Metaphors are great for disrupting current thinking. For breaking down an old model that doesn’t serve.
They are less great for creating a new model, because the chances are, the logic of the metaphor will fail us.
So, for example, as I do a lot of video calls, I talk about how on my client’s screen, it might look like me, and sky and trees. But the same pixels could shortly be a document, a movie, an email, a game, a photo…And all the time, there are no actual edges. You can’t pluck the tree from the screen and plant it. You can’t run your finger over the image and find the edges of my body.
That’s simply a way of suggesting things can look separate, without being separate, or having the capacity to be separate.
With the prevalence of belief in separation, that might be a helpful metaphor.
The second you start to talk about electricity, data, the person watching the screen… well, the logic has failed us.
In the same way, I can talk about waves and the ocean (it is a bit of a cliché, but still, a nice one). The ocean the whole, the wave an expression. Never separate. If you take a jar down to the ocean, wait for a wave, and capture it in your jar – it’s no longer a wave, it’s salt water in a jar. No movement, no activity. Not ocean, not wave. Just salt water.
So, if you happen to believe you are somehow a separated out being, and you like the beauty of the wave metaphor – maybe this suggestion is disruptive enough to break up old patterns. However, it’s not got a lot of basis for a new understanding. It’s a limited model.
I love a good metaphor. But a metaphor relies on a comparison: describing awareness in terms of a screen or an ocean; describing appearances within awareness as images or waves. And these comparisons will fail us.
Let the metaphor stand as a marker of liberation from belief. And, as many have said before me, each liberty becomes an impediment to a greater liberty.