Everything in Life is a Metaphor

Know a man by his metaphors ~ John Connolly

Photo credit to @thoughtcatalog on Unsplash

We all use metaphors to express our reality in our day-to-day conversations.

But do we ever realise that the metaphors we use as humans define the way we live our lives?

We often hear people use metaphors to explain a current situation or a lesson learned from life stating “Life is a journey”. And yeah, we get the gist that we all have to go through the highs and lows together to evolve and learn.

But the metaphor about life that resonates with me is: Life is like riding an elevator. It has a lot of ups and downs, and someone is always pushing your buttons. Sometimes you get the shaft, but what really bothers you are the jerks.

What I love about using metaphors is that it helps us draw an imaginative reality. Metaphors are fundamental to the human condition and that we live our lives through them.

Haruki Murakami in his book Kafka on the Shore talks about how everything in life is a metaphor and describes these metaphors very beautifully in his book. I’ve captured some of the ones that caught my attention. And, these quotes define how we decipher our life experiences.

Everything in life is metaphor…. We accept irony through a device called metaphor. And through that we grow and become deeper human beings. Irony deepens a person, helps them mature. It’s the entrance to salvation….

However, our reality isn’t limited to what our physical senses can recognise and define. Often, we live in our own inner world inside our heads and Haruki describes this inner world perfectly.

“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads — at least that’s where I imagine it — there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library”

Chaos is a friend of mine. Chaos is nothing but patterns we haven’t recognised in life. But aren’t we all seeking meaning to our lives in the midst of this chaos? The reality, however, is that we are all seeking experiences of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we feel the rapture of being alive. It’s this labyrinth Murakami talks about that makes so much sense.

“Things outside you are projections of what’s inside you, and what’s inside you is a projection of what’s outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you’re stepping into the labyrinth inside.”

But in chaos, we must find gratitude. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Our behaviour is a result of what state we are in. Again, happiness is a reflection of our inner side and what memories we have stored with our experiences. And Murakami’s reference to Tolstoy’s words is what sums up about how we relate to life.

“That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”