My post today is about “distinctions.” And why should you care about distinctions? Because most of the problems in your life today exist because of distinctions you failed to make earlier in your life. Moreover, the way to permanently eliminate those problems from your life is to make those distinctions now.

I’ve known for a long time that the act of creating something is dependent on making distinctions. But I now also see in a way that I never did before that the effectiveness of The Lefkoe Method results from its ability to help you make distinctions you haven’t made.

Creation is an act of distinction

First let me explain what I mean by creation results from an act of distinction. I first realized this when I heard a presentation by Werner Erhard over 30 years ago. Let’s do a little thought experiment he used to make real that making a distinction is an act of creation. Really do the exercise.

Imagine your hand expanding and expanding until it fills the universe, so that there is nothing in the universe but your hand. What happens to your hand? … If you actually do this exercise you will experience your hand disappearing. Why? … Because any “thing,” in order to exist, must have a not “it.

A hand is a palm and fingers with space around it. If there were nothing but hand, it would crease to exist because it couldn’t be distinguished from everything else. In other words, any “thing” (or everything), without any distinctions, is nothing.

This is not only true for physical objects, it also is true for abstractions. In order for “up” to exist, there has to be a “down.” “Peace” requires “war.” If there were only peace all the time, the idea of peace, as distinct from war, could not exist.

So the existence of any specific thing requires the non-existence of that thing. This is what is meant by a “dualistic universe.”

Is it now clear that we create by distinguishing some “thing” from everything else?

Beliefs are caused by a failure to distinguish

Now let me explain my insight the other day when I realized that all the processes of The Lefkoe Method are based on making distinctions that had not been made earlier and most of our behavioral and emotional problems (which are caused primarily by negative beliefs and destructive conditioning) ultimately are the result of not making crucial distinctions earlier in life. Let me explain

Let’s start with the Lefkoe Belief Process. To begin with, most people have never distinguished their beliefs as the primary cause of their behavior and feelings. Moreover, when you form a belief you are not distinguishing between the events and the meaning you are giving the events; it seems to you as if you have discovered the meaning (the belief) in the world, which leads you to think the meaning is inherent in the events, which leads you to think you can “see” the meaning in the world.

A belief is eliminated for most people when they distinguish between the event and the meaning, which leads them to realize they cannot “see” the belief in the world, at which point they get that the meaning exists only in their mind and not in the world. Emotionally kinesthetic people eliminate the belief when they make a distinction between reality as the source of their feeling/belief and the meaning they gave reality as the source of their feeling/belief.

In other words, the belief got formed because we failed to make a distinction earlier in life and is eliminated today when we make that distinction. If we had made the appropriate distinction earlier between the event and the meaning we attributed to it, the belief never would have been formed.

Conditionings also are caused by a failure to distinguish

What is the role of distinctions in the Lefkoe Stimulus Process (LStimP)? Let’s use my ice cream story to explain how stimuli are conditioned to produce emotions and how the LStimP de-conditions those stimuli so that they no longer trigger those emotions.

Imagine you were being handed an ice cream cone with one hand while the other hand made a fist that looked as if it was going to hit you. What would you probably feel as you observed both the ice cream and the fist? … Probably some degree of anxiety. If this happened repeatedly, at some point the ice cream would get conditioned to produce anxiety even when there was no fist accompanying it.

A common example of this in real life is being criticized as a child by your parents, who usually got angry and yelled at you when they criticized you. The criticism as such did not produce anxiety; the meaning a child gives the yelling produced anxiety because, for children, yelling means parents are angry, which means they don’t love me any more, which means I could be abandoned, which means I could die. That is what causes the anxiety.

The principle is: anything that repeatedly accompanies something else that produces anxiety can itself easily get conditioned to produce anxiety … when we don’t distinguish between the stimulus actually causing the anxiety and the other stimulus that itself does not produce anxiety but that repeatedly accompanies something that does.

