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You may be reading this because you stumbled upon my page or perhaps your fascinated with East to West methodologies. Or perhaps some other reason but, either way it boils down to this:

Yin and Yang is a simple concept. One of the biggest killers of people in this world I strongly suspect, and this has been backed up in further studies, is from too much Yang. Or in the west we may say too much stress.

If you are looking for a more ‘factual’ or western explanation of mindfulness, balance, stress, Yin/Yang, or demystifying East to West philosophy your in the right place. This article is the western science applied to Yin Yang and how it affects the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which you will learn about in the next minutes. You will also have some action steps to improve your own balance and awareness.


 

two_wolves_sketch_by_caroline_leideritz

A native American father tells his son

There are 2 wolves battling in my heart.

One is violent and dangerous.

The other is full of warmth and compassion.”

The son ask “Which wolf will win

The answer “The one I feed

 

 

I just read this story for the second time. Only this time from a different book.

It was Daniel Goleman latest book written with the Dali Lama, A Force for Good. Highly reccommended for building compassion and depth of understanding.

It was through Daniel Goleman  that I first started ‘formally learning’ about Emotional Intelligence. After reading just one book I got hooked and ever since have been focused on developing Emotional Intelligence (and Social Intelligence) in my life and for others.

WARNING: You may get hooked too!

 

I would really love to share a more in-depth explanation of this and share with you some of the scientific reasoning on how it works and how this is the basis for Yin and Yang.

 

wolf2

 

So looking at the wolves, you may wonder, you may ponder different meanings. And that is the magic of metaphors. You take your own meaning out of it. Since you take out your own meaning, it’s more powerful then simply being told the reason or answer.

 

The more you think about how you have feel towards the story or metaphor, the more internal or self focused you may become. Through focus comes awareness. So take a moment to really feel the picture above.

 

I’ve been fortunate to study with some of the best thought leaders known. By chance I read this metaphor by Daniel Goleman and the Dali Lama and a week later I was working through a Emotional Intelligence in Leadership course by Dr. Richard Boyatzis. Last year I also heard Dr Bruce Lipton share similar work. Dr Boyatzis and Dr Lipton shared different stories but from a scientific, highly logical or masculine angle. So what we have is a pile of experts explaining something in various different language patterns and also emphasizing how important this is to individuals and the collective whole.

 

In Taoism, or Eastern works they say (in very brief words) Yin Yang represents the dualistic nature of life. Yin Yang is also represented in our body/souls. Yin Yang are opposites. In the above picture one is evil one is good which is completely wrong in Taoism. But it may help you understand, one is compassion, peaceful, kind. While the other is non compassion, anger, superiority.  I say it’s wrong in Taoism as the label of evil in western language means something to be avoid and really bad. Sometimes it’s natural and perfectly good to feel anger. Don’t avoid either side, as all sides and emotions make up the whole. Life should be whole rather than dualistic.

 

Now what I really want to share with you is not about Taoism or Yin Yang. It’s about the Autonomic Nervous System.

Under that light, these wolves form part of larger system. That system could well be labeled the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). In short, it’s purpose is to regulate the body’s unconscious actions. It is divided into two further systems. The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Para-sympathetic Nervous System (PNS).

 

System 1.
The Sympathetic Nervous System.

It’s primary process is to stimulate the body’s fight-or-flight response. When we undergo stress or anger, this sympathetic nervous system fires up accelerating the heart rate, and constricting blood vessels which increases blood pressure along with a couple of other changes to body. You see with more blood racing out to our arms and legs we are able to run faster or fight more efficiently.

As a consequence, we have less blood in our brain. Our ability to think logically goes down. When fighting with someone or running from an animal you don’t need logic. Run! Fight!

In fact when fighting an instinct takes over not logic.

Another example is when you’re running late, and can’t find your keys. You start stressing, look frantically and then relies there in your back pocket.

 

System 2.
The Para-sympathetic Nervous System.

The parasympathetic system kicks in through mindfulness, faith, hope, compassion, seeing kids laugh, patting a dog, experiencing joy with friends, having intimate moments with a lover.

When we do these things the parasympathetic system lowers the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, allows more blood to flow into the head. This results further in boosting the immune system. It not only works again but the body goes into recovery mode, rejuvenating, rebuilding the body.

It’s with this system that you’re at your cognitive best. And on every measure done, you’re in a better state.

Sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other.

This natural opposition is better understood as complementary in nature rather than antagonistic. Hence previously mentioning good and evil as being wrong. They compliment each other and are both necessary in life. Yin and Yang is a break down of the whole. You can’t remove either one. A problem, the problem is to much of either side can bring imbalance.

 

parasympathetic_laughter

Now your action. What you need to do is to simply be aware of what nervous system mode you are in. The more you are aware the more you can influence. So I would like to ask you to consciously ask yourself through out the day, where am I? Am I in the stressed sympathetic or relaxed para-sympathetic mode.

