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Hiding by David Whyte

Written on December 10, 2014

Thanks to Illumina Christos for passing on this beautiful piece from my favourite poet, David Whyte on the positive aspects of hiding. A farming analogy for hiding is a fallow period. In the ancient rotation farming methodyou let a garden bed or field rest for a period before planting it out again. David makes the distinction between hiding as a constructive, regenerative process, as opposed to hiding as escapism or denial. In myths and folktales the wise mentor was often an old woman or man who dwelt in a cosy cottage alone within a deep forest- a little sheltered from everyday concerns of the world.

HIDING is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named.

We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control. Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed. Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

Excerpted from ‘HIDING’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. © David Whyte:

David WhyteNow Available
http://davidwhyte.stores.yahoo.net/newbook.html

PHOTO © David Whyte
Hidden Boat: River Cong: County Mayo: Ireland.
December 2012

 

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