Saturday, February 20, 2010

Endless Knot

Endless Knot, originally uploaded by ...escher....

Everything about today was a struggle. If you don't want to know the result of today's battle - then look away now...

I have had in my mind a symbol, ever since I first visited the Himalaya. That symbol is the
endless knot, one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. The others are Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dozey, Dave, Mick and Titch.

You will find this symbol all around the Sherpa areas of Nepal, hanging in doorways and over them too, I have always admired its simplicity of design, yet rich symbolism.

I've been pondering its sybomlism even more, recently, how it describes the interconnectedness of all things and the continuous cycle of life, death and rebirth. How this fits in with land art and how in the coming spring I hope to begin a new cycle of inspiration and discovery.

I went out early this morning, desperate for time away from the computer; hypersensitive, especially to people, clumsy, out of sorts and irritable. I longed to be away from everything including myself. In the past ideas have come easily but today was to be a long drawn out battle with myself and my will to do anything constructive at all.

The warming sunshine and blue skies didn't lift my mood and I sat on a rock for a long while looking for inspiration.

I wanted to try and find ways of depicting the endless knot with natural materials so I thought if I achieved nothing else today that I would try to make something that may lead me down the path of finding a way to depict that symbol properly.

That path was littered with clumsiness and irritation and a desperate urge to give up, go home and hide. The leaves would rip over and over again, thorns would fall out and I had to remake it many times. All the time thinking there was no point.

As I neared completion I dropped and broke it and had to reconstruct large parts. A I hung it from the branch and adjusted its position I dropped it again and was close to shouting out 'why!'

Finally it was finished but the bright sunshine of earlier had gone and large menacing clouds blocked the sun. I paced and waited with numb fingers and soggy feet until the sun returned. But now the low arc of the winter sun meant that the sun only struck the ground behind it.

I moved it to a new position but then the sun disappeared again. And so I waited some more.

As I did so I begun to think about the symbology again. There is more to the endless knot symbol than the interconnectedness of all things. It also depicts the duality of existence - the light and dark, the passive and active and the struggle between the two. Buddhism seeks to join the two sides and to seek peace through doing so. This semmed to me to be exactly what I was feeling, that struggle between the light and dark with no reconcilliation between the two. Through my fight to resist the urge to give up I passed through it to the other side. It isn't the problems you have in life that are important it is how you tackle them.
When I've been thinking about the endless knot I've been thinking about the representation of cycles, of life and of land art, and ignoring its other key message. Today brought that meaning home to me.

Whether or not you agree with the tenets of Taoism and Buddhism, or steer clear from matters spiritual you would still be best advised to take a listen to what is inside yourself once in a while and try and follow the line of least resistance. It is easy to be one's own worst enemy and fight against what should come naturally. Giving yourself space to hear what is really there can eventually lead to some peace. But you need to be prepared to stop and invest that time.

So my day has come a full circle just as winter turns to spring and the first signs of new growth appear, with all this depicted in the endless knot as everything continues to flow around the never-ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth.


Gina said...

wonderful. I love how your struggle becomes enlightenment and that it makes sense (to me too).. it makes me consider my own endless knot and appreciate that any struggles are just part of the process (of being). Without it, life would be boring methinks. Enjoyed this.
>>> Gina

DJ said...

The sculpture is beautiful...