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Repeating the same old patterns
For example, many of the people who lived in the village seemed confused about what they were doing and why they were doing it. They worried a lot and got really worked up if things went wrong or if somebody didn't agree with them. They found it hard to see things clearly. However, each villager felt a sense of responsibility about their own job so they kept on doing it as well as they could. To limit their confusion they usually did the same job the same way they after day, rather than trying anything new or different. It's true that repeating the same old pattern got the usual results just as they expected. But all too often those results didn’t work as well as people would have liked.
There were other things about the village that the boy and girl found hard to understand. Most streets in the village were blocked or had complex detours which didn't seem to serve any purpose and made it made it harder to get from one place to another.
The deep dark forest
On one side of the village was a dark forest and people in the village were afraid of what was in there. Disturbing noises used to come out of the forest and people often heard sounds coming from somewhere in the trees that sounded like children crying.
The slippery swamp
On another side of the village was a dark and unhappy place which people called “the swamp" . It had steep slippery sides and sometimes villagers fell in and had difficulty getting out again. Fortunately there were other villagers around who helped to pull them out. But often the same people managed to slip into the swamp a few days later and had to be rescued all over again.
The river without a bridge
Running through the middle of the village was a river but there was no bridge across it so it wasn’t at all easy to get from one side to the other. As people often do, the ones who lived on the eastern side of the river tended to think of themselves as being in some way superior to those who lived on the western side and the ones on the western side thought hey were better than the ones on the eastern side. They longer they remained on their own side the more judgemental they became about the way things were on the opposite side.
"Their streets are narrower and rougher and more crooked than ours."
"Their houses are even more uncomfortable than ours."
"They have even more trouble solving problems than we do."
"They view of things is even more distorted than ours."
"They are closer to the swamp and to the forest than we are" (In fact both sides were exactly the same distance from the swamp and the forest.)
and so it went on day after day in the old village just as it had always been.
The boy and the girl finally meet
The boy and the girl lived on opposite sides of the river, which explains why they hadn't met. However, one day the girl discovered some stepping stones which no one else had noticed and so she was able to cross the river and there on the other side was the boy. They began talking and were surprised to discover that both of them felt the same way about the village and its problems and that both of them wished they could do something to help.
They began meeting regularly to talk about this. At first it seemed as though they were two very different people, almost opposite to each other in the way that they saw the problems and what they thought and felt needed to be done.
But as they got to know each other they realised that looking at things in two opposite ways was really not so bad. They came to understand that it can even help having different points of view when you're looking at life, because most of the time there are two sides (or more than two sides) to any argument.
One day the boy said, " That's how things really are. I can see that looking at things from a different point of view doesn’t really mean they are "opposite". It just means you are standing in a different place when you look at them.". They began to realise that there was not much in the village (or in life) that was either totally black or white.
The hill behind the village
On another side of the village opposite the forest and the swamp was a Hill. Nobody from the village had ever climbed the Hill because everyone was too busy sorting out their daily problems and because they just didn't like the idea of doing anything that was new or different.
One day the boy and the girl decided it was time to try things that were new and different, things that had never been done. Climbing the hill seemed like a good way to start and it would give them a chance to look at life in the village from a different point of view.
To their surprise they found that climbing was quite enjoyable and relatively easy. After only a few minutes they began to notice things that they could never have been seen from down on the village.
The view from the hill
Looking down on the village they noticed that originally the streets must have been quite well laid out. What appeared as blocked streets full of detours were originally not that way at all. It was just that for years and the years people had been creating temporary barriers and then just got used to detouring around them. From up on the hill it looked as though it would be easy to get rid of most of the detours and return to the well laid out streets.
This excited them on the one hand but worried them as well. They wondered what it would be like to go back to the village and explain what they had seen.
The other thing that they noticed from up on the hill was that there was an ideal place for a bridge that could have been built across the river so people could move freely from one side of the other. (That is if the people on one side wanted to get to know the people on the other side.)
The boy and the girl found that they liked climbing the hill and started to make it a regular practice. Each day they discovered they were seeing things more clearly. The higher they climbed the clearer their view. From each new vantage point they could watch what was going on in the village and understand more clearly many of the things, both good and bad, that were happening down below.
They could also watch many of the inner selves in the village as they went about their work (They could also hear the villagers arguing and making their daily judgements about the people on the opposite side of the river).
Who wants to change?
The boy and the girl started talking more and more about finding solutions to the problems which had always troubled the people in the village. Something told them to be very cautious about who they spoke to and how much they tried to explain, remembering that no one in the village had ever climbed up the hill before.
Come to think of it how does anybody start explaining solutions to people who are older than you and who believe they are so much more experienced in dealing with problems?
