Learning From Beauty

India-based consultant Gautam Ghosh has a good blog entry called "Developing Yourself in the Downturn," where he asks, How do you keep your skills sharp when your employer has tightened the budget on training?

It's a good question for those still working. It's also a good one for those in transition.

Some of Gautam's ideas include:

- Read a book
- Read some blogs

I like the emphasis on reading. Very simple, very accessible.

In a comment, I added:

- Talk to an expert. Take one out for coffee or lunch and ask questions. Then listen. And learn.

Yesterday, I did that, via the computer. And I picked up another idea for continual personal growth, from an unlikely place.

For Easter, a friend suggested I listen to a podcast on radio show called Speaking of Faith with host Krista Tippett. It's an interview with Armenian Orthodox theologian Vigen Guroian where he talks about "restoring the senses" through spiritual living. Two of Guroian's practices seem germane to Gautam's question:

- Go for a walk: Guroian's Orthodox theology says that God gave us two scriptures: the one that is written, and one that is all around us: the sky, the earth, the water, the trees, and all that surrounds us in nature. We need to dwell in both scriptures in order to deepen our understanding, and grow closer to God.

- Raise a garden: Guroian finds that there is nothing quite like the disciplines and the rhythms of weeding and planting a garden to find the beauty in this world.

Both of these activities help to "restore the senses," especially our seeing, our hearing, and our smelling. And in restoring our senses, we deepen our appreciation for the beauty of creation.

He points out that the phrase in the creation story in Genesis where it says "And God saw that it was good," can also be translated "And God saw that it was beautiful."

For the Orthodox, God's handiwork is the creation of beauty.

Our task is to preserve and continue that work.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Easter Sunday 2009

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