The Abyss will Gaze Back Into You

Last updated on Sep 14, 2019

Posted on Oct 13, 2010

If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you” – Friedrich Nietzsche

While coming back from work one night on a busy train in Boston, I was alone for a few moments as I walked back through the dark night. There was no one around me. I called people – friends, family.  But somehow everyone was busy.

I really wanted to talk to someone. As I looked at myself and at the unease of being alone, I smiled. The friends and family weren’t who I was really concerned about. I was actually running away from myself.  My own emptiness.  My abyss.

As I looked at myself. The loneliness. Being alone.  With no one I knew in sight. Not even proper light so I could sense my own body. I was suddenly gazing into an abyss. A personal and existential abyss.

No one could see it. Guess, not even me.

It was Boston for God’s Sake.  And a perfectly fine street with a college stadium next to me as I walked back.

But there was an abyss. And, I was looking right into it. I couldn’t find anyone in there.

That was frightening me so I was switching from one phone number to another without luck.

The problem isn’t that we don’t look into this abyss ever. We do. At least sometimes. Because perhaps we are forced to.

Whether we acknowledge or not, we do peek into our own abyss at some point.

The problem is we don’t look into it LONG ENOUGH. If ever, our looking is only for a few moments.

Some are lucky and go beyond those few moments and they are changed forever. Because the abyss they gazed into just long enough, eventually gazed back into them. When the emptiness you are looking at in yourself – as an outsider – starts to define you, you are complete emptiness yourself.

I may fear what I see, but I can’t fear myself.

So, if you want to be with yourself… happily.. and keep your phone bill down (LOL).. it may be a good idea to spend a few more moments with your emptiness. Gaze at it.

Despite the crowds in Times Square, if you can walk through alone.. with yourself. You, then, have nothing to fear.  Just look into the abyss deeply enough.  And the abyss will gaze back into you. And deliver you.

Featured Image Source: Flickr

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