The Mind-To-Muscle Pattern

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

On an Exciting New Pattern
A Meta-Stating Process for
Installing "Principles," "Concepts"
"Theories," and Great Ideas


Where there is Thought, there let there be Muscle
A Meta-Detailing Pattern for Incorporating Great Ideas Into Your Muscles


I stumbled onto the Mind-to-Muscle Pattern during the research and training of the Wealth Building training. It seems that most of the information in that field is encoded in terms of "principles" (laws, secrets, points, etc.). Writers, researchers, and even presenters seem so focused on presenting "the seven laws for building wealth," or the like. Almost none of them provide technologies for doing so— technologies in the form of patterns, processes, step-by-step coaching, etc.

Actually, this seems to apply to most fields for that matter. In almost any given field of endeavor, you can find some truly great generalizations, beliefs, ideas, etc. for how a person needs to think in order to succeed in that field. Writers, trainers, and researchers seem to think in terms of principles. "What are the basic understandings you have to know to function effectively in this domain?"

Now that approach does take us pretty far down the road to understanding a field (mathematics, architecture, chemistry, sales, customer service, psychotherapy, etc.). Yet as you have probably already guessed, it doesn’t take us all the way. It does not provide a specific map for navigating the field in terms of informing us how to learn to think the way the experts do in that field.

That’s where NLP and Neuro-Semantics come in. With the meta-field of NLP, we shift from content to context. We move above the facts and details of what to think to the higher level structural elements of how to think. Neuro-Semantics, driven by the Levels of Mind model that makes up Meta-States, goes even further in working with the structure of those higher levels of awareness.

The idea behind the patterning of mind-to-muscle in Meta-States is that we can take a conceptual level frame-of-reference— some high idea, understanding, concept, etc. and install it into our neurology, that is, into our muscles. Then, once it gets into our neurology, we have it in our eyes (our way of seeing the world), our voice (our way of talking), our muscles (our way of being in the world). This puts the "knowledge" into a form that allows us to have it at ready access. When it gets to that level, it enables us to operate from those ideas as our Frame of Reference— as our frameworks.

Most of us who have worked with computers and with various software programs have well incorporated such conceptual understandings and processes like function keys, commands, etc. so that now we can make a keyboard sing. In fact, we may be able to do so to such an extent, that like typing, we no longer "know" what specific keys we’re using to center, set off a macro command, etc. Yet, our fingers know.

Of course, in saying that "our fingers know," we have identified a very powerful and almost magical realization. This neuro-linguistic program now runs the show. Our muscles know things. We call it "muscle memory." Muscle memory drives and governs such complex activities as skating, driving, skiing, etc. This means that we have somehow incorporated ideas and concepts so that they are now embodied at the primary level of experience. They hardly seem like concepts at all; they no longer seem to be things of the mind. We now "intuitively" know. The knowing is "inside" of us. Somehow.

Well, if we can get higher level concepts and ideas that seem non-corporal to become corporal experiences— actual neurological patterns in the muscles, if we can encode them at that level, then this gives us something truly worth modeling, does it not? And that’s precisely what we’ve been doing with the Levels of Mind model (i.e., Meta-States) during 1999 and 2000.

In modeling Wealth Building, in reading a book like The Millionaire Mind that has just now hit the bookstores, you will find all kinds of wonderful and insightful Principles. But you will not find any processes for incorporation. That’s where Neuro-Semantics shines at its best.

Currently we have several Mind-to-Muscle Patterns that enable us to create the personal power of congruence, to activate what we "know" at higher levels. Owning and utilizing our "power zone" is one. This has lead us to identify a whole list (15 or so) Neurological Primes that we can use for our executive power as part of the secret of personal mastery. Doing this generates new gestalt states. A gestalt state describes what happens when you meta-state several layers or levels of mind upon mind so that out of the entire system of interactive parts "something more than the sum emerges."

That’s why we have to both model from the top down and from the bottom up if we want to catch, unpack, and sequence the structure of some subjective states like "courage," "seeing opportunities," and even something as simple as "optimism." These are not primary states, nor even meta-states, they emerge from systemic consciousness (meta-stating processes) when we begin texturing and coloring our states by setting higher frames. (See Texturing States in the e-journal of Neuro-Semantics).

Mind-to-muscling involves a specific process, cued linguistically that allows us to translate down into our body the things of our mind— the higher principles that we want to live by. You can find this pattern in all of the Training Manuals that we have been developing in the past two years. It will appear in the book that will appear from Crown House later this year, Secrets of Personal Mastery: Executive Power (2000 in press).

