Thursday, 20 September 2012

A Fruitful Metaphor

Yesterday, as I lay in savasana at the end of a yoga class, it dawned on me that yoga is an apt metaphor for life.   Through yoga practise I explore the outer edges of my strength, flexibility and stamina.  I learn to flow rather than fight.  I learn that it is counterproductive to be in competition with anyone but myself.  I learn that there are appropriate times to be active, to work hard, to use my muscle; and times to surrender, to give in to gravity and to rest.  I learn that some days I have more to give than others.  And it’s all good.

I am certainly not the first to make this connection, and perhaps that is why yoga is so wildly popular.  But it got me thinking further that almost ANYTHING can become a metaphor for the human experience. 

This is a fractal world, where patterns repeat endlessly from the microscopic to the galactic.  Ever looked at a soap bubble and wondered at its resemblance to our own planet as seen from space?  (“As above; so below,” noted Hermes.)  We live in a hall of mirrors where everything is a reflection of something else and, ultimately, reflects the seer herself.

Take fruit, for instance.

If you thought there was a chasm separating the life of man from that of an apple, you’d be wrong.  First of all, an apple tree needs just the right amount of sun, water and nutrients, hot and cold seasons, cross pollination and judicious pruning to produce the best quality apples – sort of like families.  And like people, there are many varieties:  big and sweet; small and tart; crisp and soft, red, green, or a combination of colors; organic or “conventional” (a term that always makes me snort…shouldn’t organic be considered “conventional?”) and, of course, some that are beautiful, some that are misshapen, and even some that have worms. 

The metaphor continues once an apple has been plucked (or fallen) from the tree.  Like leaving home, there are many paths for an apple roll down.  Some don’t fall far from the branch and become fertiliser or food for the birds and bugs.  Some have more exotic destinations, like a perfect “Pink Lady” inhabiting a fancy gift basket.  While some, like the average “Granny Smith,” might get sliced up for a lunch box or made into pie.  And, over time, no matter how delicately handled, even the celebrated “Honey Crisp” will start to shrivel, wrinkle and, well, you know.

William Blake urged mankind:
”To see a world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

I urge you to see your life reflected in that "Golden Delicious" you are about to bite into: A fruitful metaphor indeed.  

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