Gordana Vitaliano , M.D.

Published in NLP World, July 2000,  Volume 7, No.2 pp. 41-82



The central task of our New Integrative NLP model (Stanojevic-Vale , 1995), whether experimental or applied, is the understanding of the nature of human consciousness. In order to understand normal and altered states of consciousness (Tart, 1969) - e.g., dream state, light and deep sleep, relaxation response, hypnosis, trance states, meditation, near-death experiences, psychedelic drug experiences, some psychopathological states, inspirational and some religious states - this model explores different, relatively separate areas of human behavior. These can include the areas of perception, of learning, of language, of emotional and cognitive processes, and of motor skills. As our understanding of these different areas of study in psychology grows, we continue to uncover the structures of human consciousness.

Our model proposes that the various levels of consciousness, which were empirically recognized and clearly described by many ancient civilizations, are the product of evolutionary development. Psychological development and functional specialization of neural structures are associated with biological development and the myelination of brain structures. Thus, each level of consciousness will occur at the same time as its supporting brain structure becomes myelinated and functionally enabled. Our comparative analysis of phylogenetic and ontogenetic development of the brain and its structures uncovers the multileveled manifestation of human consciousness.


Consciousness manifests dualistic properties that are paraconceptual by our ordinary concepts of space and time. Thus, there is a traditional dichotomy between the biological and psychological models of consciousness. Neuroscientists often describe a fast parallel mode of "unconscious" information processing that is equivalent to the speed of neural firing and which can range from 40 to 100 times per second. Psychologists mostly deal with a slow serial mode of normal awake state of consciousness. This serial mode can process simple information, like a sensory/motor reaction, 10 times per second; or it can process complex information, like a word stored in short term memory, once in every 10 seconds (Baars, 1988). Our experiments (Vale , 1994) have also shown that subjects were not able to perceive simple visual stimuli lasting less than 20 ms while in a normal awake state of consciousness. However, our subjects became conscious of visual stimuli lasting 5 to 15 ms while in NLP induced hypnosis. Also, some hypnotized subjects were able to complete a relatively complex mathematical task in only 15 sec. In contrast, this particular task usually requires 15 minutes to be finalized when subjects are in a 'normal' awake state of consciousness. Cooper and Erickson, 1954, first presented a case study of an individual who learned a series of paired-associate trigrams more rapidly under hypnosis than in a waking state. Krauss et al., 1974, also found that subjects who were given hypnotic suggestions learned significantly more words in three minutes than did four other comparison groups for the same time period. Also, hypnotized subjects performed in 3 minutes as well as controls allotted 10 minutes for the same task. These studies have shown that the perception of time can be significantly altered in hypnosis with the effect that information processing becomes greatly accelerated.

Current biological and/or psychological models of information processing cannot explain conscious perceptions of sub-threshold visual stimuli, and the acceleration of information processing (which may reach relativistic-speeds) when in altered states of consciousness. Time perception and information processing is mostly studied in patients and controls while in the normal awake state of consciousness, but not while in altered states of consciousness (for review see, Harington & Haaland, 1999). It has been shown that damage to the prefrontal cortex impairs working memory. It also impairs conscious processing of time intervals lasting four seconds or longer. On the other hand, processing of brief intervals below 500 milliseconds appears to be based on sub-cortical brain mechanisms outside cognitive control (Rammsayer, 1999; Mangales et al. 1998). In particular, studies of basal ganglia and/or cerebellum in humans and animals have indicated that facilitation of dopamine transmission speeds up the internal clock, while inhibition of dopamine transmission slows it down (Lalonde & Hannequin, 1999). These biochemical processes have limited capacity and cannot be accelerated beyond their natural limits. Also, these processes do not differ in altered states of consciousness from the normal awake state. Thus, biochemical mechanisms cannot account for highly accelerated processing in altered states of consciousness.

Our relativistic biophysical model (Rakovic, Koruga, Martinovic, Stanojevic-Vale , 1989) appears to bridge the gap between different temporal properties of human consciousness. We have shown that information can be processed at relativistic speeds if consciousness processing becomes associated with the electromagnetic (EM) field of extremely low frequency (ELF) brainwaves (ongoing electroencephalogram -EEG and evoked potentials -EPs), which EM field can move through the brain with relativistic velocities. This processing exhibits speeds that greatly exceed the brain's biochemical rate of execution. Informational content is constantly encoded from the brain cells’ synaptic neural network into a waveform and also into a temporal sequence of brainwaves. It has already been proven that specific changes in the field configuration and the temporal sequence of ultra-weak ELF electromagnetic fields can produce highly specific biological responses (Becker, 1982, Rubik, 1996). In our model, consciousness is associated with an electromagnetic (EM) component of ELF brainwaves that can move through the brain in the normal awake state of consciousness, and/or through a gaseous ionic structure in the vicinity of the body while in altered states of consciousness. Thus, the conscious neural network is able to process information dualistically’: 1) Relatively slow information processing is based on biochemical processes in the brain, whereas, 2) Fast biophysical processing is associated with brainwave activities occurring in a gaseous ionic "optical" system located outside the body. We can imagine this ionic system to be like "Genie", and the brain would be its "bottle". This Genie can expand itself into the surrounding air, and then can condense itself back into its bottle. Our Genie can also appear and/or completely disappear in the atmosphere. The Genie can also become as transparent as air; and/or as empty as a vacuum. However, during the human life cycle this Genie remains connected to the body through ionic channels.

The brain’s neural network has limited information processing capabilities because neural tissue has a relatively high dielectric permittivity (DP). DP in the brain tissue can range from 2 for biopolymers, up to 105 for cell membranes (Rakovic et al. 1989,1991, 1993). Relativistic information processing can only be achieved in a low-dielectric weakly ionized gaseous medium with an ionic concentration of 1015 cc, and with a DP of less than 1. This gaseous ionic structure is probably the basis for the acupuncture system that has been successfully mapped by magneto-encephalography (MEG). Our proposed "optical" neural network with its embedded ELF brainwave currents enables people who are in altered states of consciousness to experience extremely short 'objective' time intervals as very long ones, and to process information much faster than in the normal awake state.

In NLP induced trance states (Bandler & Grinder, 1980, 1981,1982), people can become aware not only of information associated with superficial NLP structures, but also of information usually stored in deep structures and/or meta levels that are not accessible in the normal awake state. Also, a flow of information from the NLP therapist to the patient can be achieved by a physical resonance between the energy fields of therapist and patient. Resonance occurs when the natural oscillators in the patient’s organism become synchronized with the oscillations of the electromagnetic field emanating from the therapist (Tomasevic, et al. 1999). The techniques often used in NLP to achieve this synchronization effect are pacing and leading. The frequencies of biological oscillations such as brainwaves, heart rate, respiration etc, vary in different people. By "pacing" and "leading" the subject's verbal and nonverbal behavior (e.g. language, breathing, heart rate, movements, gestures etc.) the NLP therapist helps the patient create a new psycho/biological balance (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1977, Rossi, 1980, Erickson & Rossi, 1979,1989). Pacing, a mimicking of the subject's naturally expressing patterns, is the basis for leading, a change of dysfunctional information. The patient change is probably mediated in NLP altered states of consciousness by the informational patterns of ultra-weak, extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields emanating from the body of the therapist.

The NLP approach to therapy assumes that every person has internal resources necessary to transform his or her experience. These internal resources are natural bio-information carried by endogenous bio-electromagnetic fields within living organism that can operate in an intelligent, autonomous and creative fashion. Such natural bio-electromagnetic fields arise from spontaneously occurring internal oscillators in the organism, such as biochemical or electrical pacemakers in the brain and/or heart tissue. NLP verbal and nonverbal communications are being used in therapy to elicit an effect on these natural oscillators and to create a change in the patient's bio-information patterns. Thus, every person can set aside his/her identification with any limiting information patterns and shift into a NLP trance where he/she can access and utilize natural bio-information resources for therapeutic gain. Thus, the major focus in NLP therapy shifts from the mostly conscious superficial processes to the patient's deep unconscious resources that are accessible in an altered state of consciousness. Our relativistic neural networks can emulate many of the altered states of consciousness observed in NLP, and are responsible for different psychic phenomena occurring in these states, such as healing process, time and space distortion and short and long range transpersonal interactions (Vale ,1995 & Rakovic et al. 1989, 1991, 1993).

