Bill Cottringer

“Key metaphors help determine what and how we perceive and how we think about our perceptions.” ~M.H. Abrams.

Metaphors: Creative communication of words that magically simplify huge, complex realities into smaller, common denominators for easier consumption, ironically exploding into infinite possibilities for application in everyday living. Metaphors are huge idea packages that gradually created and perpetuated themselves, along with their positive and negative power over us, with all the energy of our individual thoughts and beliefs going into the packages collectively over time. Metaphors represent the on-going, “unending conversations” we all step into when we begin our journeys, or what psychologist Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious.”

Now stop and think about the abstract and practical definitions of metaphors above. It will be hard to not realize that even the positive or negative—“gift” or “curse” nature of the metaphor impact on everyday living—isn’t a metaphor itself! Understanding that odd reality may be the key for better metaphor management in everyday living. At any rate, lately, I have been provoked into believing that understanding and appreciating the value of the rich and deep meanings of all metaphors on both sides of the “Tit for Tat” equation of life is a good belief to have because of what it leads to.

Of course this particular belief involves a lot of time and effort to get to—in going past under-thinking literal interpretations of things, but not over-thinking them metaphorically into abstract insanity; but it can actually increase our success in feeling happier with more peace of mind and heart, once the true meaning of important and influential metaphors, like these goals above are adequately explored and understood.

The key to better metaphor management for more: (a) success (b) happiness, and (c) peace of mind and heart, is in understanding the true meaning of any such metaphors like these three big ones of today’s world, that we all collectively imagine being the great grand prize of life. What are the true metaphorical meanings of success, happiness and peace of mind and heart? I believe this is the very edge of our knowledge in using words to describe the correct interpretation of the map-less reality territory we are moving towards, which we only have the original unconscious, intuitive map to guide us with. And this silent map is wound tightly in metaphors.

In all great enduring religions, the ultimate metaphors are the “Kingdom of God” and the “Jesus Way to get There,” no matter what the historic tradition says, language used or how these over-personalized things are mistakenly misunderstood literally or miss-told metaphorically. Regardless, they are the most real things in life for us all in spite of our beliefs. In the meantime, short of this ultimate eternity prize, we have to learn how to better manage metaphors for everyday living. This may be a stepping stone to the prize in the sky.
About the only thing we can do to avoid the current overload and near insanity is to slow down. When the nano-second pace of everyday living can be slowed down just a tad, then better thinking can occur. We can begin to reflect upon what is going on and think about the bigger meanings of the metaphors that have most adverse impact on the actual end enjoyment of doing whatever we are doing to capture more success, happiness and peace of mind and heart and what we actually get from doing those things to get them on our way to the ultimate, ultimate metaphor of eternal bliss. It is especially nice when all these things are connected.

What can come of this balance between under-and over-thinking the metaphors is a big door- opening answer to this question: Do we really just want half the package—only the gift, positive nature of metaphors we have inadvertently created and placed on a pedestal, or are we ready to handle the whole truth?

And what is the whole truth? It is something that we seem to want to deny at all costs until the very end—That everything is playing out exactly according to the script that we wrote about the contribution we promised to make in order to join the unending conversation of life unfolding. In essence, things are righter than they seem.

Whatever definitions you have given to and whatever understanding you have come up with regarding the most important metaphors that influence you in everyday life and the current direction in which you are moving, they are all yours to carefully and responsibly repair to serve us all better in our collective definitions and understandings of becoming the image in which we were created—to unconditionally love and accept your way (The Jesus Story) back to the oneness, unity and bliss (Kingdom of God) from where we came, making the journey quite enjoyable and rewarding both here and now and later too.

For me, I am just getting around to really examining what success, happiness and peace of mind and heart really do look and feel like and mean at the deepest level, without allowing those sights, feelings and meanings to get too over-flavored by the other part of the whole package that I originally imagined but tried for a long time to deny responsibility for. Success, happiness and peace of mind and heart are much more real this way, but don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. But at least give it some thought. It deserves that much.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA., along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including his latest book “Reality Repair” coming shortly from Global Vision Press. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or