When have I been using each system? What could happen if I used the other mode?

In our modern lives we really need to ensure we have our parasympathetic systems kicking in as much as we can. The stress will come in due course, that’s for sure. But don’t put off getting back into balance. If you’re going to be out of balance, consider being out of balance with laughter and compassion so you can bounce back, rather than anger and stress.

Have a great day, thanks for reading and sharing this with your friends. Much love and warmth.

 

Adrian Cahill

 

Update. 2017.

Have had amazing success reducing stress in clients through using Heartmaths and mBraining. Here is a diagram from Heartmaths which illustrates what happens when you become to out of balance with too much Sympathetic Nervous System. This is serious stuff. If your suffering like this, simply schedule a session with me. We can help in less than 50 minutes.

https://www.calendly.com/adriancahill/virtualcoffeeamisufferingburnoutsyndrome

Neuro Logical Levels (or Neurological levels) is one of the most interesting frameworks I have ever seen in the Coaching / Personal Development world. It is in my opion the best NLP Coaching Model to date. 

Regardless if you’re working as a change agent, or looking for change yourself, this will assist you in understanding and gaining a very high level of awareness of yourself and others.

Reading this alone will give you insight. Spending more time with it and revisiting it will bring more. If you practice it, you may find yourself able to recognise or even track conversations as they go up and down the levels. As a agent of change, you may begin to recognise on what level a presented challenge is at, where the deeper challenge is, and if you develop skills in Coaching/NLP with me, you will learn which models/tools/questions to ask to create trance-formation, or rapid change (perhaps both) with a big smile on your face. 

 

Very brief background: Neuro Logical Levels is a METAPHOR. It was developed by Robert Dilts and is often taught in NLP and non-NLP Coaching Courses. 

 

Deeper background: Neuro Logical Levels is a controversial but widely used model (and I would say effective model). An extension of Logical Levels or Logical Types which was pre-NLP days. The levels and types were perhaps brought into the NLP world by Gregory Bateson. In his book, Ecology of Mind, (a challenging but enlightening read), Gregory eluded to deeper structures and in my opinion, was on the edge of many great discoveries of the mind. Gregory Bateson assisted the creation of NLP greatly and enthusiastically. He provided support and valuable introductions, like the introduction to Milton Erickson.  Both Gregory and Milton spent time with one of the young NLP students Robert Dilts. Robert like many recognised there was like layers or levels of the mind, perhaps between reality, action, beliefs and Robert brought this model into the world. On a far deeper look at what are logical levels and logical types, this model according to John Grinder, Co-Creator of NLP, is not true to the rules of logical types. I  was training with John Grinder and he showed my class how this model was false and not even a part of NLP. For me personally, military background, results-focused, this model worked a lot for me, I’ll continue to use it, I’ll teach it on Coaching Courses, and NLP Coaching Courses, but I will leave it out of NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner courses.   

 

 

Neuro Logical Levels:

Best NLP Coaching Model (so far)

In the processes of learning, change, and communication there are, metaphorically speaking, natural hierarchies of logical levels. In logical levels, you have sets and subsets. wheels, frame, bumbper, lights, can be parts of a car. Toyota, Ford, Tesla are cars. Cars are a form of transport. What is in and out of the level is upto the creators intentions. The intentions of Robert Dilts in creating this model, I believe was to assist agents of change in learning how to assist/create change.

 

Robert calls them, Neuro Logical levels as they reflect levels in the way we can process or think about them.

Example, if we are talking about offices in the context of; how noisy the office is, where the office is, how big is the office, how many people could fit in the office. These are all forms of focusing on the environment level.

If we were to talk about someone bullying in the office, coming to work early or late, procrastinating about what to do, etc. This is all forms of focusing on behaviour. Behaviour in the office. 

If we talk about a supervisor instructing staff to work overtime. This could be seen as a supervisor using their capabilities to affect behaviour

Why is the supervisor instructing staff to work overtime? This may draw out some of the beliefs of the supervisor. They believe it’s their role or in their capabilities to instruct staff to change them. They may value, a performance bonus, or efficiency. 

The supervisor, like all of us, has a value system, and perhaps they have a high value for work output. If they didn’t value work, they may not last long at the company. Some supervisors really seem to value, being in charge.

It’s like part of their Identity, a responsible leader.  Perhaps at work, they assume the identity of a responsible leader. And at home, they may play the role or identity of a parent, or lover. 

Spirituality means many things to many people. To our Supervisor, he may consider it a connection to a god, maybe a higher purpose. 

All these words are metaphors, and this model is to assists us to process but don’t get to caught up or stuck in any part. 

 

The function of each Neuro Logical Level in the hierarchy is to organize the information below it.

