Friday, 25 May 2012

On or in?

We need to work in strengthening those links.

Much of our language is metaphorical whether we know it or not. The first sentence of this piece talks about working 'in' rather than working 'on' strengthening those links. In a literal sense we neither work 'in' nor 'on' anything when we are working with people. In and on signify a physical relationship. However we use them metaphorically every day to signify how we do things.

It is interesting to think about when we talk about working with our own selves - we work on ourselves not in ourselves. Is this because we have taken language from the workplace, where we work on a project? Quite often when we are working on ourselves - when we are trying to sort out a particular issue or approach or attempting to find a way through life's problems - we are working in ourselves. We immerse ourselves in us - I immerse myself in me.

Perhaps we like to think that there is a part of us which is on top of all the turmoil and confusion. That there is some objective us which is there to take control, to work it all out and then to set our lesser part on the road to better things. Those of us who experience this working as being 'in' rather than 'on' ourselves may see it differently. It seems to me that most of the personality difficulties that we experience come from the depths: often unconsciously. A surface buff and polish is not going to touch them.

Maybe it will never sound quite right, 'I am working in myself'. But maybe like the metaphors that we use for many things spiritual we just have to interpret, 'I am working on myself' in a slightly different way. Whilst many people would say that their most profound spiritual moments come with wordless experience, there can be insights gained not just from reading words but from exploring what they mean. In particular what our own words mean. Writing as daily (weekly? monthly?) spiritual practice has much to offer.

In this sense we are strengthening the connections between the words that we use and their meaning - conscious or subconscious.

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