“It is amazing, but now undeniable, that the vocabulary of symbol is to such an extent constant through the world that it must be recognized to represent a single pictorial script, through which realizations of a tremendum experienced through life are given statement.”
Butterfly: Our natural affinity for the butterfly as a symbol of our identity warrants a brief examination. We cannot relate to the caterpillar who wallows in the pleasures of mere mud, nor the materialistic grub lubricating his path to nowhere. However, after witnessing the transformation, after the inward turning incubation of the impermanent and insubstantial Annelida, our heart soars on the currents of its own joy. Flashing the myriad hues of the refracted rays of the sun and floating weightless and timeless in a world apart, we recognize the essence of who we are and we are free, forever free.
Wrench: The plumber’s wrench might not seem a likely candidate for a metaphysical symbol but it works quiet well with the help of John Gardner: “An excellent plumber is definitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society that scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a human act and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted act, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
Our exalted philosophies have indeed proven less than useful when it comes to the highly practical process of self-transformation. The human intellect can facilitate human activity in the world of form, in the expression of the false-self survival strategy, but we must reach into our toolbox for a different device when it comes to repairing the damaged and dysfunctional human identity. Human behavior can be transformed by applying the breath at the point of choice and proceeding with a healthy and natural response. In doing so, we find that our life will run smoothly, humming along like a well-oiled transmission.
Poker: A process such as the game of poker can also be an apt symbol for P-B. As we look at the hand we’ve been dealt, we tend to deny how poor it is. We begin to pretend that everything is O. K. or in other words we begin the process of bluffing or self-deception in the hopes that nobody else will notice or call our bluff.
Once we are “all-in” and have committed to the unlikely outcome of winning the pot by shoving in our chips with a false bravado thus continuing the denial of reality, it becomes hard to admit the truth and “fold.” We have refused to listen to our common-sense intuition which counseled us to avoid this delusionary pursuit of “riches.” And sure enough, our meager hand is exposed for the pathetic, ego-driven bluff that it was, and we are once again confronted with the ages-old choice. Do we push back from the table and admit that the lifestyle that once seemed so promising and glamorous has revealed itself to be sad, pathetic and foolish. Or do we cut our losses, leave our old companions and behaviors behind and stroll out into the sun and head down that trail that our heart recommended long ago.
Depictions of these hybrid beings are often frightening, but many of them, curiously, are seen as bearers of good fortune. For example, the god Ganesha, who has a human body with an elephant head, is one of the most revered deities in India, worshipped as a symbol of good luck and a helper in overcoming obstacles. Somehow the collective human unconscious seems to have known from ancient times that long-term symbioses are profoundly beneficial for all life.
References and notes are available for this article.
Also find a much more in-depth discussion of Simple Reality
on this blog and in published books by Roy Charles Henry.