For the last 27 years, DailyGood newsletters have offered a daily email that inspires you to respond to life with creativity and kindness. To join a community of 152,456 subscribers, subscribe here.

Apr 20, 2023

"Lying fallow is a transitional state of experience, a mode of being that is alerted quietude and receptive wakeful lambent consciousness." --Masud Khan

The Art of Lying Fallow

"I suspect our ability to ask the unanswerable questions that Hannah Arendt knew are the heartbeat of civilization is intimately related to our capacity for dwelling in a particular state of being beyond the realm of our compulsive doing. Bertrand Russell called it "fruitful monotony." Adam Phillips called it "fertile solitude." Walt Whitman called it "loafing." The Buddhist tradition describes it simply as presence. Whatever we may call it, amid a culture of filling the existential void with cultish productivity and an endless stream of dopamine-laced distractions, it is nothing less than a countercultural act of courage and resistance to enact such states of being -- states in which our inner voice becomes audible, the voice with which we sing the song of our lives. The Pakistani-British psychoanalyst Masud Khan calls this mode of being "lying fallow" and unfurls its psychological tendrils in a short, brightly penetrating essay included in his 1983 collection Hidden Selves..." Maria Popova shares more in this post.


Can you recall a "lying fallow" time in your life? How did you experience it then, and how do you feel about it now?