The power of metaphor is like magic: It can create or destroy possibilities; bring us together or tear us apart; constrain our viewpoints or set us free. In this sense, metaphor is much like belief; but metaphor engages us more deeply, more viscerally than a mere verbal understanding of a belief. It gives us something to hold on to, to relate to, an object in our imagination to manipulate and see from different angles. It gives us the emotional traction to connect below the level of rationality.
Metaphor gives us both an access to and a handle on our beliefs, and the power to transform them. It gives us the power to see new things and create a shared viewpoint with others. Even more than a viewpoint, it gives us a shared experience; something visceral, felt at the level of body and gut.
The right metaphor has an immense power to bridge understandings and transcend differences between people. This is a power we could stand to use and practice more consciously in our lives.