a lot of meditation teachers claim that human pain can be eradicated by a shift in consciousness or perception. While I’m not as experienced or wise as to try to disagree with these spiritual leaders, I will share that my experience has been quite different.
Meditation didn’t bring me ever-lasting happiness, but it brought me something that, in my opinion, is way better; it gave me the superpower of seeing the beauty in every-single-thing. If I really think about it, I don’t want a life that seems like the first two episodes of wandavision, where everything is tailor-made for me and life just seems to adjust perfectly to what I want. I want the challenges, the passion, the heartbreak, the laughs, the tears, everything that constitutes a full human life (please remind me that I said that the next time I’m in the middle of a life crisis).
My meditation practice didn’t make me feel okay with the pandemic and all the tragedies that come with it, but it has helped me to find the beauty in it, for example, when I see people who fight with everything they have so that others are safe and the world keeps functioning. My practice didn’t help to magically disappear my struggles with anxiety, but it made me realize how strong and resilient I am, and in that realization, I found some of my power. Meditation hasn’t helped me make peace with all the social injustices in the world, but it has given me strength and inspiration to keep working towards a better version of the world.
More importantly, it helped me make space in my life for all the difficult emotions and feelings that come in hand with the human experience: grief, sadness, anger, envy, etcetera. And in making space for those, I can feel myself expanding and marveling at how much a human heart can contain and experience in a lifetime.
So, to sum up, meditation didn’t turn my life into a perfect pink world, it just opened my eyes, mind, and heart to meet the full spectrum of experiences and feelings that come with being very much alive.