Seven lessons on beauty by John O’Donohue

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When you see or hear something beautiful, your soul will open, says philosopher, poet and theologist John O’Donohue. Especially in an age where there is so much screaming ugliness surrounding us, he praises beauty as medicine.  

‘Beauty gives a sense of wholeness and certainty’

The human soul longs for beauty, we look for it everywhere. When you experience beauty, it gives a sense of homecoming. You liven up completely with beauty surrounding you, because your soul is yearning for it.

‘Beauty invites harmony and unity’

In our time, we mistake glamour for beauty. But glamour only shines for a very limited time, while beauty invites harmony and unity. Beauty fulfills the deepest needs of your soul, so that you’ll feel at home in the world.

‘Let beauty surprise you’

If you answer the call of beauty, you’ll live a different life. The miracle of beauty is, that she can surprise you, if you let her. She will not come if you try to trick her, instead she’ll appear at the most unexpected time.

 ‘Beauty is hidden in the ordinary’

The word beauty usually makes us think that something very special, very exhalted is going on. But if you open your eyes and ears, you will see beauty all around you. Often these are the experiences that give you the strength to continue, to survive.

‘The soul gives the face its beauty’

It is scientifically proven: the more symmetric a face, the prettier we find it. But great beauty can lie in a so-called imperfect face, because in the end its the soul that makes your face beautiful.

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’

Only you decide if you find something beautiful or not, because tastes differ. But if you start looking in a different manner, beauty will surround you.

‘You can’t force beauty’

You can’t call on beauty: she’ll decide for herself if and when she will show up. You need skill and inspiration to create space for beauty. But it is not up to the artist to decide if there will be beauty. In an essay on Rodin, Rilke wrote beautifully about the mystical dymension of beauty: “The other beauty, the great beauty, had to come when everything was prepared, as animals come to a drinking-place in the forest in the late night when nothing foreign is there.”

Rumanian photographer Mihaela Noroc, aged 30, captures the natural beauty of women everywhere she goes. Her project, Atlas of Beauty, is about the diversity of our planet, shown in portraits of women. She photographs women in their own environment, preferably as pure and natural as possible, without too much make-up. 

For the wonderful portraits above Mihaela travelled all over the world. See them all in Happinez 'Go with the flow'