Language has profound effects on the way we experience the world around us. The words we use, and the way we use them, constantly shape our perception of reality.

For years, journalist and author Dani Katz has been fascinated with the vibrational frequencies that words possess, and how they program the subconscious mind. Her book The New P. Handbook Vol. 1: Little Languaging Hacks for Big Change unpacks the subtle (and some not so subtle) ways our communication patterns inform our perception. It serves as a guide to how language can be utilized more consciously to tell a different story – and therefore a different reality – a method she calls “Quantum Languaging.”

As Terence McKenna once said, “The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.” When we understand how words function to either empower or limit us, and the different energies that they project, we can truly begin to take responsibility the world we are collectively creating.

In this interview, we discuss what introduced Dani to “Quantum Languaging,” how psychedelics and altered states inform it, and how it affects our public discourse on sociopolitical issues.

How did you first get introduced to the notion of “language hacking”? Did psychedelics, or other mind-altering experiences (meditation, etc), play a role?

I’ve been meditating daily for almost 20 years, and journeying with psychedelics for more than that, so I think it’s impossible for me to frame any aspect of my life outside of those components. As far as this work goes, I think both have allowed me to cultivate an expanded, and multidimensional perspective that allows me to step outside of language – as much as any Earthling can – and examine it from (more of) a distance. The real-deal truth of the matter is that this whole thing started with a bizarro shamanic initiation, wherein I went to bed totally healthy, and woke up in the middle of the night crippled – with five compressed discs in my upper cervical spine, and a paralyzed left arm. I was bed-bound for a month, during which time I happened upon a book in my library that I’d never seen. To this day, I have no idea how it got there. It was Hidden Language Codes by R. Neville Johnston. That book activated something in me, and, after I read it, words started to show me their secrets – their codes, their vibrations, their effects. And suddenly I was able to see how words were landing in other people. I could see when they would shut people down, or lift them up. At this point, it’s like the words are jumping out of their proverbial (though totally nonexistent) skin to show me all these other part of themselves, and how they work, and – as much as I work with words – I have to be in a very specific space to allow myself to receive their teachings, because it’s all so massive, and comes along with zillion implications and offshoots.

I also think that my psychedelic experience loosened my grip on any alleged ontological understanding, and to avail myself to the otherwise mind-bending, abstract (and yet, totally valid) idea that language is the fundamental fabric of our third dimensional reality. As well, my multitude of entheogenic experiences have allowed me to delve very deeply into my own process of unidentifying, which absolutely allows me to recognize identifying hooks in our languaging patterns. It all comes back to the expanded perspective, which is absolutely fostered by entheogenic exploration, to which I attribute so much of this expansion.

I have tapped into quite a few languaging codes in the float tank – with and without psychedelic accompaniment (psilocybin, microdoses of iboga, cannabis), and find that particular environment very conducive to languaging deep dives. This is where I think the meditation has helped, along with my 19-year Ashtanga yoga practice + super clean vegan diet, in that I can feel the words various frequencies in my body. It’s a very visceral experience this way. When I’m floating, I can very easily feel the distortions in the words, and also feel when the upgrades click in, and align themselves with a larger truth. I definitely credit my meditation practice with that nuanced sensitivity. Also, my experiences with 5MeO DMT.

I think that the deeper I go into my own languaging studies, as well as my own personal psychedelic explorations, the more I come to understand how flimsy so many of these constructs enslaving us really are, and that we ourselves hold a great big bunch of the keys.

What are some ways that you use the language hacks described in your book?

I’m someone who deals with a lot of darkness, a lot of “depression.” Anytime I find myself in one of those dark places, it’s the 100% the languaging that pulls me out. It’s when I start to pay attention to how I’m framing my reality, how I’m talking about myself, my inner dialogues. I realize how toxic they are. When I’m in those places, it doesn’t necessarily feel authentic or fun to relanguage things for the more positive when I’m not buying it, and yet, it really always works. It is always the big thing that turns it around for me.

There’s an example that I have in the book that I framed as another person, but it’s actually my experience. I tend to isolate, and was at one point constantly saying: No one cares about me. I started to notice how often something would happen, and I would tell myself I don’t care. Whatever it was – an article was rejected, some guy didn’t respond to a text, they ran out of avocados at the market – it would be a constant loop all day: I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care.

Then I realized, well, if I am asserting that I don’t care, than why would the universe offer me experiences of care? And so I started to reframe it. Every time I heard myself say it – which was a lot, like 10 times a day – I would switch it to: I care, and I am cared for. That just shifted everything so effortlessly and so quickly. I was more attuned to seeing when there was care.

The reality is is that we live in an infinite reality. There’s so much stimuli coming in at any moment. With our current faculties, it’s impossible to take it all in. It’s however we choose to filter it that determines how we experience reality. At any moment, I can choose to focus on the lack of care. Or, I can choose to focus on the care that is there. There’s evidence for both of those stories all the time. That’s one example of how I learned to start to willfully reframe reality for the kinder and saw really quick results.

