As a writer, I collect metaphors. As a substance abuse counselor, I use the metaphors I collect to help illustrate different topics. One of those illustrated metaphors is featured here:
I saw this and stuck in a web right outside my front door and I couldn’t help but grab my trusty Nikon D3300. Ants have always amazed me, as have spiders and the webs they weave. This particular ant was stuck about 2 inches off the ground in a very small web. Once I set the shot and perused the resulting images, the picture above spoke to me. I can’t help but look at that pic and see it as a metaphor for how people tend to end up trapped, not in spiders’ webs, like the unfortunate ant, but in in their own negative thought processes that keep them bound to unhealthy ideas and behaviors.
At the heart of those negative thoughts is almost always a mythical concept called, “me.” For example, all too often, I hear statements like, “Why can’t I find someone, what’s wrong with me?” or “I can’t believe this happened to me” or “What about me? When is it my turn to be happy?” The reality is that this “me” doesn’t really exist. It’s only projection, like a hologram to which a person refers that allows himself the opportunity to become the subject of affliction. With the proliferation of social media, it’s easy to see how people use this projection. Most people use social media to simply say, “look at me.”
But, there really is no such thing as this “me.” it’s far closer to truth that no one can be the subject separate from the world in which he lives. That is to say that we exist at any given moment within time and place and it’s when we forget that we are a part of a far bigger system that we start to suffer emotional pain because, when we focus too much on, “me,” we become isolated into a point of singularity that keeps us trapped within suffering.
I suspect that the ant somehow lost sight of his heading and fell into the web. He will be a snack for some spider, and there really isn’t anything it can do about his pending fate. However, humanity doesn’t have to remain stuck in its own suffering. Because we experience life as individuals, we can get lost; however, if we focus less on “me”” and more on “I am,” we can experience life in a constant and evolving presence in right here and now. Try it, prove me wrong.
Or we can continue to focus on “me” and remain bound to a mythical source of suffering that isn’t more real that the ether of yesterday. Either way, I still think the ant in the web is a damn cool pic.