Meta to the Core

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

Can you tell when someone has some trait or quality that goes all the way to his or her core?  Can you detect when something is at the core which generates an energy that pervasively drives almost every expression and behavior of that person?

Think about Jim Carey.  What’s at his core?  Is it not the playfulness of creating fun and laughter for everybody?  When he recently appeared on the Oprah Show, he did that with even the most trivial comments that came up and had everyone including Oprah in stitches.

And what about the two billionaires seeking to initiate their new careers as TV personalities?  What’s at the core of Richard Branson?  Is it not being adventuresome and creating feats of suspense and surprise?  What’s at the core of Donald Trump but displaying wealth, the best and most exquisite, and competitiveness?

From a modeling point of view, when we step back from these examples—some higher level quality, trait, attitude, feeling, perception, concept, understanding, etc. has been meta-stated so much and so intensely that it is now completely pervasive in that person’s life.  We can now say that this quality is not only that person’s highest ideals, values, and concepts, it is also at their core.  It is now within the very fabric of their being so that it is textured inside of every action.

From an application point of view, this raises numerous questions with regard to our everyday lives:

C           What’s in your core?

C           What resourceful state or states have you meta-stated yourself with?

C           Are those states now completely at your core?

C           How deep have you taken your meta-states?

C           Do they it operate like an internal engine that’s on automatic and that drives the way you move through the world?

C           What would you need to do to take a new resource state and meta-state it until you have it at your core?

C           Are there any great meta-states that you can talk up a storm about, but which are not at your core so that you live and act from that state?

To know the Meta-States Model as a model and as a great process, yet to not be able to use, activate, and live from your chosen meta-states is to only use 5 or 10 percent of the model.  The solution is to meta to the core.  This means deepening your understanding of the Meta-States model and incorporating the meta at a deep level within your own neurology.  When you do that, you truly make the meta-stated value neuro-semantic in your person.

And that leads to many incredible, even revolutionary things.  When you are meta-to-the-core, you initiate an energy force at the center of who you are, an energy state that’s full of passion, enthusiasm, and commitment and which generates a drive for progress, greatness, and meaning.  This energy core then activates feeds your authenticity and passion for self-correction and development.  This is a meta-core that drives the passion for self-actualization.

The Idea of Going Meta-to-the-Core

If you know the Meta-States Model, then you know about states-about-states.  You know that we not only have mind-body states that respond to the stimuli that we experience in the world, we also can step back and reflect on our mind-body states and create states about states, or meta-states.  This describes the reflexivity of our mind-body system.

Now in building the Meta-States Model, I consistently used the height and going updepth or going down1   By way of contrast, the depth metaphor uses an entirely different set of terms and phrases: deep, core, going down, foundational, underlying, etc.

In these metaphors, it is not the case that one metaphor is good and the other bad.  Nor is it even that one is more useful or practical.  The metaphors are just different.  In more recent years I have shifted to begin combining both of these metaphors to more fully map how they interface and how the synergy of the metaphors enable us to expand and enrich our understanding of things.

Actually, we move up creating and constructing (by generalizing and drawing conclusions) to invent our internal reality, the psycho-logics of our mind, or our Matrix.  That’s the meta-stating process, transcending the current state, accessing a resource state, and applying that resource to the primary state so that we embed or include it inside of the meta-state.  This sets a new frame.  It creates a new mental context.  It builds up a new matrix of meaning frames.  And, we move up for the express purpose of empowering that higher in-formation to move back down inside of and become our core state.

Simultaneously, as the information in the resource meta-state in-forms us it creates new formations within our nervous system so that we begin to embody that information.  In other words, we take the create ideas, generalizations, principles, values, beliefs, etc. and mind-to-muscle them so they become our meta-core state.  In this the state is both meta and core at the same time.

Meta-to-the-core describes meta-stating as completely dynamic, holistic, and multi-dimensional.  It is dynamic because it is not just thinking, generalizing, “being in one’s head,” or intellectualizing.  Anyone who meta-states in that way is only experiencing 10% of the model and if that happens, the person will not actually understand the model.  By meta-stating, we infuse NLP processes with energizing kinesthetics in a new and powerful way.  That’s why we constantly emphasize in Meta-States training, it is the feeling that counts.  Anchor a strong and intense feeling state and apply it to another state.

I wrote about this in the celebration document for the 10th anniversary of discovering the Meta-States Model:2

The more we go in and up and meta-state ourselves, the more we find that the meta-state enters into our core, our muscles, our body and neurology.  The more we transcend to the highest levels, the more grounded we feel in our body.  We go up to go deep inside.  We rise up with non-judgmental awareness to embrace and integrate the shadow parts so that we love our fallibility and embrace our mistakes so we move forward into a brighter future.  That’s meta-stating.

Is Neuro-Semantics a top-down approach?  Yes.  Is Neuro-Semantics a bottom-up approach?  Yes.  Since we are dealing with a mind-body-emotion system, both approaches are legitimate and operational at the same time.  As we move up the levels of transcendence, we experience greater degrees of depth.

