Coming Back

The whistle from this morning’s tea kettle took me for an unexpected dive into the Divine. Not its usual message of hot water ready for my teacup. No, I was taken off guard by the sound itself. I almost laughed at the joy of it, the sudden arching pitch, the resonance, the beauty.

I wouldn’t normally consider the whistle of a tea kettle beautiful. Not in the same way I might be struck by the perfection of Kiri Te Kanawa’s soaring high notes in a soprano aria. But my experience was the same. It wasn’t some distant intellectual analysis of the quality of the pitch or its timbre. It was the sound itself — the unexpected way it enlivened something inside me.

Is that why we‘re so entranced by beauty? Why it moves us? Is it because it actually gets inside us? That, more than just seeing it with our mind, we feel it? Does what we experience as beautiful actually become a part of us? And even more radical a thought, do we become a part of it?

Is that what stops us in mid-sentence when we are awed by the stark beauty of a winter’s bare branch trembling in the wind? Or the sun’s sudden appearance, infusing us with its warmth and light, on a gray day? There’s something about letting the sun breath into us, and giving ourselves back to it. Allowing it to warm more than skin or muscle or bone. Permitting the sun to infuse the entireity of us with sun-ness. Becoming sun; becoming Divine.

But we rarely let ourselves be touched by such intimacy. There’s really so little time. We’re just too preoccupied to notice. Too encased in buildings and cars and our hectic lives to prioritize that kind of joy, that connection to what is most sacred, most Divine in life.

But when we do . . . when we allow ourselves to feel the beauty, the deep subtleties, even for a moment — to really let them in — we’re renewed. Our very being is reconfigured. Awakened. And we come back to ourselves.