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Symbols & Metaphor-The Language of Dream and Myth, and True Spirituality

This is a reprint from my post to Kaze. I want to repeat my words to help others understand the language of dreams and myth. And how it applies to the individual when it comes to spirituality and religion.

If I may I would like to expand on the subject of secrets in my response to your post. As you already know dreams use the language of symbol and metaphor to reveal the 'secrets' within the psyche of the dreamer. And to better understand that language we can look to mythology {the universal language of the soul/psyche} to help us understand what our dreams are trying to convey. Perhaps a good example of how symbol and metaphor are used in myth we can use the story of Jesus on the cross {understanding that all religions are myths}. To believe that this really happened requires faith, something I have little use for when it comes to spirituality. But if you apply the story to your personal life, the death and resurrection is what needs to happen to you. A death to the ego centered/material life and a resurrection to the spiritual Self. This application of Jesus on the cross, his death and resurrection, is a metaphor for the personal life. And when you apply it to your life you begin to understand such 'secrets' of the psyche. And understanding symbol and metaphor is where Joseph Campbell's teaching become so important. He was the master of symbol and metaphor.

One other great example of Jesus and metaphor comes from the Gnostic text the Gospel of Thomas. These are 114 parables, symbolic language, spoken by Jesus {read the story of the discovery of the Gnostic Gospels-its enlightening to say the least}. For me the most valuable parable is 108 {108=9, the number for the Goddess in Greek myth, or the feminine aspect in Jungian psyche}. Here is that parable:

Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."

Apply that to the individual. He who becomes like Jesus becomes Jesus. Not a 'literal' thing but metaphorical. In other words WWJD. Do as Jesus would do in every instance of your life and you become like Jesus. "I shall become that person".
And the the 'hidden things' are those 'secrets' I spoke of. It is purely a psychological thing. To learn to think in symbol and metaphor opens up a whole new world. You can take everyone of the 114 parables and read them metaphorically and they begin to have real meaning. Even the bible, when read metaphorically, takes on new meaning.
Parable 113: His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"

"It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

Unlike the teachings of the bible which tells us we must bring God 'in', the heretic christians of the 1st century believed that God is already 'within' and needs only to be recognized as being so and brought out. This is the 'Jesus' within, a metaphor for living a life that Jesus would want us to live.

Now that you are thoroughly confused, the Gnostic teachings are pure Buddhism. Buddhism is a psychology and not a religion. I will let you read the relationship between the two from a page at Wikipedia, Buddhism and Gnosticism. Note the reference to Elaine Pagels. Early on she has been a great influence in my understanding of metaphor, symbol, religion and true spirituality.

For more on the Gnostic Jesus I direct you to my page
From Jesus to Christ. And another page on Elaine Pagels The Lost Teachings of Jesus. Many 'hidden truths' that are available merely by taking the literal and replacing it with a symbolic language.


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