The psychologia perennis (Wilber, 1999, Huxley , 1970) proposes that the various levels of consciousness (normal awake state and altered states of consciousness) are the products of dualism (Deutch, 1969). The dualism is the act of severance, cutting (con-scire) of the world into seer and seen, knower and known. The threefold meaning of consciousness is derived from the Latin words 'con-scio’, that is, to cut or make a distinction; and 'con-scire', to know. The original dualism is presented in mythology as the separation of heaven and earth, male and female, and sun and moon. In epistemology, it is the separation of subject and object, observer and observed, while in ontology it is presented as the separation of self and other, organism and environment. With the occurrence of the primary dualism, man's awareness shifts from the non-dual universal consciousness to his physical body. The core insight of the psychologia perennis is that human consciousness is a multi-leveled manifestation of a universal consciousness. Each level of the spectrum is characterized by a different and easily recognized sense of individual identity. We can identify ourselves with the universe and experience cosmic consciousness; or we can focus just on our everyday mundane reality and limit ourselves to an extremely narrow feeling of identity related to ego-consciousness.

There are numerous levels or bands of consciousness, described by different authors. We are presenting one Universal level from which and in which seven major levels of consciousness emerge. Our hierarchical integrative model of consciousness is based on the comparative analysis of phylogenetic and ontogenetic development of brain structures and functions, and the evolution of different brainwave spectrums and their correlations with different states of consciousness. The levels we propose are not fully autonomous, nor are they completely separated from each other. They are all structurally and functionally very well connected, and can be integrated into a single level - Universal consciousness. Each level has its own filter that can clearly separate it from other levels. We can imagine these four filters to be like ‘Russian dolls’. Each doll has to be made first, and then put inside a bigger doll. They are then all perfectly constructed to fit into just one big doll. In every day life, we can only see this one big doll, while the rest of the successively smaller dolls remain hidden. But once the biggest doll is formed, they can all be separated again. The last doll — smallest, yet paradoxically biggest - we open is always empty: Behind the form we find ‘emptiness’.


1. Perceptual Level


The Perceptual Level includes the first set of filters called physical filters. Our nervous system with its sensory organs, initially determined genetically, constitutes the first set of physical filters which distinguishes external reality from our internal representation of the world; i.e., our experience of reality. From a very early age we understand that physical objects are subject to specific sets of rules that govern them. Concepts of solidity, gravity, and inertia appear to be hard-wired into our brain, and shape the way we perceive the physical world in the first few months of our life (Spelke et al, 1992). There are many physical phenomena that lie outside the limits of our five biological sensory channels. For example, sound waves either below 20 cycles per second or above 20,000 cycles per second cannot be detected by human beings. Also, our visual system is able to detect waveforms lying only between 380 and 680 milli-microns. Thus, our genetically given sensory limitations allow us to perceive just a small portion of a broad range of continuous physical phenomenon.

Early in development we first identify with our body that exists in space and time. That is, the level where the line between self and others, organism and environment, is becoming established. Out of the oneness of "Universal Mind" (Wilber, 1999) the perceptual level emerges. We become aware of our body separated from the environment. This knowledge simultaneously creates an awareness of space - the primary dualism. This is the formation of our first ‘Russian doll’.

Paleontologists, who were concerned with the period in human evolution when man first learned to separate himself from his environment, first investigated this primary dualism. Four million years ago the first known humanoid species, Australopithecienes, were capable of bipedal walking and stereoscopic vision that allowed them to better manipulate their environment. They were living in wooded environments and were principally vegetarian. Their brain size of 400-500 cc is similar to the brain size of modern chimpanzees. There is no direct evidence of their toolmaking and foraging activities (Mithen, 1996). But about 2 millions years ago, at the time when Australopithecienes became distinct, the very first stone tools that consisted of flaked and smashed up quartz pebbles appeared.

Psychologists who studied infant development have also described primary dualism as the period when an infant learns to separate himself from his immediate surroundings. During the first 6 months of life, the self is identified with its physical environment and, especially, the "mothering one" (Mahler's "symbiotic phase", 1975). The newborn infant cannot clearly differentiate himself as a separate subject from his environment because the brain structures necessary for this process have still not matured. But the data show that infants can detect equivalence between information picked up by different sensory modalities (Meltzoff, 1990). This was demonstrated both in tactual—visual perception of objects and auditory-visual perception of speech. Infants can integrate information over time and perceive object unity, but not object form. For example, infants perceived an object as one connected whole when the ends of the object underwent a common motion behind the barrier, but not when the ends were stationary (Spelke et al., 1992). Thus, a surface motion plays a major role in infant perception. Results also show that perception and motor responses are intertwined from the earliest phase of infancy. Newborns can reproduce elementary gestures they see an adult perform, and 4-month olds can similarly demonstrate vocal imitation. The ability to recognize an event experienced in the immediate past and to imitate after significant delays are related to the development of the memory system (Herschkowitz et al. 1997). Most of the time, the infant is in deep sleep, but the number of wakeful states progressively increases throughout development. At the age of six months, the infant is becoming aware of his body and can recognize himself in the mirror. Most of the primitive reflexes have disappeared due to the cortical inhibition of brainstem circuits, and the infant shows greater cortical control over voluntary movements and postures. The self, basically as a sensory-motor and instinctual body, has finally differentiated itself from the environment.

Self-development is associated with the development of the central nervous system. The functional specialization of neural structures is dependent on the maturation and myelination of brain structures (Yakovlev & Lecours, 1967, Luria, 1980). In the first 6 months of life, there is a progressive myelination of the Reticular Formation in the brain stem. This structure is responsible for the state of arousal and wakefulness, which increases in frequency during this period. There is also a myelination of the Primary Zones of the brain's cortex and their associated sensory/motor pathways, as well as of the subcortical structures, all of which are responsible for the development of perceptual and motor skills. The neurons of the primary sensory system respond only to narrowly specialized properties of sensory stimuli (e.g., shades of color, the character of lines, the direction of movement, and the loudness of sound) and preserve their strict modal specificity in information coding (Stanojevic-Vale , 1990). A correlation between somatic sensory perception and motor response reflects the fact that the myelin links have been established; for example, the state of myelination of the optic and auditory tracts permits fixation on complex visual patterns and human faces, orientation and reaction to sounds, and discovery of the physical environment outside the body.

The Perceptual Level is the level of altered state of consciousness, which exhibits mostly delta (0.5 to 3.5 Hz) brainwaves patterns. These are the predominant brainwave patterns in young infants. The very low frequency delta waves (ranging from 0.5 to 2 Hz) were the most pronounced brainwaves in premature babies in comparison with mature ones (Koterazava et al. 1990). Significant changes have been observed in the power of delta during active and passive sleep in infants with increasing conceptional age (Sawaguchi et al. 1996). Delta frequencies are associated with the brainstem ascending reticular activating system that matures during the first 6 months of life (Stanojevic-Vale , 1990), and which is responsible for maintenance of behavioral arousal (Robinson, 1999). Delta brainwaves are also present in reptiles in a normal awake state (Rial et al. 1993). In humans delta brainwaves are predominant in deep slow-wave sleep and usually correspond to normally unconscious informational content (Basar, 1980).

At this level, consciousness (i.e., subjective observer) is probably associated with an electromagnetic field of ELF brainwaves that are embedded in the low dielectric gaseous weakly ionized medium (our ‘Genie’) that is located outside the body (Vale , 1995, Rakovic et al., 1991). At this level, the ‘Genie’ is out of the bottle, and is as transparent as the surrounding air. Thus, the ionic concentration in this ionic system is equal to the ionic concentration in the atmospheric air, and the ELF brainwaves flow through the surrounding weakly ionized atmosphere. The whole system is homogeneous, and completely open for information exchanges within the ELF domain, and can thus bring a sense of oneness with the surrounding world.

