Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Beauty Lies Within, Even the Dalai Lama Says So

The past few days we have been having a dialogue about the sacredness of our physical selves—our bodies—and our struggles with that. The common thread that appears to run through each person's response here has been one of deep intention to mend the rift between body, mind, heart and soul; to heal any woundedness we may carry about our physical form. I bow to us all ... Thank you for your transparency.

This journey into our truest selves is one of self-acceptance and, in time, deep embrace. And just last night, as I sat down to thumb through the newest edition of Snow Lion, I came across His Holiness the Dalai Lama inviting us (as women) to do this very thing.

In an article entitled, "Dalai Lama Emphasizes Women's Role in Society," he said:

"Women have more compassion and can recognize the pain of other people more quickly and better than men. For this reason, women should be involved more often in important decisions and should hold important posts ..."

The article goes on to say that His Holiness showed little sympathy for an obsession with outward appearances:

"Whoever is at one with themselves, doesn't need to undergo operations to their physical features. Whoever is beautiful on the inside, exudes that and will automatically be beautiful for others." 

I like that. I like that a lot. Yep, The Dalai Lama, he's my guy. ;-)

Reminds me a bit of something actress Rosalind Russell said many years ago:

"Taking joy in living is a woman's best cosmetic."

I like that, too.

As always, I welcome your thoughts ...

And may you take joy in life this weekend ...


Weekend Book Giveaway!

Make a comment this weekend to win a copy of Your Truest Self  , as I am giving another one away. Remember, it's birthday time and I'm gifting books all month, so keep commenting!

Congratulations to Joy (She Who Basks) because she was randomly picked from all commentators on Wednesday's post to win a copy of Your Trust Self. Kudos, Joy!

And congratulations to Twila (Whimsical Mystic) who was selected by Mari Gayatri Stein to win a copy of her new CD, "Toward Wholeness." Cheers, Twila! Enjoy with our blessings.

(Photo of woman in mirror by Andrew Crowley for
Photo of HH Dalai Lama courtesy of


Joy said...

What a delightful surprise--thank you so much!
The Dalai Lama is most insightful,and I wholeheartedly agree with what he is saying. Lately people say I radiate--I am surprised each time because I haven't made any physical changes. When I think about it the only difference is the inner peace I have found, and the true joy in whatever it is I am doing. That's always been my essence, but has probably been more reserved, and now it is readily apparent; and I think what people are drawn to and respond to.

Anonymous said...

Oh I totally agree. The most beautiful men AND women are those who exude confidence, not the ones whose bodies are rail thin or free of wrinkles. On the contrary.

Kat said...

When the inner spirit is luminous you don't have to say a word, people "feel" who you are.

This reminds me of the Buddhist teaching from the Dhammapada #54-"The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind, nor (that of) sandalwood, or of Tagara and Malika flowers; but the odour of good people travels even against the wind; a good man/woman pervades every place.

Jan said...

Dear Ones,
I would also like to add this to the post. After I penned it, I thought...Oh, I hope this doesn't sound arrogant. Because I do think, in some cases, altering our physical form may be necessary for well-being or for functioning better in the world. Even, in some cases, to bolster flagging self-confidence. But if we are doing so just to meet standards of beauty, or to keep up with crowd, or for more "superficial" reasons, I think HH is right. That perhaps we should turn our attention inward and explore what we do not see (and embrace) in ourselves; what needs healing or letting go.

Though it is also important to honor other people's choices and to have compassion for one another, no matter what decisions they make...and we would hope to have the same from them.

shiny mamaof6 said...

This really hits home with me. I have suffered from body image issues almost my entire adult life. I have been overweight while my Spirit was kept in captivity. I hated myself and my body. Even after a 120 lb weight loss I still hated myself and my body.

I now have a free Spirit and am once again overweight, but I neither hate myself or my body. I don't know if people notice, but I definitely notice that I am glowing most of the time. I do want to lose weight again, but strictly because I want to feel healthy in body, mind and spirit.

Jan said...

I just bet that you are radiating these days! When we truly begin to embody our truest selves people notice this. They say we look lighter, happier, more radiant--perfect word! And I am sure your radiance ripples out onto others....

Yes, I concur. In fact, a couple of my favorite coffee table books featured b X w photos of older, wise women. They radiate confidence and truth and beauty that comes from living fully...

Thank you for this reference. Such wisdom! (I will get to the Dhamapada one of these days (sigh)) How perfect that it speaks of our inner radiance as a fragrance or odor....Love it!

I appreciate your transparency and your deep desire to live in full acceptance of your self--your truest self!--a woman who is indeed confident, courageous, and happy with herself as she is. Though, 'tis true, there is always room for growth for all of us. In fact, living as our truest self is not a goal or an endpoint. It invites us to remain fluid and open and honor our spirit wherever it takes us. To grow and change as we are guided. So happy to know that you are on such a profound path...

Anonymous said...

Inner beauty and grace do stand the test of time. And this makes me think about scars (visible and not) - we must carry them with pride, for they are the mark of a life fully lived. Every scar has a story to tell - and how boring to have no scars and no stories...

Jan said...

This is such an important thought...Scars. How often to we battle with them and not, as you say, carry them with pride as testimony to all that has happened to us in our lives, creating the unique person that we are. Though it would seem good that we address the scars in a healing manner....

Sandi Delia said...