The LStimP works by making a distinction that you didn’t make earlier in life when the conditioning took place. You realize that the ice cream was never scary; the fear was caused by the fist and you now make a distinction between the two. Being criticized was never scary; the fear was caused by the meaning you gave your yelling parents and you now make a distinction between the two.

Other Lefkoe Method processes help you made distinctions

There are other Lefkoe Method processes, such as the Lefkoe Occurring Process, which dissolves the meaning we give current events, the Lefkoe De-conditioning Process, which de-conditions emotional eating, the Lefkoe Sense Process, which de-conditions a negative sense of life or sense of self, and the Lefkoe Expectation Process, which de-conditions negative expectations.

These processes work in much the same way as the Lefkoe Belief Process: they enable you to make distinctions today that hadn’t been made earlier in life. When the distinction is made, the belief, the sense, the occurring, the expectation, or the conditioning is eliminated, as are the problems they cause.

Yet more to come

A lot of research has been done in recent years that proves conclusively that the brain is plastic, meaning it can change up until death. And making new distinctions is what enables the brain to create new pathways and learn. I have a strong sense that a better understanding of “distinctions” will enable me to create additional processes to facilitate easy and permanent change.

What do you think about distinctions? Do you have any questions about why they are so important in understanding both why people get stuck and how to get them unstuck? I’d love to read your comments and questions.

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to where you can eliminate one negative belief free.

For information about eliminating 23 of the most common limiting beliefs and conditionings, which cause eight of the most common problems in our lives, and get a separate video of the WAIR? Process, please check out:

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Copyright © 2011 Morty Lefkoe


  1. itouch June 27, 2011 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks so the occuring course/process does help to see the world “as it is” and to attach meaning if its positive is good. All that I needed to know. Thanks Lauren for clarifying.

  2. itouch June 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Hi Morty since Im reading more and getting more your method. One question I have is this method giving me the freedom to choose which meaning I assign to events???

    Thank you

    • Lauren June 26, 2011 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      The occurring course helps you distinguish reality(the situation as if happens with no meanings assigned to it) from and occurring(a situation with meaning attached to it). Once you dissolve an occurring, you do not need to choose any meaning because the situation has no meaning. Choosing a meaning only clouds the issue instead of clarifying it. This also applies to his Natural Confidence program. Hope this helps.
      Love and Light on your Journey,
      Lauren(Occurring Course graduate)

      • itouch June 27, 2011 at 1:38 am - Reply

        Defintely it helps. Thank you. But isnt it helpfull to attach a positive meaning to a event, so its easier to reach your goal???

        Thanks to all for such a good support.

        • Lauren June 27, 2011 at 9:30 am - Reply

          Personally, I use the techniques of the LOP to help me reach my goals. In fact, I am in the midst of beginning a program for reaching some personal goals such as getting a writing career going. I am using the book, “This Year I Will….” by M.J. Ryan to help me frame my program. The LOP will help tremendously as it does in my daily life. I don’t need to attach a positive meaning to an event because I’ve internalized the techniques so I rarely “work” at it. However, if it helps you personally, in the beginning, to attach a positive meaning, go for it. Hope this helps.
          Love and Light on your Journey,

        • Morty Lefkoe July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm - Reply

          Hi itouch,

          In my occurring course we teach you how to create positive meanings when appropriate Most of the time you are better off just dealing with reality, not something you made up about reality that exists only in your mind.


