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Could This Metaphor Improve Your Daily Life?

April '19

At the beginning of my yoga class each week, our teacher reads a short, thoughtful, and sometimes thought-provoking passage. Last week a metaphor contained in the reading caused the corners of my mouth to turn up, because of an experience I once had in Lesotho, Africa. Regretfully, I cannot remember the author’s name, but his idea remains with me.

He used gold-hunting as a metaphor to say that in daily living, or in meditation, you should keep your eyes on the glimmer of the hidden gold inside the mine rather than than on all the grey rock that surrounds it. My personal acquaintance with this metaphor is that once upon a time, I went panning for gold.

I wrote about it in my book, Midlife Magic at the beginning of “DAY 3: Supportive Connections”. Here’s an excerpt that describes that gold-hunting adventure.

         “…I heard a soft tapping on my hotel room door just before daybreak. Fully dressed, I stepped into the hall, closing the door quietly behind me. My former boss Bill, and I crept down the stairs of the Molimo Nthuse Lodge, opened the front door softly and headed toward the creek that ran behind the lodge. While, initially, my body lumbered slowly forward with sleepy steps, a sense of charged anticipation found me wide-awake by the time we reached the riverbed. The magnetic possibility of hunting for gold there drew my positive response to Bill’s invitation to everyone at the dinner table last night, “Who wants to go prospecting for gold in the morning?”

         “I’d love to!”

         If our crew followed the planned itinerary to reach the Saint James Mission School by nightfall, any gold hunting  needed to occur before breakfast. So the pre-dawn light found the two of us squatted with pans in hand, scooping up sand and gravel from the riverbed, shaking away, and inspecting our pans for any hint of a gold.

         My excitement at this pursuit gave me an idea of what sent hundreds of thousands of men west to California in the gold rush of 1848. As an undergraduate major in geology, I had an affection for this very dense, very soft metal that never loses its luster, which is why we could find glints of it in the sandy gravel after thousands of years.”

         When I heard my yoga teacher read about focusing on the glitter of the gold rather than the dull grey of the rocks, the image of those specks of gold in the grey sandy gravel from that morning popped into my mind, so the metaphor resonated. My focus in panning for gold was solely on the gold; the sandy gravel was irrelevant, as were all the surroundings. It was intense and compelling.

I could see that giving attention to the “golden aspects” of your daily life would require this same kind of targeted absorption, and also that this effort could improve the quality of your daily life. So why not experiment a bit with this concept? As you go about your day, when you spot a glimmer of gold (ex: a dogwood tree in full bloom, or the kindness of one person to another), savor it fully, and then go hunting for more of those moments, the way you would hunt for gold ignoring any of the grey rock around it.

As usual, if you try this experiment, I would love to hear about your experience, and if you’ve ever searched for gold, I’d love to hear about that too!

Happy hunting!

Author: Midlife Magic: The Seven Day Health Care Plan to Boost Your Energy and Make You Smile





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