I have little tricks that I do all day, every day for this kind of thing. Like everyone, I have so much negative programming and negative belief systems that I’ve taken on from however many years. For a good 20 years my focus has been find out what my unconscious programs are, what thought forms and belief systems are sabotaging me. It’s still an unfolding journey – I haven’t rooted them all out. Once I pinpoint them, I’m really diligent about relanguaging them. This is just about self-talk, too.

How can this approach be applied to public discourse about controversial sociopolitical issues, particularly through social media interfaces like Facebook, Twitter, etc., that seem to polarize us and erode effective communication?

Love this question. At its core, Quantum Languaging is a communication paradigm based in empowerment, autonomy, sovereignty and inclusion. So, employing these precepts, and understanding the toxins and the constraints they are transcending, allows us to speak to one another as equals, from a place of respect and possibility. When we speak of the patriarchy, we’re not just talking about dudes in charge, or masculine hierarchical structures, we are talking about a fundamental imbalance between masculine and feminine energetics – not in terms of gender expression, but in terms of metaphysics. This fundamental distortion is absolutely inherent in our cultural languaging habits, which are rife with lack, limitation, divisiveness and contentiousness. Quantum Languaging represents a more balanced means of communicating that acknowledges our sovereignty and our omniscopic possibility. Take that word right there – omniscopic. You won’t find it in the dictionary (yet) because I made it up. It means “every moment access to every possibility that ever was or will be” – aka: unlimited or limitless. And yet, how can one expect to expand themselves into the realms of unlimited possibility when to do so demands that we utter/affirm the very limitation we are alleging to transcend? The word “limitless” PROGRAMS the subconscious mind with the energetic frequency of limitation before the word has even been completely articulated. Duly limited, we thus remain small, disempowered and enslaved.

Much of our language is steeped in authoritarian gestalts – right/wrong, good/bad, should. These words signal cortisol responses in the body. They put us on the defensive, and cue us for the fight on a very basic physical level. We are teetering on a great, grand precipice of change, being navigated by a populace awash in unintegrated wounds, traumas and shadows. Divisive languaging that amps up any and all urges to fight isn’t helping. Is doing just the opposite. Is not our wisest move. Wiser for us to learn how to communicate from a place of neutrality – to not inflame any of these unintegrated fires. Quantum Languaging is – using Spiral Dynamics terminology – a second tier languaging paradigm that affirms our equality and our Oneness. As we speak to and from this inherent Unity, the solutions that affirm it will necessarily follow.

As well, so much of the conversations on the web revolve around talking about what’s wrong, what sucks, who’s fucking it up, etc. Quantum Languaging encourages us to focus on solutions – on the upgrades we would like to see and live and foster. Quantum Languaging allows us to live into these upgrades, and to call them into being, by speaking FROM there is-ness.

When we relinquish the need to be right, or to win, we are positioned to listen, and to avail ourselves to ideas we hadn’t otherwise considered. So much of the “conversations” happening about our sociopolitical crap are about Left/Right, right/wrong and who’s the most marginalized subgroup of them all. These conversations are masturbatory and useless, except as it comes to dividing us and keeping us riled up. As a language of empowerment, sovereignty and unity, Quantum Language transcends this divisive nonsense, and resources us to come together in service to the highest good of all while focusing on the solutions that will absolutely allow us turn our Earthship onto an infinitely more inclusive, sustainable, abundant and peaceful trajectory, immediately.

How do other languages – differences in their syntax, grammar, or even the sound of the their words – affect our perception?

I speak about this in my book. My go-to example is that in the US, we say “I am 50 years old,” and thus identify ourselves AS this number. In many European languages, then say “I have 50 years,” which allows them more distance from their sun spins. A cursory overview of our relationship to the aging process pretty much speaks for itself, with Americans spending millions of dollars on anti-aging process, and enduring painful, expensive procedures to cling to their youth, while our European brethren have more distance, sanity and perspective on the matter.

I’m curious what your thoughts on glossolalia – the phenomenon of people “speaking in tongues” – are in relation to this.

I can’t speak with any authority on the matter, except to say that the deeper I delve into words, the more I come to understand their limitations, and how far they actually take us from present moment felt experience. Glossolalia is probably much closer to the Truth of whatever is being expressed, as it’s not filtered through syntax, or symbol. When we speak in words and sentences, we are approximating sensation or thought or experience – we are acknowledging that we are a step removed. I think glossolalia is closer to the original feeling or experience, but its limitation – by and large – is that its transmission isn’t likely to be able to be interpreted by others. Words allow us to connect. They foster and facilitate our interdependence. Glossolalia doesn’t do this. It isn’t about communication. Is merely a means of expressing something inexpressable that’s coming through in the moment. I think. I haven’t actually studied this. This is simply coming through in the moment.