"You wouldn't expect to eat an elephant all at once, would you? If not, then I suggest you consider doing it one bite at a time - and in a little while you will have eaten the elephant. And so it is with our personal psychology. Digest your thoughts and note what gives you a tummy ache and start eating what doesn't have a bad effect. The beauty of the human being is that he can correct and change anything. The flaw is that he has to decide to do it and often he just doesn't finish the job - which begets the next time of feeling bad - and then pretty soon he noticed that he was always repeating what made him miserable - and then experienced a miserable life - when he really didn't have to..."
WE ARE MECHANICAL; NO MAGIC
We are mechanical beings. We operate from "templates" like a machine would. Another name for templates is "programs" that direct what is to happen.
We must learn and understand this or we'll find ourselves believing in magic, which gets in the way of effective thinking and making good decisions and being happy.
DEFINITION: For our purposes here, I define a metaprogram as a combination of programs that form together and/or are used in conjunction to deal with a specific item.
Meta-programs in general are programs that create, control or make decisions about programs, such as when and how to run them, preferred and unpreferred programs, and strategic choices of fall-back or alternative programs.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) uses the term specifically to indicate the more general pervasive habitual patterns commonly used by an individual across a wide range of situations. Examples of NLP meta-programs include the preference for overview or detail, the preference for where to place one's attention during a conversation, habitual linguistic patterns and body language, and so on.
EXAMPLES OF META PROGRAMS
"I get depressed when I think of being alone for the weekend and lacking the intimacy I need to feel good about myself and life." This is a metaprogram, practiced and easily run unless we intervene and correct it.
I "have" an anxiety disorder. It is very, very complex, initiating from some beliefs, which are mostly untrue, about threats being present. Then the body tenses up. Then we "hold" to protect ourselves. Then we get more tired. And we set off alarms from noticing our discomforts and we get more alarmed. Some people get so good at repeating the programs that they are totally unaware of them and suddenly find "from nowhere" that they are hyperventilating - which is just magical thinking and being unaware because the program is so well practiced that we don't need to even think about it - but if we do look, we can begin to bring all this to awareness. Once we know the program, we can correct the pieces and install beliefs and programs that serve us.
We simply need to initiate these and the whole program runs, with reinforcements and often hyping us into high stress - all because we have a metaprogram we fail to challenge and correct. And, as a result, we follow the program to feeling miserable.
But, other than falling and the startle reflex and protective, instinctual impulses, all of our reactions are from our thoughts. Even the first items mentioned are merely metaprograms, to which we, as human beings can actually create a conversation where we see the likely thoughts that would create those. Since emotions do not happen from an event or other people, a thought has to occur (or a series of thoughts) - and it is your job to write down and fill in the gaps for what is occurring in the metaprogram - and then to create a new one.
WE SEE, WE PROGRAM
We also, as human beings, are exposed to cultural beliefs that reinforce each other so strongly that we form a metaprogram which has many and strong parts to it, some of which we are aware of and others we haven't found. We also see lots of examples of different behaviors, often assuming the details of what is behind that, from which we form "impressions" and metaprograms.
We know implicitly how "cool" people act, the moves of a confident person, the posture of a healthy person - plus many, many other metaprograms we created, often without a lot of conscious thought as our "mirror" neurons were activated and did the learning for us, in a sense.
FROM EXHAUSTED TO BEING STRONG, WELL-RESTED IN A FEW MINUTES
For instance, when a client came in one time he was so exhausted that he couldn't really function for the meeting. So, after having attended one of Tony Robbins seminars, I took him through a series of visualizations. Imagine you are a strong and well-rested individual. How would that person sit? (He adjusts, sitting more centered and up straighter.) How would that person breathe? How would that person's eyes feel? How would his cheeks feel? And so on.
Within a few minutes I had a refreshed, powerful feeling, attentive client for the rest of the meeting. How did that happen? He had, as we all have, a metaprogram for the programs involved in "being a strong person" and what it feels like to be rested and even the physical moves that help that.
USING THE METAPROGRAMS TO GAIN BENEFITS ON PURPOSE
Although I don't mean to speak for the organization, the reason that I think Heartmath works is that it invokes good metaprograms that we already have. Programs with great feelings associated to them, some providing a freeing up of the mind, and a perspective that is beneficial.
