It was about the middle of September, and I was far from home.
I had just finished reading a book and was gazing out of my window. At the same time, I was gazing at and listening to my soul reflected in the mirror of creative contemplation.
My soul spoke: “Very little is needed to make a happy life. Just a little piece of beauty can turn a heavy heart from sighs to songs. It has everything to do with one’s inner self; with one’s way of thinking and seeing.”
The voice was imbued with a bright and vivid spirit; the truth it spoke grew and spread across my mind. However, I could not identify the essence of the truth; neither my inner eye nor my inner ear could grasp its meaning.
To divert myself, I walked down to a nearby lake. The air was comfortably cool. The fading rays of the sun reflected as mist off the water. Before long, stars appeared in the sky, one by one, as though set off by a chain reaction. Drops of starlight rippled on the surface of the lake. I sat on a bench to watch the rapidly changing view of lake and sky.
Suddenly, a lovely haiku by American writer and artist Ruby Lytle rose to my mind:
Night is wed to Day — Star petals from my basket Carpeting the way. — From “What Is the Moon?” Japanese Haiku Sequence, 1971
My heart — even my body — danced to the rhythm of feelings set off by the drops of beauty from this little poem. As I continued to gaze, the mirrorlike full moon rose above the wooded hills beyond the lake.
I began to sketch some waterscapes on the canvas of my soul:
“Evening breezes have softened. Ruffled waters on the lake have quieted. Now golden bits and pieces of the reflected moon scattered about on the lake flock together, composing themselves into a full-moon image. The lake re-echoes with light as golden as the moon in the evening sky.”
Moved by this intriguing scene, my soul addressed itself briefly to the silent air:
an evening calm: golden slices merge into a full moon
At that moment, I felt suddenly homesick. I pictured my friends gathered to celebrate the harvest moon in Japan.
Steeped in nostalgia, I again pondered the moon-image in the water as it seemed to mingle with the moon in the sky — each stirring my imagination.
As I continued to look and listen to this drama of nature, I recalled the moment earlier when I found my soul reflected in the mirror of creative contemplation. Again, my soul spoke tersely: “Gathering moonlight, capturing silent voices, all these gems of nature are dreams that may be crystalized into words, into poems.”
For a moment, my soul glowed with voices illuminating and perfuming my path of life. I looked up at the jewel-studded sky and heard again the voice of Ruby Lytle:
The moon is a weed — A dandelion to blow, Scattering star seed. — ibid.
At last my soul embraced the truth that even the tiniest bit of beauty can brighten one’s being — even if just for a moment — and that this beauty exists within one’s own self, in one’s own way of thinking.
The perception and quality of such beauty depends, I realized, upon how one sees into an object.
The basic order of drawing nearer to daily happiness begins with a small piece of beauty. Then one can mount the creative staircase through contemplation of other beauties, until finally the soul attains a spiritual beauty whose essence rests in a smile of beatific joy.
By communing with my creative soul in this way, I reached the truth that a single drop of beauty can ripple the waters within, guiding us to a quiet mind and peaceful path.
beauties address themselves to our eyes, our ears, our souls any time, any place