Posted 25 September 2005
Every book has to start somewhere.
This one begins with 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
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.
Repeating the same old patterns
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 didnít work as well as people would
There were other things about the
village that the boy and girl found hard to understand. Most streets in the
or had complex detours
which didn't seem to serve any purpose
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
The slippery swamp
On another side
of the village was a dark and unhappy place which people called ďthe 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 wasnít 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.
The boy and the girl finally meet
The boy and the girl lived on
opposite sides of the river, which
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 doesnít 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
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
characters 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, "Itís 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
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 letís 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 characters who live and work inside everyone of us, and which are
often described as our "Inner Villagers". We will be talking about how they
deal with life's problems and in particular about
- the difficulty many of these
inner protector characters have seeing things clearly
- the way these inner
protector characters like to repeat the same old
solution over and over again rather than try new ones
- the way these inner
protector characters tend to "oppose" whatever each
one sees as "opposite" to its way of doing
- 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.
By 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
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-awareness" . You can' t get it overnight, but it
is already within you and it's quite easy to start growing it. That' s why
we talk about "Growing Awareness" because that is what you will be doing if
you continued to read on from here.
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
This may be typical of the ways some of the
characters 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-awareness from growing?
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
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
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.
"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?
Nutting 1996 - - 2006 and ©
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