Here in rainy Newcastle some friends are eventually getting round to tying their knot with a wedding – next month in Sunny ( I Hope ) July. Neither of them are official NLP aficionados yet they are pretty keyed up to notice things! While I listened intently to the items already procured for the ‘old, new, borrowed and blue’ I noticed just how much breathing patterns changed and as well are interrupted by conscious and unconscious thought process. One of the items had not yet been procured and while one of my friends wracked their brains in an to attempt to think of the ‘right’ item to use their partner smiled and asked laughing “why are you holding your breath” – indeed one of them had stopped breathing – A smile and a breath or two later and all the items were accounted for.
The processes of using breathing to change your state are very very old. For instance look back to the spiritual practices of Hinduism, Buddhism or Yogic traditions. The breath and breathing are devices of meditation and used to bring about amongst other things calmness and peaceful states. Through a conscious control of breathing an able practitioner is able to alter their state.
To be really clear, lets define ‘state’ as at any one time the total sum of your kinesthetic, neurological and bio-chemical activity. The interpretation of this information being summed as how you feel, perhaps mentally, emotionally and physically. The word state is a nominilisation – a state is really an ongoing flux.
At the heart of practically all Grinders new-code nlp interventions and manipulations is the ‘chain of excellence’. This is a very simple hierarchy of influence stating that the perhaps the simplest self manipulation you can do is to change your breathing in order to change your state n order to ultimately enhance performance. – sound familiar already?
Breathing (influences) Physiology (influences) State (influences) Performance.
Many have recognized, researched and published their work on breathing and the effect it can have. Some have done this very overtly like Yogic Breathing or Wilhelm Reich, other have done it through story and metaphor such as Carlos Castaneda.
Anyone who has done any Yogic breathing, meditation knows what happens to the breathing as they consciously centre and take conscious control of your breathing to change your state. One of the real ‘acid tests’ that for me show the difference in skill levels of NLP Practitioners is can you apply it to yourself or can you just talk about it and apply it to others. Even with the ‘modeling technology’ of NLP you still need to actually get the model or perhaps to put it another way you need to practice – if you want to approach mastery or perhaps it should be mistery of a process.
I will borrow two very simple breathing ‘meditations’ that you might like to try on for a while. One is from Deepak Chopra, The other is from Robert Anton Wilson. The idea being you do the ‘meditation’ of your choice for some period of time – say a week and you do it with a commitment.
The time for a meditation is suggested around a half hour. I suggest that you do it for 10 minutes on your first experiment and increase the time as you do over the next seven days. A quiet place will most likely really assist you. Do the meditation at least once per day and if you can make the time do it twice a day.
Before you start I invite you to find a way for you to become aware of any differences in your neurology after the weeks meditation. Should you happen to have anxiety, those summer blues from getting back from holiday or any potentially negative sate concerning some context this may be a useful thing to calibrate against.
I find it more helpful to initially close my eyes for these exercises – you can experiment and discover what works best for you.
Here is the meta-process, pretty standard stuff.
- Find somewhere quiet where you wont be disturbed and wear loose comfortable clothes.
- You can either sit upright or lie down – the idea is to stay in a different conscious
- Breath in through the nose deeply for about 5 seconds, filling your abdomen up and then your chest
- Breath out through the mouth slowly for about 10 seconds
During the breathing we use a mantra to equally tie up conscious attention engaging in a repetitive pattern ( an anchor? )
It is quite likely that during the meditation your ‘mind’ will drift and you end up inside a thought process – when you catch yourself doing this simply return to the mantra and put all your attention on repeating the words or sounds.
The mantras – these are said in internal dialog – not aloud
In breath – ‘sooooooooooooooo’
Out breath – ‘huoooooooooooom’
Anton-wilson, Constantly and with a rhythm
“showaddy shomoddy, showaddy shomoddy,
showaddy showaddy, shomoddy, showaddy”
All the best