One day, you fall into a deep hole, many feet down.
You call for help. Thankfully, someone appears.
Even better, it turns out that his job is to get people out of holes.
“What shall I do?” you ask.
“Never mind that”, he says. “Look at the hole.”
“Look at the hole?” you ask.
“Yes. Really focus on it. Describe it to me in detail.”
So you do.
Every time you think you can’t describe it any further, he asks another question about the hole.
And off you go again.
You spend hours like this.
Eventually, he has to go home. So off he goes, leaving you in the hole.
But he promises to return another time.
True to his word, he comes back.
“Can you help me get out?” you ask.
“Yes. But first. Tell me why you think you didn’t see the hole.”
So you do. For hours. You discuss it from every angle.
But you’re still in the hole.
Night falls, so he goes home again, and you’re still stuck in the hole.
This goes on for days and days.
Every time he returns, he asks you to describe the hole in greater detail.
He asks you why you stepped into it.
Soon enough, he starts asking what was going on subconsciously.
“Why was it that, out of awareness, you secretly wanted to fall down the hole?” he asks.
You hadn’t realised that you wanted to be in the hole. In fact, you don’t think you do want to be in the hole at all.
But you’re polite and you keep answering his questions.
Until once again, the night comes and you are left in the hole on your own.
First thing next morning, a voice wakes you.
You look up to see a face peering down at you. But it’s not your usual helper.
“Are you okay?” they ask.
“No, I’m stuck in this hole and I’d like to get out.”
“I see”, says the stranger. “So if you were on your way to getting out of the hole, what would you notice yourself doing?”
You think about it.
“Hmmm, Well, maybe I’d be reaching up to find something uneven for me to grab onto.”
With that you reach up, and you notice a part of the wall that you are able to grab your fingers onto.
“What else?” asks the stranger.
“I’d be using it to pull myself up, and I’d be looking for something to rest my foot on as I did.”
And with that, you heave yourself upwards, and your leg scrambles below you until it hits a bit of a ledge.
“Did that work?” asks the stranger.
“Yes!” you say excitedly. “I’m closer to the entrance!”
“Great. Might it work if you do it again?”
You think it might so you try it once more. You climb a little higher.
Spurred on, you keep going in the same fashion.
Before too long, you are out of the hole and standing in the sunlight.
At that point, your usual helper arrives. He’s shocked to see you out of the hole.
“How did you get out of the hole?” he asks, puzzled.
You explain that this kindly stranger had arrived and asked some questions.
“But I’ve been asking you questions for days and you’ve been stuck fast inside the hole!” exclaims your helper.
“That’s true”, you say. “But it seems you were asking the wrong kind of questions. You asked me about being in the hole. They asked me about getting out again.”