Example, a person’s behaviour results in changes to the environment around them. When a person walks into a room, they take up space and regardless of their behaviour, it will always affect the environment. The environment is generally the result of the persons behaviour. If the person regularly displays outstanding, high performing behaviour, you would expect the environment to reflect this.

 

Changing something on a lower Neuro Logical Level of the hierarchy could, but would not necessarily affect the levels above it. 

Example, if a person is regularly depressed, very messy, has disorganised behavioural patterns, one may imagine that if he changes where he lives, he will still have those behaviours. It could affect his behaviour. He could suddenly become excited, happy and organised if he was placed on Hawaii. However, his old behaviours were there for a reason. Those old reasons could still be present.

The problem as Einstein said, “You can’t solve the problem with the same thinking that created it.”

Often I see people that suffer from procrastination attempt to fix it with behavioural changes. I congratulate them on trying and have compassion for them as it won’t work. I see this all the time. People struggle to complete tasks, so they form new tasks! Only this time they add an exclamation mark or write IN CAPITAL LETTERS. I’ve also seen people struggle with procrastination buying online courses or books on productivity and sadly (perhaps obviously to everybody else) not finish them. The book or course may on the same level, behaviours, or it may be working on a level above the problem, here that would be capability. To avoid procrastination forever, (a rather simple feat if you know how) you have to work on higher levels then the problem hence the top-down approach used by most expert coaches/agents of change.

Making changes using a top-down approach.

Example, take a disorganised person and help them develop multi-tasking, scheduling, and organisational skills. This might work, only we may be taking on the challenge at the same level or slightly higher.

Making a change at the upper levels changes everything below it in order to support the higher level change. However working one level above the problem isn’t enough. The disorganised person, can still show a lot disorganised behaviour. Here the ‘Disorganised person’ is not a capability factor. Its part of their identity. The person may have grown up all their life being a disorganised person and no amount of capability changes will alter their behaviour if that behaviour is part of their identity. That’s like trying to move a tent, but the tent pegs are still in the ground.

If we work with the disorganised person on the level of Identity. And say, the Identity of the person is shifted and they see themselves as an efficient, successful person, the Values shift too. If something like,  ‘Organised’ or ‘Being Organised’ becomes a high value, than the beliefs, capabilities and behaviour is also modified as a result.  

 

You can use this model yourself and I encourage you to print out or copy this article.

Remember the following:

  • Spirituality – Change for whom and/or what purpose?
  • Identity – Does change reflect who I am?
  • Values and beliefs- Why make the change?
  • Capabilities and Skills- Change how?
  • Behaviours – Change what?
  • Environment – Where to change?

 

An insight into how I create my magic.

Honestly guys, 70% of what I do with people is work on the higher Neuro Logical Levels. This may be obvious, however often it’s done unconsciously. I may ask questions to someone about their challenge, then perhaps appear to ask unrelated questions about other things. These questions may lead to them focusing on the details of some of the biggest challenges they have accomplished. Then switch back to the challenge they were having currently and suddenly, they identify with the challenge differently. Suddenly, it’s not as big any more. So there you go and you can see how that can be very effective and also done without awareness.

What I really love is the amount of times I speak with someone, feel like it was nothing, but then a week later, get a message from them going something like.

“Adrian, you wouldn’t believe what just happened….”

Often people get immediate results, sometimes they take weeks. It’s amazing though how effective it is. And you can do some of this yourself! In fact, many of us are trying to do it ourselves every 1st of January, or on our birthdays. We attempt to redefine who we are with new years/birthday resolutions or simply buying gym memberships. Sadly though, a lot of these changes are just surface. We generally need one of two things.

A near death experience, something tragic, a death in the family or a heart attack, before there is enough leverage to create a deep change.

Someone to work with us and guide/push/pull or cheer us through the process.

As a NLP Coach I often find myself artificially creating heavy leverage to push a person to change. Just the other day I had a participant talk about the hard time he had cutting back sugar. I gave him an artificial near death experience, and guess what? It suddenly became much easier for him to say no to sugar. In fact when I spoke to him 7 days later he had cut back his Sugar content 80-90% and was on top of the world.

 

Now that you have learned this:

Instead of listening deeply in every conversation, try listening briefly and keep an eye on the Neuro Logical levels. Now you should be able to identify which level the conversation is on. If you really want to take this to new heights join one of our coaching or training programs so you can not only know, but drive the conversation and create positive change in those you care about. Or perhaps just experience a lot of your own personal growth and development.

Thanks guys, Neuro Logical Levels was brought to you by Adrian Cahill.

Feel free to contact me if you want to do any NLP or Coaching Training. I am lead trainer or a co-trainer on various courses around Asia region and many of my colleges have great training in other areas. So just shout out! 

A couple of us in NLP Trainers Training with John Grinder, Carmen Bostic and Michael Carroll

 

Register here for any future Coaching or Training.