Changing Levels of Meaning and Experience*


            Our inner experiencing shifts rapidly and unconsciously between many different levels, whether we are demonstrating our greatest skills, or feeling trapped in our most frustrating problems. This fresh understanding of logical levels begins with a simple, yet crucial fundamental distinction that previous descriptions (including Bateson’s) missed entirely. This key distinction unlocks confusing and complex problems, revealing their simplicity, and provides clear choices about when, how, in what sequence, and which methods to use to intervene.
            When the standard change methods don’t work with persistent life issues, that is often a good indication that we need to work on a different level. With many beliefs, it can be useful to go up a level and work to loosen the higher level certainty that locks in the belief. However, at other times it is more useful to drop down to a lower level. Higher levels can affect lower levels, but lower levels also affect higher levels–sometimes simultaneously–and in many different ways.
            While logical levels may sound complicated, you’ll find that simple and clear distinctions make it easy for anyone to recognize and make use of them to understand the structure of otherwise perplexing situations. Through guided self-discovery exercises, demonstrations, cartoons, changework exercises, and discussion, you will learn how to:

            —    Track and navigate the shifting levels of experiencing in yourself and others, to discover the levels involved in a problem or skill.

            —    Understand how different levels are useful in different ways, and how to utilize their strengths and avoid their weaknesses.

            —    Determine the best level, or sequence of levels, for making changes, in order to choose how to work most effectively.

            —    Use the lens of logical levels to understand the 17 different patterns of reframing, and the kind of shift in understanding that each one makes.  (Since the patterns of Reframing are the same as the patterns of humor and creativity, we will use cartoons to illustrate the different patterns.)

            —    Use logical level shifts, recursion, and paradox to weaken the certainty about problem beliefs.  (See article: “Certainty and Uncertainty”)

            —    Understand how either/or digital beliefs are severely limiting in almost all contexts, and how to transform them into more changeable and useful  analog understandings.

            —    Loosen rigid judgements, which are a key obstacle to effective problem-solving in so many difficulties in relationships.

            —    Recognize the troublesome self-reference and paradox that is so often hidden in everyday conversation, such as “I make bad decisions,” which is itself an expression of a decision.

            —    Recognize the limitations of hierarchical thinking, and that logical levels do not always include a hierarchy of control.

            —    Examine spiritual/mystical experiences and practice to determine which levels are included/excluded.

            —    Review some of the understandings (and misunderstandings) of Robert Dilts’ content-based “neurological levels” and Michael Hall’s global “meta-states.” (This practical workshop goes FAR  beyond these.)

*This workshop was created and designed by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner.

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