In my last article, we looked at the Universal Cycles of Change. Everything in life is just change and our ability as humans to handle change makes the difference between a life of joy and a life of suffering. Unfortunately, we see change as a “problem”, especially the dropping off requirement.
Einstein suggested that “You cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.” In his time, “war does not solve war” was the awareness he brought. We see this proven today with our economy: out of control spending by “consumers” (yes you) and government (you again) got us into this mess. Now the answer by both U.S. political parties is more spending (on banks or consumers, take your pick). See the real problem? Ever notice that YOU try to solve your own problems with the same level of thinking that got you into the problem? For example, change jobs and the new job causes you the same or more pain eventually. Get a new significant other, you get the same or more pain. We hope that if we just change our environment enough, we’ll get lucky and we’ll be happy.
To have a new level of thinking, we are best served to know what the levels are. Robert Dilts, one of my NLP teachers, came up with a profound yet simple model based on the work of the anthropologist / philosopher Gregory Bateson. Bateson developed a theory that schizophrenia was actually the beginning of a transformative awakening experience when understood correctly. In other words, challenges lead to enlightenment when we know how!
Neuro-Logical Levels of Change by Robert Dilts:
- Spiritual – For whom or what? Awakening the core of you that is unchanging. Seeing thinks from 30,000 feet, the big picture.
- Identity – Who am I being? Who must I become? “I am …”
- Values & Beliefs – What’s most important? Holding on to old beliefs?
- Capabilities – Gaining new skills, like forgiveness, patience, new professional skills, etc.
- Behaviors – Acting in new ways, new habits.
- Environment – Changing what is seen around you.
Notice at the bottom, environment is the easiest thing for us to change and thereby lasts the least. It is the only level in the seen world so Westerners are obsessed with it. This is where you buy a new car to feel better about yourself then feel bad because the payments are ridiculous, you’re deeper in debt, AND the feeling wore off in a few months. Changing jobs, changing spouses, shirts, or presidents.
At the highest level, we have the butterfly. It completely transforms everything about it’s identity, shedding it’s complete cellular structure, and yet it’s “spirit” and core self still remains. It’s environment has not changed in any way yet it has the ability to fly above environment and see everything in a new way. What once was crawling trying to avoid being stepped upon is now freedom. However, now there are birds that will want to eat it. As humans, we stick with being the caterpillar because we don’t think it’s worth it to deal with birds. And besides, what if I fall out of the sky? Most importantly, I “know” this place and any other way of being isn’t “me” and is too scary. Besides, I have to be right about everyone what what they are doing. The caterpillar surrenders to transformation at the highest level and the lower levels transform. Humans, well, get the picture? At least we are “right”.
Notice what level of thinking you are at with a “problem” in your life. Have you been trying to handle it with lower levels of thinking? What change could you make at each of the higher levels above the problem?
We can easily spend a week together and explore these levels and how you can use them. For now, just printing these out and putting them up near you can remind you to seek a higher level of thinking whenever you are faced with a Cycle of Change which causes pain. Pain is just resisting awakening to a higher level.
Here’s a handout you can print and hand up to remind you to think higher:
Neuro-Logical Levels of Change