Turn Sideways Into the Light

“Turn sideways into the light, as they say 
the old ones did and disappear 
into the originality of it all. 
Be impatient with easy explanations 
and teach that part of the mind 
that wants to know everything,
not to begin questions it cannot answer.”

River Flow: New and Selected Poems
©David Whyte

Shadow Self

David Whyte speaks in his audio series What To Remember When Waking of the myth of the Tuatha De Danann. They were a mythical race from Ireland’s past who were tall, magical, mystical people devoted to beauty and artistry. When another more brutal people, the Milesians invaded Ireland the Tuatha De Danann fought them off in two battles, but were faced with a third, decisive battle against overwhelming odds. So, lined up in battle formation and facing almost certain defeat, the Tuatha De Danann turned sideways into the light and disappeared.

Turning sideways into the light is the realization that there are some encounters that are damaging to all involved in them: no one wins a war. Faced with such an exchange, to turn sideways into the light is to seek another, more whole form of relationship. It is to reject the ground rules of the conversation as they have been laid out by your antagonist and choose another path which will extend, not diminish your integrity. Turning sideways into the light  is not retreat and it is not cowardice. As Gandhi demonstrated on the salt marches,this is a shift in consciousness which requires considerable courage and integrity.  from an article by Kelvin Wright