If we try to communicate with our "heart" or associate with it in any way, almost all of us human beings start to relax, drop our tensions, soften up, and even smile and breather differently. The reason is not that our heart has a brain and is acting upon us - we have simply activated a useful metaprogram. We will also find that if we use visualization, the whole thing is made more vivid and therefore more impactful.
It all happens without our even efforting. We think and direct our minds just a little bit and voila! we get a whole bunch of results - simply because we have an automatic association and other programming built in.
UNINTENDED TRANSPARENCY WHEN LYING
The reason why lie detectors tend to work or why people give away in their body language that they are lying is because we almost universally have metaprograms around lying, where we think we have to cover up the lie and that it is bad to lie (mostly) and then we have a way that is dealt with physically, often from early childhood. Our eyes move involuntarily (because the program is a practiced one) and we tend to sweat (since there is some threat of our being found out and criticized or rejected in some way).
WHY CAN'T I QUICKLY CURE MY LONELINESS WITH A NEW THOUGHT OR AFFIRMATIONS?
For the same reason you can't eat an elephant all at once. You need to eat it one bite at a time. With a metaprogram there are alot of bites in many cases.
People who believe that an affirmation will somehow magically override a long term belief are likely to experience not succeeding. The affirmation could be useful for feeling a little better or at least distracting from the bad thoughts but it cannot replace a whole section of a metaprogram.
For loneliness, we all have lots of programs associated with that. I can create feeling lonely from a simple cue - like the weekend is coming up. I then think I am without a date and then I run a program about what that means about me and how awful it is to be alone, and so on. And that can have a bigger impact if I have a metaprogram of being unworthy or a program that I am helpless and dependent. Lots of programs support that.
You have to go one program at a time if you want to create a new metaprogram that has you feeling good and being proactive and knowing that you can provide for yourself and knowing that you can give to other people what they want, and so on.
Notice that there is no emotion of "lonely" - it is not a feeling, though it is often lumped together with the thoughts which get hidden and mislabeled as part of the feeling rather than the instigator of the feeling. Lonely a thought-feeling-action program. The program includes the feeling but the program is not the feeling.
I feel inferior is a misstatement. I think I am inferior and I think that that means that I am worthless and therefrom I create a feeling of "feeling bad" (mostly likely we might call this "sad", but it also includes an implicit fear of a made up threat).
HOW WE WILL USE THIS
We can access such resources as Heartmath to dig up metaprograms that will have us feel better or "open" our minds to good advice (garnered from our head, and not from magical, ethereal "universal intelligence").
We can use visualizations which stimulate the activation of beneficial metaprograms.
We will create new metaprograms by "practicing" them in our minds (in the form of visualizations and imagining the feelings and thoughts and responses).
But remember, we have to create the pieces of new metaprograms ourselves and then we have to do the work to install them, by, you guessed it, repetition, practice - which of course is the way we develop new habits - which are, you guessed it, just practiced metaprograms run virtually automatically and seemingly effortlessly.
In fact, we will create and/or correct many metaprograms so that we have habitual mental habit patterns, feelings, actions, etc.
You can't just solve this stuff with distractions, a few surfacey affirmation, but you can get to the other end, by going through the middle, doing the work.
As in the law of cause and effect, we know you haven't done the work because you still have the undesirable effect and don't have the desirable effect. (Duh!)
Now, on to the fun of doing the work, creating anew, and experiencing the rewards!
(Note that a person can use visualizations that involve good feelings and images, even though one isn't reprogramming anything. But if a person starts using such visualizations frequently, there will be reprogramming going on as a result, kind of a reconditioning where you become "conditioned" (i.e. programmed) to feel good most of the time and to be more relaxed - and there you have an accidental byproduct of a new metaprogram!)
LIST YOUR METAPROGRAMS
Look at your life and list your metaprograms that you might want to access (or change.) I've listed just a few off the top of my head.
Successfully going through a situation that is ordinarily stressful and being calm - you call up the metaprogram of being calm and cool and all that is related to that, but you reinforce it as a way of operating.
When I sleep I make up adventures or successful situations, even fly.
Going into a meadow, feeling the breeze
Call up and use the metaprogram for being strong, determined, powerful
Just look at a beautiful scene, beautiful picture
Recall a pleasant memory.
Get in touch with my heart - Changes focus to calm and sweet, feels good
A complete sigh
Scanning my body and sending "healing" thoughts (metaphorically, but it instigates little metaprograms that relax that part of the body...
Possible love interest (a whopper for great chemicals and pleasant thoughts)