For the first cherry popping blog post of Life Change Experience, I am going to present to you a film that quite literally embodies The Village as a concept – warning, plot spoiler.
Shyamalan’s film is set in a small village that is remote and surrounded by a forest. In the forest are strange creatures with whom the elders have an agreement – if the villagers do not go into the forest then the creatures do not come into the village, but there is a watch tower on the edge of the forest all the same, and the older folk tell the children stories to keep them out of the trees. This has the villagers scared of the forest and contained in village life never wondering too much about life outside.
As it turns out the strange creatures are an invention of the elders designed to keep the villagers safe from the evils of the modern world, contained in a safe bubble, contained by fear of creatures that don’t really exist and therefore cannot hurt them. They are contained for their own good, but it is done outside of their own conscious awareness.
This is the perfect metaphor of what your subconscious does to keep you safe. It sets you up somewhere safe – in your routine, in familiar surroundings, with familiar people so you know what to expect and when. You are contained by a threshold that is difficult to cross – in order to leave this comfort zone you must take certain actions which seem somehow difficult or you never get round to taking. Then it sets guards in the forms of feelings, thoughts, doubts – things you’d rather avoid, and it does all this in order to keep you safely contained.
The Village is not necessarily a bad place, it might actually be the right place for you. It is keeping you safe from the evils of the world…but also from the wonders. Unless you are ready to face the guardians though, to accept them for what they are and walk past them and beyond, you will stay in The Village, reluctant to change yourself so that you can change your life and therefore unable to leave.
The guardians do not threaten you, they just test your readiness to step into the trees, look them in the eye and move past – to take the actions that take you out of your comfort zone, to feel what you feel and do it anyway, because when you do, you will realise that they cannot hurt you, that they are fabrications, stories, feelings and nothing more, created by your own mind to keep you safe.