Thursday, February 19, 2015

Metaphor as Soul Sustenance

"It is not enough to 'think positive thoughts,' as anyone who has tried can testify; they don't endure well. Our souls are sustained by metaphor - symbols which speak to the whole of a person, bridging mind and heart, transcending culture and epoch, recognising light and dark as necessary companions. An image can just as soon heal you as it can drain your life force, so we learn to grow richer images by nurturing the dreams we are given." ...................Dreamwork with Toko-pa

Metaphor is a figure of speech or a symbolic representation.
Today as I was scanning the wisdom that comes up in the timeline of Facebook, I found the above quote and it immediately struck me as a very apt subject for a post on the Christian remembrance of "Ash Wednesday" which starts of the season of forty days of Lenten fasting and spiritual disciplining towards commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The entire life of a human being can be summed up as a conscious awareness between our birth and finally our death. This raises the question of where we come from?
This is a very deep question which has been answered at many levels. The simplest and the most convenient way to answer this question is to put our origin in the hands of God and say that God created each and every one of us. This is what the opening line of the quote says and this always leads us to deeper enquiry or a debilitating reconciliation which the result of putting everything that happens to us beyond the control of the self. The highest level of self awareness is given to man not for the purpose mute acceptance but for seeking the deeper meaning of the life process itself.
This is the reason that only positive thoughts do not come to our rescue in this quest for deeper enquiry.

Current scientific knowledge has established the fact that there is a continuous communication taking place between the human brain and the heart. 

"What's really fascinating is that the heart contains a little brain in its own right. Yes, the human heart, in addition to its other functions, actually possesses a heart-brain composed of about 40,000 neurons that can sense, feel, learn and remember. The heart brain sends messages to the head brain about how the body feels and more. When I first heard about this scientific research, it intuitively made sense. I had felt for a long time that the heart has its own mysterious way of knowing." 

Heart is the source of emotions and these emotions get communicated through the electro-chemical process carried out by hormones and ionic transportation. The path to the deeper psyche of the human being originates within the domain of the heart which in turn produces symbolic representations and links to archetypal framework embedded in the universal unconsciousness. This is the reason that the wisdom traditions believed in symbolic and iconic representations to the five human senses so that an individual's consciousness could transcend from the rational level into the higher plenum for deeper spiritual experience.

Let me now take you to the symbolism of the Holy Ash. I look to the two traditions of Hinduism and Christianity.

In the Hindu tradition the Holy Ash (Vibuthi) is applied on the forehead and this serves as a reminder to the believer to cast away selfish and worldly desires that wrap the self in maya, meaning worldly illusion and distractions, and calls to mind the legend of how Shiva burned Kama (the god of desire) to ashes when Kama attempted to break Shiva's meditation. This incident is recorded in the contents of Shiva Purana which entails the history of Shiva and his family.

In the Christian tradition, it is the same underlying principle that human life is very temporal and that we are trapped in the illusion of permanency and that we return to the very same source from which we came. The root cause of our lower level of worldly consciousness is due to attachments or desire (Kama). The picture of the bear embracing the frail human being is how our mammalian consciousness still predominates our thinking and through the symbolism of the bear hug we are reminded to escape our reptilian and mammalian nature.

May this great emotional representation of the trap in the animal hold find answers in our deeper psyche for liberation. Our life struggles and sufferings, our ultimate death to the physical realm and final resurrection into a higher realm have to be our path to transcendence in this eternal journey of our soul.

Let me close this short article with a quote from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians:
"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised" ........1 Corinthians 15:13

This is great mystery which has been understood only on a literal.
Every creation, including our own, is grasped only in its physical state but must be raised to its Divine state at the end of its limited state of existence from a consciousness perspective.

Love to you all

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