Inner beauty and harmony in our mind, heart and soul has an eventual positive impact on the body.
Beauty of the Soul Becoming Visible in the Face
There is this beauty, this dignity of soul – a thing about which I am very sensitive. It is a thing that moves me and evokes in me a great respect always.
Yes, this beauty of soul that is visible in the face, this kind of dignity, this harmony of integral realisation. When the soul becomes visible in the physical, it gives this dignity, this beauty, this majesty, the majesty that comes from one’s being the Tabernacle. Then, even things that have no particular beauty put on a sense of eternal beauty, of the eternal beauty.
I have seen in this way faces that pass from one extreme to the other in a flash. Someone has this kind of beauty and harmony, this sense of divine dignity in the body; then suddenly there comes the perception of an obstacle, a difficulty, and the sense of fault, of indignity – and then, a sudden deformation in the appearance, a kind of decomposition of the features! And yet it is the same face. It was like a flash of lightning, and it was frightful. That kind of hideousness of torment and degradation – what has been translated in religions as “the torment of sin” – that gives you a face indeed! Even features that are beautiful in themselves become horrible. And it was the same features, the same person.
Then I saw how horrible the sense of sin is, how much it belongs to the world of falsehood.
Impact of Inner Beauty on the Body:
If you compare the human body as it now is with a higher ideal of beauty, obviously very few would pass the examination. In almost everyone there is a sort of unbalance in the proportions; we are so accustomed to it that we do not notice it, but if we look from the standpoint of the higher beauty, it becomes visible; very few bodies would bear comparison with perfect beauty.
There are a thousand reasons for this unbalance but only one remedy, to instill into the being this instinct, this sense of true beauty, a supreme beauty which will gradually act on the cells and make the body capable of expressing beauty. This is still a thing which is not known: the body is infinitely more plastic than you believe. You must have surely noticed (perhaps very vaguely) that those who live in an inner peace, in an inner beauty, a light, and perfect goodwill, have an expression which is not quite the same as of people who live in bad thoughts, in the lower part of their nature. When the human being is at his best, above his base animality, he reflects something which is not there when he lives in a state of bestiality.
If one tried to change one’s form out of egoism or that famous thing, vanity, naturally, one would not succeed, for it is something deeper which has the power to act; but if one could refrain from having at all times bad will, wicked thoughts, one would see a kind of harmony beginning to express itself gradually in the forms and features, for it is a fact that the body expresses the inner states.
Plasticity of the Body to the Inner State
One could have a body that grows from perfection to perfection. There are many things in the body that make you say: “Ah, if it were like that! Ah, I would like it to be thus!” (I am not speaking of your character, for there are so many things that need changing; I am speaking only of your physical appearance). You see some disharmony somewhere and you say: “If this disharmony disappeared, how much better would it be!”…
But why don’t you think that it could be done? If you look at yourself in quite an objective way – not with that sort of attachment one has for one’s little person, but quite objectively, – you look at yourself as you would look at another person and tell yourself: “But this thing is not altogether in harmony with that”, and if you look yet more closely, it becomes very interesting: you discover that this disharmony is the expression of a defect in your character. It is because in your character there is something a bit twisted, not quite harmonious, and in your body this is reproduced somewhere. You try to arrange it in your body and you find out that to get back to the source of this physical disharmony, you have to find out the defect in your inner being. And then you begin to work and the result is obtained.
You don’t know to what an extent the body is plastic! From another standpoint, I would say it is terribly rigid and that is why the body deteriorates. But that is because we do not know how to make use of it. We do not know, when we are still fresh like little leaves, how to will for a luxuriant, magnificent, faultless flowering. And instead of telling oneself with a somewhat miserable look: “It is a pity my arms are too thin or my legs are too long or my back is not straight or my head is not quite harmonious”, if one said: “It must be otherwise, my arms must be proportionate, my body harmonious, every form in me must express a higher beauty”, then one will succeed. And you will succeed if you know how to do it with the true will that is persistent, tranquil, that is not impatient, does not care for appearances of defeat, continues its work quietly, very quietly, continues to will that it be so, to look for the inner reason, to discover it, to work with energy. Immediately, as soon as you see a little black worm somewhere, which does not look pretty and makes a small rather unpleasant, disgusting stain, you pick it up, pull it out and throw it away and put a lovely light in its place. And after a time you discover: “Why! That disharmony I had in my face is disappearing; that sign of brutality, unconsciousness which was in my expression, it is going away.” And then ten years later you don’t recognise yourself any longer.