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  1. “I have tried meditation and its just not for me, my brain doesn’t stop, and I just think too much.” Almost worn as a badge of pride as if to suggest that those who can meditate and clear their mind clearly are not people who think as much as the many people make this statement do. Many insomniacs, or others, will say that they just can't do it, every time they do they feel like they are doing it wrong. Or yet others just say they do not have time in their day.

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    Now that first paragraph sounds very judgy, and it is meant to. But trust me it only is because I was that guy. I have said those things and from time to time catch myself saying them to myself. 

    The other problem with meditation or mindfulness I see and feel is the industry that has grown up around it. The money that people like me are trying to make by writing books about it, developing training courses around it and so on. Mindfulness has become the fast food industry on the meditation and self-help movement. 

    It is very much the in thing to do, and celebrities line up to tell you that they do it and how wonderful it is. They pompously tell you how you should do it too so that you can gain enlightenment. To which you probably think ‘well fuck you, if I was a millionaire celebrity that didn’t have to get up at 6 am every day to get ready for work and had to work 60 hours a week just to make ends meet then yeah I could sit on my arse every day humming to myself for 2 hours.’ 

    It becomes yet another thing to do on the list of things we “should” do to keep ourselves healthy, and therefore it becomes something we rebel against. Something, that if we are not careful, becomes a chore. 

    And the problem is that this is not real life. We all know this, and even if we are the type of person who binges drinks in celebrity and reality culture (I definitely am not).   We know deep down that its “not real” its hyped up life made for the camera and so we distance ourselves from these thoughts as something out of reach. Even if it is on a subconscious level. 

    It's all a bit too spiritual, isn’t it?

    The other stereotype with mindfulness and meditation is that it is only for people who are in some way spiritual. That it is for monks and gurus. Associated with Buddhism, Islam and other religions. 

    This is a misconception that a lot of people have. They feel that they couldn’t look into meditation or mindfulness as it would lead them onto a spiritual or religious journey that they may not wish to go on. Indeed in some religions such as Christianity, the concept or thought of meditation or mindfulness is seen as something mystic even possibly dangerous. Something that could open your mind up to the abuse my demons, indeed if you delve off into hypnosis this can often be the claim, I know this as this is what I was told as I was brought up as a Christian. The point that Jesus did meditate, and it states this in the bible seems to go over their head. But religion aside, meditation does not have to be a spiritual process and the benefits will change your life.

    Both meditation and mindfulness, and yes they are different I will go into this at a later date, have amazing cognitivepsychological, neurological and even physiological benefits that sit outside anything that could be called spiritual or religious. Many non-religious people, even atheists, practice meditation or at the very least mindfulness for this very reason. 

    It is these areas of meditation and mindfulness leading to metacognitive awareness of our thoughts as and when they happen so that we can retrain and reprogram our thinking on an unconscious and subconscious level via conscious awareness using neuro-linguistic programming that is the core of what am outlining in this writing and the forthcoming books and blogs.

    My aim is to bring together these different schools of thought and teachings in order to help my fellow insomniacs to gain and benefit, as I have, with this knowledge. But it is also to reverse engineer it and distil it down into a process and toolkit that you can use daily if you wish or as and when you need it. Without you having to do the years of research and training that I have had to. 

    In conclusion

    If we can put aside our preconceptions about NLP, mindfulness, hypnosis and meditation. And if we can give ourselves the knowledge and benefit of taking some time out of our busy days to practice what we learn. Then even 10 minutes a day, which is my norm, can have vast and lasting effects. 

     

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  2. This is why I am approaching this in a slightly different way and although I am a certified, and qualified NLP practitioner. I am working my way to becoming a master practitioner my intention is actually to place myself more in the realm of the theorist or analyst than that therapist or selp help expert. I have lots of ideas of where and how neuro-linguistic programming can be applied in our lives, in my work as a marketing and communications professional and in other social and political areas. I am interested in how it can be used as a tool for understanding ourselves and the world, and people's interactions within it. As well as for making personal and social changes. 

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    You see despite the negativity in the reputation for NLP I know it has lots of benefits because I have seen them in myself and others. I also know that despite its doubters it is used by Scotland Yard Hostage Negotiators (who I have been trained by) and the secret services in not only analysing what a person is really saying but also in influencing people to do their bidding, or not take that life or action. For this reason I know it is a very powerful set of techniques.  

    But the point of my writing is not to sell a course on these theories or to take them out into the field and “heal” people. But rather to put them out there and let others test, try out, debunk, prove or build upon these theories. I put it to you to test me out. Test out my ideas and prove me wrong, or hopefully benefit and change your life as it has for me. 

    Others seeing the benefits in using Neuro-Linguistic Programming 

    With that, all said though it is worth knowing that many areas of psychology, psychotherapy and health services providers, including the National Heath Service in the UK are starting to use NLP more and more to treat patients and they see its benefits. So over time more scientific studies will take place to prove or disprove the theories and models. And if not, as social and behavioural science practitioners, we should lead the way in our own field. 

    Many businesses are seeing the benefit of NLP also and not just in persuasive sales and marketing but also in change management and employee development. 

    In conclusion: pushing the elephant out of the room

    When people tell me that they do not believe in NLP, I simply say “good we rely on you not believing, because that is what makes it work.” Of course, this is very tongue in cheek but its true. In sales and marketing as well as areas of advertising and political propaganda the fewer people know or believe about how easy it is to persuade them the easier it is to do it. So this too is part of my work which will be developed in other books and online in places like www.sleeplessdystopian.com to teach people about where and how these things are influencing us and, hopefully, by being aware of the techniques and teaching them how to defend themselves against their use. 

    I will be discussing this concept in the blog also but more on the personal side of how these things might be affecting you and your mindset and how their influence has both a sociological and a psychological effect on us as human beings. 

    Another important element on NLP is its beauty as a model and technology of communication. Together with other areas of psychology and behavioural economics, it can be both enlighting for us as individuals as well as a great tool for us to use to bring about positive social change.

    So, whatever your viewpoint on NLP if you have stayed with me this far why not continue on the journey and see where it takes you. I know it has benefited me personally and professionally and indeed has helped me live a happy and prosperous life with insomnia so hopefully, it can do this for you too. 

     

    In the next blog, I will be looking into the other two elephants left in the room: meditation and mindfulness.