Wednesday, June 8, 2011

two metaphors for awareness

Was talking to my dad about rediscovering self-awareness when things like fear, stress, anger, etc. threaten to rock the boat. Typically, the way back to equanimity and peace is through awareness - to recognize that your fears are not real, that your stress is self-invented, that anger is useless. The challenge is that awareness isn't always easy to trigger. I often find that metaphors succeed where logic does not, and my dad gave me two great metaphors to think about here:

Your turbulent mind (ego) is like the waves on the ocean surface, always restless. But if you go deep under, it remains completely undisturbed even if a fierce hurricane is blowing above. Know that you are that infinite depth, not the agitated waves.

If you sit in a totally dark room, lighting a candle may bring great relief. Thus candle on = happiness and candle off = unhappiness, similar to life situations. Suddenly you discover that the room has shutters on all sides and you open all of them and light streams in (enlightenment!). After this, turning the candle on and off (life’s ups and downs) has only a minor effect on you.

If you're wondering - yes, my dad is the man :)