Subjectively, this state is experienced as a state of oceanic euphoria, unconditional omnipotence, and pleromatic paradise. Objectively, this level is characterized in our Integrative NLP (Vale , 1995) by deep muscle relaxation, very slow metabolism, and decreased heart and respiratory rates. This state of awareness can be achieved in Integrative NLP by focusing internally on body functions and deliberately slowing down breathing and heart rate, or by concentrating for a long time on simple sensations of light, sound, smell, taste, pain or pleasure. Prolonged focusing on one external object can also produce this state of consciousness.

Perceptual Level Description: (Stanojevic-Vale , 1989)

One extraordinary example of the Perceptual Level experience was a profound ecstatic feeling experienced by a patient with depression and addiction to alcohol. This 45-year old woman tried to commit suicide a few times by taking high doses of anti-depressants with alcohol, and was hospitalized in the Psychiatric Clinic in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, when we first saw her. She came to our office disappointed that she was going to live again. She did not believe in any treatment, and was not at all cooperative. She only wanted to die, and life had no meaning for her. We quickly decided to apply an NLP ‘confusion technique’ (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1977). We took a pillow and covered her face with it so that she could not breathe. At first she did not respond, but then she tried to remove the pillow so she could breathe again. We let go of the pillow, and then asked her to focus her attention on her breathing. After a while, she experienced a white light enveloping her body, her body then dissolved into the white light and had a profound feeling of happiness and ecstasy. After that she felt completely peaceful and calm. She next saw her body floating in water. She then heard somebody screaming: "Wake up girl! Wake up girl!" She felt as if somebody was pounding her chest and breathing into her mouth. She came back from this state remembering that she was hospitalized as a little girl after falling into a lake and nearly drowning. Somebody saved her life, and thus survived the accident. But she always felt depressed after that traumatic event. She never tried to commit suicide again after this remarkable NLP session. We continued to use this ecstatic feeling in our subsequent NLP treatment to help her overcome problems with alcoholism and depression.

2. Emotional Level


The Emotional Level includes the second set of filters called biological filters. The ease with which we learn about the biological world appears to be based on our innate genetically based understanding that living things are different from inanimate objects. Early in life we know that an object cannot cause an action by itself, as a stranger can do when he enters the room. So, as infants we all experience a fear of foreign people, but not a fear of unfamiliar objects. We also develop an intuitive understanding of animal emotions and behaviors, and so we become emotionally attached to our pets. We often attribute an ‘essence' to different types of living beings, and we share the same set of notions concerning the classification of the natural world, regardless of the culture that we come from (Mithen, 1996). We tend to impose a complex taxonomic classification on the biological world even it is of little practical value. For example, the anthropologist Brent Berlin (1992) has shown that among the Tzeltal Maya of Mexico and the Aguarana Jivar of Peru more than a third of named plants have no social or economic uses. Regardless, they are nonetheless named and grouped according to perceived similarities. The universality and complexity of classifications of the natural world can be explained by shared biological filters that are hard-wired into our brain.

As soon as we identify with our body and become aware of space, the problem of life vs. death occurs. The existential fear of death appears at this critical moment. In separating birth from death, we differentiate past from future, and become aware of historical time. We now construct our second ‘Russian doll’. Thus, at the Emotional Level of awareness we identify solely with our organism as existing in space (primary dualism) and time (secondary dualism). This knowledge creates an existential need to survive, and the fear of death. This is the level where our emotional and thought processes, as well as our personal will, first begin to develop.

Between 2 and 1 million years ago there occurred the first major spurt in brain enlargement. It went from approximately 500 cc in early Homo Habillis to 1250 cc in late Homo Erectus. This spurt seems to be related to the rapid development of complex body functions: visual/spatial abilities, motor functions, and tool making. Two new species — Homo Habillis and Homo Erectus - were capable of using visual clues and building the first stone tools (e.g., the first Oldowan stone tools and later, handaxes) in order to fight for their survival and master their environment. They also used primitive vocalization to communicate their feelings (e.g. pleasure, anger, fear) and needs (e.g. desire for food, sex or grooming). Two features of the fossil crania of Early Humans can be used to draw inferences concerning language ability: brain size and shape. Neural structures can be reconstructed from bumps on the inside of the crania. Both Homo Habillis and Homo Erectus appear to have had a well developed Broca’s area, which is responsible for speech reproduction (Mithen, 1996). But the anatomy of the most complete Homo Erectus skeleton that has been found suggests that the muscle control essential for regulation of respiration in human speech was absent. The brain size of late Homo Erectus, who survived until around 300,000 years ago, falls within the range of archaic humans from the same time period.

In developmental psychology, this period has been described as a beginning of emotional life and language acquisition. Sensory motor functions are now becoming more complex, and the child learns to walk and talk. The child becomes more independent from others, and aware of his/her self as a separate emotional/physical being (Freud, 1923, 1936). Cognitive developments include an increased ability to retrieve stored representations of the past (for example, an image of his or her mother’s face) and to compare past and present (i.e., the mother is either present or absent). These memory functions are strongly linked with enhanced perceptions of time and emotional experiences. At about 8 months of age there appears a universal fear of strangers, together with a fear of separation from the mother. This separation anxiety is based on the child’s mental representation of his mother’s presence and/or absence, and her importance for his survival. Between 18 and 24 months, there is an increasing sense of self as a separate individual, which intensifies separation anxiety. Also, at the same time, a relatively stable core gender identity (i.e., the sense of being a boy or girl) is established. At the end of the second year, the child begins to use word "I" when he refers to himself. As a means of achieving greater sense of autonomy, the child frequently says "no" or "I do not want" and manifests noncompliant behavior. Bowel control marks the final step in mastery over body functions, and points the shift into a world where symbolic processes prevail.

On the biological level, scientists also describe further the maturation and myelination of:: 1) The Limbic System (Hippocampus and Cingulum), responsible for memory functions and emotional experiences; 2) The Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia, which play a critical role in the timing of both movement and perception; and 3) The Secondary Zones of the brain cortex, which are responsible for the further development of perceptual and language functions. The Secondary Zones serve as an apparatus for the reception, analysis, integration and storage of modality specific information arriving from the outside world (Stanojevic-Vale , 1990).

The Emotional Level is the level of altered states of consciousness associated with predominantly theta (3.5 to 8 Hz) brainwaves that usually correspond to normally unconscious informational content, drowsiness/light sleep in adults, and/or the "hypnagogic" state in children. The power of delta waves decreased with increasing conceptional age (especially between ages 1 and 3), while that of the theta increased (Ogawa et al. 1984, Koterazava et al. 1990). Neurophysiological studies in animals and humans have shown that theta waves are associated with hippocampal memory circuits and limbic cortex (Robins, 1999). These are the structures that also mature in infants between 6 months and 2 years of age (Stanojevic-Vale , 1990).

At this level, the ionic gaseous system is displaced from the body. Our ‘Genie’ is still out of the bottle. Consciousness, associated with the electromagnetic component of ELF brainwaves, is embedded in a low dielectric gaseous weekly-ionized medium. The difference from the previously described state is that the gaseous ionic structure is relatively stable and unhomogeneous, the whole system is closed, and it has multiple nodes with different concentration of ions. Thus, the "Genie" now has shape and is not open anymore for information exchange in the ELF domain (Vale , 1995; Rakovic et al, 1991).