Now, may you rise up deeply so that your best resources will in-form your core as you float down highly but only at a rate and speed that confusion takes you round and round that resource and allows a bright future to begin to beckon you into tomorrow.

Meta-to-the-core is meta-stating that has been through the entire process from generalizing up the levels and coalescing back down the levels so that the resource becomes fully embodied.  This process in itself has no content or ecology built into this process.  It’s just a process that we add content to and run ecology checks on. That’s why we can run this process on un-resourceful, limiting, and even morbidly sabotaging generalizations and beliefs as well as resourceful, empowering, and enriching ones.

In this, content differs radically from structure or process.  Meta-to-the-core is a dynamic process that takes ideas and beliefs and incorporate them so fully in the body that they become our felt-sense of reality, the meaning-that-we-perform.  Because this describes all psycho-somatic illnesses, it describes all deeply ingrained semantic reactions, and it describes the highest and most celebrated states of genius and expertise, we use this process for flushing out the frame matrix of these experiences.

What I’m describing is not just a “core” state 3 or a core question.4  What’s called “core” states in NLP are those highly desirable transcendent states that we all want and that all religions, philosophies, and psychologies ultimately point us toward: love, unity, compassion, contribution, oneness, etc.   Meta-to-the-core is the full embodiment of a meta-state.  If Jim Carey’s is playfulness, what is yours?  What would you like to make yours?

The Mechanisms and Power of Going Meta-to-the-Core

Meta-to-the-core occurs in the mind-body system from meta-stating resource state upon resource state until one creates some of the highest and most valued intentional states or frames and then meta-details them down into the body so that they coalesce into the depths of neurology.  In systems terms this means fully utilizing the feedback loop up the meaning–intentional matrices and equally then fully utilizing the feed forward loop installing and translating the best and highest into muscle memory.  That’s how we get it to-the-core.

In the feedback loop, we meta-state meaning and intentional frames until we get to those highest value state that we are willing to stake our life upon.  These are the highest states which summarize our best meaning making, meaning that gets our juices going, that fit with our talents and aptitudes, and which brings our out best potentials.   On the way up we continually run quality control checks to make sure that the highest frames are not only enhancing and empowering, but congruent, ecological with all of our other relationships and dimensions.  This not only creates meaning to live by, but meaningfulness.  That’s because it’s not enough to have meaning, we must have the kind and quality of meaning that is meaningful.

In the feed forward loop, we reverse the process and feed forward what we have generalized and created.  Now we mind-to-muscle the greatest ideas as we coach our body how to feel the boldest and most audacious of frames.  Now we do the meta-stating part of appropriating the meta-state into our body and the appropriate contexts.  Now we embody and incorporate and somatize what we have semanticized.  Now we are actually performing the meaning, which, of course, truly makes it neuro-semantic.  Something is meta-to-the-core  and fully neuro-semantic is when you perform-the-meaning.

The synthesis of both moving up and down the levels, of meta-stating meaning and activating performance, allows us to take the meta to-the-core so that it becomes our felt meaning at our center. This integrates the self-organizing nature of meta-states so that at the core it sets up a magnetic attractor.  Now our meaning is no longer just “in our mind” or intellectual.   The meaning is now neurological and in the bones and muscles, it’s in the fabric of our physiology.

Meta-to-the-Core Benefits and Values

C           What’s the value of setting up this dynamic systemic process that synthesizes feedback and feed forward?

C           What do we get from unifying the spiraling up and spiraling down of our self-reflexive consciousness?

First and foremost is the full integration that occurs so that we sense no separation of mind and body.  The learnings and knowings and intelligence of the higher frames becomes so core within us, that it becomes our way of being in the world, our way of operating.  The conscious meta-stating of meaning now drops outside of consciousness to become our unconscious competence that we no longer have to think about.  Now our body “knows” just as our fingers know a keyboard, or our body knows the feel of shifting a car and driving.

When we have taken the meta-to-the-core, it’s like having an internal engine of motivation, drive for progress, attractor of like energies, perceptual filters, and the heart and spirit that reflects our highest intentions.  This is the ultimate “propulsion system” because it is no longer linear (toward valued experiences and away from dis-valued experiences), but systemically non-linear and fully integrated with all the levels and dimension of our mind and Matrix.5

When we are fully meta-to-the-core, we also have the ultimate “genius” state in place so that we can easily step in and out of the engagements that we care the most about, and to do so naturally and easily.  The meta-core state, in fact, is a genius state—a genius state that’s well-formed and sequenced.  Do you have your “genius” state at your core?  Are you able to experience the “flow” state when you want to?

