Healing occurs when we connect to the eternal spiritual beings.
Plant medicines help us connect with the spiritual realm.
Pachamama is not just the Earth. The Earth is just one expression of the divine mother.
To get her attention we must give something. Ayni (reciprocal exchange) is the first law of the universe. In reciprocation, through offerings, we establish our commitment. It’s a too; for reconnecting with our common nature, as brothers and sisteres, sharing the same mother.
Instead of using the word Pachamama we can use phrses like “divine princess,” “dear grandmother,” “noble queen of the universe.”
Music is a way to communicate with all plants and animals and the Earth. It helps us communicate with the cosmos. It is medicine. It is a prayer.
Plant medicine is not a ‘trip’, nor is it a form of personal development. It is a way to connect to the living presence of the spirit of the universe.
All plant have their spirit. They are spirit.
Kike Pinto Cardenas is a a composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. His songs are testament to his lifelong path as a ceremonialist and teacher. He has spent a lifetime immersed in traditional Andean music. He is considered a living cultural treasure in his native Peru.
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“What do you want meaning for? Life is desire, not meaning.” —Charlie Chaplin
It was many years ago, when I was living in London; early on a summer Sunday morning. The sun was just touching the rooftops. The streets were quiet. I was woken by loud banging on the door of the flat downstairs. The banging went on for several minutes. I got up and opened my door, and called down that my neighbor was away for the weekend, and anyway, you shouldn’t go around waking people up at the crack of dawn! A young man came up the stairs, walked into my flat, sat down and said, “Wake you up? Wake you up? Nothing could wake you up, mate!” Then he stood up, walked back downstairs, and left the building.
I went back to bed and imagined that perhaps the stranger had been a messenger. Perhaps he was giving me a messages from the universe. Was there a hidden meaning here, something he knew, that I didn’t? Or had I, like him, simply had too much to drink the night before?
I told the story to my friends and it became an ongoing joke. So it has stuck with me, a reminder to ask what ‘waking up’ could even mean.
We all invent our own unique meanings for life, and for the things that we experience. It’s how we make the map that we navigate by. That summer, in the late 1970’s, I had spent the past several months at silent meditation retreats. I was learning to question a lot of what I had previously taken for granted. ‘Meaning’ was already up for grabs.
Milton Erickson, the man who helped make hypnosis acceptable in the world of medicine and psychiatry, and who was to become one of the original inspirations for NLP, said that everyone walks around in a trance of disempowerment, and that our work is to change that trance, to a trance of empowerment – in other words, to wake up. His genius in helping his clients was in his ability to recognize the maps they used to navigate the world, the meanings they gave to things. Waking-up was simply waking up to the possibility of making new meanings, new maps. and opening yourself up to doing things in new ways.
We are meaning-making creatures. It’s what we do. It’s how we learn, communicate, and create. As children it’s how we define who we are, and who we will become. It becomes a problem when the meanings we attribute to things make us feel bad or do harm to others. Fear, and our longing to make the world safe, causes meaning to coagulate into fixed beliefs, and fixed beliefs to become assumed truths.
It’s clearer if you consider the words of Charlie Chaplin,
“What do you want meaning for? Life is desire, not meaning.”
Meaning hesitates, desire acts. Meaning doubts, desire loves. Meaning is a mirage, a trap, that takes you round in circles. Desire goes straight to the source. It’s the old dance between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, between Logos and Eros. It’s NOT a battle between opposites. Desire is not a pathway (as some fear) towards losing control, or to indulging in unbridled appetites, and losing yourself to addiction. Desire is how you cultivate your creativity, vision, integrity, and sense of being connected to the whole.
If there’s a clear message from the universe it’s that you have a choice as to how you shape meaning; so that the meanings you make, carry you forward, rather than hold you back; and NLP is a useful messenger that brings you the skills to help you turn desire into creativity, and your vision into reality.