Subjectively, this state is experienced as a state of pleasant and/or unpleasant emotions, ranging from bliss and ecstatic release to fear and rage. It is also a state of depersonalization and derealization, multivalent images, and archetypal forms (Jung, 1967), distance, and dissociation. Night terrors may occur during slow-wave sleep. The individual may wake up screaming and may be terrified, but neither images nor any reasons for this extreme anxiety can be recalled. Night terrors may develop into sleepwalking (somnabulistic) episodes. Some people may also experience a fugue or a sudden wandering from their home during the normal awake state. In Integrative NLP this level is mostly characterized by peacefulness, slowed pulse and respiration, decreased blood pressure, slow rolling eye movements, and episodic body jerking. The Emotional level can be entered in Integrative NLP by concentrating on specific instincts, feelings, emotions, fantasies and/or emotionally charged visual imagines.

Emotional Level Description: (Stanojevic-Vale , 1989)

One of the most interesting Emotional Level experiences in Integrative NLP was an "out of body experience’ in a patient with panic disorder and phobias. We started our NLP session by focusing on pain that our patient felt in her breasts. She felt as if she had multiple lumps in her breasts. She first remembered when she started to breastfeed her son. But her mother advised her to stop the breastfeeding so that her son would not become dependent on her. She then remembered herself when she was a six-month old baby. Her mother went to work and left her with her grandmother. Her grandmother had prepared some milk for her, and was trying to feed her from a bottle. At this moment, our patient started to feel pain and nausea in her stomach. By focusing on these feeling, she saw herself as a baby, heavily vomiting. She was looking around, desperately trying to find her mother, and constantly crying. She felt as if her mother never paid any attention to her: "She has never wanted me. When I was born she gave me to my grandmother to take care of me. My mother was constantly working, and she always behaved as if I never existed. She has never loved me." At that moment our patient experienced a very intense cathartic reaction. She first started to cry, and then she suddenly felt detached from her own body. She saw herself ‘out of her body’ looking down on her present self. Then she saw her mother when she was pregnant with her. She felt as if she existed ‘out of her mother’s body’. She was following her mother who was working in a field, collecting grapes for the wine. Then she saw her mother preparing the grapes, and crushing them with some other women. Her mother complained to other women about being pregnant and trying to get rid of the pregnancy. At this moment, our patient came out of her trance, opened her eyes and started to cry again. Before this session, she complained that she mostly felt sad, but was unable to cry. The pain in her breasts was completely gone, and she never experienced panic attacks again after this session.

3. Symbolic Level


The Symbolic Level includes a third set of filters called sociological filters. These filters are an internalized matrix of specific cultural premises, familial relationships, and social glosses; as well as social institutions of language, logic, ethics, and law. Different cultures have different language, rules, ethics and law, but the basic language code is universal and already wired up in our brain, regardless of the culture we belong to. We have genetically fixed sociological filters dedicated to learning language and social rules, which are pre-preprogrammed to interact with our social environment. The sociological filters also include new aspects of the environment that have been interjected during the developmental process. For example, Eskimos have many words for snow, while English speakers have only one. Anthropologists studying a new culture are often forced to confront their unconsciousness presuppositions adopted in their own culture. Their hidden beliefs may become conscious only after encountering a social world that violates them. For example, socially accepted rules of normal behavior in different communities are different. In the Masai African tribe, the traditional custom is to drink human blood. In Western cultures, a person who drinks human blood is generally considered to be schizophrenic or psychotic. His reality is deviant to the generally agreed upon reality adopted in the Western world, but not in the Masai tribe. Thus, at the Symbolic Level, the values of society are mapped into the biological organism that exists in space and time.

At the Emotional Level, we fear death and fight for our life. In order to overcome the primordial fear of death, we create a permanent image of our self, called "ego", which consists of fixed and stable symbols. We identify with the seemingly undying idea of our self - our "ego". We become aware of our ego as "I". Our identity shifts from our total psychophysical organism to our mental representation of our organism. This is the tertiary dualism that creates the next major level: the Symbolic Level. Here, in order to protect our two ‘smaller Russian dolls,’ we create our first ‘big doll.’

At the Symbolic Level, we are not anymore directly identified with our total psychophysical organism as existing in space and time. We now identify solely with a mental representation or picture of our self. In other words, we are aware of our ego, our self-image. We feel that we exist in our body and not as our body. Our consciousness is not anymore bound by the emotional level, but shifts to the level of awareness where the intellectual and symbolic processes emerge. Our body processes mostly become unconscious, and the symbolic processes start to predominate in our awareness.

The second major spurt of brain enlargement occurred between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago. The brain increased from approximately 1100 cc in the first Archaic Homo Sapiens to 1750 cc in late Neanderthals. The evolution of the two main features of human language, a vast lexicon and set of grammatical rules, seem to be related to this second spurt of brain enlargement. Archaic Homo Sapiens started to use language with significant social content about three hundred thousand years ago, and also to form more complex social communities. Then, between 200,000 and 100,00 years ago, both Neanderthals and Modern Homo Sapiens developed grammatically complex social language, and new, skillfully-shaped tools (e.g. Levallois stone tools, blades) that allowed them to better survive, especially in a harsh icy environment. Paleontologists have shown that the brain shape in Neanderthals is practically identical to that of modern humans, and that both Broca’s and Wernike’s areas, responsible for language understanding and production, can be identified in a Neanderthal brain cast. Also, a third convincing source of evidence for linguistic capacity in these early humans is found in the anatomy of the vocal tract. This tract is shown to be almost identical in both Neanderthals and Modern Humans.

In developmental psychology, this period has been described as the beginning of cognitive development - preoperational thinking (Piaget, 1954). From two to seven years of age, the child learns that words are symbols and objects are symbols (e.g., the word "doll" is a symbol for the object "doll", while the object that is "doll " can also be a symbol for a person). The child is thus capable to form symbols and concepts, but cannot yet operate or coordinate those representations and perform complex mathematical operations. For example, a child can count objects, but cannot easily multiply or divide them. He/she cannot comprehend more than one dimension or property of an object at the same time, and cannot understand volume and mass. For example, the child learns to group objects by color or shape, but not both. Also, if the object changes shape, the child does not understand that the object preserves its original mass or volume. But the child recognizes that a change in appearance does not reflect a change in kind. The child knows that if we put a horse into striped pajamas it does not become a zebra (Keil, 1994). Also, the child believes that every moving object is alive and has feelings and thoughts. Frightening dreams and irrational fears are common between ages 2 and 4. Imaginary companions are also often present between ages 4 and 6. They can be people and/or animals that provide comfort and love and can help children overcome their fear of loneliness. At approximately the same time there is also a curiosity about the body and sex differences, and often a rivalry develops with a same sex parent for the affection of the opposite-sex parent (oedipal conflict). At about 6 years of age, the initial formation of conscience (superego) marks the development of moral values and a sense of right and wrong. The major characteristic of this period is egocentrism because the child is still not able to put himself in the place of someone else.

At the same time, neuroscientists describe further maturation and myelination of the Tertiary Zones of the brain cortex (Prefrontal Cortex and Inferior Parietal Lobule). The Tertiary Zones are involved in sensory data integration, and the transition from the level of simple visual representations to the level of complex symbolic processes (e.g. operations with word meanings, with complex grammatical and logical structures, and with systems of numbers). The tertiary zones play an essential role in the conversion of concrete perception into abstract thinking (Stanojevic-Vale , 1990).

The Symbolic level is associated primarily with alpha waves (8 to 13 Hz) in the brain. The first bursts of alpha activity are seen in the occipital region at the end of the first year (Samson-Dollfus et al. 1997). The alpha activity increased with increasing age, whereas those of delta and theta waves decreased (Ogawa et al. 1984). For 4 and 5 year-old children, the best separation of neurologically abnormal groups from the normal control groups was obtained by using an alpha frequency range of 9 to 9.8 Hz (Schmid at al. 1997). Alpha activity is also recorded in mammals and birds during their awake state. This alpha state is a true new evolutionary acquisition of these species (Rial et al. 1993). EEG alpha activity growth periods correlate well with the brain growth stages in humans and animals (Epstein, 1980). The newborn infant has a brain size no larger than that of a chimpanzee — about 350 cc. Yet unlike the chimpanzee, whose brain increase in size to about 450 cc, the human brain continues to grow. By the age of four a human brain has tripled in size. When maturity is reached it is around 1400 cc, four times its size at birth (Mithen, 1996). A substantial part of the weight increase appears to occur in neurons, in which growth manifests itself in elongation and branching of axons and dendrites, along with myelination of axons. The sensitive indicator of brain maturation is a slowly increasing frequency of the background alpha rhythm (Epstein, 1980) that is associated with the development of the thalamo-cortical arousal system (Robinson, 1999). Thus, between ages 3 and 6 there was an increase in the lower frequency alpha waves, the predominant brainwaves in preschool children; while at about 10 years of age there was an increase in the higher frequency alpha waves (Ogawa, 1989).

