Joy Choate, September 29, 2007
Igor Polk: Kything. The art and spritual practice of being present, being together, deepen into conversation when souls and minds speak to each other directly. It is often said that Tango is a conversation between partners. One can add more: it is Kything, Satsang. Here is the letter from Joy Choate about Kything.
* * *
The word, kything, was brought back to life by the author Madeleine L'Engle while she was writing a book titled, A WIND AT THE DOOR. She found it in the Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary that was published in 1856. She had inherited the Scottish dictionary from her grandfather.
The first definition of the word is "to be manifest"; the second definition is "to come in sight"; the third is "to appear in proper character, " meaning "to appear without disguise."
In a modern English dictionary, you might find the word spelled as kithe or kythe and it is derived from the same root as the more familiar words of "kith" and "kin." Among the definitions found in a modern English dictionary, you would find:
"to show yourself in your own true guise," or "to show your soul to another," or to make your spirit manifest to another," or "to show your true SELF to another." It can also mean "deep resonance" or "deep flowing together."
To be "in kythe" is consciously to have made your spirit manifest to another in a spiritual relationship." Humans are able "to kythe" because they have a spiritual dimension.
For me, it means to be truly present to another person. With Tango, this means being present enough to listen attentively, not only to words, but to the other person's touch, movement, emotions, intentions, and to respond to what you hear or feel in a receptive and open way so that each person has the freedom to feel comfortable and to forget about himself (or herself). As you have often said, "for her," or "for him." When a person is present in such a way, the other person feels it and feels at ease. This is the beginning of building trust in oneself and in the other person by the simple act of being present without disguise or the simple act of showing your soul to another person. It does take some trust in oneself and some courage to do this because one is vulnerable when revealing one's soul in such a way, that is, without disguise.
There are also deeper dimensions to the word "kythe." For example, if you and I were to agree that tomorrow at 2 p.m. we would both pray for each other and send each other a blessing, that would have impact on who we are and on our souls. Or, you may have had the experience of feeling someone's presence even if that person is not with you. That too, would be an experience of kything.
Igor, you "kythe" very well when your are dancing, when you are talking, too. I have felt it.
May you "kythe" as you write so that the words will visit the page with ease.
Your tango-language friend,
Book: "KYTHING: THE ART OF SPIRITUAL PRESENCE", by Louis M. Savary and Patricial H. Berne