“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”― Robert F. Kennedy First, a confession: Although I pride myself on my ability to dialog and find a common […]
“”The map is not the territory. … The only usefulness of a map depends on similarity of structure between the empirical world and the map…”” Alfred Korzybski
As I said before what I do is help people make sense out of life: I help them figure out what they want out of life, and how to get it. One of the main tools I use is the science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP for short. NLP is a way both understanding how and why people do what they do, and helping them to create change quickly. Even though there are some fundamental principles, or “Presuppositions” of NLP, they are not set in stone. I want to introduce them to you now, and explain how you can start applying them to spiritual matters, as well as your life in general. I want to give credit to achievingexcellence.com for this particular arrangement of the 13 Presuppositions of NLP.
They introduce them as follows: The thirteen presuppositions are the central principles central of NLP; they are its guiding philosophy, its ‘beliefs’. These principles are not claimed to be true or universal. You do not have to believe they are true. They are called presuppositions because you pre-suppose them to be true and then act as if they were. You then discover what happens. If you like the results then continue to act as if they are true. They form a set of ethical principles for life.
1. People respond to their experience, not to reality itself. I’m going to let you in on a secret: no one really knows what reality is. The computer screen you are looking at, isn’t a screen at all; but hundreds of millions of tiny packets of light arranged in a way that your brain recognizes a pattern. The chair you’re sitting in feels solid enough, but is actually made up of atoms that are in and of themselves, mostly empty space. Even our reactions are very rarely to what is in front of us, but to what has happened to us in the past. The point of this is, each of us has a “map” we have developed of what the world is, and how to navigate through it; but that map of reality is not reality itself. No one is ever responding to how things really are, only how they * perceive * things to be. This is why most people can’t see God all around them; they conceive of the Divine as a bearded man in the sky, not as the animating spark within and behind everything, surrounding us at all times.
2. Having a choice is better than not having a choice. What makes being in jail a punishment? Is it a lack of freedom? And what is freedom, other than the ability to make choices for yourself, rather than have them made for you. If you look at the areas of your life you are most unhappy with, those are probably the areas where you have the least amount of choice…or at least that’s what you believe. If you ever say anything like “I can’t help it” or “it’s just how I am”, those are areas where you’ve given up your power. When you feel resistance, or encounter resistance from others, look for ways to do things differently. This is the essence of change: doing things differently; that’s why it’s so hard! This is also why our Creator has given us Free Will; things are worth what you pay for them. If all we ever knew was a Divine connection, that connection would very quickly become meaningless.
3. People make the best choice they can at the time. For this one, I’d like to quote achievingexcellence.com directly: “A person always makes the best choice they can, given their map of the world. The choice may be self-defeating, bizarre or evil, but for them, it seems the best way forward. Give them a better choice in their map of the world and they will take it. Even better give them a superior map with more choices in it.” Spiritually, this is why people believe different things, and why it isn’t necessary to make people wrong in order to believe what you believe. There is often a strange disconnect, though, between what most people think their Creator wants them to do, and what they actually do. Even Atheists or people who don’t believe in a personal God tend to have a sense of morality that they themselves often fall short of. The question is, why? The answer is, for whatever reason, the immediate gratification of “missing the mark” outweighs the potential payoff of “righteousness”. Remember, as in point #2, you always have a choice to do what you know in your heart is right, or simply doing what is easier.
4. People work perfectly. As I said in my previous article, you’re perfect, right now, as you are. It is only if you are unhappy with how some aspect of your life is, that you need to change in order to get different results. Spiritually it is the same: wherever you are in your relationship with your Creator, is exactly where you’re supposed to be. If you want it to be different, then YOU must be different, first!
5. All actions have a purpose. Everything we do is done for a reason, even if we aren’t consciously aware of it. All human action can be boiled down to one of two goals: to gain pleasure, or avoid pain. That’s why you don’t always choose the “right” thing like we talked about in point #3. In your dealings with other people, rather than allow your emotions to rule your responses, try to look past the surface and figure out * why * it is they do or don’t do what they do. Once you understand the why, then you can start to find choices that will allow everyone to have their needs met and move forward together. Even your relationship, or lack of relationship, with the Divine is based on a purpose, what is it? Avoiding hell? The fact that you were raised to believe certain things? The decision to put empirical evidence over intuitive sense? Or maybe you are looking to God to help you find * your * purpose? I have to say, it’s a good place to start; but you already know what it is you need to do….
