A dialogue convened recently at OCAD Universtiy in Toronto,Ontario focused around the question; Where do we see beauty in the city? A tantalizing question indeed! Michael Jones, guest for the evening has given the question much thought as revealed in his new insightful book, The Soul of Place:Re-imagining Leadership Through Nature, Art and Community. Musing on this question in the Allan Lamport Galleria in Brookfield Place, sometimes called the "the crystal cathedral of commerce" I was touched by the beauty of the architecture of this magnificent Place.
The atrium is a busy thoroughfare structured by eight-freestanding supports on each side, which branch out into parabolic shapes evoking a forest canopy or tree-lined avenue because of the presence of building facades along the sides of the structure. The earth and sand colored facade of the 1890's era Merchant Bank gives a feel of a solid, stable, grounding to the "commons" one can only imagine. A sense of the wholeness and soulfulness of Heaven and Earth emerges.
The atrium, is found to be a "creative commons" capable of holding generative conversations from many and diverse perspectives. It can be imagined that conversations are held among young teens clustering to chat about their experience of the recent movie "Divergent," wondering who and what they may become. Sitting next to them an older crowd talking together about where they come from as they seek to find a place where they belong. Stories abound in the commons as new narratives create new stories manifesting the soul that already exists.
These possibilities lead me to wonder how a metaphorical imagination such as described above can induce dialogue that recognizes the Temple within each can enrich the Temple in the other. I wonder if, "the Beauty in you recognizes the Beauty in me. If so, then the ground between us is Holy Ground." Such a way of seeing encourages us to an attentiveness to others and to the places we call home. A deeper consciousness can only lead us to more soulful places as we evolve, expand and emerge as individuals, as a culture, and as a society.