(Originally appeared in Magical  Blend’s Natural Health & Beauty Magazine)

 by Felix Fojas

Beauty is a word or concept that lends itself to multiple definitions, a legion of denotations and connotations, a swarm of metaphors and symbols, and seemingly wears the innumerable faces and disguises of Mata Hari herself, the queen of spies, instead of just possessing a single countenance and a set of few, fixed characteristics. Which inevitably entices us to pry open the Pandora’s box of our curiosity, unleashing a host of provocative questions like: Is beauty a purely aesthetic experience? Is it exclusively a sensual encounter with a beautiful object, whether animate or inanimate, that gives us a frisson–making our hair stand on ends and gifting us with a sublime or elevated feeling occasioned by a tingling, subtle sensation caressing our spine? Or is beauty an elusive, abstract butterfly whose astral wings are impossible to crucify with the pins of our five senses on the solid wall of reality? Is beauty skin deep or is it something that inhabits the very core of our being?

Questions inevitably beget more questions. Does beauty belong to the realm of forms or to the realm of essences, or perhaps both? Does beauty, as the cliché goes, “lie in the eye of the beholder,” or is it an enigmatic and mysterious aura, charisma or ethereal force that radiates from one’s soul or spirit? Is beauty dictated by one’s whim and fancy? Is there any scientific explanation to beauty and is it, like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, determined by one’s acceleration and position in time and space? Or can beauty be measured by a clear-cut, rigid set of universal aesthetic standards?

And how do we perceive beauty? Through a glass darkly as seen through the telescope of a woman-hater? Or through rose-colored glasses worn by a lovestruck swain? Is beauty like the many shiny, multicolored fragments in a kaleidoscope? Or is beauty best probed at extreme close-up, through the lens of a microscope, revealing minute hairs, pores and pigmentations magnified to the nth degree? Perhaps beauty is a hologram, a continuum that stretches beyond time and space, into eternity itself. Are we then forced by circumstance and necessity to invent the ultimate probing device, a newfangled “beautyscope,” to mint a novel word, if only to perceive beauty in its totality, from all possible angles and dimensions?

More questions arise and enthrall us like dancing houris. Is the appreciation of beauty inherent in man’s being? Is beauty largely conditioned by one’s cultural programming through traditional social graces and rituals as well as through brainwashing by the mass media? Is perception of beauty dictated by one’s personal state of evolution, depending on whether he is the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual type? Yet casting people into stereotypes has its obvious pitfalls. In reality, the typical man is a much more complex being and weighs beauty through a combination of so many criteria that varies from person to person. And at this point we have not even tackled the gender- sensitive question: Does man’s appreciation of beauty differ from that of woman?

Poets and philosophers throughout the ages have attempted to define the truly beautiful. When the Romantic poet Keats exclaims, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” he is not alluding to physical beauty, which is fleeting or ephemeral, but to that winged species of beauty that miraculously descends from what celestial sphere. From the aesthetic standpoint the philosopher Edmund Burke, in his treatise A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1776), gives seven specific tangible qualities of beauty:

On the whole, the qualities of beauty, as they are merely sensible qualities, are the following:  First, to be comparatively small. Second, to be smooth. Thirdly, to have a variety in the direction of the parts; but, fourthly, to have those parts not angular, but melted as it were into each other. Fifthly, to be of a delicate frame, without any remarkable appearance of strength. Sixthly, to have its colors clear and bright, but not very strong and glaring. Seventhly, or if it should have any glaring color, to have it diversified with others. These are, I believe, the properties on which beauty depends; properties that operate by nature, and are less liable to be altered by caprice, or confounded by a diversity of tastes, than any other.

So says Edmund Burke.

The latter-day writer Diane Ackerman boldly declares: “A beautiful face is enough to start the engines of love.” If indeed, beauty is purely physical, then it can be preserved and shielded against the ravages of harsh elements and old age through a fine combination of healthy diet, the skillful application of cosmetic products, wearing fashionable clothes, and reconstructive surgery. I will not belabor the point, for thousand of books and tips have already been written about the physical aspects of pulchritude. At any rate, outer beauty is skin deep, which is the impermanent manifestation of beauty that is perceived through the senses by one’s ego or lower personality. In fine contrast, inner beauty is the essence of one’s being that is perceived directly by the soul or spirit and is therefore everlasting.

