Sea of Beauty

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The Sea of Beauty is one of many analogies and similes employed to describe a high vision of reality. Some writers have employed this term upon having arrived at the most mature, the farthest, and the highest stages of the philosophical or mystical search. It is described variously as the Beatific Vision, enlightenment, nirvana, satori, Kensho, Bodhi, awareness, true knowledge, etc.

Those who claim to have had such a high and final vision sometimes report that reality is, at its deepest level, utterly unified, like a vast ocean, and that it is unutterably beautiful, or rather, source of all beauty. Such likenesses are drawn many places, including the mystical poetry of Sufi Jalal'udin Rumi and the writings of Plato.

Rumi, in this unidentified excerpt, writes:

"The shop of Oneness,

The Ocean that has many harbours,
Yet where there is no division
Between man and man, or woman,
But only a unity of souls
In the process of return to their Creator,
Whose breath lives inside each one

And helps to guide us home."

Plato, in his Plato's Symposium (210d–e) writes (in the character of the priestess Diotima):

The result is that he will see the beauty of knowledge... the lover is turned to the great sea of beauty, and gazing upon this, he gives birth to many gloriously beautiful ideas and theories, in unstinting love of wisdom, until, having grown and been strengthened there, he catches sight of such knowledge, and it is the knowledge of such beauty... The man ... who has beheld beautiful things in the right order and correctly, is now coming to the goal of Loving: all of a sudden he will catch sight of something wonderfully beautiful in its nature; that, Socrates, is the reason for all his earlier labors."