At the Symbolic level, man becomes aware of normally conscious information in the relaxed daydream state, and of subconscious information in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep or dream state. During the phases of REM sleep, with predominant "sawtooth" REM waves and alpha waves, there is a mixing of unconscious and conscious information content. Our ‘Genie’ is filling the bottle as the ionic gaseous system penetrates the brain's neural network. The bottle is still open and the ‘Genie’ has only partially entered the bottle. Consciousness associated with the electromagnetic component of ELF brainwaves is embedded in the low dielectric gaseous weakly ionized medium that is only partially displaced from the body (Stanojevic-Vale , 1995, Rakovic et al., 1991).

Subjectively, this level is experienced as a state of preoperational or mythic thinking, temporal desires, specific likes and dislikes, tension and relaxation, safety and belongingness. Objectively, this is the level in Integrative NLP where consciousness can be associated with REM sleep (dream state) and/or a wakeful daydream state. REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements or eye fixation, middle ear muscle activation, irregular heart rate and respiration, significantly reduced muscle tone with occasional muscle twitches, penile erection, clitoris lubrication, tremor, cataplexy and catalepsy. At this level in Integrative NLP we apply different techniques that include anchoring or reframing of the specific experience; transforming a negative experience into a positive one via play or ritual; imaginative problem solving; dream work; age regression; and metaphorical stories.

Symbolic Level Description: (Stanojevic-Vale , 1989)

One example of a Symbolic Level experience in Integrative NLP was a dreamlike state seen in a patient with a 35-year history of stuttering. This woman would often wake up in fear after a reoccurring dream in which an unfamiliar man would chase her with a gun held in his bloody hand. In NLP therapy we focused on reviving this dream. In her dream, she was suddenly transformed into a three-year old girl and had entered a house searching for her mother. She experienced everything in the house as being much bigger and taller than herself. With great effort, she had barely opened a big wooden door when she suddenly saw this man from her frightening dreams. He was holding some strange instruments in his bloody hands. He immediately noticed her, and started screaming: "What the hell are you doing here?" Her mother was lying on the table with her lags spread apart. There were bloody sheets surrounding her motionless body. Our little girl escaped out into the garden with the terrifying fear that she would never see her mother alive again. After her recollection of these experiences in this NLP session our patient’s stuttering disappeared. Even though all these images were vivid and clear, our patient at first did not believe that these events had ever happened. Her mother later confirmed that she had had an illegal abortion when her daughter was three years old, and that she had left her in the garden of the house where the procedure had been performed. She remembered that her daughter started to stutter shortly after they had returned back home from this illegal procedure. Thus, almost 35 years after this unfortunate event, her daughter’s stuttering finally disappeared.

4. The Rational Level


The Rational Level includes a fourth set of filters called psychological filters. We often attribute mental states to other people when attempting to explain their actions. We understand that other people have beliefs and desires that can play a causal role in their behavior. We all belong to a community of people with whom we interact in cooperative and/or competitive ways, constantly trying to understand their thoughts and actions in order to respond appropriately. Individuals with an ability to predict the behavior of others can achieve the greatest reproductive success (Humphrey, 1992). Thus, by psychological filters we refer to all the representations of the world that we create during the course of our life, based upon our own unique personal experiences, and genetically predetermined models of human behavior. These models or maps constitute a set of interests, habits, likes, dislikes, and rules for behavior that are distinctly our own. Even in the case of identical twins, their unique experiences as individual persons will give rise to differences in the way they create their own models of the world. We all have a different set of experiences in life, and thus create different models or maps of the world that govern our behavior.

At the Rational Level, we identify with only a fraction of our psychic processes that we believe to be our ‘self’. We become aware only of the ideal image of our self, and all other unwanted aspects of our ego become unconscious. In an attempt to make our self-image ideal, we repress all the "bad" aspects of our ego tendencies, thus creating this new level, the Rational Level. On this level, we impose a dualism or split upon our own ego, repress the underlying unity of all ego tendencies, and project them as the persona vs. shadow. Thus we have a quaternary dualism, and the creation of our final ‘Russian doll’. This is our biggest and most favorite ‘dol.’ It hides all the other ‘smaller dolls’ that we have created. We prefer to show only this ‘nice, big doll’ to others, and tend to forget that all the other dolls even exist.

We identify with the mostly inaccurate and greatly limited aspects of our ego. This is our ideal image of our self, our ‘persona’. At the same time, all unacceptable aspects of our self are repressed and are projected as the 'shadow' (Jung, 1967). We alienate and repress all tendencies that we consider painful, miserable, or undesirable; e.g., unpleasant thoughts and emotions like fear or rage, sexual and aggressive instincts, and socially forbidden behavior; and finally project them onto the shadow.

Approximately fifty thousand years ago Modern Homo sapiens projected both his ideal and his shadow on cave walls around the world. It marked the beginning of a new civilization where science and technology, art and religion began to predominate. While there was no further increase in brain size, there was an increase in the brain’s inter-hemispheric connections. Two dramatic transformations in human thought and behavior occurred long after the modern brain had finally evolved. The first transformation was a cultural explosion between 50,000 and 25,000 thousand years ago, when more complex technologies (e.g., blades, wooden spears, bone arrowheads and needles) allowed the first art and religious objects to appear (e.g., necklaces and pendants, animal and human clay figurines, naturalistic and abstract cave paintings). The second transformation was the rise of farming and the first cities between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago. For the first time, people began to plant crops, domesticate animals and to form complex social communities. At the same time about five thousand years ago, the first alphabet appeared, which marked the beginning of new abstract mental expressions (e.g., writing, mathematics, calendar). Man is now not only mastering his natural environment, but also creating a completely new and artificial world. It took only about 90,000 years to get from the first carved piece of bone to the global Internet. This stands in vivid contrast to the more than 2 million years it took to get from the first stone tools to the first bone carvings. It took a long time for the human brain to grow and reach its present size. But it obviously took much less time for it to establish connections between the different parts of its already developed hemispheres.

In developmental psychology, the Rational level has been described as the level of the concrete and formal operational thinking (Piaget, 1954). At approximately seven years of age, a child starts to develop the capacity for logical thought. He/she can comprehend multiple classification (e.g., an object can be red and metal) as well as two or more classes occurring simultaneously (e.g. a child can order specific objects serially along a dimension, such as increasing size from smallest to largest). As a result of learning that a process can be reversed mentally, a child can then grasp the concept of conversion (e.g., understanding volume and mass). The child now understands that the quantity of a substance (e.g. water) remains the same regardless of the size and shape of its container (e.g., a thin tube or a wide bowl). He/she can also perform rule operations, such as multiplication, division, and class inclusion. This concrete operational thinking is still bound to the substantive and obvious world, and cannot yet grasp possible or hypothetical relationships. But the child’s thinking is not anymore egocentric and narcissistic. He/she is becoming capable to take the role of others and to follow rules. The child identifies with a parent of the same sex (authority figure), which stimulates development of an internalized conscience (or superego). Involvement with people other than parents (e.g., teachers, group leaders, friends, especially same-sex friends) who can represent role models also increases during this period.

