The beautiful soul in Strawberry Fields

David E. Cooper and I are writing about the notion of the beautiful soul. David argues that the beautiful soul will manifest beauty in his demeanor when the latter has learned to appreciate the beauty of things all around him.

I want to see in this picture a certain meditative gracefulness embodied in the beautiful soul. Here I am putting on a shoe. Perhaps better: here I am merely putting on a shoe. But how am I doing so? There is, in general, a calmness in my demeanor despite the fact that both feet are off the ground. (I have already put on the first shoe and have pulled my left foot off the blanket so as not to soil it. The tautness in my left leg alludes to my left foot being off the ground.)

Notice the softness in the face, the slow breathing through the nose. The forehead, eyes, and cheeks are all soft. One would expect tightness in the face and neck because putting on a shoe, especially when one is in this seated position, can be effortful, strained, clumsy.

Observe the sureness of the hands. Presumably, the right foot is entering the shoe at an odd angle and so the movements, if they are to be effective and graceful, will have to be exact.

Cue, finally, into the active muscles: active but not too active. The chest, arms, shoulders, and belly are working, working in tandem, but not working too hard at their task. The point is that they are coming together nicely.

The beautiful soul, attuned to the beauty of transient things, will perform ordinary activities not with affectation or showiness, not with carelessness, not with exaggerated movements or hyperawareness, not with awkwardness or unsureness, but with naiveté, grace, and ease.

About these ads