Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Third Dimension of Life

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.  –CS Lewis

About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be defined as the general neurosis of our times.   –Carl Jung

Our lives are stories we are telling each and every hour we are alive. For some of us, there is an overarching metaphor, or meta-narrative, or a true myth, if you will, that brings continuity, meaning, and significance, to who we are, and to all that we do. You may have never put this into words or thought of it in quite this manner but you have intuited its reality in the lives of others.

The teacher who sees himself (his metaphor) as a loving mentor…or (differing metaphor) propagandist for The Cause

The minister who sees himself as a priest loving people toward God … or feudal lord of his feifdom

The physician who sees herself as a healer … or well-paid mechanic

The entrepreneur who sees herself as an evangelist for her vision … or con who separates people from their money

Each of these individuals is conscious of being the protagonist in an unfolding drama that they are writing and directing. 

Metaphors lie beneath our attitudes and behaviors, and help explain our expectations of life, self, and others, as well as our frustrations. The opposing metaphors and, therefore, stories being told, of the teacher, minister, physician, and entrepreneur, explain the differences in expectations, as well as between their respective attitudes and behaviors as they live their lives. Of course, those individuals whose metaphors are held unconsciously have no idea why they expect what they do or where their frustrations come from. If you find yourself in this last category, start paying attention to your expectations or frustrations with yourself, others, work, and life in general, and you may be led to your metaphor for life. (You can always change it, of course!)

But what of those individuals who have no metaphor, no meta-narrative, no true myth? I think these are the people who live senseless and meaningless lives: lives without soul. Without a metaphor, the world is two dimensional: I will live so many days (length), and go so many places, and do so many things (breadth), but is lacking the third dimension of meaning (depth). It is your metaphor—your meta-story, your true-myth—that brings depth and soul to your life.

Monte’s Third Dimension
From the age of 14 or thereabouts, the meta-story that shaped and directed my life is along the lines of a Fairy Tale mixed with Arthurian mythology. Early on this story was held more subconsciously than consciously, but by 30 years old it was, by and large, fully formed and conscious. 

Life is a Quest for the Holy Grail of knowing God

Life is about honor, loyalty, and fealty, toward the King of all creation, and His Kingdom

Life is about sleighing dragons, defending the defenseless, and meeting out justice or mercy

Life is filled with frogs who need our love to be turned into Princes or Princesses, treasures to be won, evil witches to be wary of, and fellow knights who support each other on our respective quests

What is the metaphor that you will use to bring the third dimension of depth and soul, meaning and significance, to your life? Maybe the metaphor will start out as a single word-- Philanthropist, Healer, Mentor, or Artist. Maybe it begins with a phrase—Visionary Leader, Creator of Possibilities, Crusader for Love, or Facilitator of Transformation. If you intend to bring meaning and sense to your life, if you wish to bring the third dimension into your life’s story, it begins here, with the metaphor—the true-myth—you choose to create.  

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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