Have you ever met two people who went through the same experience, at the same time, with the same circumstances, but saw the experiences in completely different ways?
This is not on the experience level only. This difference in the perceptions can destroy relationships and business partnerships, just because people don’t understand themselves and how they perceive the outside world.
First of all, let’s have a brief look at how the nervous system works.
The optical image of external things, fallen on the retina, is then transmitted to the brain. This means that we perceive the external world in our own way or in the way we have already installed it to our brain. The brain perceives the external world the way it is already programmed to.
Information delivery across the brain networks is transmitted chemically and electrically through brain cells called neurons. These cells are connected together forming a pathway that electricity can flow through.
The phenomenon of communication between different neurons is called synapse. Chemicals are released and stored in neurons during the process of storing information.
The brain in composed of many networks between neurons. The structure of these networks can be modulated by the environment over time. The brain function can be reprogrammed through the modulated network structure, allowing humans to have the ability to learn and grow autonomously.
These programs also have the possibility to drift causing stresses, addictions and false perceptions. The human brain contains 100 billion neurons and each neuron has about 10 to 15 synaptic connections. You can begin to see how much information our brains process daily.
Now let’s talk about the most interesting part, the experience.
Experiencing is just the phenomenon happening merely with one layer of the brain. This layer of the brain is what is called the subconscious. This is where all the experiences are installed and recalled in a very deep non-understandable way. The subconscious processes are actually what determine how we experience and perceive the world.
Through learning and development, neural pathways form within neural networks. Pathways across the networks run the function of the brain. Overtime, certain pathways become more dominant because they are being reinforced with similar experiences.
Unfortunately, over time, habitual behaviors cause our neurons’ plasticity and pathways to become inflexible. In other words, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
And, as we form our own structure of thoughts, we tend to have our own interpretation of the things and see the world accordingly. So, each individual is likely to have different perception of things and that is why the philosophers said that we can never see the true nature of things. We can, in essence, only see what your pathways have been trained to see.
So, how will we ever be able to see true reality?
We will not be able to see the full reality unless we can understand our past very well. We will have to understand how our beliefs systems were formed and how they are controlling our thoughts, actions, language and perception.
In NLP there are many tools we can use to help understand our dominant pathways and the way we see life.
I prefer always starting with the internal side. By understanding our limiting beliefs we can now find a way to tackle them. From here we can use many of the methods in the NLP Practitioner Training to help us see the full picture. We can use Association/Dissociation, Exploring Submodalities, Perceptual Positions and many other techniques that can help us see ourselves and the nature of things in a new way.
In short, to be able to see the nature of things in a better way, we can follow these steps:
1. Understand our belief system and our past experience
2. Link the current experience to a similar past experience
3. Observe our feelings
4. Try to find a root cause for our feelings
5. Decide to change our feelings
6. Give new meaning to the experience
By following these steps, we can discover a new way of seeing things, and hopefully, help build new pathways to a better understanding of reality.
One of the best programs that helped me in this matter is the AHA Solution. This program allowed me to notice my dominant pathways that were significantly influencing the way I was seeing reality. Once I was able to become aware of these pathways, I was able to make changes to build new, more productive pathways.