by Charles Curtis
Being an NLP practitioner has changed my way of perceiving reality. This happens to anybody who practices these techniques for a period of time, because they make you more conscious, more aware, more “present in the moment.”
You can accelerate this process of becoming more conscious by deliberately practicing NLP sensory awareness as a form of meditation.
In any kind of meditation or martial arts training, you are shown how to focus on the minute elements of personal subjective experience. For example, in Tai Chi practice, you have to focus on having your body in a state of incredible balance, so balanced that someone cannot push you over because you are so grounded in your stance. To do this, you have to practice paying incredibly close attention to the minutiae of posture that most westerners are ignorantly unaware of.
In the beginning, when the Tai Chi master comes by and adjusts your hand or shoulder or some other body part, in your unawareness, you can think “What was that about? I was doing what he wanted!” Yet, as your focus on correct practice continues, you can begin to notice that small differences in posture make the difference between ease and tension.
To learn how to do this yourself without the teacher present, you have to become exquisitely aware of your posture and how it feels. And if anything seems out of adjustment, tight or tense, you have to play around with your posture until you find out what is out of balance and correct it, and then, suddenly, you feel the shift into relaxation. And when that becomes automatic and natural, your teacher will smile and not have to correct you so much, because he will know that, at last, you’re “getting it”. And amazingly enough, at that same moment, you’ll notice that the beginning students are very obviously out of balance, just like you used to be. And that’s the moment when you really begin your study of Tai Chi.
The same kind of distinction is the difference between being just an “NLP Basic Practitioner” and an “NLP Master Practitioner”. The Basic Practitioner, not aware of the importance of what he just learned, walks out of the beginner’s class saying, “Yeh, yeh, yeh, I paid attention to my sensory awareness and got better at it. So what. Why did we waste time doing that? Let’s get to the good stuff. I want to heal people.”
However, just like a championship basketball player practices the basics every single day, because that’s what makes him a champion, the NLP Practitioner needs to “practice the basics” too, because that’s what makes him a “Master Practitioner”.
Because the Master Practitioner knows that the key to healing is perfect rapport. And the key to perfect rapport is being completely aware of the client in all ways. And the key to being completely aware of the client in all ways is to have mastered sensory awareness. And the key to mastering sensory awareness is to practice it a lot, until it starts to become natural.
So you can take any of these basic NLP sensory awareness exercises and practice them as a form of meditation. Take auditory for example. You can rest in a relaxed position with your eyes closed, and listen intently but in a relaxed way to all the sounds around you. Whenever your attention drifts, bring it back. Keep doing this for the time span you have given yourself. As you spend time doing this over a period of time, you will find your awareness of the sounds around you becoming noticeably clearer. (Not to mention that doing this will eventually quiet your mind and put you in a profound state of peaceful trance, for this is a powerful meditation technique in its own right).
Similarly, you can pay attention to any representational system, and for each system in an inner and outer way, and in a remembered and a constructed way.
So you can make a practice out of paying attention to:
Inner remembered vision
Inner remembered sound
Inner remembered sensation
Inner created vision
Inner created sound
Inner created sensation
You can spend an entire practice period devoted to one sense. Or you can practice them all, one after the other. In either case, once your mind quiets down, it can lead to powerful “one with all life” trance states.
You will therefore find analogues of these exercises in many martial art and meditation disciplines. Which is another way of saying that NLP will make you better at meditation, and meditation will make you better at NLP.
The fun part is when this practice starts to leading to profound inner experiences. You will have trance states deeper than you thought possible. You will feel a peace you didn’t know you could. You will find yourself experiencing colors more brilliantly, sounds more clearly, and sensations more deeply. Life will become more vibrant and more fun. You will be more in the present moment, and a simple act like walking down the street will put you in what the Buddhists call “beginner’s mind”, a profound state of awareness where you perceive at a very deep level that “life isn’t broken” and “all is well.”
And then when you’re in your next client session after having one of these profound experiences, you will find that your way of doing hypnosis has changed. You will be much more “present” with your client than you have ever been before. You will feel a deeper emotional connection than you have had before. And your intuitive insight will be noticeably more clear than before.
And then you’ll understand what being a “Master Practitioner” is all about, that it’s not an intellectual thing at all, it’s completely about the experience of being in the present moment with the client and how incredibly healing that is to him or her, even if you didn’t say a single word. And the words you DO say will be more profound, more meaningful, more healing, and lead to better and more permanent shifts in consciousness, once you learn how to do this.
And that’s when being an NLP Practitioner really starts to be fun!