Practical session examples
*A woman likened a sudden traumatic event in her life as "it was like the twin towers of 9/11 collapsing". Although it had occurred many years before, those inward towers never stopped collapsing for her, re-animating and preserving all the fear and contraction. Until, by exploring this powerful metaphor, she realised that she was so bound in to the destructive image, and influenced by it, that she had never acknowledged the other non-negative consequences of the event. The image dissolved, and the metaphor, frozen by her original reaction, no longer had power to condition her life and responses.
* One individual described the two aspects of his interest as two pools . One was light and tranquil, the other dark but with animals from the plain coming to drink. He moved from one to the other, exploring the ramifications, the detail of the metaphor, which formed naturally in the mind's eye, while another level of mind understood exactly the implications of each particular. Afterwards, he knew what he must do.
Walking the Edge - Follow up correspondence
Q. Now and then I have moments of great determination. For example in meditation I would think ‘’If only I can concentrate just that little bit harder, just be a bit more one pointed….I know I can go deeper, I just need to try a tiny bit more….etc”
At other times I see clearly that I can do nothing at all, that everything just happens without any personal control or choice. Not only external events but even my thoughts and feelings. So thinking “I” can do anything at all seems to be the great illusion.
How do you walk the razor's edge between these two?
A. The first thing I'd have to suggest is to get off that blade, as it sounds very painful! You describe both situations as basically illusory, so it must be the feeling of failure which cuts deep, and your oscillations seem to be honing the edge!
Who is keeping you there, on that edge? What if you were to see it as a wide meandering path through a Theme Park, sometimes needing effort, and sometimes being assailed by phenomena from all sides? Then you would not be balancing on an edge or getting hurt.
Why make your Will into something sharp, straight and exceedingly narrow? It could be more like a piece of elastic, sometimes tightening up, sometimes allowed to be slack, keeping a direction as it’s needed, even if that direction is sometimes circular (round your middle, for example!).
And if human nature -- your ultimate nature, the one your efforts are trying to locate-- is not a compact, solid entity which can be sliced by a fine edge, but is rather without boundary, shape or size, then it can't perform that kind of balancing act anyway.
It is that nature which is the Meditator, and it walks beside still waters.....
So chuck away mind’s razor, and walk the winding path.
This question and response provides a good illustration of the principle behind working with symbols. My response was aimed at showing how the hidden (unconscious) power of the metaphor chosen here conditions the way the situation is seen, and therefore behavioural and psychological reverberations. Most of us, even the most cerebral individuals, naturally reach for metaphors to help capture experience, particularly emotional experience, which in this case was probably accurately captured by a razor’s edge.
Even if the questioner’s intention did not embrace all aspects of this common metaphor, eg. was intended to focus on the fineness or thinness of a razor’s edge, the dangerous and painful implications were undoubtedly representative of a state of mind. And so long as it is seen in terms of ‘walking a razor’s edge’, even unconsciously, (usually unconsciously), the metaphor will drive the painful aspects into the psyche, and the situation will continue.
Change the metaphor, the way of seeing, and the whole psyche-system re-adjusts. It has to, in a real seeing, ie. a light-bulb moment, an insight, a ‘gosh-I-never-looked-at-it-that-way’ moment, a K ching-connection kind of moment.
Hence my alternative suggestions of winding path etc, geared at undermining the original metaphor. Whether a verbal suggestion is sufficient to embed a significant change is a bigger question. It might at least undermine the foundations of belief and shift something!
Working more systematically with the symbols ithrough a session is more likely to produce lasting change. In this example, a person could be led into a very up-close and detailed experiencing of the razor’s edge and its effects, and find that it spontaneously transmuted into a different symbol ( eg. a winding path) which could also be explored and experienced until this new envisioning embeds and replaces the previous automatic association.
And then, something is different in that person’s mental and emotional life, in the furniture of their personal mind-space. At the very least, the issue is more conscious now—the unconscious influencing is broken, with repercussions feeding into behaviour and expectations. A small step maybe, but It all helps re-jig the unified system which is a human being.