Saturday, November 27, 2010

Messages from the Unconscious

As we explored in last week’s post on Exquisite Immuning, your health is one of the most important and life enhancing assets you have. Symptoms of un-wellness are often messages from your mind/body that all is not well in how you are living and healthing in your life. In today’s post we are going to learn an NLP technique for communicating and negotiating with your unconscious mind to work with those signals and to support greater healthing and wellnessing.

Symptom’s as signals

Your unconscious mind communicates in many ways. Pain and disease are signals. Disease is often a symptom of ‘dis-ease’ in your system. It’s your unconscious mind’s way of communicating via your cybernetic loop about stress and dysfunction in your mind-body.

The unconscious mind is a patterning system. It learns to repeat and replicate patterns and behaviours. The conscious mind allows choice. It provides the means of volitional control so that you can select and change the patterns.

The symptoms of disease can often be a signal or message from your unconscious mind to your conscious mind. Alerting you to processes that need attention and change. You ignore these messages at your peril.

Pain and disease are natures signal that something is wrong. Listen to the symptoms and ask them what needs changing. Maybe there’s something you need to attend to in your life. Or are you deleting or blocking something from your awareness? What do you need to change? Underlying all stress is a reason or cause. It may be physical, emotional or mental.

NLP: Communicating with the unconscious mind

In NLP there is a technique called the Six-Step Reframe that is used to communicate with the unconscious part responsible for any particular process or outcome in your life. In this technique you literally talk to the part and ask what its positive intention is. You speak to it and ask what positive thing it is trying to achieve for you.

There is a presupposition in NLP that every behaviour has a positive intention. By exploring and finding the underlying positive intentions of the part producing the dis-ease, you can then negotiate within yourself to find a better and more generative way of achieving and satisfying the positive purpose or need that exists in your life.

Six-Step Reframe

The steps of the Six-Step Reframe technique are:

1. Identify the behaviour, response or signal you want to change
2. Communicate with the part responsible for the behaviour
Literally talk to the part. Respectfully ask “Will the part responsible for X communicate with me consciously now?” Then carefully notice the signals or response you get. It may be words, sounds, images or feelings.
3. Determine the positive intention of the behaviour
Thank the part for communicating with you and ask it “Please tell me what your positive intention is. What are you trying to do for me?” Notice the response you get. What intuitions or messages does the unconscious part respond with?
4. Ask the part to work with the whole of your unconscious mind, including your creative parts, to generate new and more generative ways of accomplishing the outcome
Ask the part to communicate internally with the other parts of your mind to find new behaviours and ways of achieving the positive purpose. If the part has been signalling to you that the way you are living is doing you harm, then your unconscious mind can generate new patterns of behaviour that are more healing and healthful. Your conscious mind can respect this process and support the new behaviours.
5.    Ask the part if it will agree to use the new behaviours and choices rather than the old behaviour to achieve its outcome
If you don’t get a yes signal from the part, then return to step 4 until all parts of you have worked together to find behaviours and choices that work and that the part in question will support.
6. Do an ecology check of all parts of your mind
Ask “Does any other part object to my new choices?” If you get a response that indicates there is an issue of ecology or potential negative consequences then return to step 3 and ask what positive intentions this new part is attempting to communicate about and work with it and the original part to generate behaviours and choices that work for the whole of you.

Trust your unconscious mind

This technique can work quite powerfully. You’ll be surprised at just how clearly parts can communicate. You need to trust your unconscious mind and work with it respectfully. It is trying to do the best it can with the knowledge and skills it has at this point in your life. You may need to support yourself with new skills and patterns, and reading and studying this blog is a great step in that direction.

Do this technique in a quiet place. Relax, calm your mind and then gently talk to the parts of your mind that have a message for you. Be very positive and explicit in your communicating. With a bit of trust, you’ll be surprised at how amazing this communication process can be.

