One of the most important aspects of effective and ecological communication and change is the congruence between the 'message' and the 'messenger.' On a personal level, a healthy and effective person is one whose own actions are aligned with his or her capabilities, beliefs, values and sense of identity or mission. A person's sense of role and identity is a dynamic process related to several different factors:
The concept of different 'levels' of change provides us with a powerful road map for bringing the various dimensions of ourselves into alignment in order to realize our goals and visions. Each of these different levels is embodied through successively deeper and broader organizations of 'neural circuitry.' As one moves from the simple perception of the environment, for instance, to the activation of behavior within that environment, more commitment of one's mind and body must be mobilized.
Capabilities call into play longer term plans and maps, and require the involvement of even deeper levels of the nervous system. Beliefs and values are represented and manifested through the mobilization of neurology that calls into play structures as deep as the autonomic nervous system (such as the heart and 'guts'). Identity involves the total commitment of our nervous systems. 'Spiritual' experiences involve the resonance between our own mind and nervous system with the larger systems of which we are a part.
To be effective in a particular system, an individual must understand the relationship between the various levels of change, and align his or her activities to fit those dynamics. That is, goals and actions on an individual level should support the functional objectives and strategy related to role, which in turn should be congruent with culture and identity, and mission with respect to the larger environment.
The Neuro-Logical Level Alignment process provides a way to systematically access and connect experiences and neural processes associated with each of these different levels. By combining mental and physical processes with the different levels of change, a person can bring all these levels into alignment in the service of their vision and mission. The process uses what is called 'spatial anchoring' to activate and integrate these different levels of experience. Many people have found this to be a very powerful experience and a tool to put themselves into an effective 'aligned' state.
1. Physically lay out one space for each of the six logical levels.
2. Answer the question: "When and where do I want to act in a more aligned manner?"
3. Answer the question: "What will I do when I am acting in a more aligned manner in those times and places?"
4. Answer the questions: "How will I carry out those behaviors?" "What capabilities do I have/need to do those actions in those times and places?"
5. Answer the questions: "Why will I use those particular capabilities to accomplish those activities?" "What values are important to me when I am acting in a more aligned manner?" "What beliefs guide me when I am acting in a more aligned manner?"
6. Answer the questions: "Who am I when I act in a more aligned manner?" "What kind of person am I being called to be or become by this situation?"
7. Answer the questions: "Who else am I serving as an aligned person?" "What is my mission?" "What is the vision I am pursuing or representing?"
8. Anchor the state that you entered into in the spiritual space. Take that physiology and inner experience and step back into the identity space so you experience both at the same time. Notice how it enhances or enriches your initial representation of the identity experience.
9. Take you experience of both your vision and your identity and bring them into your belief space. Again notice how it enhances or enriches your initial representation of your beliefs and values.
10. Bring your vision, identity, beliefs and values into the capabilities space. Experience how they strengthen, change or enrich the capabilities you experience within yourself.
11. Bring your vision, identity, beliefs, values and capabilities into the behavior space. Notice how even the most insignificant seeming behaviors are reflections and manifestations of all of the higher levels within you.
12. Bring all levels of yourselves into the environment space and experience how it is transformed and enriched.
You can use the following worksheet to keep track of the answers you come up with while doing the Neuro-Logical Level Alignment exercise.
1. "What is the environment in which you want to be more aligned?"
2. "What are your specific goals and actions in that context?"
3. "What capabilities are needed to reach your goals within the chosen context?"
4. "What beliefs and values are expressed by or will be validated by reaching your goals in that context?"
5. "What is your identity or role with respect to the goals and the beliefs and values associated with them?"
(Think in terms of a symbol or metaphor to answer this question.)
6. "What is your purpose with respect to the larger system in which you are operating?"