Blog post and Podcast
NLP, Neurolinguistic Programing, has had a huge impact on public speaking, education, business, and therapy for over forty years. For those of us who can see its all-pervading influence, it’s hard to imagine how things were before NLP became part of the current human environment. NLP continues to evolve, and to provide cutting-edge skills that help top leaders, speakers, sales-people, creative artists, teachers, and therapists become better at what they do.Yet, to most people it still remains invisible.
I first came across NLP through the recommendation of a Buddhist monk I met in Sri Lanka in the 1970’s. I began by reading the handful of books then available. Later in the mid-1980s I attended my first NLP seminar. The trainer was remarkably uninspiring and dull, but I was intrigued, and started using elements of NLP in my Hypnotherapy practice, even though I wouldn’t fully appreciate its brilliance and power until years later.
When NLP is being used well, you don’t notice it at all, because NLP is more than just a technique or a skill. Actually, it’s not even really a modality in the usual sense. It’s like a chameleon. When used well it can enhance any situation to help you to communicate, influence, heal, or effect change in yourself or others, remarkably quickly and effectively. It has been called “an attitude followed by a trail of techniques.” But the techniques are only the beginning. In the hands of an experienced practitioner, NLP is a truly improvised art.
Much of contemporary Neuroscience only affirms what NLP-trained therapists, teachers, leaders, and group-facilitators, have been doing to help people change their lives for forty years, based on precise observation and intuition.
NLP was born from the simple inquiry, “Is it possible to reproduce the results of the very best contemporary therapists (at the time that was Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson) by copying what they did?” NLP was created by learning the art of copying effectively (Modelling), and then from the specific details that were discovered from doing so. The emphasis on modelling, or emulating, what works, rather than getting rid of what doesn’t work, sets NLP apart from many other approaches to change that rely heavily on theoretical analysis and the diagnosis of what’s wrong.
Modelling in NLP doesn’t stop with the luminaries that inspired its creation. There’s no limit to what, or who, you can model in order to be effective – visionaries, innovators, therapists, healers, scientists, artists; Socrates, Mozart, Mother Teresa, Einstein, Korzybski, Jimmy Hendrix, Oprah Winfrey. NLP existed long before the term Neurolinguistic was coined. It’s as ancient as the first time someone systematically began to exemplify or copy others in order to improve their own performance. Contemporary NLP is simply the ongoing refinement of how you can do so most effectively.
The Spiritual Side of NLP Training
Michele and I both became serious about NLP after we had been teaching meditation and leading retreats for many years. We were feeling stagnant. We needed a change. We were noticing that many people used meditation not to transform their lives, but to reinforce who they already were, and what they already believed. In the words of our teacher of many years, Thich Nhat Hanh, they were practicing ‘bomb-shelter’ meditation.
The effect that we noticed NLP had, both on ourselves and on our students and clients, was that it accelerated deep transformation and change in ways that meditation alone usually could not.
Here are three examples of some of the many ways \NLP supports systemic and spiritual change.
Big Picture Thinking
Among the principles we teach our clients and students is the importance of seeing the big picture. When you see the big picture and have greater perspective, you have more choices. Having more choices, you learn to recognize the opportunities that life is continually giving you, as well as the long term consequences of your actions.
Most errors of judgment, missed opportunities, regret and unhappiness, are the result of failing to see a bigger picture. I remember a French movie I saw many years ago. It is the story of an illicit claustrophobic love-affair in a claustrophobic provincial town. The two protagonists eventually murder their respective spouses. At the end of the film, when they are arrested, the detective ask them, “Why couldn’t you just elope?” They had failed to see the obvious solution. They had missed the big picture. How many times do we miss the big picture because we are so focused on the problems immediately in front of us that we miss the obvious solution?