It’s about getting in touch with your intuitions. It’s about hearing the messages from your gut brain, your heart brain, your non-dominant hemisphere and other distributed intelligences around your brain and body. It’s about aligning all the parts of you to support wellness in your life. By looking deeply within and explicitly communicating with the parts of your multi-mind, you can gain important insights and messages from your unconscious mind.

And using these insights, you can generate more life enhancing wellness and healthing in every aspect of you mind, body and life.

Life enhancing wishes

Reframing: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning

Richard Bandler's Guide to Trance-formation: How to Harness the Power of Hypnosis to Ignite Effortless and Lasting Change

Neuro-linguistic programming: NLP and science, Meta-model, Reframing

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Exquisite Immuning

"As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself.”
Adelle Davis

Your health is one of the most important and life enhancing assets you have. Most people slowly kill themselves through negative addictions and destructive habits. Lack of exercise, too much stress, poor diet and negative thoughts and emotions wreak slow havoc on your immune system and your body.

Health is a result of a myriad of factors and processes. Our bodies are incredibly complex. To maintain life enhancing optimal health you need to do behaviours of healthing – behaviours that support your brain and body; that support your immune system, digestive system and cardiovascular system amongst many others.

In today’s post I’m going to share a powerful process for working with your immune system and enhancing its operation.

The Immune System

The immune system is a very complex part of the body. It contains a myriad of different cells and components and is distributed throughout your body. The immune system is intimately connected to your nervous system, head brain and gut brain and can in some ways be thought of as an extended part of the brain/mind system. As the field of Psycho-Neuro-Immunology (PNI) has shown, your thoughts and feelings directly affect your immune function. (I'll talk about this in more detail  in a coming blog post.)

Bliss Pointing

As you know from previous blog posts, there is a bliss point or optimal state for the majority of your body's processes and this includes the amount of immuning that your immune system needs to do to keep you healthy. Too little immuning and you can’t fight off disease or overcome naturally occurring cancer cells. Too little immuning can make you susceptible to illness and pathogens.

Your immune system has both a memory and the ability to track for self/not-self. The immune cells are constantly checking your body for invaders and rogue cells that don’t belong. Too much immuning – an overstimulated immune function – can lead to auto-immune problems and diseases.

Exquisite Immuning

I’d like to share a personal story with you about the optimal process of immuning. Many years ago, when first learning about NLP and Behavioural Modelling, I got interested in issues of health and wellness. So I decided to study the immune system and model the process of immuning and healing. I came across the idea of ‘Super Immuning’ and applied the principles of NLP to amplifying these processes and states of immuning. I used self-hypnosis and NLP techniques to communicate with my unconscious mind and install the process of Super Immuning in myself.

A couple of weeks later, I began to notice a strange red rash on my lower left leg. The skin was raised and inflamed. I thought that I’d somehow gotten a skin mite infection from cleaning out the vacuum cleaner bag that I had accidentally dropped on my uncovered leg one morning. So I used various creams and lotions to try and remove that rash. Nothing seemed to shift or heal it. I sought medical help and also consulted with a Naturopath. Nothing seemed to help. I lived with that rash for many, many months and it was slowly spreading and getting worse.

One day, relaxing in a warm shower, I decided to use the NLP Six-Step Reframing technique to talk to my unconscious mind and find out what the symptom of the rash was trying to tell me. I knew that my unconscious mind knew the cause of the problem, even if my conscious mind didn’t have a clue.

So I put myself into a self-hypnotic, meditative state and gently, respectfully spoke to my unconscious, asking specifically for insight into the cause. The words ‘Super-Immuning’ popped into my mind, along with the saying ‘the more – the more pattern’. This is a pattern in NLP that indicates a positive feedback loop. The more you do something, the more it causes the same process, leading to a spiral or run-away pattern. For example, the process of fearing fear leads a person into more and more fearing.

