Living Life as a Metaphor: Interpreting Your Life as if it were a Dream
Below is a picture of my youngest grandchild being on a surfboard for the first time in her life. She was so ready to stand and ride a wave that after only about the third wave she stood right up and felt hugely exhilarated. After several more successful waves, she was beaming with confidence.
In the old paradigm of life, when the spiritual world was not so real (in the old days, hahaha), teachers would put their children through long periods of training and skill building without doing anything in the real world. I have watched martial arts teachers train children for a whole year without them ever “fighting”. When I did my P.E. classes, I almost always had them play the game first, and then the skills later. It is not that the skills are not important, but the game is the purpose. Let them play, try. Then gradually add the skills. Give the kids a few rules and then let them fight. The game, the fighting are the thing!!!!!!
When my kindergarten children would have their first experience on the climbing wall, I would tell them that the class was about courage. What better way could anyone have thought up to help a child to learn how to face fears. Courage is an invisible thing as is fear. It belongs to the spiritual world. When you live life like a metaphor, you learn to recognize the invisible energies and then name them. It is seeing “God within” and then being in awe of it. Many children would inevitably reach a difficult challenge on the wall that required a leap of faith, a leap of courage. The fear would grip them causing them to hesitate or stop. If they did not meet the challenge on that day, many would go home and carry it in their mind thinking a lot about the next time when they were going to reach their goal. At some point most of them took the leap of courage. They transformed themselves. They were lured in by the vision of the challenge, faced the fear, put it aside and went for it. That is living life metaphorically!!!! You don’t have to ask a child about why they should climb. They don’t need to answer. They just know it is a great thing to do.
Running a marathon or a half (as in this case) is not so much about courage. It is more about endurance. Endurance is about feeling the pain of tiredness and weary legs, but going forward anyway. You always come to a point in the race where you feel really tired and you have to push through an energy gap. You have to set aside the pain and stay determined to get to the end. It usually feels so great in the beginning. The end hurts. Climbing is just the opposite. You just have one moment of really hairy fear, you leap and then you feel great. Endurance running is about maintaining your joy and energy kilometer after kilometer. The weird thing is that you can be in terrible pain at the end after the grueling pace, but then when you cross the line, you start thinking about the next time. Something happened when you finished. You ended with God Within, the God of Determination and Endurance. Then you suddenly feel elated.
I read this article today, http://digg.com/video/running-is-the-worst-way-to-get-fit-video, and I have to say it really turned me off. Essentially the article says that if you do sprinting and strength building you will lose body fat and gain more lean muscle. What it should have said is that if you want to look pretty, do sprinting and strength building. But instead they made an untrue statement about running by actually saying that running is the worst way to get fit. Hello, sprinting is running!!!
If you look at life metaphorically, then sprinting is about getting somewhere in the near distance very quickly. It is what businesses are trying to do all the time. Of course, sprinting is getting popular because the people who don’t want to do the endurance work which is staying with something for a long period of time, are trying to do a dash to the finish. They don’t enjoy the long process of getting somewhere. They want to get there yesterday.
If you live life metaphorically, it means that you can assess where you are and what kinds of qualities you need. Do you need determination and endurance or do you need courage and initiative? Do you need to be more honest and forthcoming or do you need wisdom and compassion? Could your life use more peacefulness and tranquility? How is your joy? What is your generosity like? When you need peacefulness and you live your life metaphorically, it means that you pick metaphoric experiences to help you like walking in the forest and being by a clear and calm lake. You pick the experiences that stimulate the virtue you need..
How would you get to the feeling of awe, that something much bigger and positive is at play?
it is pretty hard to live life metaphorically if you are stuck in the material world solely looking after your material possessions. It kills your spirit and the God within.
You can begin to think of life as if it were a dream and the invisible energy around as the real life. The material life is only here for a small fragment of time. The life filled with invisible positive energies is eternal. Don’t just think of your dream life as the only place where you are dreaming. The whole thing is more like a metaphoric dream.
I think I will go for some joyfulness today. How about you?
I like your take on courage and endurance and feel those are probably some of the most important skills to teach a child (and ourselves). I’ve thought a lot lately about courage, facing some difficult life decisions. The struggle between fear and courage never seems to end, not even in our adult or old years. 🙂