The boy and girl tried but no one even wanted to listen to them. Some of the village elders were quite angry. First because the boy and girl had climbed the hill (which no one had ever done before) and secondly because the elders did not approve of people from opposite sides of the village doing things together. As the girl put it, "It’s the almost as if they were blind. How do you explain to someone who is blind about what it is like to see things more clearly?"
However the boy and the girl continued to meet and talk about what they might be do.
What is all this got to do with you and me?
We will be coming back to the boy and the girl later, but let’s leave them there for a moment and draw an analogy between what is happening in the fable and how this is rather like what may be happening inside you and me.
We will be learning about those protector inner selves who live and work inside everyone of us, and which are often described as our "inner selves". We will be talking about how they deal with life's problems and in particular about :
* the difficulty many of these inner protector inner selves have seeing things clearly
* the way these inner protector inner selves like to repeat the same old solution over and over again rather than try new ones
* the way these inner protector inner selves tend to "oppose" whatever each one sees as "opposite" to its way of doing things
* What you can to improve things in your own "Inner Village". For example removing some of the detours that block the roads or perhaps building a bridge across the river.
Are you are ready to climb your own Awareness Hill?
You will be discovering more about the hill above the village which we call "Awareness Hill" and what happens from the very first time that you climb up your own Awareness Hill. Just like the boy and the girl in the fable you will suddenly see more clearly what you are doing and saying and feeling and thinking.
It stands to reason that from there on things begin to get better.
The higher you climb up Awareness Hill the clearer the view. You will begin to understand so much about your life that you could never understand before. The more you can see the more you understand.
The more clearly you can see everything that is going on in your "Inner Village" the easier it is to make the changes you want to make in your life.
That doesn't mean that we need to spend a lot of time trying to make sense of life at the bottom of the Hill . What is more important is to become aware that something we need to solve our problems is missing. That "something" is the ability to stand higher, to go upon the hill and look down on your own "Inner Village" and become more aware about what is really going on down there .
Another name for this ability to stand on the hill is "self-
Fear of change
They boy and the girl tried naturally wanted to share what they had seen on the hill with the people in the village. But they ran into a number of difficulties. The people in the village did not want to hear about the view from the hill.
Their reactions included anger, disbelief and denial. Some of the people of the old village tried to stop the boy and girl going back up on the fact hill again. And one old villager suggested that because they came from opposite sides of the river something should be done to stop the boy and girl meeting since this would only lead to " more trouble".
This may be typical of the ways some of the inner selves in your Inner Village react when you start doing Growing Awareness work.
What might be some of the reasons why there were such strong negative reactions from the people in the old village? And how might this in some ways be like what goes on inside us to stop our own self-
One of the main characteristics, as we will explain later, about life inside your Inner Village is this negative reaction to change. The boy and girl were sharing information that was factual, real and true. But once this information became known throughout the village, the way things were done would be more likely to change.
For many people this fear of changing is all too real. Often in the past making changes has ended up with them feeling much worse off than if they had stayed where they were. But that's also what the "old villagers" are most likely to forecast about any kind of proposed change.
We will explain later it was not so much the change itself that causes the problem. It's the way people change. Too fast or too different is not likely to work. Suddenly flipping too far too fast or jumping all the way over to the most extreme end of the opposite side is very risky.
The reasons for this are a bit too complex to go into at this early stage but it is well known that the more traumatic your childhood, the more you will tend to make extreme changes. This is the wounded inner child's way of changing, making very wide shifts from one side to the opposite, rather than moderate ones.
This is a bit like a person who does not like things on their side of the village jumping across the river to the other side and expecting that to make things to better.)
It's better not to jump from one side of the village to the other. Instead, experiment with more moderate adjustments, by trial and error or try making a list of three or more different options rather than feeling you have to choose only one or the other..
So there are two things that we going to leave till the second book in this series one is about facing reality or awareness and the other is about making changes once we realise that where we are now is not where we want to be.
See "Is it really safe for me to change?" Before you start making any changes in your life, it's important that you choose carefully. What will your life be like after you have made those changes? What will the overall results mean to you and people around you?
Equally important is for you to decide when you are ready to make these changes. Before you start to make even one small change in your life,. ask yourself, " Am I really comfortable about the whole process of changing? Is now the right time for me?
Copyright © John Nutting 1996 -
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A boy and a girl who live in an old Tradition bound village
This is a story about a boy and a girl who live in a small village. Even though they were both in their late teens they had never met. But there were some things they had in common. For a start the each of them kept noticing how people in their village found it hard to deal with life and its day-
So much of what went on in the village was more complicated than it should have been. The boy and the girl each wondered why and wished there was something they could do to help.