From Attribute Listing/Listening/Observing/Cherishing/Pruning/Embodying to Analogy to Being Metaphor
With small children, the abstract concept of 'analogy' has to be simplified with the game of make believe. The child is allowed to
experience how everything is related through how they are similar or different by guessing the shape of a disguised object. These
guesses are really analogies because the shape triggers the mind to recall that which "reminds me of ...." in how it feels, looks, tastes
(if edible), smells or functions like or unlike something else. Pretending to be the object by experiencing the "metaphor in being" or
Being Metaphor is a fictional leap of the mind at play pretending as if one can be a train, a plane, a snowball, or a space traveler.
Identifying the attributes of each object helps the child to focus on the uniqueness of design, function, symmetry, peculiarity, etc., while
when identifying the attributes of a person the focus is on the unique talents, characteristics of personality or the uniqueness of
The capacities for a "heightened awareness of being" develop in the process of learning to use these three skills 1) attribute
identification, 2) analogy and 3) metaphor. They are inseparable and interdependent. Developing these three capacities in children and
re-enforcing them with adults, connects them to The Cosmogenetic Principle of life and its three form-producing powers this way:
Autopoiesis (or uniqueness of being): experienced and accepted through attributes of being-ness: listing/listening/observing/
Differentiation (or multiform and diversity of life): celebrated through analogy's different-ness and like-ness of being
Communion (or relatedness of being): developed with "Being Metaphor" through empathy's indwelling powers of the human being as
an embodied spirit in communion
copyright M.A. Nangini
NB: The use of the term
"Being Metaphor" an
invention of the author, is
granted with appropriate
credits given to the author
at all times; Used without
infringement of copyright.
Simple Steps for Developing The Metacognitive Strategy "Being Metaphor:"
1. From a secret bag (for children up to ten) or from what is hidden under a cloth touch an object and imagine
what it is. Write as many word descriptors of your guesses as come to mind.
2. Take the object out of the bag. Notice how close your guess is to the real object. Record all the real
3. Using the object from the bag, or another object of your choice, draw a small picture of it at the centre of a
large poster-sized paper and web all possible attributes around it. When these obvious attributes are
exhausted - colour, size, shape, function, texture, uses etc. extend the web with the statement "It reminds me
of” or "It looks like". There is no end to this section - only the limit of paper. (Children often want to extend
the sides of the paper.)
4. Connect the attributes to other objects not only in their similarities, but also in their differentness. (Ask:
What does it remind me of, look like, feel like, work like.......?)
5. From the concrete switch to the abstract connections of ideas making the familiar seem different and the
different look familiar.
6. Next, speak for the object, by pretending to be the object. Become the object. Visualize and feel as the
object would under any circumstance. "Being Object" puts us in the position of the object and is useful to
develop empathy through metaphor.
"Being Butterfly" "Being Salt" "Being Light"
7. For each step create a web to map the connections.
8. Create analogy/metaphor statements from the connections or write them in a poetry format.
"Walking In The Light : Being Salt"
The Object Project using the Being Metaphor Strategy with Parables
LTM Activity: Working from Attributes to Analogy to Being
Metaphor (traces the growth movement from the educational LTM
Liquid Thinking Model to the spiritual model Love Transforms Me)
“Finding God in All Things is at the core of the Spirituality of St. Ignatius of
Loyola and is rooted in our growing awareness that God can be found in
every one, in every place and in everything. When we learn to pay more
attention to God, we become more thankful and reverent, and through this we
become more devoted to God, more deeply in love with our Creator.” (Loyola
Everything in Creation is a reflection of Our Creator God: Scientist Brian
Swimme and Priest Eco-theologian Thomas Berry have found that anywhere in
the universe there are 3 Dynamic Powers at work: Autopoiesis, Differentiation
and Communion. They also reflect the Holy Trinity of God in Creation this
way: through their ATTRIBUTES, through ANALOGY and through
ATTRIBUTES: to identify Subjectivity as a reflection of our Creator God
We can know the attributes of God in what He says and does in the Scriptures,
most of all in Jesus but also in Creation because God wants us to know Him
so we can love Him: this is called Self-Manifestation or Subjectivity or
Uniqueness of Being
We tell each other who we are by our ATTRIBUTES: At this point, the
attributes of 10 objects are highlighted with the stimulus statements: "It looks
like... It feels like... as in the above article on Being Metaphor.
