It’s a challenge for people living in a world where people keep saying “Think about it,” “Keep working on it, you’ll figure it out;” “You just need to give it some more thought!” to resist the temptation to work hard at figuring everything out. Figuring out what’s wrong with them, figuring out HOW to DO rather than looking to SEE and KNOW. The effort to keep on trying to figure things out keeps us from quieting our minds and realizing the wisdom always accessible to us. When we find our inner, spiritual strength, though, answers come to us effortlessly and we know them by the good feeling they bring. Wisdom, as Sydney Banks said, arises from deep within our own consciousness. We would add, never from the memory bank we call the intellect.
People get confused by the term “free will.” Things happen that are out of our control! How could we have free will? We can’t make the world conform to our desires. But we can make the best — or the worst — of our fate. Everything in the universe is part of the infinite energy of creation. So things are always in motion, changing, creating. We have a gift, free will, the ability to think any way we want to about anything we want to think about. We are constantly creating our personal experience of everything that is happening around us. Free will is the power to make the most of adversity, enjoy beauty, appreciate people and things, or to find the negative in everything and torture ourselves with insecurity. Free will is what allows us to change our minds, to see beyond our limitations, to choose our course through life.
We are all vulnerable to “experts” promoting their advice, whether it be lifestyle coaching, investing, parenting, stress management, breaking habits — and on and on. We tend to think if we’re struggling with something, the best solution is to turn to someone who is smarter/wiser than we are and ask them. The catch in that is, even when they DO give us good advice, most of us don’t follow it. And we get more frustrated. That’s because the one true “expert” in your life is YOUR OWN WISDOM. When your mind quiets and your thinking slows down and you’re open and curious, wisdom flows through you and you get the AHA! moments that guide you through your life’s ups and downs.
Gratitude is a deep and beautiful feeling filled with love and appreciation for life itself. We all learn as we grow up to be grateful for people and things, to say thank you for presents, to express thanks for our blessings on special occasions, to link our gratitude to special things and people and places. But true gratitude is a profoundly spiritual connection to the joy of just being. In the words of Sydney Banks, “Gratitude and satisfaction have wonderful effects on our souls. They open our minds, clearing the way for wisdom and contentment to enter. Once you become grateful, the prison bars of your mind will fall away. Peace of mind and contentment will be yours.” (The Missing Link, p. 131)
If we expect love to “happen to us,” or to “come from” someone else to make us whole, we are setting ourselves up for a lifetime of disappointment. Love comes from within, from our own soul-felt connection to life, and when we find that feeling within ourselves, we attract others who want to share it. Many people believe they need something outside themselves, a relationship, or a person, in order to love and be loved. Coming from “need” with others is coming from insecurity, and misunderstanding of our true nature. It brings judgement to relationships. Seeing the Principles at work behind all of life allows us to discover we have everything we need, and takes the pressure off relationships.
People who innocently spend most of their time in negative thinking, feeling unworthy and anxious about relationships, often dwell in wishful thinking that someone will love them and “fix” their sadness. We all tend to connect with people who share our prevailing state of mind, however, so insecure people end up in relationship after relationship with people who are just like them, caught in a loop of negativity. When we understand how and why our understanding of our power to think allows us to change our feeling level (level of Consciousness) and our whole experience of life, our spirits lift and we are able find unconditional happiness and relate to others who have it, too.
The universal energy of creation finds expression in human beings through our ability to think and experience our thinking. It moves from perfect formlessness into the forms we create via thoughts. We “see” thoughts come to life as our personal reality. We remember our thoughts, which become our personal “library.” But each moment is a moment in which we choose to recall and reconsider memories or bring fresh thoughts from formless energy to form, so every moment offers the possibility of a fresh start. When we discover our true spiritual nature, formless energy at the essence, we are in touch with pure, unconditional love and understanding, the source of life and the forms we give love in it.
