Embracing Beauty with John O'Donohue

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In our busy, goal-oriented society we often think of beauty as a luxury. Like so many things that bring us joy - imagination, intimate conversation, moments of silence - we treasure it when it appears, then hurry on to more important tasks. But the late poet and scholar, John O’Donohue, believed that all of these things are not luxuries, but necessities. He explains why beauty is a threshold to understanding, intimacy, and even the Divine. He points to its value in difficult times, and says, “some little icon of beauty, in the midst of desolation, enables us to endure and hold out for warmth and love and kindness.” In the lyrical language of the poet that he was, O’Donohue speaks to the connection between imagination and spirituality, and explains why falling in love can lead us to a sanctuary that lies within each of us. In this inspiring, alive, and joyful conversation, he gives us license to indulge ourselves in those “luxuries” at every opportunity. (hosted by Michael Toms)


John O'Donohue (1956-2008) was an Irish poet, philosopher, and Catholic scholar. He studied literature, philosophy and theology, and held a Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology. He conducted workshops throughout Europe and the United States. He was the author of many books including:

For more information of the work of John O'Donohue go to www.johnodonohue.com.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How beauty can help you get through life’s greatest crises
  • Why beauty and silence are necessary for you to have a joyful and meaningful life
  • Why silence and words are inseparable
  • How imagination is at the root of Christianity
  • How beauty - or the lack of it - affects world politics
  • Why affluent members of society may be more lost than the poor and oppressed

Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 3/23/2005      Program Number: 3084

Music Included

From Album: The Best of Altan
Artist: Tommy Peoples
1997 Green Linnet Records
Track - An Feochan

From Album: Sound Healing
Artist: Dean Evenson
1998 Soundings of the Planet
Tracks - Emerald Sea, To the Point, Will You Hear Me