Physical light as a metaphor for inner light

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The metaphor between physical light and inner light has a long history that permeates diverse languages and cultures. This paper outlines a system for using basic principles from optics to visually represent psychological states and processes such as ideation, enlightenment, mindfulness, and fragmentation versus integrity, as well as situations that occur between people involving phenomena such as honest versus deceptive communication, and understanding versus misunderstanding. The paper summarizes two ongoing projects based on this system: The Light and Enlightenment art installation project, and the Soultracker virtual reality project. These projects enable people to depict their inner lives and external worlds including situations and relationships with others, both as they are and as they could be, and explore alternative paths for navigating challenges and living to their fullest potential. The projects aim to be of clinical value as therapeutic tools, as well as of pedagogical value by providing a concrete language for depicting aspects of human nature that can otherwise seem elusive and intangible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-61
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • light
  • metaphor


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