Its amazing how powerful the learning can be when opening the eye of metaphor to the engagement experience. One of my connection activities is standing before a tree that draws me and viewing and touching it as if I were a wondrous child. I engage it with the eye of the observer, I visualise the tree’s aura interacting and encompassing my aura and body, I internalise the humility of my smallness as I look up the trunk to the top and I feel into the roots beneath my feet to anchor my sense of self within the presence of the tree. All of this is what I refer to as presencing.

But back to the eye of the metaphor. This is bringing your cognitive and imaginal capacities together during the observing mode of engagement to look for and recognise the metaphors and/or symbolisms inherent in the subject, in this case the tree. Observing metaphors during the careful observational process is part of the meaning-making process of connecting. Metaphors speak to us about the ubiquitous presence of meaning in nature, there to be interpreted by the present, open and engaged mind of the observer. They can be cultural or social in their interpretative origins, may be biographical but often can be universal, such as the earth being the nurturing, feminine power that brings forth life.

So with this introduction behind I want to share a diary entry during a walk in September on my regular walk at Wentworth Falls. “As I observe the thickly crevassed dark bark of the pine tree, my attention is drawn to the curved outlines of the many layered bark sections. Interesting patterns that remind me of the receding swash lines on a beach where there are curved lines imprinted from the last reaches of each death of a wave. But beyond this reminder I see the metaphor of these layered chunks of bark as representing the psychological evolution of our inner life.”

Our psyche, our sense of self is can be seen as being made up of countless layers e.g beliefs, assumptions, expectations, values, roles as well as perspectives and understanding that stem from a lifetime of meaning-making. We are affected by the level of meaning we interpret from an experience. But it is the quality of our awareness and the state of our consciousness we bring to our engagement with reality that provides the opportunity to recognise and interpret the meaning on offer. In being present and open minded with the eye of the metaphor, meaning making offers a powerful learning pathway. This learning can lead to greater appreciation for the subject and sense of connection, all of which enriches us.”

So this post is just a reflection that every aspect of nature offers an opportunity for aesthetic engagement as well as inner growth and deeper connection through the act of meaning making. It is the eye of metaphor, the observation that interprets the metaphor or symbolism within the subject of our perception that enriches the meaning. I think that our prospensity for meaning-making contributes to our growth and maturity, even wisdom. The multi-layered quality of the bark triggered the interpretation of a metaphor that deepened my sense of appreciation and connection to this tree. In a way this more meaningful encounter helped ground me within the tree’s being. So I encourage you to spend time with a tree that draws you and use the eye of metaphor to engage it beyond the sensorial aesthetic, the eye of vision.

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