At around eleven years of age, the adolescent attains the capacity for abstract and hypothetical thinking about multiple variables. He/she is now capable of looking at a problem from multiple points of view. The adolescent can analyze each variable independently, or as a part of a whole. Abstract concepts such as truth or virtue are subject to discussion or analysis. Erickson (1959) referred to this process as the formation of ego identity that can lead to an identity crisis. If this crisis intensifies, the adolescent may suffer from role confusion in which he/she does not know where he/she belongs in the world. On the other hand, the mature ego becomes capable of imagining possibilities not given to mere sensory evidence or sensory-concrete operation. This is the final stage of development of the ego. Also, there are hormonal changes with a differentiation of sexual characteristics. The brain myelination now occurs at the level of inter-hemispheric connections that coordinate functions of left and right brain hemispheres, and this myelination continues into late adulthood.

At the Rational level, we have lost direct contact with our body, and parts of our ego. Psychoanalytically, the unconscious contains wishes and ideas linked to wishes that were banished from consciousness via the mechanism of repression. At the Rational Level, we dis-identify with other levels that are now completely unconscious. Normal adults usually spend most of their every day life within the Rational Level of consciousness. They are predominantly aware of their ideal self-image in relation to the environment.

The Rational level is the level where the ionic system and consciousness, associated with the electromagnetic component of the ELF brainwaves, totally pervade the brain's neural network. Our Genie has finally filled the bottle, and the bottle is now closed. At this level, there is a strong separation of normally conscious and subconscious content in the brain, and there is no mixing of information that belongs to other levels of consciousness (Vale 1995, Rakovic et al., 1991).

At this level, the brainwave spectrum is dominated by the upper two ELF channels, gamma (30 to 50 Hz), and beta (13 to 30 Hz), and information mostly corresponds to normally conscious content (Basar, 1980). The critical period of beta waves in the developing EEG was observed at the age of 10 in the central brain region (Ogawa et al. 1989) where inter-hemispheric connections develop. The average power of beta activities was posterior dominant in early childhood, and it became frontal dominant as the age increased (Yamamoto et. al. 1987). This shift seems to occur predominantly between ages 4 to 7 (Ogawa et al. 1989) when there is a myelination of the tertiary zones (Occipito-Parietal and Frontal cortex) (Vale , 1995). The power of the gamma waves also increased as the age increased (Takano & Ogawa, 1998), and reached a peak in the frontal region at the same time when the beta activity peaked. In adults, the predominant brainwaves in the normal awake state are beta and gamma waves. Brain maturation was also reflected in a marked and highly significant increase of EEG correlation dimension, which is a measure of system complexity. Between 7 to 25 years of age the maximum gain in complexity occurs over the frontal associative cortex (Anokhin et. al. 1996) where myelination continues until adulthood (Vale , 1995).

Subjectively, this NLP level of consciousness is experienced as a state of concrete and formal operational thinking, inner dialogues, temporal goals and desires, self-esteem needs, self-control and willpower, and different emotions (e.g., pride, guilt, love, and hatred). Objectively, consciousness is associated with the normal awake state in which all activities can be fully performed. This is the most superficial level in our Integrative NLP (Vale , 1993). The techniques that belong to this NLP level are as follows: goal planning, time management, ego strengthening, future visualization and self-affirmations

.Rational Level Description: (Stanojevic-Vale , 1987)

A twenty-eight year old man was never able to establish sexual relationships with women because of his problems with erection. At about five years of age, he had peeked through the door of his parents’ bedroom where he had seen his mother and father having intercourse. His father was drunk. Our patient experienced the whole scene as his father’s aggression towards his mother. After being shocked by what he had seen, he went into his own bedroom and cried the whole evening. He remembered being very angry with his father after this incident. When he was twelve years of age his parents divorced. One night, his father, completely drunk, came into his mother’s house and attacked her. This time our patient protected his mother and beat his drunken father up. At about this same time period in his life, he also wanted to impress his friends. He always felt his penis was not big enough and so, on one occasion, he put a piece of wood in his pants and walked around with his friends. The boys noticed this strange object in his pants, and started to touch him and laugh at him. As he was running away from them he heard the boys screaming: "You have a small penis! You have a small penis!" However, his recollection of these unhappy events did not help him overcome his sexual problems. We then took a rational approach to his therapy and applied a Master’s & Johnson’s sexual exercise for couples. We also involved his girlfriend in his treatment. We designed a plan that included a set of exercises to be performed first by our patient alone, and then together with his girlfriend. This rational approach finally worked.

5. The Creative Level


The Creative Level is the level where our mind integrates all ideas and experiences into a unified picture and model of the world. We are now capable of envisioning how the truth or falsity of any one idea would affect the truth or falsity of other ideas. We now comprehend a massive network of ideas, how they influence each other, and what their relationships are. This is Arubindo's "higher mind" that can make connections, relate truths, coordinate ideas and integrate concepts. It is the highest integrative structure in the individual realm, the "self-seen in the integral whole". All the structures of the human mind are completely integrated into a single whole.

This is the creative phase in the development of human consciousness. We have opened a big ‘Russian doll’ and found another doll inside. We now have ‘two dolls’ to play with. There exists no more separation, but rather, integration of the human psyche. The rational and symbolic levels are integrated into one level of the mind — the Creative Level. There is also a completion of brain development, and final myelination takes place in all possible inter and intra-hemispheric connections.

At the Creative level the ionic gaseous system with embedded electromagnetic component of the ELF brainwaves is deliberately and partially displaced from the highly developed brain neural network (Vale , 1995, Rakovic et al., 1991). The bottle is now open again, and our ‘Genie’ is emerging like a butterfly from its cocoon. At this level, there is a complete integration of normally conscious and subconscious information content. The brainwave spectrum is exhibiting normal brainwave patterns that correspond to gamma, beta and alpha waves.

The alpha activity may increase during meditation practice and/or prolonged attention on external stimuli (for review see Fenwick, 1987, Austin, 1999). Lucid dreaming (Tyson et al. 1984) and alpha feedback techniques (Kamiya, 1969) were also associated with the occurrence of alpha rhythms. Several studies of Indian Yoga practices reported that alpha activity increased in experienced yoga meditators during Samadhi Yoga (Bagachi & Wenger 1957; Anand et al, 1966) and Santhi Kriya Yoga (Satyanarayana et al. 1992). Kasamatsu & Hirai (1966) also found increased amounts and/or amplitudes of alpha activity in Japanese priests during Zen mindfulness meditation with their eyes open. Alpha waves occur in about 50 percent of the EEG recordings belonging to experienced Zen monks engaged in walking meditation (Austin, 1999). In contrast, alpha waves occur only 20 percent of the time in inexperienced practitioners. Moreover, the control group did not generate alpha waves during the act of walking. Several more recent Transcendental Meditation (TM) studies using experienced meditators have also found higher alpha coherence (synchrony), especially in the frontal region (Orme-Johnson et al. 1982; Travis & Wallace, 1999). These researchers concluded that the "restful alert" state in the early phase of TM meditation might be mediated by "neural switch" in the prefrontal areas that is inhibiting activity in the thalamocortical circuits. The increased coherence tends to correlate with both the clarity of ongoing experience and with a suspension of respiration (Badawi et al, 1984).

The Buddhists call this level "manovijnan", or the "intellect", while the Hindus refer to it as "stulasarir". Subjectively, this state is experienced as a state of self-actualization, vision-logic, high fantasy, synthetic thinking, spontaneity, creativity, super-sensitivity, and restful alertness. This is the level where consciousness can easily shift from the Rational to the Symbolic level of awareness. All the information from these two levels can be processed and integrated into a single Creative Level of the mind. Most of Einstein’s creative activities occurred when his brain generated alpha rhythms (Austin, 1999). Objectively, this level is characterized by increased cardiac output, increased cerebral blood flow, cessation of CO2 generation by muscle, and EEG synchrony (for review see Jevning et al., 1992). The techniques being used in Integrative NLP to enhance the development of the Creative Level of awareness are creative modeling, age progression, creative visualization, lucid dreaming, attention exercises and moment-to-moment awareness.