That we all "know" more than we "do" speaks of our glory and the possibility of expanding and becoming even more. Yet if we also lack a neuro-linguistic program for the implementation of knowledge, we are left to be tormented by learning more and more and unable to act effectively on that knowledge. It torments one with all that one cannot do.


The design of the Mind-to-Muscle Pattern that follows is to turn highly informative, insightful, and valued principles and frames into neurological patterns in your body. It is to encode the program into your muscle memory so that it can then run from that level of experience. Then it is no longer "heady," "up in your mind," or merely "conceptual." Then it becomes felt, "intuitive," automatically, and fully integrated into who you are.

This is a natural process. It happens all the time. Consider typing on a typewriter or computer keyboard. The original learning to do so takes a considerable amount of time and trouble. It demands rote learning and lots of repetition. To get the muscle patterns and coordination deeply imprinted into the muscles and encoded there, we have to practice for many days. Yet, once we have practiced and trained our neurological pathways, then the learnings become incorporated into the very fabric of the muscles themselves. Then we are allowed to lose conscious awareness of the learnings and let the muscles run the program. At that point, we have translated principle into muscle.

The same holds true for expertise, excellence, and mastery in all other fields, from sports, mathematics, teaching, to surgery, selling, and public relations. We begin with principles— concepts, understandings, awarenesses, beliefs, etc., and we translate that level of thought so that it "comes down" to another level, into muscle itself. I have found this especially true in our modeling projects regarding resilience, leadership, wealth building, selling excellence, learning, etc.

The following pattern creates this kind of transformation by taking a person up and down the various levels of mind so that we map from our understandings about something from the lowest descriptive levels to the highest conceptual levels and back down again. This is best accomplished by letting someone coach you through the process. It typically takes five to ten experiences with this pattern before it becomes "second nature" to you. When that happens, then you will be able to run it on yourself and to do so automatically. In fact, it then begins to become a meta-pattern for how you think and operate generally. It enables you to move through the world implementing ideas. You do that as a principle.

Mind-to-Muscle as Feed Back & Feed Forward Loops

It really doesn’t matter if you use the top down approach or the bottom up approach. In fact, by the last step, we will be doing both anyway.

1) From the Top Down. Mind-to-Muscle starts at the top with a principle or idea and brings it down into muscle. This describes a feed forward loop. We feed forward our ideas, beliefs, understandings, knowledge, concept, inspiration, etc. into our actions. This then infuses the output channel of our talk and behavior with a higher level form of "energy." We "energize" our talking and acting with the idea. For example, what would it be like for you to energize your tone of voice and gesturing with the idea of confidence?

2) From the Bottom Up. Open your eyes, ears, skin, etc. and as you use your sensory systems, take what you notice about the effect of your talk and behavior and bring it back inside and back up to the idea or principle and check it out in terms of how successful were you in speaking and acting confidently. Did it work to your satisfaction? This describes the feed back loop. We monitor the effect of our actions on the outside world and compare it against the higher level of mind to see how it fits and to what extent.

The feed forward loop of Mind-to-muscle enables us to control our destinies and to run our own lives according to our values and beliefs. We get an idea in our head and we begin to translate it down into neurology and outward into proactive action as we encounter the world. That’s the first step of the dance. The second step involves monitoring things and checking them out in terms of the idea. So we use the feed back loop for quality controlling our lives. Do I like the way I sound? Does my speech convey the care, compassion, and assertiveness I believe in?

Together the two loops translate information up and down the levels of mind-and-body and creates a sensitive, responsive neuro-linguistic structure. It creates an ongoing system of mutual influence that keeps on enriching each other, a network of frames nested inside of yet higher frames. This re-structures us in mind-and-body so that we use feedback and creative thinking as complements to each other.

The question of ecology. With this pattern, I like to do the ecology check afterwards, not before. Why?

First of all, I anticipate (even expect) that you will not pick some stupid or toxic Principle to work with when using this pattern. My anticipation is that you’ve identified a great idea, concept, principle, "secret," "law," etc. in your field— a principle that has been long tested and has proven itself as an essential Principle for wealth building, health and fitness, learning, selling, influence, etc. So in that, you have some ecology already built in.

AND as you now integrate and install that principle into your neurology, it may cause other conflicting ideas, feelings, principles, etc. to emerge. Let them. We want them to arise. If a conflict between the new frame and some old frame emerges and you feel uncomfortable about it, just welcome it graciously into your awareness and begin to explore it. Oftentimes, the "sense of conflict" is only that, a sense of conflict and no conflict at all. You are only feeling uncomfortable, "weird," "strange," experiencing the unfamiliar, etc. And for most people, the sense of being uncomfortable and not in your "comfort zone" has been judged and evaluated as "bad," as "wrong," and the coping response kicks in— "Stop everything; go no further."

