I spent this past weekend at the Barre Center for Buddhist studies leading a workshop on metaphors and the Buddha’s teachings. We shared poems, conversation, and meditation practice. We contemplated the ubiquity of metaphors, their power to inspire and influence, and how the Buddha’s teachings relied upon metaphors.
The upshot of these considerations is an invitation to loosen our grasp on our thoughts. If these thoughts are constructed, filtered, and biased then we shouldn’t treat them with grave seriousness. They are best guesses. Meditation practice helps us to make the best guesses that we can. There is a comforting coming to ground that opens up when we consider how we are metaphorical creatures. A humility that can help us to live with ease in the world.
This coming to ground reminds me of the David Whyte poem, “The Opening of Eyes” from his collection, Songs for Coming Home.
That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.
It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.