Creative Level Description: (Quotations from Pantanjali, considered to be author of the Yoga Sutras, that were composed between the fourth century B.C. to the fourth century A.D.)

"When an event or object in the external world is recorded by the senses, a thought-wave is raised in the mind. The ego-sense identifies itself with this wave...This false identification is the cause of all our misery (because we cling to pleasant, yet transient, thought-waves, and shrink from unpleasant, yet unavoidable, thought-waves)...The real Self, the Atman, remains forever outside the power of thought-waves, it is eternally pure, enlightened and free -- the only true, unchanging happiness... The Atman ... is pure consciousness. (p. 12)

Our thoughts have been scattered, as it were, all over the mental field. Now we begin to collect them again and to direct them toward a single goal--knowledge of the Atman. As we do this we find ourselves becoming increasingly absorbed in the thought of what we are seeking. And so, at length, absorption merges into illumination, and the knowledge is ours. (p. 36)

When one stops identifying with the thought-waves, man knows himself as he really is, always was and always will be. He knows that he is the Atman. His "personality," his mistaken belief in himself as a separate, unique individual, disappears...Such a man is known as a free, illumined soul." (p. 16)

6. Supra-Individual Level


This is the realm of high religious intuition and literal inspiration, of symbolic visions, of audible illuminations, of blue, gold and white light. This is the realm of higher presences, guides, angelic beings, deities; all of which are high archetypal forms of our own being (Jung, 1967). The subject is identified with an object of faith. At its peak, the subject dissolves into the object. The worship, the worshipper, and the worshipped are one.

On this level, we transcend our normal capacity of individual mind and body, and return back to the higher realm of existence. By opening the second ‘Russian doll’ we discover a ‘third doll’ that we can play with. We can now operate upon the world, and on our body and mind, in ways that appear to ordinary people to be fantastic and extraordinary. We develop extrasensory perception, precognition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psycho-kinesis, and so on. We master the level of psychic phenomena and paranormal powers by fully integrating the Rational, Symbolic, and Emotional levels. We originally came from this realm, and can occasionally go back. But complete integration only takes place after our own individual development is completed, and the synthesis of our mind and body is accomplished. This level appears to be the same as the emotional level in the infant. The primary difference, though, is that while an infant can experience manifestations that belong to this level, he cannot actively participate in their creation because neither his brain nor his mind are fully developed. The infant is the passive observer; the mystic is the active creator.

This is the level where the ionic gaseous system is completely displaced from the brain's neural networks. Our ‘Genie’ has left the bottle and is freely moving about the surrounding atmosphere. Consciousness, associated with the electromagnetic component of ELF brainwaves, is now embedded in the low dielectric gaseous weekly-ionized medium that is inhomogeneous (Vale , 1995; Rakovic et al., 1991). There is an intensive processing and integration of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious information. The brain exhibits a normal spectrum of gamma, beta, alpha and theta waves. The prolongation of this state of consciousness may produce theta bursts that can correlate with a peak experience and/or pleasant state (Wachsmuth & Dolce, 1980; Hebert & Lehmann, 1977).

Theta activity usually predominated during the "second" stage of TM meditation (Banquet, 1973). Increasingly rhythmic theta activity became synchronized in both anterior and posterior brain regions, and continued after the subjects stopped meditation. Theta coherence in "Yogic Flying" and TM meditation techniques consistently led to changes in alpha, beta and gamma coherences (Travis & Orme-Johnson, et. al. 1989). In several studies, TM subjects exhibited significantly more theta activity during both mediation and non-mediation periods than controls (in normal waking states - Tebecis, 1975, and during the sleep - Mason et al, 1997). Buddhist meditative chants are also associated with enhanced, rhythmic, synchronous theta activity (Schuman, 1980). The results also showed that frontal mid-line theta rhythm was related to a concentrative Qigong state (Pan et al, 1994), while frontal and parietal theta activity predominated during Zen (Austin, 1999). Theta rhythms were also seen during Indian Yoga practices such as Tantric Yoga (Corby et al. 1978), and Kapalabhati breathing exercises (Stancak et al. 1991). It seems that experienced meditators learn to enter and to remain in a stable EEG phase between wakefulness and drowsiness (Stigsby et. al., 1981), during which they sustain their awareness and do not fall asleep. In contrast, inexperienced meditators may enter sleep stages, and can also report hypnogogic reverie, trance or abreaction during practice (Delmonte, 1984).

Hinduism calls this level Suksmasarira, the "Subtle body"; while Buddhism terms this level "manas", and defines it as the persistent source of existential, rational, and volitional awareness. Subjectively, this state is experienced as a state of rapture, bliss, compassion, and gratefulness, extrasensory perception, developed intuition and inspiration, archetypal forms, audible illumination, and revelations of light and sound. This is the level where consciousness can easily process all information coming from the Rational-Symbolic-Emotional levels that are now integrated into a Supra-individual level of awareness. Objectively, this level is associated with reduced metabolic rate, decreased heart and respiration rate, high basal skin resistance, and consistent changes in EEG power and EEG coherence (Farrow & Hebert, 1982). The techniques being used in Integrative NLP to enhance development of this level are astral projection, astral travel, focusing on religious and/or higher emotional experience, and personal guides or spiritual teacher visualization.

Supra-Individual Level Description: (Quotations from The Philokalia, Orthodox Christian texts written between the fourth and fifteenth centuries)

St. Hesychios the Priest, On Watchfulness and Holiness (between 300 and 400 A.D.):

"He at first appears in our intellect like a torch which, carried in the hand of the intellect, guides us along the tracks of the mind; then He appears like a full moon, circling the heart's firmament; then He appears to us like the sun, radiating justice, clearly revealing Himself in the full light of spiritual vision. (Vol. 1), p. 191, text 166)

The guarding of the intellect may appropriately be called light-producing, lightning-producing, light-giving and fire-bearing, for truly it surpasses endless virtues, bodily and other. Because of this, and because of the glorious light to which it gives birth, one must honor this virtue with worthy epithets... (Those who have become contemplatives) bathe in a sea of pure and infinite light, touching it ineffably and living and dwelling in it. (Vol. 1), p 192, text 171)

Just as he who looks at the sun cannot but fill his eyes with light, so he who always gazes intently into his heart cannot fail to be illumined." (Vol. 1), p. 180, text 108)

7 - Transindividual Level


The process of integration and transcendence continues even further by dissolving into the higher 'other' realm, leading finally to Unity itself. This process has been described in both East and West mystical traditions (Wilber, 1999). Within the third "doll" we find the last, smallest possible ‘Russian doll’. It is the true core of all other existing ‘dolls’, and by opening this core we find ‘emptiness’.

The Creative, Supra-individual, and Trans-individual levels represent three levels of enlightenment:

  1. To attain the Creative Level is to exist in harmony with nature and humanity, to live according to the laws of nature, and to embody the highest virtues of humanity. This is the lowest form of enlightenment.

  2. To enter the Realm of the Supra-individual is to exist in a state in which subject and object are differentiated but are integral parts of the Universal Mind. Thus, at the Supra-individual level, we become aware of our archetypal Deity, our Spirit or Soul, and finally become one with our Archetype. It is a lesser form of enlightenment.

  3. To rise to the Trans-individual Level is to attain the highest form of enlightenment. This is complete union with God, the ultimate source from which all Archetypal forms emerged. This union has been described as an intensive subtle 'audible illumination'. In this final transcendence, all pervious levels become completely integrated and dissolve into a formless, infinite, unbounded consciousness.

At the Trans-individual Level, the displaced ionic gaseous system deteriorates and becomes homogeneous. Our ‘Genie’ dissolves into the atmosphere. The ionic concentration in this medium is the same as the one in the surrounding air, and ELF brainwaves can freely flow through the surrounding weakly ionized atmosphere. The whole system is now open for information exchange in the ELF domain, which brings a sense of oneness with the surrounding world. At the same time, there is a complete integration of all possible levels and of the information that belongs to these multiple levels (Vale , 1995; Rakovic et al. 1991). The brain now exhibits the full range of brainwave spectrum: gamma, beta, alpha, theta and delta waves.

