Monthly Archives: February 2011
Tempted by light, we are truly beings of the between, stretched between two longings — between, perhaps, what once was and perhaps, what will be — far from the Animal and even farther still from the Angel, orphaned between the heritage of nature and the destiny of the stars. Yet in this place, on this Earth, we make our way: between lightness and darkness, meaning and ignorance, knowing and not knowing, we live our lives; between sickness and health, life and death, body and mind, we fashion our characters; between evil and virtue, sin and salvation, heaven and Earth, we dream our dreams; between love and hate, joy and sorrow, community and isolation, we wait for tomorrow.
— Robert Romanyshyn, Ways of the Heart, p. 47
As beings of the between, we are assisted by bridges. Indeed, we require those structures and ways of seeing that allow us to move from birth to death and back, stand suspended between opposites, connect lessons of the past with our visions for the future, and embody the experience of an inner, erotic desire for the world out there. Bridges help us to journey from one experience to another, and they offer us a place from which to see and appreciate both sides at once.
As beings of the between, we are also assisted by metaphor, which may be saying the same thing. The etymology of the word metaphor suggests the act of “carrying across.” Following the thought of a line of thinkers who have married depth psychology with phenomenology, I believe that as human beings we are, in essence, metaphorical. Psychological life, and therefore, the realm of soul (remember that psyche literally means soul), allows for, and even requires, a crossing from one dimension to another. Here, I’ll refer specifically to the dimension of visible, literal and physical experience alongside that of the invisible, metaphorical and soulful. As human beings, we live both in between and within each of these dimensions; and in being there, we hold an awareness — however dim or bright — of the more-than that is always present in our literal, everyday, physical world. We hold an awareness of the deeper meanings and resonances which reverberate within the visible world. And we live in between the visible and invisible such that both are available at once. They are two sides of the same coin, and it is our birthright to be able to travel between the two, grasp both simultaneously, and value both equally.