How I Communicate in Symbolic Metaphor

I presuppose that I always communicate. Some of that is overt communication – like auditory speech and body language. Some is covert – like hidden agendas and motives.

Living beings communicate in symbols that represent ideas. Those covert symbolic representations may not be shared or understood between any one or more communicators. Because of that miscommunication, misunderstanding is common.

Every form of life communicates. In its actions and very being, each is itself a symbolic representation – a metaphor. That metaphor communicates validation of existence. Conscious awareness acknowledges existence of one compared to another. For example, I acknowledge my existence in comparison to all that is not me. Thus, this determines benefit or threat to myself.

How We Communicate in Metaphor

Comparing and determining benefit or threat allows me to know how to interact with my environment.

In every metaphor there is an explicit story with an implicit meaning. Metaphor provides opportunity for alternative meanings, comprehension, and value. Like the dollar bill that has virtually no value in and of itself – it’s just a piece of paper! That is, until two or more agree on a value for it in trade. So, that’s a metaphor – the foundation of overt and covert communication.

Dollar bill: Overt – a piece of paper. Covert – its agreed upon value in trade. Thus, application of meaning turns explicit into implicit – through symbolism.

Let’s look at the instinct to live. Avoidance of ending life produces an emotion, fear, that motivates certain behaviors. Thus, an overt behavior connects to a covert emotion. One might look at the overt behavior and comprehend the connection – only IF they presuppose the metaphor.

In many cases, the connection between overt and covert uses the word, “because…” For example, “I raised my voice because… I felt threatened.” The raised voice is a metaphor for how I felt. You heard the raised voice in my overt communication. You might connect that overt communication with a covert emotion and thus, understand the symbolism.

My Expression Tool Kit

I have a tool kit for expressing myself. By observing my behavior, you can learn a lot about who I think I am. And how I see my world. Thus, my overt behavior expresses my inner covert beliefs.

From my senses to my good sense, those tools are symbolic expressions of my identity. That tool kit expresses overt behaviors based on a covert ability to:

  • Survive on instinct:
    • Breathe
    • Wake/Sleep
    • Seek, consume, and process nourishment, and eliminate waste
    • Seek shelter or safety, and avoid threats
    • Respond to stimuli
    • Communicate
    • Desire to defend my and others’ lives
    • Reproduce
    • Heal, grow, and adapt
    • Innate drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain
  • Experience through my senses, my thoughts, my feelings and my body .
  • Sense fairness, equality, inequality
  • Judge the difference between: right and wrong, justice and mercy, cruelty, kindness, and indifference.
  • Learn to live by rules, principles and laws – cooperate with others.
  • Think for myself, doubt, question, answer, and interact with my environment.
  • Apply beliefs, biases, prejudices, forgiveness, non-judgement.
  • Mimic and counter my environment.
  • Communicate through various mediums like, voice, body language, and etc.
  • Understand, teach, learn, inspire, confuse, deny, acknowledge, agree and disagree.
  • Interpret, assume, presuppose, take advantage, use, waste, exploit.
  • Compare, compete, cooperate.
  • Feel pain, pleasure, fear and other emotions.
  • Harm others and myself.
  • Practice the 7 deadly sins:
    • Lust
    • Gluttony
    • Greed
    • Sloth
    • Wrath
    • Envy
    • Pride
  • Pretend, role-play, fantasize, entertain and be entertained.
  • Connect with other kinds of communication which I can then share.
  • Trust my environment to sustain my body and mind.
  • Choose, defend, take apart, put together, build, destroy.
  • Resist, accept, innovate, support myself and my  environment.
  • Move, be still, explore, change, and create.
  • Dream and imagine.
  • Comprehend symbols, apply meaning, and assess values.

I can’t NOT do any of the above!

Conclusion

Thus – I cannot express in only overt OR covert. I communicate who I am using both. Communication requires an overt expression with a covert meaning. As I come to understand my own expressions, I can learn to understand those of others as metaphors of ME.

Therefore, what I perceive must be a metaphor for who I am.

My Personal War of Hidden Intentions

“My intentions were good!” How many times have I heard or said that? An action based on a good intention can seem to be the right thing to do at the time. Yet, an intention may give itself permission to act outside of conscious awareness. Thus, a hidden intention in a limited awareness bubble.

I’ve heard it said, “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” Some of us take that idea seriously when inserting our own special kind of service to our world. Yet, an unsuspecting do-gooder can face disapproval or worse for their well-intentioned interference.

