February 5, 2015 Post Comment Uncategorised

The child’s view

When I was of primary school age my parents lived in the Sudan and then
Nyasaland (now Malawi). We came back to England regularly , so travel, for me,
was very much the norm. I loved geography, which brought the travel to life,
and in particular I loved maps. Maps of where I lived, maps of places I’d been
to, maps tracing journeys along the way, maps of other places, maps in general.
I could easily relate the map data to ground data.

My favourite book was an atlas of the world – and it was the biggest and
best one available at that time. I didn’t just study my atlas, I would read it.
Every page was a story containing all that information about every
part of the world. And when you read a book as often as I read that atlas, you
get to know all about the characters – or so I thought.

While I loved and kept revisiting all the ‘physical’ maps in my atlas, I hardly
studied the weather and rainfall maps, and never
studied the geological maps. I didn’t quite get (as an 8 year old) what all
THAT stuff was about. As far as I could see, mountains were mountains, valleys
were valleys, plains were plains – there they were, as plain as day. At that
age I never asked why they were there or what they were made of.

Fortunately my love of geography as a subject took me on a further journey
of knowledge and understanding. As I got older I discovered so much more about
the Earth – including what was going on above and below the surface – and
eventually my interest spread through the entire atlas as I
studied rainfall
and rock structures with as much fascination as everything else.

Maps of the world

One of the ‘bumper stickers’ of NLP is the Map
is not the Territory
. Whilst this leads to the notion that we are
not our behaviour, it also points to fact that we all have a ‘worldview’ and
that our Maps of The World are a coded facsimile of that view
and how we run our lives within that World.

This collection of our Maps can be
described as our Atlas – and of course as we are all
unique, then each of our Atlases is unique too. Yes, some of my maps will
coincide with yours, or his or hers, or theirs, but never all of my maps. The
other thing we can come to understand, of course, is that our Atlas is not set
in stone, and therefore we can adapt our maps, remove them and add new ones.

Thinking further about geographical maps of the world and comparing them to
our own maps, what if we only understand those of our own maps in terms of what
is ‘on the surface’ – rather in the same way that, at first, I could only
relate to the physical maps in geography?

In terms of the ‘geography of the Mind’, it’s easier to make sense of the
form (the maps of what’s on the surface), than it is to understand the formless
(that which still is there but not in consciousness). Or, to put it another
way, if the surface is all that we think we know, the structure under the
surface (our geology) is ‘formless’ because we aren’t consciously aware of it.

Making connections

There have been countless questions and discussions concerning The Mind, the
nature of the Mind, how it works, and the connected-ness of its various
constituent sub-divisions, since the dawn of psychology. Advances over the last
fifty years are beginning to show us, in a variety of ways, that what we
thought of the Mind in the past is now not necessarily all true, or all that is
there. In terms of my atlas analogy, science – both practical and theoretical –
is discovering not just uncharted regions, but also new patterns and activities
above and below the surface.

The structural connected-ness of The Mind and Body,
for instance, is now more understood in a variety of ways – all of which
overlap. Methodologies such as NLP, Clean Language, TimeLine™ Therapy, TFT,
IEMT, and many other recent advances, all tap into the geology of that
structural connected-ness – which is why, I suspect, they work so very well for
people because they make those connections function once more. It might also
explain why science (currently) has difficulty in accepting their validity,
because it is hard to prove that something under the surface works if
the only means of proof you have is designed for things on the surface.

I find with clients – both in a therapeutic sense of change as well as a
coaching and learning sense of change – that structural connected-ness comes up
all the time. Being ‘conventional’ with clients may well work in the long run,
but if it’s connected-ness they’re looking to achieve, then why would anyone
choose the long run ONCE they know there’s a quick and direct route. Why would
anyone build a house on sand, once they know that it’s sand and what sand can
and can’t support? Once we know the code of a combination lock why would we try
and open it in any other way!


So in terms of my atlas – and my Atlas – I now have a much
fuller sense of both worlds. The geographical I got to know much quicker than
the mental, but that is just my experience. Everyone’s experience is different,
everyone’s world is different.

I just know that understanding what is in YOUR Atlas, what
all the maps are about, and what you can change and acquire to enhance and
enlarge your Atlas, is a great part of life’s quest.

And as a postscript – why do we call an atlas an atlas? Is it related to the
mythology of Atlas? Does our Atlas carry our world on its shoulders? Are we our
Atlas? It’s only a thought – or is it?!