-by John O’Donohue (Jun 14, 2012)
Thought is an amazing thing: it can be a mirror, a lens, a bridge, a wall, a window, a ladder or a house. There is nothing in the world that has the cutting edge of a new thought. It is fascinating to watch the clearance it can make and the new life it can bring. Often, without knowing it, we are waiting for a new idea to come and cut us free from our entanglement. When the idea is true and the space is ready for it, the idea overtakes everything. With grace-like swiftness, it descends and claims recognition; it cannot be returned or reversed. It becomes more forceful than any single action could be. Indeed, it becomes the mother of a whole sequence of new feeling, thinking and action. Though we live mostly in the visible world and our personalities, roles and work distinguish and identify us externally, we dwell more forcefully elsewhere. A person can dwell inside a thought.
Yet each individual who thinks is limited and confined within his own mind. The poignancy of thought is that it can never bridge the distance between the self and the world. The medieval mind filled that interim distance with the interesting presence of the five Transcendentals – Being, The One, the Good, the True and the Beautiful. Being is the deepest reality, the substance of our world and all the things in it. The One claims that all things are somehow bound together in an all-embracing unity: despite all the differences in us, around us and between us, everything ultimately holds together as one; chaos does not have the final word. The True claims that reality is true and our experience is real and our actions endeavor to come into alignment with the truth. The Good suggests that in practicing goodness we participate in the soul of the world. The fifth is the Beautiful.
Every act of thinking, mostly without our realizing it, is secretly grounded in these presences. [...]
Integrity is the adequacy of a thing to itself. There is here a sense of achieved proportion between a thing and what it is called to be. Creation is always in the heave of growth; the integrity of beauty is that inner straining towards goodness and completion. There is a wonderful urgency within things to realize the dream of their individual fulfillment. Nothing is neutral, everything is on its way. Aquinas insisted that goodness, truth and integrity belonged essentially to beauty. In light of this we can see that much of the current cultural breakdown can be understood as failure of vision with regard to beauty.
–John O’Donohue, Beauty : The Invisible Embrace [passage picked from ijourney]