In the last newsletter I wrote about NLP. If you didn’t read it – then you can do so here. This week, I am taking up the interesting challenge of comparing NLP to the other philosophy that I like so much – Buddhism.

You see, as I described last week, NLP starts with the question “What do you want?” But at the heart of Buddhism is the idea that “Wanting is a cause of suffering.”

So on the face of it, NLP and Buddhism seem to have different underlying ideas. This is very interesting, is it not? How can 2 fields that seem to contribute so much, be based on such opposite ideas.

My explanation comes down to whether “what you want” is based on selfishness or not. For example, NLP can be used to help people who wish to be free of depression, negative habits or old emotions. In this case, the desire is unselfish and therefore perfectly in alignment with the Buddhist ideals.

Even the desire “I want money” could be selfish or not, depending on what a person wants the money for. But, if indeed there is a selfish motivation behind the reason NLP is being used, then it is my opinion that ultimately it (and any other technique) will not bring contentment. This is borne of the many examples of people who tried to use NLP for their own gain (whether to become rich, pick up or gain control over people) that ended up in a very unhappy situation.

So for me, the two ways of working are a perfect match, even though at first they seem to be coming from opposite ideals. NLP is a very powerful and focused tool while Buddhism works at a more general level. And NLP needs a guiding morality for it to be used in the best possible way. I note that a lot of the famous NLP teachers around the world also teach separate philosophical ideas (whether Christianity, Huna, or another philosophy/faith).

Of course, the more we compare and learn from different philosophical view points, the more we are exposed to new ideas that help us grow, mature and become more skilled. So, my hope is that everyone stays as open minded as possible when listening to new ideas – even if at first they seem contrary to one’s own current ideals.