Awareness and Meditation
Mindfulness and Meditation have become part of our collective culture in ways that we could never have imagined a few years ago. Although we no longer teach mindfulness or meditation as we used to, we have taken elements from traditional Mindfulness training skills and combined them with elements from NLP – Expanded Awareness, Anchoring, and the use of Sub-modalities – to help people develop sustained focus and awareness. (You may not know those technical terms yet, but you’ll certainly appreciate them when you understand what they mean)
The results have been extraordinary. We have seen students raise their grade-point average by one or two points; and we have seen how NLP, in conjunction with enhanced awareness, can address chronic anxiety, emotional trauma, as well as panic attacks and phobias.
Most people are controlled by their emotions, even though they’d like to think that they are not. Suppression is often the only option they know. But when you learn that emotions are messengers, and that the information they bring is always relevant, you can free yourself from being held hostage by them.
Every emotion is connected by association to other emotions, memories, and expectations. When you learn to navigate through the intricate tangle of your emotions and mental states, you create a chain of positive emotion that can liberate you from the emotional maze that the majority of people spend their lives in. This is a central aspect of NLP – how to be the architect of your own emotional state.
Michele and I tend to avoid the word ‘spiritual’ because it creates a division. The biggest so-called un-spiritual experience can also provide a priceless opportunity for change; and transformational change is inherently ‘spiritual’. Whatever broadens your perspective teaches you something you didn’t know before, and if you’re really paying attention it will enhance the quality of your life. Creating a split division between spiritual and not-spiritual is how we have created war, environmental destruction, and our own human alienation from the fabric of life on the planet.
I knew a dedicated spiritual seeker who meditated in a closet because the birds outside the window disturbed his meditation. As an ardent twenty-year-old meditator I would swear at the neighbors’ children for disturbing my tranquility. I had no idea that ‘truth’ and ‘spirit’ are everywhere. Decades later, to my surprise, I noticed how going back and forth between the serenity of Manzanita Village and Los Angeles made no difference to my mental equilibrium. Apparently something had rubbed off on me.
‘Truth’ is not a rule book, or a story about an extra-terrestrial supreme being. Truth is what is useful to help you lead a better, more beneficial life, for yourself and others, here and now. Your spirituality is whatever leads you to do so most effectively.
Because NLP helps you to obliterate emotional baggage, break through limiting beliefs, presumptions, and self-negating behaviors, and to recognize your greater potential, it is a very real spiritual discipline. Perfectionism and self-judgment are obstacles that get in the way of understanding that everything you experience is a way forward. Inherent to NLP is the recognition that there is no failure, only feedback. When you are able to learn from the feedback you become like an engineer of your own human potential, and you move forward, spiritually, and in every way, because every way is connected.
STAYING ALIVE: PART THREE
RE-DEFINE CREATIVITY. We have to be honest, we’re biased in favor of people with a creative sensibility, whether they’re artists, designers, photographers, musicians, writers, performers, or simply people who bring the spirit of creativity and spontaneity into their lives. Here’s five reasons why.
Life coaching tools and resources from Five Changes
1. To be human is to be creative. Creativity is the essence of human experience. It is change and innovation, experimentation, wonder, curiosity, or the simple desire to do something new. We express it as play, travel, conversation, work, day-dreaming, and lovemaking. Everything is enhanced by the quality of creativity we bring to our life. Repetitive tasks can be transformed by changing your thought or intention behind that task, or by simply changing how you do it. Creativity is what gives you choice; to stretch, to challenge yourself, to play, and to grow. Creativity is not just for children and artists, it’s our life-blood. It’s how we stay alive.
2. Play. Let’s play! Creativity is as simple as a child’s laughter, spontaneous and free. How much can you let yourself feel? What is more important than your ability to wonder and respond, or to see with new eyes, hear with new ears .. another’s face, another’s words, sunset or sunrise, what was called in classical Chinese, “the ten-thousand things” – the whole wide world. Creativity is the pleasure of being present to the world. Why not ask yourself when you wake up in the morning, “How much pleasure can I let myself feel today?”
