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In this episode, I share an exercise I learned from Aleister Crowley via Robert Anton Wilson. It will help you recognise all the random chance, coincidences and synchronicities that have got you where you are today. This will hopefully help undo unuseful or limiting beliefs and behaviours.

When we make a statement or comment, it is the conclusion of a complex thought process and a claim to knowledge. What is your evidence base for that knowledge?

Matt

I may have a piece of paper that tells me I am an “NLP Trainer“, but I am still an NLP Practitioner. You may have a piece of paper that tells you that you are a “Master Practitioner” or a “Master Trainer” you may even have several pieces of paper saying you an “NLP Practitioner” and a “Timeline Therapist” or some such.

None of that matters, whilst you are interested in, using or learning NLP (and we are all still learning) you are an NLP Practitioner (don’t let that piece of paper or papers distract your ego…).

I consider an NLP Practitioner (in this context) as someone who practices NLP in the same way as a martial arts practitioner, or, to use a dictionary definition “a person actively engaged in an art, discipline or profession” (see my previous blog post here).

So, in this new (and most probably infrequent) series I am going to take some time to discuss what I am up to and how I am using, practicing or developing NLP in my day-to-day life.

Those of you that have trained with me know that I have one very strict rule about utilising NLP and that is “if you DO NOT use NLP on your self, you have NO RIGHT using it on anyone else”. Sort your self out first before you go NLPing on other people. Obviously I am not suggesting that you should be perfect before you use NLP on someone else (no one can be), but at least make the effort to get comfortable with the concepts and patterns and utilise these on yourself to create more flexible and useful behaviours.

There is no need to rush this, it is the journey, the exploration, that is the fun part here.

Incidentally, as a slight aside, when using NLP on your self, don’t trick yourself into thinking you are better than you are (it can, sadly, be quite common), wisdom comes with self-awareness. Especially be very careful if you decide to experiment with the “As If” pattern…

I have just come off the first Module of my most recent NLP Practitioner training (a great group of people – I hope they have enjoyed it as much as I have) and have noticed that I am very drained. I have allowed my energy to become too scattered, too “high up” (I could feel it my face). So I am doing some energy work and combining it with using some trance work and submodalities and synesthesia (crossing over of the senses) to gather focus and channel my energy, conserve it a little bit and not wipe myself out so much!

I have been practicing Martial Arts for 22 years and Tai Chi and Chi Kung for 15 of that. Still I only consider myself an “advanced beginner”, but using the principles and patterns of Chi Kung (especially those discussed by Master Lam Kam Chuen in his excellent book “Chi Kung: Way of Power“) and using my posture and movement as anchors; using my hands to subtly, yet powerfully guide my “energy” and focus back to my belly (the Tantien or “one point”), hopefully this will “solve the problem”, although, I only have a few days before the next module, so may not have it down pat by then…

Talking about Tai Chi and Chi Kung I am currently reading Stephen Russell’s (The Barefoot Doctor) recent book “The Man Who Drove With His Eyes Closed“, I am a big fan of the Doc and think this is his best book since “Return of the Urban Warrior” even though it is much less of a guide book and much more of a story.

At one point in the book the Doc say’s “I love changing my perspective. It’s my favourite pastime”.

I have recently noticed, in some of my communication, my perspective has become a little fixed and I am saying what “is” rather what ” it seems to be to me”, I am confusing (in NLP parlance) my “map” with my “territory” and developing some strategies to catch myself making such absurd statements of “fact” and challenge and change my perspective. I am also re-reading “Prometheus Rising” and “Quantum Psychology“.

Right, off to stand “mountain still” to practice my energy flow (whilst listening to the Church of Subgenius Hour of Slack – to remind me about humour and flexibility).

Matt

ulysses a readers guide

James Joyce’s Ulysses is often considered the greatest book every written, OR  an overly pretentious, self centred and dull piece of literature (usually by those that have had the book forced upon them in high school!).

I consider Ulysses essential reading for anyone, especailly if you are an NLPer, hypnotist or coach. You will learn more about language, metaphor, critical thinking and your “reality tunnel” (our own personal perception of reality) in this book than any self-help, NLP or psychology text book.

I first came across it in the works of Robert Anton Wilson (as an aside, if you are into NLP and NOT into Robert Anton Wilson, you are not really into NLP….) who raved on about the novel. I had heard of it, but luckily avoided having to study it at school (and therefore never built up the negative connection that many people have), I then heard of it again when Michael Breen discussed it during my Master Practitioner training and thought it was about time I tracked it down and read it, to see what all the fuss was about.

After struggling through the first chapter (I went about it the wrong way, but more on that in a bit) I wondered what all the fuss was about and gave up, but something made me come back to it and give it another go.

It blew my mind.

If you have trained in NLP and NOT read Ulysses you really should, right now.

Be warned however, Ulysses is a dense, complex and complicated piece of work. James Joyce himself said that he had “put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant”. It will in turns amaze, infuriate, bore and anger you. That is its joy. You get out of it what you want to.

I regularly re-read it (in fact, inspired by Bloomsday – the celebration observed annually on June 16th to celebrate the life of James Joyce and Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904 –  I read it every year at this time) and always get something new out of it.

Ulysses: A Readers Guide

I must begin by saying that I certainly don’t claim to be anything other than an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to Ulysses and James Joyce’s work. There are scholars out there who have spent their whole lives studying it and are barely scratching the surface. But from on amateur to another, here are my suggestions about how to get into this amazing, but infuriating book.

1. Learn the Background of the Book

Do a bit of research about Joyce and the process of the writing of the novel as well as the historical and geographical background. Joyce made pages and pages of notes that he gave to friends and critics to help them understand the book that are nor actually included in the book, so it is worth looking up. It is also a good idea to understand The Odyssey by Homer as this is the strucutre that Uylesses is based around.

2. Read a Summary of the Book Before you Begin 

Ulysses is written in several different styles and can be very confusing. There are also many interweaving themes and ideas in the book and sometimes it can feel like nothing has happened (and it is taking a very long time for that nothing to happen), having an idea of where the story is going can help you frame the part that you are reading right now and keep you going!

Wikipedia is great place to start with this, with a wealth of (free) information.

3. Buy This Edition of the Book

I have several versions and find this one the easiest to read (it also has one of the best introductions to the novel and notes).

4. Get the Audio Book

I found that by listening to the audio book when I am running or driving helps me understand and get through the novel. There is a lyrical quality to Joyce’s writing and listening to it read aloud can help your understanding of the novel. I recommend this version.

5. Read a Good Guide

Ulysses is a complex novel with many themes, it is worth having someone guide you through it. There are online guides, but if you want a simple and easy book, the CliffsNotes on Joyce’s “Ulysses” is pretty good.

6. Take Your Time!

Don’t rush to get it finished, I often read a few pages a day, if that, and read other books at the same time. Sometimes it can take me up to 6 months to get through a reading, but that is the joy of it!

7. Keep a Pencil Handy

Make notes on the text in the margins of the book and don’t be afraid to stop to look something up you don’t understand. There are hundreds of mysteries, allusions and references to other work (and literary styles). There is so much it has kept academics busy for nearly 100 years so don’t expect to understand it all in one go!

If you take your time and follow these pointers I am sure you will learn much from Ulysses and appreciate it as the modern masterpiece (and essential reading of NLPers) that it is.

Probably.

Once you have read Ulysses, next on your list should be Finnegans Wake…!

Matt