“If you want to change the world, change the metaphor.”
— Joseph Campbell
Before discussing the fundamental questions, we discuss our reactions to metaphors like poetry or parables – because metaphors shape the way we understand the world. Through the images and feelings they evoke, metaphors help us connect with our emotions and intuition beneath our rational thoughts. Metaphors can also deliteralize concepts in the fundamental questions that can be intimidating to approach head-on. Metaphors can engage our minds in a way that makes questions and their answers, the ones we hate to ask ourselves directly, feel less forced and daunting. As we respond to the metaphor we are better prepared to answer the fundamental questions.
The leader of each circle should review the optional metaphors linked below, in advance, and choose one or two to be discussed for the corresponding fundamental question. As you discuss the metaphor, be sure to focus only on the metaphor and your own reactions. Do not let the discussion drift away from what is contained in the metaphor. Do not move on to discussion of the fundamental question until discussion of the metaphor has been exhausted. (Remember these metaphors linked below are optional and the leader of the circle may use another metaphor not found on this site if they desire.)
links to optional metaphors for each question
QUESTION #1 – What is my story?
QUESTION #2 – What is my primary role in life?
QUESTION #3 – What is my value system?
QUESTION #4 – How do I make decisions on questions of morality?
QUESTION #5 – What is my spiritual orientation?
QUESTION #6 – What are my gender identity and sexual orientation?
QUESTION #7 – Does my sexual orientation align with my sexual behavior and intimate relationships? Why? Does my gender identity align with my gender expression? Why?
QUESTION #8 – Based on my responses to the previous seven questions, what do I feel is the healthiest and most sustainable way to live my life?
“Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.”
— T. S. Eliot
“Tell All The Truth”
Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth’s superb surprise;
As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
— Emily Dickinson