Use NLP time line to rewrite your past and pre-write your future. Time line technique allows you to change meanings and associations of past bad experiences as well as install empowering beliefs for your future.
What is Time Line?
NLP time line is a term used to describe the way we internally represent time. We internally represent the past, present and future differently. Our ability to determine whether an event has happened in the past, is happening in the present, or is a future projection comes by matching the experience to our unique time line.
Time line describes how we characterize chronological time in the space around us. Look at the diagram below for illustration of NLP time line.
Those are some examples of possible timelines for different people. So as you can see, for some people the past is behind them while the future is ahead of them. For others, their time line is from side to side with one extreme being the past, the other the future and the centre (where she is positioned at) being the present. Some also see their timeline diagonally like from top left to bottom right or vice versa.
Here are steps to identify your time line.
1. Stand up. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax.
2. Go back in time by thinking of a past experience. First, think of a recent experience, then an experience that happened a long time (years) ago. Notice where you feel that experience is in relation to the position you are standing. It could be at the side (either left or right), front, back, diagonal. The position where your head turns to or where you try to look towards is an indication as well.
3. Repeat the same practice but do it for the future this time. Visualize something that
you expect to happen very soon, and another that will/may happen a number of years in the future. Once again
notice where that experience is.
4. The last step is to elicit the present time. Focus on
things that are happening to you in the present and do the same steps as above to elicit your internal
representation of the present.
Many people experience the future somewhere in front of them, the past somewhere behind them and the present being very near to them. However, the exact location differs from individual to individual.
How can NLP time line be useful?
You can use the knowledge of your unique time line representation to help change a past experience, or project a future desired occurrence. When doing visualizations of past or future settings, the use of NLP time line will help amplify the effect.
By using NLP time line, you will internally be bringing yourself through time. NLP time line makes the brain accept the visualizations as real happenings in the past/future. With this acceptance, you can build up your beliefs for the future and rid negative conditioning from the past through visualization and using other NLP techniques such as submodalities and anchoring.
Using NLP time line
To use NLP time lines, perform visualization as usual. When visualizing past experiences, imagine yourself floating out of your body and moving towards the direction of your past time line. This is the ‘past’ direction that you identified when you elicit your time lines. So if you identified your past time line to be on your left side, move towards the left. As you are moving in that direction, see and feel yourself moving back in time.
Keep moving in that direction until you feel that you have reached the exact point in time of that particular experience. So if you’re going back to an experience that happened 5 years ago, keep moving towards your past direction until you ‘feel’ that you are at the point of 5 years ago.
The same goes for projection of future events. Start visualizing, then image yourself floating & moving towards your future time line direction until you feel that you have reached your desired future point in time.
NLP Time Line Method
Here is an effective time line and future pacing method.
1. Think of a few past successes. Do not get caught up in the details, just assign a name to identify each.
2. Think of a few learning experiences (mistakes etc). Once again just assign a name to it, and the year or age that it happened.
3. Close your eyes. Now start visualizing going back in time to those experiences. Drift out of yourself and move towards your past to past success #1 then #2 and so on. Re-live each of the experience. Feel the joy & satisfaction from each success.
4. Now proceed to the learning experiences. Move towards each of the learning experience. As you get into it, drain all negative associations from the experience. Visualize washing away all anger, hurt, pain etc. What’s left are only the learnings & lessons from it.
(When doing this, position yourself above the experience so that you are looking down on it. This helps reduce the intensity, pain & anger of the experience. It puts you in a position of control over it so that you will not get caught up in the negative feelings instead)
5. When all is done, drift back to the present. Look back on your past and line up all the past successes and lessons in a row just like a runway. Each success/lesson is represented by a glowing light.
6. See yourself in the future (by looking towards the future time line direction). Now push the runway of success & lessons into the future. See the power, beliefs and abilities developed from the past go into the future you and become integrated.
7. Drift towards the future time line. See yourself in the future achieving your desired outcomes and becoming the person you desire to be. With the abilities and experience from the past integrated into the future you, see yourself being stronger than ever and achieving all goals.
8. Drift back to the present feeling calm and refreshed. Know that your past has given you
many great experiences, and that your future is looking better than ever. Open your eyes.
This method integrates both past and future time lines. Use variations of this method for the application of time line for different purposes in different areas. For example, to rid negative associations and conditioning of past experiences, a similar approach focusing solely on step 4 can be used. Whereas for projection of achieving future goals, either step 7 can be used solely, or with the other steps.
NLP time line is another effective technique in the NLP family. It is very complementary to other NLP methods such as submodalities and anchoring. It brings visualization and therapy for past/future experiences to another level.
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