Words of WonderWitness - Denise Levertow

Sometimes the mountain
is hidden from me in veils
of cloud, sometimes
I am hidden from the mountain
in veils of inattention, apathy, fatique,
when I forget or refuse to go
down to the shore or a few yards
up the road, on a clear day,
to reconfirm
that witnessing presence.

by Denise Levertov


A short and simple, but to me very recognisable poem by Denise Levertov this week. Having just stayed in the midst of tree-covered, mountainous Norway, it feels easy to relate to the mountain as the vast ancient beingness that can feel so close and present one moment, and inaccessible and hidden the next. Curious to notice patterns of when and how that happens…

And completely ok. In mindfulness, we’re training our ability to return, to ‘reconfirm that witnessing presence’, to come back again and again into connection and presence. Nothing has gone wrong when we lose it, when we ‘forget or refuse’ to turn to it – it’s the human condition to be lost in thought as Eckard Tolle says, or in the words of Rob Nairn: to be addicted to distraction.

The good news is that the mountain is always there. We didn’t create it, we don’t have to manufacture it into being, we just turn to it and notice – and forgive ourselves readily when we forget and lose it. No big deal. But what a joy when the veils lift and we’re right there, in witnessing presence.

How is it… now?


Photo by Edwin Haspels