Insight of the Month: “HOW You Are Creating Your Experience”

Insight of the Month: “HOW You Are Creating Your Experience”


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Welcome Members to the April 2009 Edition of SGM. I’m Kevin Schoeninger.

This month, we’ll explore Richard Bandler’s new book entitled, “Get The Life You Want.” In his latest book, Mr. Bandler distills the essence of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) into simple principles and an array of practical techniques. His approach is two-pronged. First, he helps you understand how you are creating the experience you are living now. Second, he shows you how to shift your life experience in areas where you are not getting what you want in your life.

Many of you may know Mr. Bandler as the father and co-creator of NLP. NLP has been around for the past forty years as one of the most successful therapy and personal growth systems. It is taught around the globe by NLP certified trainers. For more information, you can contact The Society of NLP or go to www.NLPlinks.com .

Our goal for this month’s Weekly Messages is to help you understand the essence of the NLP approach and give you some tools that you can use right now to shape the life you are meant to live. One of the prime things you will learn from NLP is that your experience of life is in your control. That doesn’t mean that you can control every event or circumstance in your life. What it does mean is that you can shape how you experience those events and circumstances, how you relate to them, so that you live with greater health, happiness, success, and meaning.

Richard Bandler began his work in the 1960s with a simple empirical approach. Rather than theorizing about “why” people did what they did, he would investigate “how they did it.” His guiding principle was to discover “What works.”

He looked at how people who were successful in kicking habits, getting over loss, achieving success, and creating positive experiences used their minds to get those results. He looked at how people who were stuck in bad habits, lost in depression, ridden with anxiety, and frustrated in moving forward used their minds. He was interested in seeing how people created their inner experiences by the way they used their mind.

As he says, “Very simply, this is the process of teaching people to think differently. Thinking isn’t a passive process unless you do it passively. Thinking should always be an active process where you think in a way that gets you the results you want.” (p. xxvi GTLYW)

What he discovered is the phenomenal power of the mind to create the positive and the negative. He started to show people who were unhappy how they were creating and recreating their unhappiness. As he says, “most ongoing problems are just a manifestation of having the same bad habit over and over again.” (p.xxxi GTLYW) When you see how you are creating the experience you are having by what you are focusing on mentally, you gain the power to step into the process to create a different experience. He points out that, “When you think in a new way, you get to do new things and you get to feel new things.” (p.xxvii GTLYW)

After enabling people to see how they are creating their present unhappy experience, he then shows them how to unwind that unhappiness. At the same time, he shows them how to amplify, build, and re-pattern new, more successful mental habits.

In this Week’s Message, we’ll talk about the essential principles that he discovered. In next Week’s Message, we’ll explore how to amplify positive experience and dissolve negative experience. In Weekly Message Three, we’ll show you how to use these techniques in specific ways to get over past pain, get through challenging present experiences, and get to what you want to achieve and experience in life moving forward.

So how does NLP work? It begins with a present experience. Begin by looking at your present experience as something that you are doing rather than as something that is happening to you. With this as a starting point, your goal is to discover how you are mentally creating your experience, consciously and subconsciously. Since much of our experience seems to happen without our conscious choice, the first step is to become conscious of our subconscious mental processes.

A good place to begin your exploration is to notice how you are feeling in your body. Let’s begin with a negative experience, since these are the ones that you’d like to shift. Ask yourself this series of questions when you find yourself in a negative experience. Call to mind a recent tense, frustrating, or painful experience. Then ask yourself:

What do I feel in my body?

Where is this feeling located? What are the qualities of this feeling? Does it make you hot/cold? Does it make you breathe fast? Does it make your muscles contract? Is it heavy or light? Where does the feeling start from? How does the feeling move in your body? Is there a direction to it? Move your hand in circles in different directions and see which one matches how your feeling is moving.

What images are associated with this feeling?

How many images are associated with your feeling? Are they moving or still? Are they in color or black and white? Are they small or large? Where do you see them? (In front of you? Behind you? Above? Below? Left? Right? In the middle?) Are you in the image or looking at it?

Are there any thoughts, beliefs, or words in your head associated with the feeling and images? What words do you hear in your head? Who is speaking them? What is the tone, tempo, and rhythm? How do those words make you feel?

Are there any other sensations associated with the feeling/ image/thought? Any smells, tastes, or bodily sensations?

Mr. Bandler calls this taking an inventory of the submodalities of your experience.

To better understand this, let’s do two exercises from “Get The Life You Want.” The first is called “Discover How You Do Certainty” and the second is called “Discover Your Time Line.”

Discover How You Do Certainty Exercise

(from p. 22 GTLYW)

1. Think of something that you believe strongly. (For example, that the sun will come up tomorrow.)

2. Notice what feelings, images, thoughts, and sensations are associated with your certain belief that the sun will come up tomorrow.

3. Go down through the submodality questions listed above.

4. Think of something that you doubt or are not sure of. (Maybe this, maybe that.)

5. Notice what feelings, images, thoughts, and sensations arise when you think about this thought and your uncertainty about it.

6. Go down through the list of submodalities questions above.

7. Note especially the differences between the strong belief and what you are uncertain of.

As I did this exercise, I noted that my strong beliefs were associated with clear feelings and images that were located in a specific place around or inside me. They were of a certain size, color, and vividness. They felt a certain way in my body. I am a very kinesthetic person, so I feel things more than I see or hear them. You may be different. What is most important is to understand how “YOU DO CERTAINTY.”

The same was true for my uncertain beliefs. They had different submodalities and a different location. Again, what is most important is for you to start to understand how you represent uncertainty to yourself.

You will learn to use this knowledge to make experiences that you desire more certain and experiences that you don’t want less certain. By understanding the mental inventory of how you represent experiences in your mind, you can skillfully enter into that process to create better, more desirable results.

This type of mental inventory will come even clearer as you move through the next exercise.

Discover Your Time Line Exercise

(from p.33 GTLYW)

1. Think of a time when you brushed your teeth five years ago and point to where you represent it.

2. Think of a time when you brushed your teeth one year ago and point to where you represent it.

3. Think of the present moment of brushing your teeth right now and point to where you represent it.

4. Think of a time when you will brush your teeth one year in the future and point to where you represent it.

5. Think of a time when you will brush your teeth five years in the future and point to where you represent it.

6. Draw an imaginary line from five years ago through one year ago, the present, one year in the future to five years in the future. This is your time line.

7. Extend the time line further into the future and past.

What is the significance of the time line? It represents how you think and feel about the past, present, and future. As Mr. Bandler says, “Becoming aware as you are now, about how you represent time makes it easier for you to change how you feel about it.” (p.34 GTLYW)

When you understand how “do time” you will be able to shift how you relate to experiences in your time line. You will gain the ability to put things in the past, to be present where you are now, and to better prepare for the future.

My suggestion for you this week is to stop yourself in the middle of at least one strongly felt experience each day and go through the submodality questions above. Note what you are feeling in your body in detail. Note the images that are associated with that feeling. Note any thoughts, beliefs, or words in your head associated with that feeling. Note any other sensations that are associated with that felt experience.

As you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll start to understand how you are shaping the experiences you are having by how you are mentally interacting with them. Your experience is the result of what you bring to it. It is a result of what you are doing, consciously or subconsciously. The more you can make your mental process conscious and positively chosen the greater your health, happiness, and success.

I would love to hear your questions, comments, and experiences in the Comments section below this Message.

In next Week’s Message, we’ll explore how to dissolve negative experiences and amplify positive ones.

Until next time,

Happy practicing,

Kevin