3. Communication. Creativity is communication. Wherever we happen to live, our language is the roof and walls, the windows and doors of our experience. Even in silence, how we speak to ourselves will define how we experience the world. Our words are constantly changing. No two sentences are alike. How we speak is how we make friends and allies, or how we make enemies. It’s how we tell the world who we are. If actions speak louder than words, then actions are the verification of the internal conversation we have with ourselves.
4. Self-care. Creativity is how we care for ourselves. The impulse for innovation and change, the instinct to adapt, or to celebrate, to pause or to move forward. Whether through unrestrained improvisation or a ritual act, through an artist spending a lifetime on a body of work or a spontaneous instant, the confluence of elements that make for a perfect moment. There’s something about living at the edge of your comfort zone, and dancing with the unpredictable and spontaneous creative. True self-care is also cultivating your limitless imagination.
5. Problem Solving. Everyone has challenges, everyone is faced with change. Creativity is an essential element for problem-solving and fluid adaptation. Sometimes just doing what you have never done before to address an old familiar problem is all you need to do to change everything, including your sense of whatever it is being the problem you thought it was.
Exercise, Re- Define Creativity for your self: Here’s a simple strategy you can use – to start a new project, or inspire you when you’re stuck. Take a book, a large book is always best, and open it at random. Point to a word on the page without looking. Then write the word down. Repeat this two more times. Now you have three words selected at random. Use those words, whatever they may mean or signify to you, to come up with a new approach to your problem or project.
A few years ago Caitriona and I started to integrate our various skill-sets. We were already excited about helping people make big changes, but something was missing.
We had been teaching meditation retreats for a long time, and we are still impressed at how deeply meditation and mindfulness training can transform people’s lives. However, we also noticed that there are many people who are drawn to meditation, not because they are contemplatives or visionaries, but because they are natural introverts. They come to meditation for comfort.
If you are a natural introvert, meditation might actually not be the most direct way to make meaningful change in your life. In fact, it can hold you back.
Then there are others who find meditation difficult, even though they may be naturally visionary, and very much in touch with the power of their imagination, very driven, and very much aware that the deepest change comes from inside.
We knew there was something more we could do that would bring lasting positive change to a far wider range of people than we were reaching.
So we began experimenting. In addition to being Zen and Vipassana teachers of many years standing, we were Hypnotherapists, we were trained in NLP. We had already been bringing other elements into the meditation, to broaden the context and make it more applicable to everyday life. In addition, I am both an artist and a martial artist. I’ve taught non-violence in a range of settings over many years. There is no way I can avoid bringing these perspectives into the work.
What is Five Changes?
Five Changes is born out of the range of perspectives and skills we have developed over the years. It is a deliberate integration of skills for long-lasting powerful change. It works for anyone who is ready to get out of their own way, step into their unique brilliance, and live their life, not at 50% or 75%, but at full throttle.
By the way, it is far less stressful to live at 100%, because when you are in alignment, when the activity of your conscious and unconscious mind match each other, you tap into new sources of energy and creativity.
People ask what the Five Changes are:
- They are the Five Principles for Change.
- They are the Five different modalities that we have integrated.
- They are the Five building blocks that make up who we all are internally.
- They are the Five Precepts – the five guidelines for living with awareness and integrity
- They are the Five areas of your life where change happens .. in work, with family and friends, in romance, with physical and emotional health, and in your inner spiritual world..
I would also like to say that there are at least five things any one of us could usefully change in their life. But when you really change one of them, all the others will shift in unison. Because each of us is a system. The way we work in Five Changes is to look at the whole person, and to work with each person as a unique living inter-connected whole system.
What is Five changes, Five changes, Five Changes is, Mediation, NLP, spiritual practice, Neuro linguistic programming, Hypnosis, personal development, unconscious mind.
