Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Allegory of Rivers

Picture a rapidly moving but pacific appearing stream. It winds over the terrain, never ceasing its flow. As the stream flows over its bed, a careful observer notices that its surface is not completely even. Whorls, eddies, ripples and ebbs appear, disturbing the streams otherwise placid flow.

Underneath the surface, all is not so simple. The stream flows over a rocky bad, tumbling and jostling over rocks and logs. Currents bend around obstacles, and the entire stream is shaped by the form of its bed; it bends and twists within its banks. The stream is sometimes wide and shallow, sometimes narrow and deep, and always more complex than it appears on the surface.

Silt runs underneath the sunlight skin, the consequence of water's rubbing further upstream, a process visible only by its consequences. Fish dart here and there, their presence only guessed at by the flash of sun off scales as one surfaces momentarily. Their maneuvers take place in an environment alien and isolated from the outside world.

This stream is a human mind, its surface the visage exposed to the outside world. The whorls and eddies we may see are the consequences of submerged obstacles we cannot. The aim of counseling, then, is not to remove the rocks and logs and physical obstructions of the stream bed – that is too complex a task, and one will destroy the nature of the stream in the process. Only the dead are so uniform. Instead, it is the job of the counselor to help smooth and round the obstacles of the stream bed, so they cause less conflict and confusion as the stream progresses ever onward to a new horizon.

1 comment:

Doc Anne said...

I wish I had had the words like this when I needed them.
Lovely way to put it.