In the slim book The Fragrance of Beauty, her tour de force, Joyce Landorf–a homemaker, career woman and spiritual seeker all rolled into one–shares her profound concept of inner beauty:


When a man sees a woman, he looks first at her physical qualifications. It’s a built-in natural trait with him. He’ll look at her face and her figure, but not necessarily in that order. Then, if a woman has those marvelous inner qualities that are of God, the man will see the shining reflection of God. The physical and inner looks blend into one picture, and the total woman comes into focus. The entire scene in his mind becomes one of pure joy. The woman is warm, giving, alert, fun to be with, loving and, yes, spiritual, but she also has an earthly sexiness that is uncommonly beautiful, and all he can say is, “Wow!”

St. Peter states: “Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God” (1Peter 3:4). The following are practical tips on how you can radiate inner beauty, no matter what your sex and gender, no matter what your age. I deliberately used the word “radiate” and not “cultivate” or “develop.” For beauty is neither outside you nor is something you must acquire. Beauty is more than an enchanting mask you have lost and must find again. Deep within, you already possess beauty that can never be lost.  All you have to do is not to discover but uncover your inner beauty—that rock-encrusted gem, clean and polish its facets, and make it permanently shine like a diamond or emerald this very moment:

1. Rid your consciousness of negative emotions and thoughts. For negative emotions, like fear and anger, and negative thoughts, like wanting to deceive or harm your fellowmen, are dynamos of bad vibrations. In turn this will repel those around you who’ll find you ugly and repulsive, no matter how physically attractive you are. Moreover, these negative tendencies also drain your youth-preserving vitality and life force called chi in Chinese or prana in Sanskrit, causing you to age long before your time.

 2.    Believe in the power of daily prayer. Kneeling down or seated, with your eyes closed and your hands clasped in a gesture of prayer in the center of your chest, inhale and exhale deeply seven times and silently, fervently pray: “Lord, bless me with inner beauty and divine love.” Intone this three times and end your prayer with the word “Amen” or the phrase “So be it.” This will anchor or ground the energy of your prayer to the earth. Repeat the same prayer immediately before going to sleep.

3.  Believe in the power of affirmation. After washing your face each morning, look and smile at your reflection in the mirror, and say in a low voice but with conviction three thrice: “I love myself unconditionally. I love my fellowmen unconditionally. Everybody loves me unconditionally. Like the sun I radiate unconditional love and beauty in all aspects of my being–physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

4.  Believe in the power of visualization. Sit on a chair or on the floor (half or full lotus position) with your eyes closed and your spine erect but relaxed. Put your hands palm up on your lap with the tips of the forefinger and the thumb of each hand touching each other and forming a ring, and with the tip of your tongue lightly touching the roof of your mouth, to keep your body a closed circuit and your psychic energy from leaking out. On the first inhalation, visualize a white, luminous shaft of light coming down from heaven, entering through the top of your head, and nestling in the center of your chest. On the second inhalation, visualize another white shaft of light coming up from the center of the earth and meeting the shaft light of heaven in your chest, transforming into a white circle of light one inch in diameter. You now have a balanced polarity of yin (female) and yang (male) or negative and positive energies. Inhale and exhale seven more times.

5.  Believe in the power of color meditation. Pink is the color of love and beauty. You can charge or empower yourself with pink energy anytime of the day or night. While in a kneeling, sitting, or standing position, raise your hand with open palms to heaven. Breathe in and out seven times. Every time you inhale, visualize a pink shaft of light descending from heaven, lodging in the center of your chest, and turning into a circle of pink light one inch in diameter. During exhalation, imagine the pink light expanding and filling up the entire cosmos.

Apply one or any combination of these techniques that is best suited to you. Note that the more you radiate beauty and unconditional love from your soul or quintessential self, the more outer beauty you possess. Consequently, you attract more beauty and unconditional from other men and women, from other creatures on earth, and from the entire universe itself until you become the graven image of the Supreme Cosmetologist and Beautician—the ultimate creator/creatrix of outer and inner beauty, and of love human and divine. And in nurturing and radiating your inner beauty, the old dictum “Practice makes perfect!” is of the essence.