Meta-States and Negative emotions: When Bad Emotions Turn Good
Cloudy. Chance of Rainbows!
Wouldn’t it be great if negative emotions such as anger, sadness, disappointment, and fear, didn’t drain you, confuse you, overwhelm you, or cloud your thinking? Wouldn’t it be great if you learned to use them to bring you more energy, clarity, resourcefulness, even more happiness? Wouldn’t it be great if they became the very best way for you to solve problems and awaken your creativity?
Emotions occur for a reason. They also occur because of a choice you make; or made in the past. Which means that emotions are often based on long-established patterns and habits.
Anger. Fear. Sadness. Go for it!
Think of negative emotions as signals; information you can use to catalyze change; to regain balance, for example; or to trigger deeper degrees of happiness, confidence, joy, equilibrium, excitement.
Think of negative emotions as friends. When an apparently debilitating emotion pays you a visit, what they are doing is reminding you that something is off-balance. Invite them in, ask yourself, “What can I learn here?” Imagine that your friend is bringing you a gift. Ask yourself “How will this .. anger, sadness, disappointment, fear .. serve me?”
This is the beginning of learning to become a true artist of your states of mind and emotions.
When you learn to use your self-reflective capacity in a particular way, you create the space around these strong emotions so that they won’t trigger you. Some spiritual practices use an observational approach to meditation. Yet there is a tendency to simply switch from negative to positive, thereby missing the opportunity to use the momentum behind the negative emotion. Certainly, there are times when we need to switch off and experience calm and peace; but if that’s all we do, we miss huge opportunities for genuine and permanent transformation.
Meta-States. The complete and utter transformation of negative emotions
For a few years I had been caretaking my father who is in the middle stages of dementia. He is living in a Catholic facility where all his needs are attended too. Several years ago, when I visited him there, I felt profound sadness. Once my sadness was so strong that I felt it would be dangerous for me to drive. It was as if I was intoxicated with my sadness! So I went back to the small chapel in the building. I just let the feelings be there. Then I began to use my skills to create Meta-States from the sadness. Using Meta-States begins with the question, ”What is the highest intention of this sadness? What is its greatest purpose?”
The answer I got was, “Get back to the joy!” My natural joy was inside, underneath, and behind the sadness. It was a question of simply taking the time to recognize it. In fact, it was a little more than just recognizing that simple fact. Working with Meta-States is a specific way to change deeply ingrained patterns we sometimes use to limit ourselves with emotions we imagine happen to us. They help us learn that we are doing them, and that with skill we can navigate them to effect a complete transformation.
In simplest terms, when you use a Meta-State, you are moving to a resourceful internal experience from the starting point of a self-limiting experience. Of course, there are specific ways to do this. (which we will cover in a later article).
Meta-States is something that comes out of NLP. Despite much confusion, NLP is actually very simple. It is the ongoing investigation and replication of what works best, for the greatest benefit of all concerned.
If the question is, “How do people who remain unshakably happy maintain their happiness, even in the face of setbacks, disappointments, and even tragedy?” Then the answer is, “By applying the specific Meta-States that those people use. In other words, Meta-States is a strategy, a sequence of inner shifts, that you can learn to use in order to bypass old debilitating emotional downward spirals.
Now when I visit my father, my sadness immediately expands out to joy. It happens so quickly that I hardly recognize it as sadness.
There is a Japanese word that actually translates to ‘happy-sad.’ I learned to appreciate what this word meant from my own experience. Not only did I reap the benefits of transforming my sadness, I have learned to hone my skill in developing Meta-States in just about any situation that comes my way.
Of course, there is the added benefit that when you take responsibility to feel good, others feel good around you. Not only is my old Dad happier to see me, but the staff and the nurses noticeably perk up whenever I show up. They’ve even told me as much.
.. Spread the Joy!
Meta-States is part of our Five Changes NLP snd Apprenticeship training and is also one of the key skills we teach to our clients.
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