Aloneness Begins in Puzzlement
Aloneness begins in puzzlement at our own reflection, transits through awkwardness and even ugliness at what we see, and culminates, one appointed hour or day, in a beautiful unlooked for surprise, at the new complexion beginning to form, the slow knitting together of an inner life, now exposed to air and light.
To inhabit silence in our aloneness is to stop telling the story altogether. To begin with, aloneness always leads to rawness and vulnerability, to a fearful simplicity, to not recognizing and to not knowing, to the wish to find any company other than that not knowing, unknown self, looking back at us in the silent mirror.
Our Own Way of Being Alone
The permeability of being alone asks us to re-imagine ourselves, to become impatient with ourselves, to tire of the same old story and then slowly hour by hour, to start to tell the story in a different way as other parallel ears, ones we were previously unaware of, begin to listen to us more carefully in the silence. For a solitary life to flourish, even if it is only for a few precious hours, aloneness asks us to make a friend of silence, and just as importantly, to inhabit that silence in our own particular way, to find our own way into our own particular and even virtuoso way of being alone.
David Whyte is an English poet and philosopher. His poetry is known for its eclectic and spiritual bent.
Whyte was born and raised in Yorkshire; his mother was Irish and his father English. He earned a degree in marine biology in Wales and for a time led naturalist tours and expeditions in the Galapagos Islands, the Andes, the Amazon region, and the Himalayas. He shared a deep friendship with the late Irish philosopher John O’Donohue.
Whyte is an Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. He has worked with a variety of international companies and in 2008 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Neumann College, Pennsylvania. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.
Whyte is quoted as saying that all of his poetry and philosophy is based on “the conversational nature of reality”.
Books written by David Whyte include:
- Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
- Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity
- Everything Is Waiting for You
- River Flow: New & Selected Poems (Revised Paperback)
- The House of Belonging
- The Sea in You: Twenty Poems of Requited and Unrequited Love
- The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship
Recordings by David Whyte include:
- A Great Invitation: The Path of Risk and Revelation
- Courage and Vulnerability: The Beauty in Human Reluctance
- Five Forms of Female Courage
- Midlife and the Great Unknown
- Solace: The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question
- The Poetry of Self Compassion
- What to Remember When Waking: The Disciplines of Everyday Life
- When the Heart Breaks: A Journey Through Requited and Unrequited Love
Start Close In – David Whyte
On Belonging and Coming Home – David Whyte