6. Every behavior has a positive intention. Again, I will quote achievingexcellence.com directly: All our actions have at least one purpose – to achieve something that we value and benefits us. NLP separates the intention or purpose behind an action from the action itself. A person is not their behavior. When a person has a better choice of behavior that also achieves their positive intention, they will take it.
There isn’t anything innately “sinful” about Human Beings; people genuinely mean well. Even if that ‘meaning well’ is gaining their own personal pleasure at someone else’s expense. It’s my belief that we are wired to seek pleasure 1. as a motivation to procreate, and 2. to seek the bliss that only truly knowing God can bring. Of course, it’s up to you to decide the truth of things.
7. The unconscious mind balances the conscious; it is not malicious. Our unconscious mind is an unusual thing. In some ways, it is like a child who never forgets anything,and takes everything literally. And yet, it is through our subconscious that we are able to connect with our higher, Divine, or “super conscious” mind. When I talk about an inability to complete the past , it is because the brain is wired to seek out patterns and make sense of them. When confronted with something new, your brain tries to define it relative to something it has experienced in the past; and that is often a painful memory, since those tend to stick out in our minds.
The point is, even when your subconscious is replaying the same tragedies out for you again and again, it is actually trying to help you. The fear you feel, while totally baseless, is an attempt to protect you from getting hurt. What you have to do, is see it for what it is. Realize that yes, a given person might hurt you if you open up to them emotionally. But, they might * not *, either; and what do you stand to miss out on by letting fear dictate your actions? Remember: just because a thought is in your head, it doesn’t mean you have to believe it! Thank your subconscious for its input, but recognize it is up to You to actually make the choice.
8. The meaning of the communication is not simply what you intend, but also the response you get. I think poor communication is responsible for more suffering and failed relationships than anything else. If you are trying to communicate to someone who isn’t hearing you, try approaching it from another direction. Try to hear what you are saying from their point of view. Remember point #1: no one really hears another person anyway, but what they * think * the other person is trying to communicate; it’s up to you to find a way to bridge that gap. Have you ever wondered how it is people can do terrible things and claim God told them to do it? This is the reason: their own perceptions scramble the Divine communication; how much simpler can it get than “thou shall not kill”?
9. We already have all the resources we need, or we can create them. This is another aspect of your perfection: you already have everything you need, or the ability to create it. You have all the tools at your disposal to do whatever you want, it just may take some work. You already have everything inside of you to know your Creator, you just have to trust and open up to it.
10. Mind and body form a system. They are different expressions of the one person. And yet another direct quote: Mind and body interact and mutually influence each other. It is not possible to make a change in one without the other being affected. When we think differently, our bodies change. When we act differently we change our thoughts and feelings. This is why I said trying to choose between your heart and mind will never work; Human beings are a microcosm of the entire Universe. Our mind, body, and spirit are interrelated and interdependent; trying to isolate one can only be done at the expense of the other two. The key is to a peaceful, happy life is to develop and trust every aspect of yourself.
11. We process all information through our senses. Are you sensing a pattern here? Again, we are limited by our perceptions. We don’t see things as they are, only how we perceive them. This is why a purely empirical approach to life doesn’t work: even the fundamental basis of how we process the world is an illusion. The sky isn’t actually blue, plants aren’t actually green, matter isn’t actually solid; these are all artifacts of our perception. Work to see things as clearly as possible, but recognize that your “map”, and everyone else’s, are ultimately drawn from inaccurate information!
12. Modeling successful performance leads to excellence. One last time: a direct quote: If one person can do something it is possible to model it and teach it to others. In this way everyone can learn to get better results in their own way, you do not become a clone of the model – you learn from them. Pick someone who has what you want to have, or has done what you want to do; figure out how they did it, and do it yourself. Find someone who has the type of relationship with God that you want to have, and start doing what they do to have it. There is no reason to try and recreate the wheel.
13. If you want to understand – Act. Decide what you want to be, do, or have; make a plan, and get after it!
What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!
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B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
Find out more about me: http://about.me/BDaveWalters
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Jesus and Buddha — Interfaith dialog
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