ANALOGIES: to identify Differentiation as a reflection of the Three and
Distinct Persons in Our God
There are three Persons in One God: Scriptures and Jesus reveal to us the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit as unique yet different and distinct from one
another: In the world this is called Differentiation or Diversity of Life and
ANALOGIES link us together:
Can a rock be bad or good? (perplexed group answers “NO”)
Can a plant run, laugh and play? (laughing group answers “NO”)
Can an animal build cities, use an iPad or become a scientist? (NOOOO)
Only the human person is made in the image and likeness of God with
Intelligence to understand what God has made, to use it wisely and to care for
it tenderly. That’s why a human baby is not an elephant baby, an oak tree
before it’s born or a pebble.
A human baby is a human baby from conception when the parents provide the
body and God creates the soul, and will forever be a human person unlike any
other human being: totally unique, unrepeatable, a special child of God. He
calls each of us to Himself. He calls each of us by name.
Jesus says: Look at the lilies of the field how well dressed they are; look at the
birds of the air how well fed they are; and you are more important than any of
these and if you ask “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy
Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13) We can learn from every object,
place, animal or plant when we say: it looks like; it sounds like, it feels like; it’
s shaped like; it works like and the links or analogies help us to understand
something new, even unseen mysteries and we catch a glimpse of the Power of
Analogical Thinking to link object attributes to human attributes to learn from
1. If I were a pencil I’d be sharp…
2. If I were a lock, I’d need help to open up…
3. If I were a chair, I’d support others…
4. If I were a diamond, I’d be beautiful but cold… Or…I might reflect the
multicolor Love of God…
5. If I were the sun, I’d be bright… and if I had a God-Complex I’d scorch…
6 If I were a tree, I’d be fruitful and provide rest & comfort because I’d be
rooted in Truth and Love…
7. If I were a child, I’d be welcomed into Heaven…
METAPHOR to identify in creation the Communion of Love:
Father Cantalamessa calls God “a Communion of Love”: God cannot be
divided or separated in this Supreme Communion of Holy Love.
This is called Communion or Relatedness of Being; Everything exists in
relationships. We are all connected!
(Song "The Head-Bone’s connected to the Neck-Bone…" or "Dem Bones" may
be sung here to introduce the concept of St. Paul's Mystical Body of Christ.)
Being Metaphor: Being the Mystical Body
All together we are the Mystical Body of Christ as we give glory to the Father
when we offer to Him His Son Jesus at every Mass: We, the members of the
Church are the living stones, Jesus is the Head and Cornerstone; Jesus came
to us through Mary and through Mary we go back to Jesus, so she is the neck
of the Mystical Body of Christ; the visible Head of the Church and living
Magisterium on Earth, our Pope Francis in union with all his Bishops and
Priests, are the shoulders. And the Holy Spirit, is the Soul of the Church. (St.
Paul (1 Cor 12:12-27), St. Robert Bellermine, St.John Paul II.)
St. Ignatius of Loyola tells us that by “Seeing God in All Things” “Everything
teaches us about God” but only Jesus is the Word of God and the Perfect
Teacher; Jesus is the Face of God and the best Role Model on how we are to
live the way God wants us to live by giving us the new command “Love one
another as I love you.” Jesus often used Parables to teach this by transferring
attributes of everyday familiar objects into analogies and metaphors.
Parable Group Activity (large groups are divided into smaller groups of 5-10).
Each group works with one Parable by taking the metaphor or analogy Jesus
has given us in His Parables to help us be a better person. Take the attributes
of the object and turn them into human attributes by asking yourself:
How will these attributes help me to be a better person throughout my life?
Summary for Group Discussion :
The Supremacy of Christ is found in St. Paul’s letter to the (Colossians 1:15-
16) Jesus … is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For
by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and
invisible…-- all things have been created through Him and for Him.…
“My children… enthrone Me everywhere and in everything… Ask the Spirit to
establish this order in you:
It’s the order of creation.
It’s the order of revelation.
It’s the order of love. (Jesus' words to Gabrielle Bossis in “He and I” Book II,