You may think that Doug Adams was the guy who wrote A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Gallaxy, yet in Neuro-Semantics, there was another one. The Neuro-Semanticist Doug Adams. Doug was an IT guy who grew up in Kansas City Missouri (where I first met him) and later moved to work in Washington DC. I met Doug in the mid-1980s and later introduced him to NLP which he took to passionately.
He was passionate enough about it that he was one of the people who traveled to Denver for the 1994 NLP Conference where I spoke on my modeling project on Resilience. He flew in from Washington DC and attended the presentation when I first discovered the Meta-States model and he was one of the three people there that I immediately began talking to after that presentation about Meta-States. Then, throughout 1994 and 1995, Doug was one of the colleagues who brainstormed with me about many of the factors and features that I incorporated into the first model of Meta-States.
Yet what I remember Doug Adams mostly for is that he was the person who invented the verb “meta-stating.” After reading my initial paper on Meta-States and contemplating it for a couple of weeks, we have a long conversation on the phone in December of 1994. That’s when Doug asked me about “the steps of meta-stating.” “The steps of what?” I inquired. “Meta-stating? I’ve never thought of it like that. What are you thinking Doug?”
“Well, if you’re not going to turn Meta-States into another nominalization so that people think that it is a thing rather than focus on the process and the mechanisms of reflexivity, then don’t you need a verb form of the term Meta-States?”
During that dialogue, Doug challenged me to come up with a meta-state process. When I later came up with the original meta-stating process. I think it had 11 steps! Talk about exhaustive, it said everything I knew and could think about reflexivity! Later as I began traveling and presenting Meta-States to various NLP Centers in the USA, I discovered one of the real benefits of presentation—feedback. People found 11 steps too much. So I began to simplify the process and to put it in a more memorable form. The result? The Five A’s of meta-stating:
1) Access a resourceful state that you want to set as your frame or meta-state.
2) Amplify it so that it is strong and robust enough to be felt.
3) Apply that state to a primary state or situation.
4) Appropriate it into the life context, environment, or relationship where you want it.
5) Analyze the result to make sure it is ecological, congruent, and empowering.
After coming up with the Five A’s, Denis Bridoux in England translated it into French using 5 A’s; others found 5 A’s in Spanish. When Colin Cox in New Zealand learned the 5 A’s, he applied his creative genius to them by turning them into gestures so that people could mime them for easy learning. He also added 2 more A’s– “awareness” and “accelerate.” He added
Awareness as the very first step and Accelerate as the last. 1) Awareness of the present and primary state that needs to be outframed, textured, or meta-stated with some higher resource. 7) Accelerate your actions and behaviors to make this new experience real and practical in your everyday life.
This gives us the current 7 A’s of the meta-stating process. Do you know those?
If you read the Meta-State Journal (1997 and 1998) you would have seen Doug Adams name in those monthly journals (which are now incorporated in the spiral book, Meta-State Magic). Before his untimely death at 38 years old, Doug was a beloved colleague as he contributed his insights and feedback for what has become the Meta-States model.
Now you know who first came up with the phrase, meta-stating. Of course, if you don’t know what a meta-state is you wouldn’t know what “meta-stating” means. That’s why from the beginning we came up with other phrases. The one that I used predominately for the first five years was “bring to bear” as in “bring this resourceful state of X to bear upon this primary state of Y.” Bob Bodenhamer still uses that phrase predominately.
One day in 1997 or 1998 I was in Austin Texas presenting Meta-States for business (“Genius at Work”) and a lady walked into the training on the second day with two teddy bears dangling on each side of her. She had tied them together with a string. It’s not everyday you see a woman walking round with two teddy bears strung around her neck and dangling on each side, so everybody was asking, “What’s with the bears?”
When I asked, she said, “You of all people should know! You talked about two bears all day yesterday.” “I did?” “Yes, you said ‘bring joy to bear on your learning,’ ‘bring ownership to bear on your awareness of your personal powers,’ ‘bring pleasure to bear on that pleasure.’ So that’s why I brought my two bears with me today.”
And that, of course, has become something many others have done. Just last year in Johannesburg South Africa, I walked into a training room sponsored by Anne Renew and Cheryl Lucas and there was Anne’s two bears in the front of the room!
We meta-state by bringing one state (thought, emotion, physiology) to bear upon another, by applying one to another, by embedding one inside of another (like Russian and Chinese dolls), by transcending and including (Ken Wilbur) to create new categories or logical levels, by finding out
“waz up about waz up” (how Mike Davis and Sterling Harris) defined it in songs that the Meta- Players created.
In this and other ways we speak about meta-stating ourselves and others with resources that make a transformative difference and that create new empowering frames of mind. As you can see, the introduction training to the domain of Meta-States (APG) did not arise full grown but has been developing and evolving and today has the richness that it does due to the creative contributionofmanypeople. And I’m convinced it will continue in this new year and in the years to come.