by Rex Sikes
hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting is how human beings experience
the world around them. These are the five primary sensory modalities
by which people encode, organize, store and attach meaning to
the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming, we call these modalities
Representational Systems or Rep Systems. As input from the five
senses is processed in the brain, it is translated into corresponding
internal representations, or maps, that constitute a likeness
to the outside world. This means that on the inside we see pictures,
hear sounds and have feelings. We can also remember tastes and
smells. What is most important to keep in mind is that our perceptions
and "reality" differ greatly because of our filters,
deletion, distortion and generalization. This means that the map
(internal sensory re-representations) and the real world are not
the same while most people act as if it is.
The Map is not the territory
is not new. Scientist and psychologist have known this for years.
What distinguishes NLP is that the developers discovered that
within each modality or Rep system are smaller components which
are called Submodalities. For example, within the visual modality
are Submodalities such as the size of the image, location, brightness
and color. For the auditory system, there is location of the sound,
loudness, distance from the individual. The kinesthetic (or feeling)
rep system Submodalities include temperature, location, pressure,
is this discovery so critical? Because it is at the Submodality
level that experience is coded, and therefore it is at this level
that experience can be changed. The developers found that by changing
the Submodalities without even knowing the content, people could
have instant relief from bad feelings. For example, try criticizing
yourself in a sensual, inviting tone of voice, or a Mickey Mouse
tone. It's pretty difficult to feel bad when you have Mickey Mouse
talking to you.
moment throughout the day, we have a tremendous amount of information
bombarding our Rep Systems. This input is filtered by the central
nervous system allowing only a limited amount of information to
reach our conscious attention. As an example, when you pour chalky
fluid through a filter, not all of the contents within the fluid
are allowed to pass through. In this same way, our filtering mechanism
screens sensory input through a set of operations called deletion,
distortion and generalization. Without these neurological filters,
we would be overwhelmed by the constant deluge of information.
these filters serve to protect us, they also explain how is it
possible for one person to be excited about public speaking when
another person is terrified by it. It all lies in what they do
inside their brain and what kinds of directions they have given
it. The wonderful part is that we are limited or enhanced simply
by what we happen to be paying attention to or NOT paying attention
to at any given moment. In NLP, we utilize this naturally occurring
process to RE-DIRECT the person's brain so that they are paying
attention to different things.
person's internal map of reality will be different. A persons
map is an accurate reflection of that person's internal processing,
yet it is an inaccurate and incomplete representation of the world.
Altering the map changes the person's experience in the real world.
Map Of The World
of us have our own unique perception of the world around us which
constitute our map of the world or "Map". That means
our friends, customers, parents, children and loved ones don't
see the world through the same set of filters as we do. What we
think and do, what we say, and our words and phrases may mean
something completely different to them than they do you. (examples
- different perceptions of a car accident, or crime) Our maps
are based on our prior life experiences.
making a map of a city, a cartographer must decide what to include
and what to leave out. Just as when making a menu, the cook decides
what to include or not. The menu is not the meal, the map is not
the city. It only represents the city. Our Personal Map is only
a representation as well. Remember, the Map is not the territory.
Over time, cities grow and change so the map needs to be adjusted
and updated. Just like our Personal Map needs to be adjusted and
updated when we grow and change.
perceptual filters will determine what we remember. (Delete,
Distort, Generalize) Our memories and beliefs are our
personal maps of an outer reality. But they are not reality itself.