Metaphorically Speaking

What goes on in the outside world, on a physical level, has a shape and an appearance. But what goes on in our minds, on a psychological level, has no image of its own. The only way to portray it is by using the visual aspects of what the world presents.

This creates a layer of metaphor and allegory on top of its literal counterpart that we can access when we have acquired the necessary insight to perceive it; mostly insight in matters of the mind. If we are void of its concepts, nothing will show; as it grows, more and more bits and pieces will manifest itself in our awareness. The image of a transforming butterfly, for instance, is hard to understand for someone who didn’t live through a process of change.

Since our inner reality is as vast as our outer realm, although it’s greatly overlooked, everything has, in theory, a symbolic equivalent. This creates an extra language behind the words we use, which may actually be a bit of a universal language. When strength of mind is symbolized by a muscular physique, it remains so whether you say it in English, Japanese, Dutch or Martian.

Without realizing it, we are all already familiar with this second language. We use it all the time. When we say someone has a cold heart or a hot temper we use the “likeness” of temperature to describe our temperament. As you see, we sometimes even create words based on this suggestive relationship.

But words, although they have been around for a very long time, are a bit artificial to us. Our minds were visually based way before the first verbal or textual interaction ever occurred. And I believe that the language of images is the primary language of the brain.

It may even be possible that we use this secret tongue in our dreams all the time when our mind is trying to tell us something about the state we’re in or what keeps us busy. Dreaming of flying may indicates happiness (walking on air); dreaming of falling, a decline from that high state.

Whenever the mind uses its figurative speech however, it’s easy to mistake it for the literal description. Its message to us, as part of our innate ability to self-reflect, may get lost in translation when we just consider it to be strange fantasy instead of converted reality. And sometimes it’s easy to believe in the false image it portrays rather than honor the true insight it represents.

The use of words, definitions and meanings may actually have caused us to lose touch with our primary universal language. It teaches us what certain words mean literally, which closes us off from their descriptive meaning. Luckily, as more and more metaphors seep (back) into our personal and collective consciousness, the insight in matters of our inner dimension develops along with it – and vice versa.

Perhaps someday we will be able to understand ourselves again when we speak to ourselves. Or maybe the only step needed for that is to realize we need to view things in a different, allegorical way; in dreams, in sayings, in stories and in the world around us.

Develop your second sight and learn to see the metaphor in everything. It may open up to you a wealth of unrevealed knowledge, waiting to be discovered, hidden in plain sight.

Image: Generated with Chaotica

A philosophical dreamer with a passion for self-reflection and contemplating life. He’s serious about helping people with the insights he gathered, but playful in the way he communicates his wisdom. He left a career as environmental engineer behind, in favor of becoming a personal development coach and thought-provoking writer.

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