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Tuesday, June 23, 2015


By Dr L.Michael Hall

If the Meta-States Model offers anything, it offers some very powerful processes for detecting your emotions and managing those emotions from a higher level. When most people first experience Meta-States as a Model, the process seems counter-intuitive, it seems paradoxical, and the last thing they would have thought of or utilize for emotional mastery— yet it is the most effective method.

So what does the Meta-States Model say about “emotions?” First that there are levels of emotions; that is, emotions do not occur just at one level, but multiple levels. First there are primary emotions —direct and emotions that are in direct response to a stimulus in the world. Theorists tend to posit that there are anywhere from 7 to perhaps 20 primary emotions. I follow Robert Plutchik (The Emotions) who posited the following primary emotions: joy / sorrow; anger / fear; anticipation / surprise; acceptance / disgust; tension / relaxation; love / apathy. Then, when you begin mixing these primary emotions, you get secondary emotions — similar to how mixing primary colors gives secondary colors.

Then above and beyond primary emotions and various mixtures of those emotions, there are the meta-emotions of your meta-states. These arise due to your self-reflexive consciousness as you associate emotions to emotional states. To detect these and to flush them out, just inquire, “What do you think and feel about X state?”
What do you think and feel about anger? What emotions do you experience when you experience anger? Or fear, sadness, anxiety, guilt, tenderness, love, joy, etc.?

Now generally speaking, when you bring a negative emotion against a previous emotion, you set the second negative emotion as a frame about and over the first emotion. Now you have fear of anger; anger at your fear; shame about your guilt; fear of relaxation; anxiety about anger, and so on. Do this and you construct a “dragon state” within your mind-body system so that you are essentially in self-attack. And the energy of the meta-emotional state has no where to go except against your mind-body system. Then you will pay for this construct by experiencing mental and emotional suffering.

Yet here also begins the processes that seem paradoxical and counter-intuitive. If you bring emotional states as acceptance, observation, interest, curiosity, appreciation, learning, etc. to your negative emotions, your “negative” emotion will change. Typically the intensity level of the energy of the emotion will be reduced so that you’ll be able to handle it much better. Calm anger, acceptance of fear, curiosity about sadness, appreciation of anger, etc. transforms the primary emotional state so that it can be much more useful and resourceful.

When you meta-state your primary emotional state with resourceful emotional states, you are in a position to qualify your emotional states in ways that will transform them into allies that will support you rather than diminish you. So in Neuro-Semantics, we don’t repress emotions, nor do we suppress them as much as we meta-state them and transform them into resources. This creates a new level of emotional intelligence and effectiveness.

So when you next experience a negative state, the first thing to do is to bring a state of calmness to the experience. Step back in your mind for just a moment and appreciate that you just received a signal— a communication signal. And just observe it. What is the signal about? Something “out there” in the world? Something within your mental mapping about something? What?

Next bring states of curiosity, interest, and exploration to your primary state. Curiously explore how you just created that negative emotion. Accepting that the emotion is yours, and that you created it within your mind-body system, you now have an unprecedented opportunity for deepening your self-knowledge and self-control. Wow! And, once you discover the process, then you can meta-state yourself with a strong sense of commitment to yourself and others as you choose the best way to respond to the situation that has triggered the emotion.

This means that you are creating new adjustments to your life-coping maps, making yourself more effective, enriching your relationships, and properly using your emotions, especially your negative ones. And while doing this, meta-state yourself that it is just an emotion (not “you,” don’t identify with the emotion and personalize it). It is just an emotion— a somatic energy response giving you a signal. Now you can choose:

What would be the best response I can now make?
Act on it; explore it some more; notice and ignore it; act against it; etc.?
Is the emotion appropriate, accurate, useful?
What resource would texture and qualify it making it more ecological for me?

Emotions — we all have them, they are a vital and important part of our mind-body system, and like the rest of the system, they are fallible and can easily be mis-used, abused, and become problematic for us. Emotional mastery and intelligence requires awareness, monitoring, managing, meta-stating, and then using them effectively.

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