Sometimes, even when my heart is in the “right place” I end up hurting myself or someone else. Because my heart desires connections, I have to wonder why my intentions result in disconnection. Could I be unconsciously pitting one intention against another?

And So, the War Begins!

Perhaps I have a war raging between intentions. The intention to survive may view the intention to connect as a lower priority than personal safety, for example. Relationships present ambiguous threats to safety! This is a perfect environment for conflict – a war of intentions!

My intentions are always about problem-solving for the better. This is particularly confusing when the problem is my ambiguous intentions.

All too often, I have no idea how a hidden intention invaded my actions that hurt people. I trust that if I say I had good intentions, others will somehow give my hurtful behaviors a pass. I think I can escape accountability for my intended behavior by excusing it with “best intentions.” The real intention, then, was to protect myself from accountability for my unconscious actions.

Here are some questions I can ask myself to help reveal my conflicting intentions in personal relationships:

  • What am I feeling right now? What do I imagine others are feeling right now?
  • How does this difference in feelings present a conflict of intentions?
  • Why do I need to make others feel this way?
  • Who am I? Who would I rather be?

Stopping the War of hidden Intentions!

The default is ambiguity. Ambiguity allows my defensive self some latitude in its plausible deniability. That is, I can always fall back on, “I didn’t intend… blah, blah, blah!” and, “My intentions were good.”

Observing the reactions of others opens a window into my own hidden intentions. It’s not too late to ask a question. It doesn’t have to be painful, and it’s not a waste of time! Asking some useful questions can help clarify ambiguous intentions and maybe stop the war. Communicating clear intentions tends to clarify understandings in relationships.

Metaphor, a Problem-Solving Paradox

Metaphor takes perception of reality and twists it into a problem-solving paradox. The literal view seeks to defend its perspective as truth – using memory, facts, and logic to resolve paradox. The figurative view seeks to apply meaning to the literal view through metaphor, using imagination and possibility to resolve paradox. Together they seek a resolution to a fundamental problem – life.

Did You Catch the Paradox in the Metaphor?

The choice we suggest as metaphor-thinking operates best as a paradoxical view we experience with others in relationships. Thus, I understand me in a metaphor of my perception of you in relation to me. This is made all the more paradoxical when I act on my belief that you and I are literally separate.

Consider how difficult it is to see one’s own face without looking at its reflection. One would have no idea what their face looks like. With a reflective surface, sufficient light, and a properly working visual sense, and awareness of self, however, I can see a reflection that, although not me, presents a metaphor that I think represents me. Do you see the paradox in your reflection?

Even though I hear your voice doesn’t mean I hear your words. Just because I hear your words doesn’t mean I understand their meaning. Even when I hear your words and understand their meaning doesn’t mean I understand your concept. Sometimes I want an example to help me get to the meaning of a concept. That example is not the concept – it is a metaphor to help me understand the concept in an alternative form. Do you hear the paradox in these words?

What If Metaphor Presents a Problem-Solving Paradox?

Living in a problem-solving mind creates a paradox that connects solutions to problems through justification. Justifying the solution is a problem because it defends one against alternative solutions. The defense focuses attention on only one option rather than to search for alternatives. Once justified, this solution presents a mental scotoma – a problem that mind has difficulty resolving through ever-limiting repetition.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

This sets up a self-referential paradox in which problems justify solutions that justify problems. As the paradox expands, it further limits the range of awareness. This limits my realization of me as both me and not me.

Reinterpreting what I defend as a solution can’t be done – due to its defense of problem and solution. Sounds like a catch-22 situation. Oh, no! Not another PROBLEM!!!

This makes metaphor inevitable and necessary.

When I consider, “This is not as it appears,” I open my conscious awareness to metaphoric interpretation. And loosen the grip of my narrow focus on literal interpretation.

Did you catch the metaphor in the paradox?

 

How About A Consciousness Reset?

Sometimes my digital device starts to run slower. Maybe it has caught a cold (virus) or filled with bits of digital detritus. It is then that I consider a reset – that clears out all the cruft and makes it “like new.”

On my device, I can select a number of reset options. For example, one might preserve my settings, another my data, and yet another reset everything to “new.” Each reset option has advantages and disadvantages. I select the option that best serves my purposes.

Sometimes my consciousness seems to run a little slower, or maybe off just enough to bother me. Maybe I’ve noticed that my old thoughts, judgments, and feelings are starting to disrupt my life. Similarly to my digital device, my consciousness might benefit from a reset.

What Is A Consciousness Reset?

How might it manifest? How would I initiate it? What are my options?

