What do we mean by ‘Meta’ in Neuro-Semantics?

Meta means ‘to transcend and include’.


Meta levels organize, modulate, govern, control, categorize, and classify those things within them.

Meta-levels are so important because, in a way, anything that is meta is ‘the boss’ of what it refers to.

Although in Neuro-Semantics and NLP we are using the word ‘meta’ to refer to relationships between ‘mind-stuff’ inside of a mind-body system, meta-relationships also occur in how we classify things in the outside world and our social-relational systems.

For example we categorize the human body as ‘meta’ to any of the organs within it.  And the organ as meta to the cells that build up the organ, etc.

In an organization, the CEO is meta to the managers, and the managers are meta to the employees.

You get the point.

So let’s talk a little bit about the ‘meta-function’ in Neuro-Semantics…

At the primary level, your internal representations (mental movies/memories/imaginations) are meta to the world — they refer to the things in the world. Another way of saying this is that they are about the things in the world.  And they govern how you respond to the things in the world.

Primary level Example:  If you're walking down the street and there is a rope on the floor, but you perceive it as a snake -- that internal representation will definitely govern your response!

At the next level, your ‘thoughts’ about those internal representations are meta to the representations.  They refer to the internal representations, and again they govern your response.

Meta-Level 1 Example: If you think about that internal representation of a perceived snake and angrily say "I'm so stupid", you will respond quite differently than if you think about it humorously, "Haha, that was a silly mistake!"

And at the next level, your thoughts about those previous thoughts will govern…

Meta-Level 2 Example: If you think about the thought, "I'm so stupid" -- and you think, "Why am I always calling myself names, I'm such a horrible person"..... You will respond quite differently than if you think "That thought isn't true, and I am actually quite smart for realizing this (if I do say so myself)!".

Your thoughts’ about those previous ‘thoughts’ are meta to them. And they govern the thoughts ‘below’ them..

And so on, infinitely.

In human thinking the meta-function is important because it ALWAYS opens us to the possibility to think again about our thoughts, ultimately giving us the ability to transcend and transform them from the top down.

Although this example may seem simple this principle applies across every experience of your life, so as always, I highly recommend learning and practicing Neuro-Semantics so you can learn to consciously utilize meta-levels in your communication with yourself and others — ultimately transforming yourself into a meta-master who is able to transcend any unresourceful information in a single bound — on your journey to your highest and best (and facilitating others on theirs).

To meta-mastery,

Jason Schneider

Founder of the Perception Academy

If you want to take this information to the next level, accelerate your learning curve or get more in depth, experiential and/or personalized assistance, I offer various services based on your desired level of support.

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To your ever continuing growth,

Jason Schneider


Founder of the Perception Academy

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