If I can't picture something,
I can't understand it.
Many familiar English phrases — "the back of my mind", "putting up a good front", etc., etc. — are metaphorical uses of space, based on the physical structure of our bodies in gravity. We all share four bodily, spatial contrasts: front/back, up/down, left/right (or center/side), and inside/outside.
These bodily contrasts are the spatial framework and the key vocabulary in MetaSelf's basic picture: two upright figures facing each other in a room, holding masks, offering gifts. This simple sketch helps us understand ourselves and embodies the principles of Conceptual Metaphor Theory. (For the theory in general, see a 67 min. video with George Lakoff. For some brilliant, specific work on the preverbal spatial foundations of our whole conceptual system, see Jean Mandler’s recent articles.)
This figurative space is beyond the wall, outside the system (the room), and represents the many different things people consider ultimate reality; fundamental beliefs such as: God, Love, consciousness, highest purpose, nothingness, alternate realities, … you can fill in your own examples.
Any system I'm inside of, is represented by the room (or the wall), which is a container with an inside and outside. This can be a social system like a family, organization or nation; or a natural system, like an ecosystem, Earth, or entire natural universe.
The back of my mind is a figurative space holding whatever is Out of sight, out of mind, hard to bring out — painful memories, hidden potentials, the inner child, the natural self. A metaphorical space, not a region of the brain, … you can fill in your own examples.
This space represents my body, as it is oriented and moves in space and gravity; my external senses, my awareness of balance, and visceral sensations that are part of emotions and felt senses; my present awareness.
This space is the front I put up, my persona, mask, etc. The self is seen figuratively as a container that is relatively transparent and open, or relatively opaque and closed; the tension between avoiding shame and wanting to be integral and authentic. I can notice how I feel inside and how I try to look outside.
This figurative space represents what I give out, my output; my work, labor, product or contribution; my gifts, talents, skills, ideas, traits, or resources; my abilities and energy; Or: What I would like to develop and offer; an avocation or passionate interest; Or: What I am willing to do to get by.
The boundary is figurative space around my personal space which I defend; a self-protective shield that I assert (or fail to assert) when angry or fearful.
Related: assertiveness training, social skills, emotional intelligence; also a container that marks my stuff and restrains me within my area of responsibility.
What goes on between us or among us, our Inter-action, play space, connecting, understanding, love.
Winnicott's potential space where meaning emerges
between parent and child; Buber's
Between I and Thou.
Also competition and conflict; where relationship becomes a system (the room).