Of course, a program like that can effectively con a person from developing, stretching, moving into new territory, etc. So just for the moment, and just for the purposes of this exercise, welcome the discomfort, unfamiliarity, etc. and continue to put the principle into your muscle. By doing this, you will give it a chance!

Afterwards, we will check out the ecology. I have used this pattern to coach people in putting the basic NLP Presuppositions into their muscles. And oftentimes (perhaps most of the time) people get to feel uncomfortable and want to "check the ecology" at that point. When they do, it messes things up. Why?

Because any time you check the ecology while inside of a system— the system itself will not want to change! That’s the principle of Self-Organizing Systems at work. Don’t ask an alcoholic while intoxicated about the ecology of drinking "one more." Don’t ask a woman suffering from the pattern of anorexia if it’s ecological to eat while she’s still thinking and feeling that way. Don’t ask about the ecology of public speaking when in a state of fear about public speaking.

This is a pattern about adding more resources so that the system changes. So choose some great Principles, proven principles in the field of your interest, and give yourself permission to feel a little weird until the new mapping reorganizes your mind-body at all of its levels.


I have included most of the language that I use when I demonstrate this pattern or use it with a person. Because repetition and rehearsal plays such an important role in solidifying this and making the translate more and more real, continue to process through the steps again and again, calibrating to the person and really getting some strong neurological responses. The strong responses you obtain, the more likely you will assist the person in making the mind-to-muscle translation and setting it as a frame. Dance with the feed back and feed forward loops in the last step, changing and varying them as needed.

You will notice that I have some provocational questions throughout the process. I use these to get a person to fight for and defend the idea and expressions... as this activates the person to become more involved in the process, it strengthens the translation. You’ll need lots of rapport and respect to be able to pull that off.

The bullets provide the specific questions that you can use as you assist someone in coaching that person through the process.

1) Identify a Desired Principle.

This principle could be a concept, idea, belief, understanding, value, piece of knowledge, secret, law, paradigm, model, presupposition, etc.  Any mental awareness will work. It could be a desired plan, hope, dream, vision, identity, etc. It could be a pattern of behavior, a set of competencies that make up a skill, etc. Pick out something that you want incorporated into the very fabric of your muscles.

Specific the concept or principle by stating it, or even better, writing it down in a clear, succinct, and compelling way. Describe your theory or theoretical understanding in a paragraph or two. "I understand... I conceptualize..."

2) Describe the Principle as a Belief.

Now use the semantic environment, "I believe..." and complete this sentence by rephrasing the concept and understanding as a personal declaration of a belief.

3) Reformat the Belief as a Decision.

Once the belief is stated in a way that sounds powerful, convincing and is stated very succinctly so that it feels compelling, reformulate the personal belief so that it takes the form of a personal decision. To do this, finish the following semantic environment, "I will..." Describe the belief now as a specific decision regarding something that you will do.

4) Rephrase the Belief-Decision as a State or Experience.

When you fully experience your concept—>belief—>decision as an emotional state, what will you experience? How will you feel? To elicit this, complete the semantic environment, "I feel/ experience..."

5) State the Actions that you will take as an Expression of this Translation.

This time finish the following semantic sentence stem,

"The one thing that I will do today as an expression of this concept, belief, decision, and state is..."

Doing this will enable you to begin to formulate specific actions that will enable you to execute your principles.

6) Step into the Action and Go Meta Repeatedly.

As you fully imagine carrying out the one action that you will do today... seeing what you will see, hearing what you will hear, and feeling what you will feel as you do it... now move up through the levels ... into the State from which this action emerges, naming the State and experiencing it fully, owning the Decision, Affirming the Belief with a powerful "Yes!" as you do, and stepping up even higher in your mind into a full awareness of your reasons, understandings, concepts, and principles that drive this way of being in the world.... and as you step into that place fully, now bring it back down again ... noticing how it transforms everything even more and creates an even greater sense of empowerment.

Repeat this several times, future pacing as you do.

After you have run this pattern, you have several more levels that you can utilize to solidify and install even further.

7) Identify with the Principle for Self-Definition and Identity

8) Check for the Ecology of the Principle

9) Confirm and Get the Person to Fight for it

Neuro-Semantics -- A Model that extends NLP using the Levels of Mind (Meta-States) to model the structure of meaning at the higher levels and to create personal empowerment. See the web sites:

2000 L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. All rights reserved.