The integration of all aspects of our existence inevitably translates into beauty.
Today we know that the thoughts and emotions we generate release a series of hormones and neurotransmitters that act on our organisms – and their accumulation chisels our bodies as if they were a sculpture in movement generated by chemical processes.
A relationship has been established between our mood and our appearance, with the face a kind of interface between the soul (or the psyche) and the body. As such, and transcending the esthetic canon of any era, humans identify gestures of pace, relaxation and trust with beauty, while stress, anger and anxiety provoke perceptions of negative esthetics.
The words of Nagarjuna, an influential Buddhist thinker who lived 1800 years ago, translate as beauty advice that we could consider a kind of cosmic cosmetics. In his memorable text Precious Necklace, the founder of the middle road of Buddhism says:
To give is giving someone more than you have,
And ethics is doing good to others.
Patience is to renounce feelings of anger,
And effort is the joy that increases all good.
To give increases wealth, a better world emerges from ethics,
Patience brings beauty, eminence comes from effort.
Concentration brings peace and freedom is born out of wisdom,
Compassion achieves everything we have always desired.
Applying millenary Buddhist wisdom to physical beauty reaffirms that one fundamental aspect of Buddhism – and of practically any spiritual tradition – is the integration of all aspects of existence, suggesting that matter and spirit are inseparable. In this sense physical beauty does not appear so superficial: It is the visible face of a holistic process or the manifest result of a metaphysical virtue. Curiously, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein echoed Nagarjuna by saying that “ethics and esthetics are the same.”
To sum up we could say that physical beauty is literally a projection of our mental state, and the way in which we see the world determines the way the world sees us: A science of beauty that resists the passing of time.