Skilful meditators can repeatedly freeze the meditative process "at later and later stages" (Elson et al. 1977). This can occur early in meditation in the predominantly alpha wave stage, than later in the theta wave ranges, and finally in the delta wave phase. Few illustrated instances of delta activity have been recorded (Persinger, 1984). One case involved the occurrence of delta-wave-dominant electrical activity from the temporal lobe in a TM teacher during a peak experience within a routine TM episode. The second case involved an occurrence of delta spikes within the temporal lobe during protracted intermittent episodes of glossolalia (speaking in tongues) by a member of a Pentecostal sect. There are other reports of delta activity during TM practices (Stigsby et al. 1981, Pagano et al, 1976), but these delta waves were mostly reported to be associated with stages of deep sleep. While inexperienced meditators may fall into deep sleep, especially if they are sleep deprived and/or tired, highly experienced meditators stay fully alert and have profound religious experience during delta wave-dominant activity.

In Mahayana Buddhism this level of consciousness is called "alayavijnan", or "supra-individual repository consciousness"; while in Hinduism, they refer to it as "karanasarir" or the "causal body". Subjectively, this state is experienced as a state of final illumination, radiant bliss, formless radiance, and transcendent love in oneness, formless realization, and boundless consciousness. Both the framework (time, space and body) and the content (qualities of inner and outer perception) of our everyday experiences are now absent (Travis & Pearson, 2000). Objectively, this level is characterized by respiratory suspension, heart rate deceleration and suspension, hypo-metabolic state with a drop in oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production, and by maintenance of vigilance. This is the final integration of all the levels - Rational, Symbolic, Emotional and Perceptual - into one Trans-individual level. This state of awareness can be achieved in Integrative NLP after long practice of prayers and meditation (Stanojevic-Vale , 1993).

Trans-individual Level Description: (Quotations from the Upanishads, sacred works cherished by Hindus, probably written at about 800 B.C. Authors are not known.)

What the sages sought they have found at last. No more questions have they to ask of life. With self-will extinguished, they are at peace. Seeing the Lord of Love in all around, serving the Lord of Love in all around, they are united with him forever. (Mundaka Up. 3:2:5, p. 117)

As the rain on a mountain peak runs off the slopes on all sides, so those who see only the seeming multiplicity of life run after things on every side. As pure water poured into pure water becomes the very same, so does the Self of the illumined man or woman…verily become one with the Godhead. (Katha Up. 1:14-15, p. 92)

The separate self dissolves in the sea of pure consciousness, infinite and immortal. Separateness arises from identifying the Self with the body, which is made up of the elements; when this physical identification dissolves, there can be no more separate self. This is what I want to tell you, beloved. (Brihadaranyaka Up. Chapter 2, 4:12, p. 38)

8 - The Universal Level


Our innermost consciousness is identical to the absolute and ultimate reality of the universe. At this level we identify with the Universe and our consciousness becomes space-less and timeless, and therefore, eternal and infinite. This is the state of nirvana, samadhi, satori, and enlightenment, the state of completely liberated consciousness and peaceful mind. There is no more distinction between subject and object, self and not self, seer and seen. There is no more sending and receiving of information — man is what there is and all there is. This is the state were a homogenous dielectric medium, our ‘Genie,’ completely dissolves. Paradoxically, it can also enable the inflow of all information into One universal consciousness (Vale , 1995; Rakovic et al., 1991).

Subjectively, the entire world process than arises, moment to moment, as our own true Being, outside of which and prior to which, nothing exists. This is the ultimate Unity, where all things and events, while remaining perfectly separate and discrete, are One. This is the final differentiation of consciousness, the state of perfect transcendence, which is not transcendence in the world, but a final transcendence of the world itself. "Form is not other than Void, Void is not other than Form", says the famous Buddhist Sutra ("The Heart Sutr"-see Wilber, 1999). At this point, the extraordinary and the ordinary, the supernatural and the mundane, are one and the same. This is the ultimate Unity towards which all evolution, human and cosmic, drives.

The ultimate goal of Integrative NLP is the same as in yoga and related esoteric disciplines - the continual prolongation of altered states of consciousness 24 hours a day, with a displaced ionic system that is continuously open. This also means that the ultradian rhythm, responsible for changes in states of consciousness (Rossi, 1986), does not exist any more, and that brain frequencies can be equal to zero. The biological basis for this phenomenon is probably the enhancement and completion of all possible connections between the left and right brain hemispheres. This would allow the displacement and deterioration of the ionic system and the liberation of the "subjective observer" (associated with the electromagnetic component of the ELF brainwaves).

Universal Level Description (Quotations from the Rumi, a prominent, thirteenth-century mystic and poet from Turkey)

Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence. Existence: this place made from our love for that emptiness! Yet somehow comes emptiness, this existence goes. Praise to that happening, over and over! (The Essential Rumi, p. 21)

The beauty of the Unseen Form is beyond description -- borrow a thousand illuminated eyes, borrow! (The Sufi Path of Love, p. 263)         

Oh God, show to the spirit that station where speech grows up without words, so the pure spirit may fly toward the wide expanse of Nonexistence -- An expanse exceedingly open and spacious, from which this imagination and existence find nourishment. Images are narrower than Nonexistence -- therefore imagination is the cause of heartache. Existence is still narrower than imagination -- therefore within it full moons become crescents. The existence of the world of sense perception and colors is still narrower, for it is a cramped prison. The cause of narrowness is composition and multiplicity, and the senses drag toward composition. Know that the World of Unity lies in the other direction from the senses. If you want Oneness, go in that direction! (The Sufi Path of Love, p. 251)     


Further experimental investigation of the different states of consciousness is very important for the future of NLP and should include the following procedures:

  • Testing, via computer-based tests and evoked potentials, information processing capacity in normal and altered states of consciousness;

  • Measuring physiological functions (e.g., heart rate, breathing, skin conductivity) by using different sensors;

  • Monitoring of brain activity in different states of consciousness by using EEG brain mapping, Squid, and/or functional MRI;

  • Detecting the low-dielectric ionic structure by monitoring local changes in ionic concentration in the vicinity of the body with highly sensitive infrared image processing and/or photon detectors.

  • Evaluating the correlation between subjective experiences, information processing capacity, physiological functions and parameters of the theoretically predicted ionic structure (ionic concentration, ionic currents, magnetic fields) in normal and altered state of consciousness.

  • Testing the low-power ELF transmission between NLP practitioner and his/her client. (The NLP therapist might be able to transfer information to his/her client via electromagnetic induction coupling, which could be the basis for short-range transpersonal interactions, such as healing).

The advantages afforded to our clients by the Integrative NLP model (Vale , 1993) are as follows:

  • Precise, careful documentation and quantification of psychological and biophysical functions in the Integrative NLP diagnostic procedure;

  • Appropriate, strategically developed and carefully considered choices of Integrative NLP therapeutic interventions;

  • Flexibility and inventiveness in the selection and application of Integrative NLP therapeutic methods.

The significances of our Integrative NLP model of states of consciousness for the NLP community are as follows:

  • This model focuses not only on individual differing deficits and clinical presentations, but also on the client's present strengths, and potential abilities in normal and altered states of consciousness. NLP altered states are especially important for designing the appropriate therapeutic procedures.

  • Broad, flexible, effective, and standardized biophysical and psychological diagnostic procedures will enable a better understanding of the client's strengths and limitations in different states of consciousness and facilitate the appropriate choice of NLP interventions.

  • The careful measurement of the effectiveness of any given NLP technique, and further monitoring during the course of recovery, will provide useful information to the therapist about possible further intervention. This in turn will allow for the development of more specific NLP strategies and alternative therapeutic programs.

  • Follow-up studies of results and outcomes of different NLP interventions can be of great importance for public health and welfare polices.


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