August 17, 2019
Metaphor directly speaks to the heart and soul, and it is only with the heart and not with the head, that we begin to heal.
The Healing Power of Metaphor
By Jayita Bhattacharjee
From the rationale to the imaginative, from the reasoning to the enchantment, from woe to wonder, is a journey that can be accomplished so effortlessly through the metaphorical path. It carries us from reality to a beauty that is so surreal. Along the path lies a journey of healing, which seeps inside and before even we understand it, the night seems to end as the morn begins to break in the welcoming light. How the imagination fills our eyes with the golden dawn, so we get to feel the beat of life again, and that is where the healing begins.
How a metaphor heals a wounded heart is often veiled in mystery. In unveiling the process of healing, do we open new possibilities for the injured souls? In the most profound area of the brain, lies an affinity for the realm of metaphors, where a phrase sheds light on imaginative thinking. It stimulates the advanced levels of mental processing, nourishes us with a richer expression of emotions and triggers us to think in elevated concepts and perceptions. Metaphor, though is a natural language of arts and humanities, still when applied, becomes sacred art. And as the phrases travel through the brain, they gently push us to wander in the paradise of imagination. While we visualize ourselves in that realm, in our subconscious mind, we walk away from the lost battles of yesterday. The pain, the anger, the agony, and the grief, all fall off through the weaving of phrases, and all we are left with is a beauty bursting in brilliance.
Life is a journey. In the chills of winter, the earth is covered with a blanket of snow. The healing power of metaphor lies in the extension of the way we see and think, thereby rejuvenating and enlivening our perceptions. Life flows into us again. Metaphor bypasses our rational thinking and leads us to our imaginative world. Through the metaphoric pathways, we begin to explore the forces, ideas, and power that goes beyond our rational thinking. The familiar concepts of daily lives are skillfully manipulated, in a way, juxtaposed through metaphors to reveal higher concepts.
Metaphor directly speaks to the heart and soul, and it is only with the heart and not with the head, that we begin to heal. It is the healing power of metaphors due to which they are widely used in poets, storytellers, and expressive artists. It is an effective tool of the heart holding which we go beyond our rational thought. In the process, metaphors weave mystery and magic, and such a beauty arises from them, that they begin to have medicinal properties. We come alive and refreshed as if the soul had been in a vibrant dance, as we let our minds wander in that heightened imagination. Scientific evidence shows emotions function more like muscles. The more we use them, the stronger becomes the neural connections that underlie them. With an increased focus on any emotion, the likeliness grows that we will re-experience it.
Metaphors help people describe so they can make sense of their lives. They also act as a source of motivation, encouragement, and gratitude. They help us gain a bigger and broader picture. Metaphor can properly be described as a word picture. “Life is a journey.” It reminds us that destination is not the only goal, but what we encounter and experience along the way, it is those meetings and events that weave our lives with richness, giving us the wealth of wisdom. The pathway may be straight or winding, with surprising turns now and then, but it is what we discover along the journey that enriches us to the fullest, not where are we headed to.
Or we can say, garden as a metaphor for life where relationships with friends and family can be very much cultivated like flowers. They need watering regularly and adequate sunshine. At times, they also need to be pruned, like we need to weed the garden, which means we need to eliminate toxic friends. The outcome can be the growth of plants or relationships and be beauteous as they bloom into flowers.
As we work with the mysterious and magical beauty of metaphors, we can address a lot of issues, from anxiety to aggression, grieving, mourning. Therapeutic stories that rely increasingly on metaphors have the potentials for nurturing positive values so the lost and the confused can build emotional resilience and strength in character. We do not have to moralize or induce any type of guilt, but we can select therapeutic metaphors to create a journey or weave a quest to meet the needs of the situation. The objective is merely to reflect on what is happening, and we can intensify the situation by integrating metaphors in the therapeutic stories and daily lives. Metaphors form imaginative connections and take the listener to an enchanting world. The listener leaves beside the invisible agony and falls in the spell of metaphoric imagination. The healing begins through enchantment. Metaphors become integral parts of the story journey, and they can play both the roles, positive as well as the negative. For those who struggle to heal…” A scar is not a wound.” How it motivates a person to rise and to walk the path of life again by a heartfelt metaphor, that he /she may have scars or bruises, still they cannot be defined as wounds — implying that there is still something left to fight with. The body/mind/heart and soul is not yet crumbled to pieces. It is not the picture of an ultimate loss. Rather he /she can be back on the road again, to give in to the invitation of life. It is still a gift.
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About the Author
Jayita Bhattacharjee was born in Calcutta, India. She had her education from the University of Houston in Economics, where she had chosen her career as a trustee and teacher. Her Indian residence is in the vicinity of the famous Belurmath. Currently, she is settled in Tampa, Florida.
The books ” The Ecstatic Dance of Life,” ” Sacred Sanctuary,” ” Light of Consciousness,” ” Dewdrops of Compassion” ” are among the many that she has authored.