By Reena Desai

Femininity is often equated with external beauty. The mental picture that many women have of a feminine woman is a woman who is beautifully dressed, with beautiful hair, make-up, colorful clothes and shining jewelry. While external beauty is undoubtedly an expression of feminine energy, and actually helps to awaken feminine energy, beauty extends far beyond the external. In fact, we could say that beauty first and foremost lies within us as a sacred energy to develop in our life.

I recently returned from a visit with one of my spiritual teachers. He emphasized to us that what is most important is that we work to make our souls beautiful. To make our souls beautiful, it is important that we take care of our health: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

In this day and age we are given scant knowledge and practical advice on how to beautify our soul. Instead we are told how to have beautiful hair or clothes. It is because of this that many of us face deep insecurities around our looks, and also why many women experience jealousy towards one another.

When we are working with our inner beauty — growing our self-love and love for others, growing our positive emotions, honesty and gratitude for life– we naturally become more beautiful externally and are able to fully express and experience the beauty around us. Women with beautiful hearts and souls create beauty all around. They are able to harmonize relationships, nourish men and children, inspire and create great art. Through awakening to the inner energy of beauty, rather than the external quality of beauty, we begin to experience the world in a different way.

There is great feminine wisdom from ancient cultures of women who understood the real meaning of beauty. These were women who were deeply connected to nature and the rhythms of natural life. They were skilled in the arts of dance, poetry, music, painting and what was known in India as the 64 arts. They were externally beautiful, like many of the depictions we see today of Goddesses. And this beauty emanated from within, from their commitment to develop themselves through the mind, body and spirit.

In today’s world, our orientation is towards the external so when we think of beauty we immediately think of the external, largely as it is defined by our modern day beauty industry. However, lucky for us, this orientation is shifting.

Here is a simple meditation to begin to awaken to your beautiful inner world!

Flower Meditation (Schedule at least 10 minutes)

For this practice we will begin to connect to the essence of a flower. The source of our essence as women is connected to the essence of a flower. When the energy of beauty is activated within, we experience a flower, rather than just see or smell a flower.

Create a sacred time and space for this meditation. You can light candles, incense and turn on relaxing music. For the meditation, choose your favorite type of flower and get acquainted with her through the senses, through smell and touch. The flower is alive and has her own unique essence that you will connect with.

In a seated position, on the floor or in a chair, place the flower on your lap or in front of you and slowly close your eyes. Bring your hands to your lower belly holding them there, one hand on top of the other. Begin to turn your attention to your beautiful inner life and take note of your breath, coming deeper into your body. Begin to breath from your lower belly, softly and gently. Breath for 1-2 minutes as your body and mind synchronizes with your breath and you begin to relax.

Slowly begin to bring the flower into your consciousness and begin to visualize this flower sitting in your lower belly, or womb. See this flower clearly within your mind’s eye, begin to smell her aroma coming from within you and slowly begin to feel the essence of this flower come life within you. Feel the essence of this flower rooted in your lower belly, moving up and filling your entire body with each inhale. With each exhale you release out any tension, worries, anger or thoughts and emotions that don’t feel good. With every inhale you reconnect with the essence of the flower, letting her beauty fill your mind, body and soul!

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