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NLP and Spirituality


Every culture has some way of honoring and seeking spiritual values. Different groups have developed a variety of teachings and paths leading toward spiritual experiences, and all have honored those individuals who were able to live out those values congruently in their lives.

Originally, NLP was developed by studying therapists who were able to consistently help people change quickly, particularly Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson. This focus soon expanded to the study of human excellence of all kinds. Although many of the kinds of changes NLP accomplishes don‘t directly address spiritual concerns, even these can be useful in clearing the way for exploring spiritual paths. It‘s a little hard to keep focused on spiritual matters when you―re experiencing a phobic response, or are continually caught up in thoughts, behaviors, or responses that are troubling

and frustrating.

It is only natural that eventually NLP would turn its attention to areas of human experience that have concerned sages, prophets, and saints for thousands of years. Of course, the word spirituality‖ is a nominalization that means very different things to different people, so the task is not a simple one.Even though NLP wasn't originally intended to be a spiritual discipline, it‘s interesting to find that many of the more recent methods produce or support goals that many spiritual teachers have recommended. Several of the patterns that Connirae and I have developed in recent years have satisfied needs that many have called deeply spiritual.

For instance, many religious/philosophical traditions teach the importance of coming to terms with the inevitable losses that we face in life (but without teaching how to do it). The grief resolution pattern provides a rapid way to transform the anguish of grief into a joyful re-connection with the richness of a lost relationship, in which the lost person is re-experienced as a living presence. The tears that people experience when they reconnect with their lost experience, signal a profound healing and coming together, a literal reunion. When that happens, people often have tears of connection, which are very different from the tears of loss. There are tears of loss when someone you love leaves you, and then there are the tears of reunion when they come back. The tears are a signal of what‘s true and important to you, and when you experience this, you‘re touched.

About a year ago when I helped a woman resolve her grief, her husband — who is a very wise man said thoughtfully, She had lost a part of herself, and you gave it back to her.‖ This being touched by gratitude (some people call it grace) is at the heart of many religions and spiritual traditions. A friend of mine who is a mystic, with a deep knowledge of nearly all the world‘s mystic traditions, calls this the gift of tears,‖ and tells me that gratitude has been known and followed as a spiritual path for centuries.Many religious/spiritual traditions have also taught the importance of laying down the burdens of anger and resentment, and reaching forgiveness (again without teaching people how to do it). The forgiveness pattern we developed a couple of years ago allows people to quickly reach a congruent state that is far more satisfying than the grudging intellectual acceptance‖ that too many settle for.


Deep forgiveness is a congruent affirmation that each of us always does the best we can in an often confusing and uncertain world, and that harm or offence to others results from the limitation in our understanding and abilities. True forgiveness results in a compassionate and tender re-connection with the person who had harmed or offended them. There, but for the grace of God, go .These methods already provide paths to deep human yearnings — the wish to expand and deepen the extent of self, while at the same time becoming more fully connected with others and the world. Who knows what the next developments in the field will accomplish About 5 years ago a journalist asked Richard Bandler what he would be doing a year or two from now. Richard replied that it was a ridiculous question, because if he knew that already, he certainly wouldn't wait a year to do it! So Where is NLP going?‖ is not really the question at all. A more interesting question is Where are you going?‖ or Where is humanity going?‖ To answer these questions each of us can only continue to do our best, each of us on our own path, knowing that future generation will look back on our great accomplishments in the same way that a modern chemist looks back on the first crude fumbling work of her predecessors 200 years ago. That‘s only a consequence of how much humanity continues to learn about the world, and this mind of ours that even succeeds in learning something about itself.


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