Dan Keusal's e-newsletter
Autumn 2018 edition:
"Miegakure: Hidden, Then Revealed"
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What if we were to walk our path in life without trying to see too far around the bend? That's the idea behind "miegakure," a concept from Japanese Garden design that provides the metaphor I explore in this newsletter's essay. In this "Resources" section, you'll find links to two songs--Peter Mayer's "All The World Is One," and a long lost recording of my own composition "My Spring Is Autumn," which delights in the possibilities of this time of year: "I'm warming up just as the days grow colder." May you find something here that warms you, inspires you, and gives you hope as we step into this glorious season of autumn
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Reflections: “Miegakure--Hidden, Then Revealed"
“The curved path screens the garden ahead from view, an effect called mie-gakure.” That’s what the brochure from the Seattle Japanese Garden said about the first portion of the “Self-Guided Tour” I took on a sunny, cool Friday afternoon this Autumn. I’d gone there looking for a mini-retreat—a few hours of peace, quiet, and beauty to restore my body and spirit after the work week. I received all of that, and a rich metaphor that offers guidance for navigating life's twists and turns.
Miegakure comes from two Japanese words—mieru, which means “to be able to see” (as in: no obstacles, nothing blocking one’s view) and gakure, which, comes from the passive verb kakureru, meaning “to be hidden.” The combination of the two into miegakure is often translated as “hidden and revealed,” but the full meaning is richer and more nuanced, and offers help not just for garden design, but for life.
Robert Ketchell, a Horticulturist and past Chairman of the Japanese Garden Society in the UK, writes this about miegakure: “The composition of the garden is very deliberately set out in such a way as to draw the viewer through the garden by presenting the imagination with a series of unfolding scenes that are then ‘discovered.’”
The ancient wisdom of miegakure that is used to design Japanese Gardens is also a metaphor that offers guidance for making one’s way through life. As much as we’d like to see the end from the beginning, as much as we’d like the comfort of walking a known and certain path, the reality, the lived experience, is that life is a journey of discovery, a series of “unfolding scenes.”
What is asked of us is an ever-evolving combination of presence, openness, imagination, and persistence: a willingness to continue on the journey, to pay attention to what we see, and to delight when that which has been hidden…is revealed.
Resources For A Life Of Depth And Meaning:
(song/video): "All The World Is One" (Peter Mayer) At at time when divisions seem to be tearing the world apart, here's an acoustic anthem that both defiantly and hopefully asserts a deeper and inescapable unity. Mayer is a singer-songwriter whose music and lyrics are consistently eloquent, thoughtful, and inspiring. More, including lyrics, at Peter Mayer's web site. (song) "My Spring Is Autumn" (Dan Keusal). Autumn has always been my favorite season. This song, which I wrote a few years back, paints a picture of Autumn as a season of beginnings and growth, rather than one of endings and winding down. The last lines of the final verse suggest that I was trying to live the spirit of "miegakure"...long before I'd actually encountered the concept! Listen to the MP3; read the lyrics.
(photo): "Autumn Leaves, Green Lake (Seattle)" (Dan Keusal). Click on the photo to view it on my web site, and download a copy for your own enjoyment.