  3. Paul LaVieille June 24, 2011 at 4:40 am - Reply

    Brilliant, absolutely Brilliant, ever since I have taken your belief busting course I have been looking at everything differently, I have been making myself stay alert to the differences between the event and the meaning I give the event and by me giving a different meaning to the event I come away with a different feeling, belief, and my responces (actions) are different. Your system helps me keep in control of my emotions, my feelings, my beliefs, my actions (responces) and the outcomes and results I am getting. No longer am I the puppet on the end of a string of my beliefs, feelings and emotions, NOW, with your system, I am the puppeter and I am pulling my own strings and I can’t thank you enough. Warmly Paul

  4. Wout June 24, 2011 at 2:45 am - Reply

    You just made me realize that distinguish could be read as dis-thing-guish, so basically determining a thing by removing anything that is not the thing… neat :)

  5. Jason Linder June 24, 2011 at 12:43 am - Reply

    In my case, the simple awareness of the distinction isn’t enough

    • Lauren June 24, 2011 at 11:33 am - Reply

      As Morty mentioned in a response, the Occurring Course helps you distinguish the occurring from the reality. “Simple awareness” means that the people who have learned the tools of the occurring course can actually distinguish between reality and occurring becaue they’ve internalized the steps. This takes time and practice. They no longer have to “think” about them anymore.
      Love and Light on your Journey,

  6. Jason Linder June 24, 2011 at 12:42 am - Reply


    I have a problem with the way you ended the Lefkoe stimulus explanation. You say “The LStimP works by making a distinction that you didn’t make earlier in life when the conditioning took place. You realize that the ice cream was never scary; the fear was caused by the fist and you now make a distinction between the two.”

    However, struggling with my insonmia, I’ve realized, like your Ice Cream analogy, my thoughts are the ‘fist’ and the meaning I gave it is a survival threat. So what happens is as I’m about to fall asleep, a thought comes to mind and my hearts races/pounds, and my body jolts up. I’m aware of the distinction totally, but the thoughts which are inherently meaningless, still trigger the racing heart/anxiety anyway, even after I know they’re meaningless! I don’t know how to get rid of this conditioning. I guess beliefs formed with parents need to be eliminated but I’m sure if I got there yet with Shelly. Any insight?

    Love Jason

    • Morty Lefkoe June 24, 2011 at 7:28 am - Reply


      I can’t tell from your explanation here what the problem is. I’m not even sure your insomnia is due to conditioning.

      My experience with the LStimP is that it works almost all the time when used correctly.

      Call if you want to discuss it.

      Love, Morty

  7. Luise Kohl-Hajek June 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    No doubt, this is a key realization on the way to self-empowerment!
    An event and my interpretation of the event are not one and the same thing. But based on my conditioning, my family situation and my inborn personality, maybe also karma and issues I have brought from past incarnations- if there were any- I gave the event a specific meaning and as I was not aware of myself being the one who made it all up I started to feel a victim…of my own inability to be, feel or act in a better way, of my parents, of my situation and of life itself.
    So, yes, distinguishing and rediscovering and claiming back my own power to make new decisions based on healthy distinctions is a powerful tool to build a new comfortable home for myself where freedom and happiness find open doors :0)

  8. Justin | Mazzastick June 23, 2011 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Hey Morty,
    I believe in what you said about the brain being plastic. We often think that changes are permanent yet we could easily revert back to past negative behavior if we do not keep ourselves in check.

  9. Tina June 23, 2011 at 10:04 am - Reply

    This message is for Ian as I smiled when I read your post. I think I know what you mean and you are on the right track when you wrote you are still attributing a meaning to reality…… in that it is meaningless! And thus the paradox is born. Congratulations.

    The issue isn’t about how to not think about things without giving them meaning (although there is a translation issue with the word meaning). You can still give them a “label” or an “identification” but do not create an sticking attachment to that label. Just let it pass and be on its way.

    The trick is not to numb or tune it all out by not thinking or having no thoughts. Instead try acknowledging the passing thought as a mere thought and then let it go.

    Jeez I hope that makes sense :0)

  10. Mary Lollie Alvarado June 23, 2011 at 9:22 am - Reply

    At first I didn’t understand but my husband helped me to clarify, I do beleive that making distinctions in our formed beliefs would be the only way to change our lives for the better. I love the way you explain things that really touch my heart that I can understand and use to change. Thank you

  11. Terry June 23, 2011 at 9:05 am - Reply

    You are so very informative, explaining the details in easier understood explination. Thank you for your intellectual generousity.

