The Magical Meaning Formula in the Box
That Summarizes & Controls Neuro-Semantic Reality
"Every belief is a limit to be examined &transcended." (JohnC. Lily)
"Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing, and even today words retain much of their magical power. By words one of us can give anotherthe greatest happiness or bring about utter despair; by words the teacher imparts his knowledge to his students; by words the orator sweeps his audience with him and determines its judgments and decisions. Words call forth emotions and are universally the means by which we influence our fellow creature. Therefore let us not despise the use of words in psychotherapy." (Sigmund Freud, 1939, pages 21-22)
'You can't dance until you know the steps." 'You can't restructure until you know the structure." (Suzanne Kennedy, Tommy Belk)
Welcome to the wild, wonderful, and mysterious world of neuro-linguistic magic (i.e. beliefs, understandings, ideas, internal communications, representational reality, etc.)! When it comes to "beliefs"—these magical creatures do not live or exist anywhere in the world. You can't find them out there. They exist only in a human "mind." Only made up of mental constructs—they come into existence via a mind constructing, and they change when a mind reconstructs or de-constructs.
These belief formulations identify what things and ideas we have associated together and how. Through our thinking and representing, we construct beliefs as understandings of things, as how we mentally relate one thing to another.
Our beliefs absolutely shape our everyday realities. Beliefs also shape our internal experiences, our self-definitions, our resources, and our ability to access internal resources, our skills, abilities, emotions, etc. And then beliefs, as our meaning structures, play a most formative influence in our lives.
Further, once installed, our beliefs take on a life of their own. When they do, they operate as self-fulfilling prophecies so that "as we believe—so we get." We believe that people will hurt us— suddenly we have eyes for seeing hurt everywhere. We believe that we can't do something—it seems that our very body and neurology takes this as "an order" to not have the ability to do it!
With a belief, we not only have a set of representations about something, we also have a confirmation and validation of those representations. Think about something you believe.
"The president of the United States resides at the White House in Washington DC." "Congress should reduce spending." "People ought to exercise regularly if they want to stay fit."? "Hitler was a good man." "Santa Claus travels around the world every Christmas eve and brings toys to good boys and girls."
Notice how you represent these thoughts.
What sensory-based representations do you use in thinking about such?
What language and words do you say to yourself in thinking?
What differs between the first three statements and the last two?
How can you tell a belief from a thought?
I can think all of the above statements. I can represent them and entertain them as ideas. But does that mean I believe all of them? No. Can you think all of those ideas without believing in them? Of course you can!
So what separates an idea that I believe from one that I do not? Even if you make all of your representations, all of your modalities and submodalitiesof those ideas so that they have the very same coding as those that you strongly believe—that shift, in and of itself, will not turn the idea into a belief. It may make it a bit more believable, or more intense as a thought, but it will not transform the thought into a belief. (Now this differs from the traditional NLP Model, see our forthcoming book, Distinctions of Genius on submodalities.)
Beliefs exist on a higher logical level than thoughts. A belief functions as a 'Yes!" that we say to an idea.
Representations @ -> X
The "Yes!" that we speak to the thoughts that we represent confirms the ideas, validates the thoughts, and establishes the primary level representations. It also turns a thought into "a belief." Now we not only "think" that this or that External Behavior (EB) means, leads to, causes, creates, or equals some Internal State or meaning, significance, value (IS), but we affirm and assert that it does. Thus a belief involves a thought that already has a frame around it.
A "belief involves a thought that we frame as "valid, true, and real"
No wonder then that we find and experience beliefs as so "solid" and "real!" No wonder then that beliefs seem difficult to change or alter. Our higher level seal of approval on the thought solidifies it so
that we do not even think of it as just a thought, as an idea, as an opinion, as a set of representations—we think of it as "real."
"What's wrong with you son, it's a fact that boys shouldn't cry!"
"You need your head examined! Anybody with any sense can see that Bill Clinton is a cheat and a liar!" "She's crazy. She thinks that if I raise my voice I'm being abusive."
"Leave him alone. You can't reason with him. He's got it stuck in his head that all X are stupid."
Richard Bandler describes beliefs as "commands to the nervous system." When we merely "think" something, we send signals to our brain and body. If we think about something obnoxious and disgusting in a vivid and graphic way, our nervous system will respond with a state of aversion. Yet how much more when we believe something? Then we send a command signal to our neurology! This should alert us to the power and danger of limiting beliefs:
"I just can't learn very well." "I can't say no and mean it." "I can't think well of myself." "I can't say I'm sorry."
"I'm just not the kind of person to smile and think positively."
"Whenever you use that word, I feel put-down."
"To make a mistake is just terrible."
'Til never forgive because that would let him off the hook."
"I can't change—that's just the way I am!"
"People can't control their beliefs."
"If you feel a certain way, then you have to express it."
"It's terrible to not achieve your goals in just the way you dream about them coming true."
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