I return repeatedly to a sense of being driven to get past obsessions of the body because the world needs our wholehearted attention. I love what the Dalai Lama said about women having more capacity for compassion. Compassion is what (in my opinion) will heal our world. And if I'm not compassionate with myself first, I can't be compassionate outwardly.

Great topic, Jan!

Angel Wings (Sandi)

Laura Hegfield said...

Exquisitely written... I think too that the inner light we exude through our interactions with others reveals our true beauty.

Helena said...

Those words are so very true! It is amazing how someone who is happy and content with herself (or himself in all fairness) exudes this happiness and gets this glow, eyes lit up and walks with confidence.

Nadia - Happy Lotus said...

Hi Jan,

I already love the Dalai Lama and this just makes me love him more. :)

When I was a teenager, my mother had a friend who was physically very beautiful. However, on the inside she suffered from extreme insecurity. Eventually, her husband left her because of it and married another woman who was less beautiful but more confident. My mothers friend was so devastated, she committed suicide. We were away on vacation when she took her life and when we got back, we were in shock. I never forgot that incident.

With time, I came to see that what we feel on the inside radiates on the outside.

Dudley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
whimsical mystic said...

These last few years I have sort of fallen in love with myself. I blush to say it this way, but it is true in some sense. I have come to feel towards myself an affectionate compassion. Where there used to be criticism and judgement, there is now mostly tenderness and mercy. The paradox is that through my growing acceptance of myself I have unknowingly developed a simultaneous love and compassion for those around me! I don't have to try to be patient or kind to comes naturally, and I sense that one was born of the other. My having compassion on my own imperfect state birthed compassion for the brokenness of others. Lovely. I have for years tried to love others more, have more patience and less judgement, with only a little success. It thrills me to have it happen in such a natural, organic way. Life is so interesting, isn't it?

One last thought. I enjoy skimming over the names we have chosen for ourselves. It makes me smile and feel less alone just to read over them.

Jan said...

So glad to hear you are on this path, and the path of self-compassion which leads to "other" compassion, as you say. Wise words, indeed. A big journey, so here's a big hug of support for you! May we all embrace our compassionate selves...

Yes, and may we access that inner light so it DOES radiate out and embrace others...inviting them to their luminosity. :-0 Can you imagine how different the world would be???

Very true and we often find ourselves drawn to their inner warmth like a moth to a flame. A flame that will uplift and inspire, not incinerate, that is. :-)

A sad tale, indeed. It certainly invites us to look deeper, beyond appearances, and embrace one another's essence. I am sorry for this woman and the unnecessary pain she suffered. May we all value ourselves well...

Jan said...

Whimsical Mystic,
What a beautiful journey you have been on. I think you are en-pointe here, that your self-love fostered unconditional acceptance of others. It IS an organic process. If we pay attention, with intention and heartfulness, life just seems to unfold this way. When we give our best to our journey, many many blessings are given in return. It is amazing how this happens. So glad to know this about you!

Wilma Ham said...

What do we look at when we look in the mirror. I can never actually see how others see me. I also can only see small parts of me at any given time. Then when I see a photo, again what do I look at.
When I see others what do I look at?
Their smile, how they move, how they are being, relaxed and present.
To try to capture outward beauty is like trying to capture a showflake.
To see and embrace me, I like to see how I embrace my love for life, my connecting with others and that makes my beauty visible for me.
That is in my power, my vision, not my looks.
And it works, when I wear a jacket I absolutely love, strangers comment on it and I am not even trying to capture attention that way anymore.
There is freedom in inner beauty as that is mine.

SusieQ said...

After reading this post, I decided to go back and read the one about our bodies being sacred. Yes, we are sacred. We are temples of the holy spirit that dwells in us.

Absolutely, beauty begins within us. Our joy, our love, our kindness and peace that are inside us are reflected in our faces, our eyes, our posture, and the way we move about. Our eyes especially are the windows to our souls. And no amount of makeup can hide a bitter heart.

I believe that every woman possesses physical beauty simply because she is a woman regardless of how much she might weigh or how many wrinkles and gray hairs she may have acquired. Women are beautiful because they are women.

I wonder though if some women need to be assured that it is okay to take a certain amount of pride in their physical appearance and enhance that natural woman beauty with such things as dress and cosmetics. It is not surprising that some women are reluctant to do this for fear that it means they are shallow. This is just another kind of bondage though. It is a compliment to her Creator when a woman takes a certain amount of pride in her physical appearance.

Jan said...

The process of awareness you walk us through here is powerful! By untangling how we may view ourselves, we open ourselves to appreciation of self and others. I also hear "claiming" here, which means we truly embrace our beauty, wherever it lies and however we express it. Thank you!

Susie Q,
Love your thoughts here, too. I tend to agree. I was raised in a Christian household and we were encouraged to look our best when we went to church. This was not impress others or make a show but to symbolically bring our best selves before God. It was not prideful framed in this way. When I received the teachings from the Dalai Lama last summer, most of the people there were Tibetan and they wore all their finery. It was stunning to see because they radiated beauty, confidence, and joy, not from a position of vanity, but, again, bringing their best to the community (and their leader temporal and sacred leader, HH).

I do wonder why we feel we must often "hide our light" as women. Each of us must find the balance between false pride and living out our gloriousness if we are to embody our truest selves. .Thank you!