Perhaps we should acknowledge that consciousness is a huge and arcane program. How much do you understand of the operating system on your iPhone or laptop computer? Consciousness as a program may be infinitely more complex and mysterious. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to understand every nuance of a computer program to operate portions of it. The same may apply to consciousness.

Because I operate within the program, consciousness resets manifest for me as experiential awakenings – ahas. That is, heightened awareness and clarity of mind relating to repetitive emotions in experience. These offer an opportunity for long-lasting change to perspective, understanding, and intention.

Such granular control over reset options gives my conscious self some leeway. My mind doesn’t have to overhaul everything it understands in one giant reset. It can do the job in “baby steps.” Think about what happens when you reset your phone’s display from “normal” to “dark” mode. A tiny change results in a huge experiential difference.

Consciousness resets are backed by new intentions that serve to increase the benefits of those intentions. Thus, any change intended towards greater awareness is a consciousness reset. Increased consciousness heightens awareness of our connections to others. That in turn makes for a heightened awareness of the ways in which one can serve to benefit all life.

That level of consciousness increases opportunities for greater awareness of accountability and service. Before reset, I tended to resist opportunities for greater awareness and service. What I resisted in fear tended to persist. With reset perspective, I could address my resistance in a different way than from comparisons to loss. This changed everything for me.

Resetting Intention Changes Everything

I reset my intention towards a person, place, or thing when I answer “no” to the question, “Is this what I really want?” This type of questioning sets up new future responses to those kinds of experiences. Resets encourage future resets.

Resetting intention resets perspective and is represented in a new person. A reset perspective is proactive in that it offers a different interpretation of feedback that leads to seeing the difference between old and new ideas. A change in my perspective affects everything in my perception.

Perspective is based on identity – who I believe I am within an environment. A reset would realign perspective to a new identity. This might appear as a change in attitude about specific relationships and about life in general.

What Would Indicate Or Precipitate A Consciousness Reset?

One might precipitate a consciousness reset with a change of thinking/feeling about one’s:

  • Environment
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Career
  • Health
  • Location (address)
  • Self-image
  • Financial status
  • Social standing
  • Religion/philosophy
  • Government/Law

I might consider a reset to:

  • Realize my acceptance of accountability.
  • Change mental/emotional/physical capabilities.
  • Recognize my freedom to act.
  • Mitigate my perception of my environmental and/or physical restrictions.
  • Help me adjust to changing moral and social norms.
  • Make significant changes to my beliefs and prejudices.

To name a few.

In Conclusion…

You might ask, “I like the idea of a consciousness reset. Can I do it right away?” The answer is YES, YOU CAN RESET RIGHT NOW. Why? Because you can “simply” change your mind – in an instant.

Yet, because we believe in time, it may take some to see the results of your changes. And in that time, your native defenses will resist – because it’s their job to resist. Be patient with yourself. I can’t tell you how many “ahas” it will take before you realize noticeable changes in your life situation.

I leave that up to you.

“What if” and “What else”

What If …?

  • Gratitude is an expression of coming to an understanding of what I once misunderstood?
  • Courage is not a ‘cure’ for fear? Rather, what if understanding is the solution to the problem of fear?
  • It’s maybe more useful to understand than to know things?
  • I realized that the less defensive I become, the more adaptable I become?
  • When hearts connect, light turns on in mind?
  • I am not here or there or anywhere?
  • I seek first to understand my heart? What if then the truths hidden there will bring to light all else?
  • Memories are like breadcrumbs unconsciously dropped along our path to the future?
  • I am THE cause and THE effect of my creation?
  • Movement into life means stillness within?
  • It is in the waking and not the sleeping we find rest?
  • For every beam of light there are shadows fleeing?
  • The capacity to love increases as understanding of self expands?
  • By seeking wholeness, we realize lack? In defending lack, we realize life?
  • The ultimate choice of who and why I AM is up to me.
  • Fear stands at the door of every quest?
  • As the great illusionist, fear mocks understanding with judgments?

In my bubble of limited awareness, what I give focus to as real IS REAL. I tend to feel the need to judge all things from a perspective that my reality is the truth. And insist that everyone else agree with me.

That need makes everything and everyone a justification of my fear that they won’t “get” the truth. And turns me into a staunch crusader and valiant warrior for my rightness.

What Else …?

What can I do when a “What if…?” question turns into a dread statement like, “Something wrong…, that’s what!”

Might I take advantage of the plasticity of my reality to go beyond “What if…?” with “What else…?”

I might ask four simple questions when a “What if…?” question results in a statement of dread:

  1. “What else…?”
  2. “How else…?”
  3. “Why else…?”
  4. “Who else…?”