Map (noun): 1. A diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc. 2. A person’s face. (verb) to represent an area on a map.
Jane Eyre’s Internal Map
Recently I finished reading Jane Eyre… for the third time. This time, I was struck by Charlotte Bronte’s commentary of how social structures like family, money, status, society can divert, rather than inform people’s lives. Jane, as an orphan, lacked all these structures and was cut off from society. As a result, Jane’s only course of action was to exist, stay true to her values, and to find a means of sustenance with her intelligence.
Like Jane, all of Bronte’s main characters are women isolated from society by their circumstance, who develop their independence and individualism to survive. They thrive by creating their personal maps, or blueprints, of the world with their values as guiding principles. Jane is contrasted against Blanche Ingram, a beauty of relative wealth and good social status, who wants to marry Mr. Rochester. She is also compared to Bertha, Rochester’s first wife, a madwoman locked up on the attic of Thornfield Hall, who possessed family, wealth and status but lacks a sound mind. Although maps created by family, wealth and our place in society can be use to navigate the world, they can be detrimental if they are rooted in superfluous ideals.
Maps in Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine often provides different ways of looking at our bodies and the world. One example is reflexology which is the idea that we have a map of our body, with organs and all, on our hands and feet. Through this map we can activate and heal the different places of our physical body by applying pressure. In Total Reflexology of the Hand, doctor Martine Faure-Alderson details the relationship between the hand and the brain, making hand reflexology ideal for treatment of neurological, mental, and emotional disorders.
The chakras provide another map of our bodies. They are energetic wheels located from our pelvic floor to the crown of our head that can be blocked by mental worries that become physical diseases. They are the blueprint of the connection between our brain and our physical bodies. Author Susan Wright uncovers an even deeper influence of the mind-body connection in The Chakras in Shamanic Practice where she explains how each chakra is linked to a different phase of emotional, spiritual and physical development, from birth to death, demonstrating how traumatic events in our lives can affect the health and well-being of each person.
The Path Made Clear
In The Path Made Clear, Oprah Winfrey states that to uncover your purpose in life you need to reflect on three questions: what, why and how. The first question is: What activity makes you forget about time? What actions, in your everyday life, make you feel alive and useful? Second: Why do you do what you do? What is the underlying intention of your actions? To serve? To create? To educate? To comfort? To Reveal? And third: How will create, rearrange or reinvent your life so that you can fulfill your purpose? What is the course of action? What is the map to follow?
Maps are all around us. They exist in literature, in our families and social structures, and throughout our physical bodies at different scales. They are meant to help us decide what it means to be human and to challenge our values. The maps we choose to follow reflects our ideals, steadfastness, moral code, and regard for our physical being. In the absence of good maps, people can rely on their inner code to navigate a contaminated world, saying pure in the face of corruption. Maps can be used to strengthen the mind-body connection and to bring our energetic blueprint to the forefront so that we can understand and heal our physical bodies. Maps give our dreams a direction, a voice, and it is by listening to this inner voice that we can live the life we were meant to live.