If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
The painting by Briton Riviere of a young knight on a white steed teetering on the brink of a precipice and gazing into the void has long been a favourite of mine. I’ve stood in front of it on countless occasions in Manchester Art Gallery, picking out the tiny details such as the owls, the bat, and the brush strokes that create the appearance of silvered metal. But mostly it’s the back story that gets me every time. The knight, with sword raised, facing his unknown destiny.
It never ceases to resonate with me and I often imagine the artist standing in front of the canvas, almost in the same position as me, creating this painting.
I find myself, again, on a precipice staring into the void. Having been here many times before, it doesn’t fill me with dread although I sense a little impatience. I know it for what it is. An inner journey, a decluttering, a letting go and a rebirth. It’s as if I’ve come full circle, back to a point I was at around 10 years ago.
Just over a month ago I made the decision to leave my dayjob. It was something I’d contemplated for a while but, of course, it seemed irresponsible. Then someone that I had met briefly died and this was the catalyst for me to plan a different future. A bright and vibrant woman, around my age, full of purpose was gone. My clock was ticking too. There was no later to wait for, no putting off. These dreams I had were for now.
So, here I am. Resigned, departed from the dayjob, with no fixed plans, just some ideas. I know, as many of us do, what I don’t want. I need to sit as patiently as I can, in the void waiting for the future to unfold.
I understand the void. Some years ago I thought I’d discovered it. I went through a period of emotional upheaval, going full circle, in and out of the void. I remember phases of decluttering, paring down, spring cleaning, letting go. Eventually I saw a pattern. It was some time later that I discovered that Joseph Campbell has seen the pattern before me.
Right now, I feel like the young knight. On the edge of the unknown, looking into the darkness and waiting for it to look into me.
To give life, we must enter the void, the silence between our thoughts. Here in the unbounded, the formless, the gap, is the source of all manifestation, all creation. This is the place where synchronicity begins to unfold and where the seemingly impossible takes place ~ Dr Wayne Dyer