Meta-to-the-Core Pattern

So how do we access and activate a meta-state pattern so that it becomes a core within us?  The following provides a way to use Meta-States, Neuro-Semantics, and the Matrix model more fully to do this.  I have built it using the Axes of Change model.  For best results, take this pattern to a Meta-Coach or Neuro-Semantic  Trainer and ask him or her to coach you through the process.
1) Awaken and Challenge a great idea to meta-state up up your intentional matrix.

What activities do you invest significant time, energy, and money to?  Make a list of 4 to 7 activities.

What’s important to you about this activity? [Do this with each of the activities.]

When you get that value, what’s important about obtaining that?

When you get that fully and completely in the way you want it, what does that give you that’s even more importance?

Continue all the way up until you get to your highest values.  Do this with each activity.

What are the three to five repeated values that keep emerging for you?

For each of us, why is this important?

What would happen if you don’t do this?

What will it cost you if you miss out on this?

2) Probe and Provoke the decision to go meta to the core.

Are there any current frames that get in the way or that sabotage this?

What frames of mind have held you where you are presently?

Have you made the decision to meta-state this new idea and take it to your core?

When you will do that?

Do you have what it takes to do this?

Will you sell yourself short of your highest values and principles?

3) Co-Create the new Meta-to-the-Core structure.

What are 3 to 5 of your highest values that you will use?

What do you believe about this value? [Do with each value.]

What do you understand about it?

What is the principle, premise, or model that governs it?

What does this mean to you?  What else does it mean?

How is each of these meanings meaningful to you?

Continue doing this, using the 26 facets of the diamond of “logical levels” as needed until you have a full description of one to three of your highest or most transcendental meta-states.

What would you call each Matrix?

Do you feel it significant enough to act on?

4) Actualize and Reinforce your meta-stating downward and feed the meaning frame forward.

What is the most empowering and succinct way to express this as a belief?

Do you believe this?  How fully?  How much more fully would you like to believe this?

Have you made an executive decision to live by this meaning?

Anything stopping you from making that decision now?

How would you express the decision to live by this meaning so that it sends commands to your nervous systems to activate it?   How does that feel?

Where do you feel that in your body?  How much?  How much more would you like to feel it?

How will this influence your sense of yourself, your identity?

Who will you become in the coming years by living this meaning?

What part of your body and physiology needs to be coached to feel it more fully?

As this meaning gets into your body, eyes, face, posture, movement, etc., how will this influence the way you view things, see people and events, and even think in processing information?

What transformations will this initiate within you and the way you relate to others?

What will you do to make this real?

What are five tasks you will do this week to actualize this?

5) Keep testing and refining the meta-to-the-core so it becomes a feedback loop for continual improving.

How is it going?  How do you know?

What will make it even more robust?

What other resources would enrich this meta-core state even further?

What practices will you create to fully habituate this meta-core state?

Who will support you in this?

Meta-to-the-Core Organizationally

All that I’ve written here applies to organizations, associations, businesses, companies, and groups.  In organizational development, one key for success is creating some “core” (or meta) values and purposes and then both integrating and aligning those highest value and principle frames into the way the organization actually works.  An organization, team, association, or business that has some great principles, ideas, or visions at the core in an aligned one that creates the stable foundation which allows the company or group to become a visionary one.6


C           Are you ready to take a resource and run with it so that it is meta to your core?  Are you ready to make some idea, vision, value, belief, understanding, principle, premise, etc. embodied and your way of being in the world?   How meta to the core are you with regard to your highest values, beliefs, decisions, etc.?

C           Are you ready to fully utilize the power of your reflexive mind to spiral up to the highest levels of meaning making and then make them part of the very fabric of your neurology?

C           This  meta-to-the-core process combines numerous Neuro-Semantic patterns: accessing personal genius, mind-to-muscle, intentionality, meta-yes, and gestalting.  It describes what we mean by meta-stating and provides a way for to create a synergy in our core.


L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. is a psychologist, modeler, and research who trains internationally, authors numerous best-sellers in the field of NLP (35 books), co-founded Neuro-Semantics (Dr. Bob Bodenhamer), the Meta-Coach Training System and the Meta-Coach Foundation (Michelle Duval), and continues to develop new models for accessing ever-more resourceful states and experiences.,

End Notes

1.  See Meta-States (2000), Secrets of Personal Mastery (1999), or NLP: Going Meta (2002).

2.  Taken from the article “Ten Years of Meta-Stating,”

3.  Connaire Andreas developed the idea of “core” states in NLP in her book, Core Transformation.

4.  Core questions are those highest governing meta-questions that operate as a self-organizing frame.  You can flush out your core question by asking, “If you’re life is the answer to a question, what is the question?”

5.  In the book, Propulsion Systems in NLP and Neuro-Sematnics, we have eight patterns for creating various kinds of propulsion system.  The Axes of Change Model incorporates a propulsion system in the first axes, see Coaching Change, Meta-Coaching, Volume I.

6.  See How to Build a Visionary Organization, soon to be published on based on the research work of Jim Collin’s work in Good to Great and Built to Last.