  12. Ian June 23, 2011 at 9:04 am - Reply


    Nice insight Morty, it does seem as though separating entangled concepts and making distinctions is the key to desolving meaning and emotion.

    I have been troubled with the following question recently that I hope you can help clarify.

    I have been in a phase the past months where I am consciously seeing that all meaning that I make is meaningless, and am able to desolve these meanings, through making distinctions between reality and the meaning that I attach to them.

    The problem I have now encountered is one of a paradox, this being that – The meaning that I now attribute to events, is that they are meaningless, so I am still attributing a meaning to reality, i.e, it is meaningless !-

    I have come to realise that language is attached to meaning, but how can I think about things without giving meaning, as thinking involves mainly talking to myself in my head using language, or making pictures by imagining, which is another way of making meaning through making symbols, like the early caveman would draw on stone walls as an early form of language and meaning making.

    Is it that I will always make up meaning with every thought, it is just that at some point, as I have already started seeing at times, that I can see through the thought, that it is an interpretation only, and the only way to give no meaning is through no thoughts at all?

    Thanks for your work


    • Maggie June 23, 2011 at 9:42 am - Reply

      It seems to me that the meanings I attach are what gives me my individuality. It is important to realize that meanings are not the reality of the event, that it is something that I choose to add on and believe for whatever reasons I have. Simply attaching no meaning to anything does become a form of philosophy in itself (nihilism?). Being in the moment as much as possible and taking responsibility for the meanings and beliefs that I do choose to create are goals that I try to work towards.

    • Morty Lefkoe June 24, 2011 at 9:12 am - Reply

      Hi Ian,

      It is possible to get to the point where you rarely give meaning to events and when you do, you can dissolve the meaning easily and quickly.

      I teach people how to do this is the Lefkoe Occurring Course. We are in the middle of one now and will be starting another in about a month. If you are interest in being notified, please let me know: morty(at)

      Love, Morty

  13. JOAO June 23, 2011 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Sorry I don´t understand

  14. Alex June 23, 2011 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Morty, you are like the master of personal development or something. I’d like to get your autograph one day.

    I’ve been thinking about distinctions recently, and about the idea that you create your reality by distinguishing stuff, and it’s been both an interesting and useful thing to ponder about.

    What amazes me is how so many things will be completely out of your reality until the day you distinguish them, and then you notice them frequently. Like for example, I lived 16 years of my life never having heard of The Doors. I had no clue what The Doors was until the day when some dude in high school started telling me about it. Then from the moment I made the distinction that The Doors was a band from the 60’s led by Jim Morrison, and they Played this and that song, and they had this logo, etcetera etcetera, I started noticing them eeeeeeeeeverywhere. T-shirts, the radio, movies, impersonations, references.

    The T-shirts had always been there, the music was there, the pop culture references, everything. But until I made the distinction, The Doors did not exist for me.

    Funny how each person interprets the same situations and environments in a completely unique way.

    • Lauren June 23, 2011 at 8:28 am - Reply

      This reminds me of when I was dating my husband. He loves nature and wanted to share his expertise with me. I love nature as well, but he had more knowledge. We were driving down the road and he said, “See those elk?” I scanned the area off the road and all I saw were trees, grass, and the water and said, “No.” “You don’t see ’em? They’re right there!” So the next time he said, “See those elk?” I looked and said, “Yes” even though I still couldn’t see them. The funny thing is after several times of not seeing them, I started seeing them. After 29 years together(28 married), I see kingfishers, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles and the pieces of nature I never distinguished before.

      • Alex June 23, 2011 at 11:17 am - Reply

        Excellent example Lauren, I know what you’re talking about. When I’ve been on the road, I only see trees and grass, too! And you can tell when a person is passionate about a certain topic, they have made waaaaay more distinctions about it than you. It’s fascinating.

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