In that flash of insight my unconscious mind communicated to me, I realised I had installed in myself many months ago a runaway pattern of over-stimulating my immune function. The word ‘Super’ indicates a comparative deletion. That is, something is only ever ‘super’ in comparison to something else. When you call or describe something as super, without indicating what it is super compared to, you are doing what in NLP is called a comparative deletion. I had installed in myself a comparative deletion pattern of ‘Super-Immuning’. I had installed in my unconscious mind a pattern of doing more and more immuning. I had, in effect, created an over-stimulated auto-immune disorder. The rash on my leg was my own immune system attacking my skin and causing an eczema type rash.

There and then, I asked my unconscious mind for a better metaphor for the process I was trying to model. The answer came back immediately – ‘Exquisite Immuning’. What I wanted was not to do super immuning, but instead to be able to do an exquisite level of immuning appropriate to whatever was happening in my body at any point in time. Exquisite implies fitness for purpose. Exquisite implies outcome.

So I immediately removed the ‘Super Immuning’ process and changed and re-installed the unconscious immuning process as ‘Exquisite Immuning’ and within 24 hours the rash went completely away. Overnight, that angry, red, painful and itchy rash that completely covered my lower left leg disappeared and my skin returned to normal. I’d had that rash for months and months – or to put it more accurately from a neurolinguistic perspective – I’d been ‘doing’ that rash for many, many months and finally I’d stopped. The rash went away. My leg healed.

The moral of the story is manifold. Firstly, NLP processes are powerful and should be used intelligently, carefully and ecologically. Secondly, always listen to your symptoms and check with your unconscious mind for the underlying message it is attempting to communicate to you. Thirdly, there is such a thing as too little and too much immuning. Balance is required. What’s appropriate at one time is not appropriate at another.

For example, if you have come into contact with a pathogen such as a cold virus and have become infected, then you need to amp up your immuning to fight off the virus. Once you are well, you don’t want to have too active an immune function or you’ll end up developing auto-immune problems. You want and can do a balanced amount of immuning.

And here’s the life enhancing message: use the idea and metaphor of ‘Exquisite Immuning’ to track for and encourage your unconscious mind to do appropriate immuning. The unconscious mind can be influenced by belief, metaphor and symbolism, by visualisation and affirmation. So be careful what you ask for, and use its life enhancing power wisely.

Mastering Healthing

In next week’s blog post, I’ll share the Six Step Reframe NLP technique for how to communicate and negotiate with your unconscious mind to support healthing and wellness. And in the post after that I'll explore the research findings from PNI and how beliefs and thoughts impact or enhance your healthing. So stay tuned.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

Life enhancing wishes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Status Game

Status is a primary and universal human motive and a very powerful contributor to social success. Research has shown for example, that women are more attracted to men they perceive as having high status. Status is also linked to financial success. It’s powerful and ubiquitous.

The need for status is a game that largely drives society and can lead to a never ending greed spiral of status anxiety and misery. The more status a person has, the more they want. Uncontrolled, the Status Game is not life enhancing, but instead is a life denying and insidious enemy to human happiness.

Comparing yourself - controlling your comparisons

While status awareness is a biologically driven function, supported and reinforced by societal moirĂ©s and learnings, at its heart it’s mediated by the processes of who and what reference groups you compare yourself with. While it can be challenging to suppress status awareness entirely, it is much easier to control it by carefully selecting your focus for comparison.

Comparing your self to those who are richer, more attractive by today’s current societal standards or to those who are more privileged will inevitably lead to status anxiety. Comparing yourself to those who are less fortunate will lead to positive feelings of higher status.

As psychology professor Peter Salovey suggests, figure out what's really important to you and mentally withdraw from status competitions that aren't close to your heart. You can also draw upon memories and references in other domains in which you are successful to buffer against envy and status anxiety in a challenging domain.

The key is to realise that you need to and can control how you play the Status game and make sure that it is you who is controlling your perception of status and not someone else. The desire for status can be a greed pattern that drives materialism and undermines your self esteem and happiness. If at all possible, refuse to play the status game, and at the very least, watch for the comparisons you are making unconsciously and as you do, interrupt them and control them.

Recognise and control your focus of comparison and refuse to play show-off games of greed. Your happiness and life enhancing peace of mind depend on it.

life enhancing smiles