Overthinking is our memories running the show to keep us going in circles around everything we already know, hoping we’ll find new answers or resolution to a perceived problem. We are the thinkers, with the capacity to access our memory when it’s useful, but, most importantly, with the capacity to turn our back on circular thinking and allow space for wisdom, insights, fresh ideas to come into a quiet mind. Our wisdom is always there, like the pilot light on a stove. It isn’t always visible, but as soon as the way is opened, it comes to light. There would be much less stress and anxiety if people would trust their wisdom when they weren’t sure or didn’t know, and use their intellect wisely.
Many people think their body is independent of their Mind and is providing new information, beyond Thought. The Principles describe the universal, formless, creative energy behind everything. That energy is constant and infinite. In human beings, it enters the world of form through our creation of personal thoughts, which then inform the sensory system and create our feelings — how we experience life. Our bodies are after the fact of the creation of Thought. So stored thoughts, such as memories of past trauma, that come to mind, will come to life again as a feeling when they are on our minds. But the body is always providing us information about what we are thinking. It is responsive to Thought.
It often confuses people to hear the expression “Listen for a Feeling.” Listening is deeper than simply hearing sounds with our ears; when we truly listen, our minds are free of personal thinking; we are present; we experience the moment fully; we KNOW beyond the words we hear. That is the feeling state in which we feel connected to life, we feel at peace and in touch. We are neutral and non-judgmental. Then we can truly KNOW the feeling state of others around us. This feeling has nothing to do with emotions, which are created by our personal thoughts. It has to do with the deeper sense of life we have when we are not caught up in our personal thought. We listen for our own deeper feeling to know life.
When people hear the word “impersonal,” they often think “indifferent,” “unconcerned.” As we use the word, it means “not personal” — not taking things personally, not getting lost in our own personal thinking, not focused on ourselves, not caught up in our insecure, ego-thinking. That means not wondering how we’re doing, what people think of us, whether we look good enough, how to prove ourselves. That means not judging ourselves, not comparing ourselves to others, not feeling bad about ourselves. When we stop taking life personally, we are fully engaged in life, in touch with other people, and able to be responsive to the moment, rather than reactive.
What people call “disorders of the brain” are a major source of distress for many people, handling their own different ways of thinking or trying to help their family members handle theirs. Autism, ADHD, and other Disorders of the Brain do not doom people to less than satisfactory lives at all, but they do frighten people and those around them who are baffled why they don’t see the world the way most people do. Mind and the brain are not the same. The power to think is universal. Reactions to our personal thinking can inhibit our appreciation of the gift of Thought or our willingness to embrace our own way of thinking. There is still much we don’t know, but what we do know is that no one is broken or damaged.
This is part two of our discussion of brain disorders, focused on the common issue of ADHD. Many people struggle with ADHD, and how to “manage” life tasks with it. First, there are good medicines available that slow down thinking, and there is no shame in taking them appropriately. Second, over time, we have come to recognize more and more that those with ADHD use the gift of thought differently, and often to their own advantage, once they understand it and come to understand how thought works and how not to get sidetracked and overwhelmed. The struggles people have are more related to fear and anxiety about their thinking than to the way they use the gift of thought.
Sexual abuse is a horrible experience for people of any age or gender, and often generates feelings of shame, fear of being damaged, unwillingness to seek help, hesitancy about any relationships. No trauma, not even the worst personal trauma, can break our innate well-being, which is a spiritual truth, formless and invincible. Only the way we think about trauma over time can obscure our natural well-being and get in the way of healing and feeling safe in the world. The spiritual energy of creation flows purely through us and gives us an opportunity for a fresh start with every new thought. We can find peace, no matter what.
Parenting becomes challenging as children grow and develop their own thinking and start experiencing their own moods and reactions. It helps to remember that children are all individuals, with the same access to wisdom and mental well-being as grownups, and with the same free will and free thought to develop their own way of seeing life. It takes love and understanding, and not taking things personally, to help children bring out the best in themselves, and learn to use their feelings as barometers to their moods, and see not to take negative thinking seriously. Parents are their models.
Once we begin to notice how the power of thinking works and how we change as our understanding deepens, it becomes a thrilling lifetime learning experience to experience new insights and keep growing and changing. We are taught early on that “figuring out” is the way to learn, but very few people are taught that insight is the way to grow and find deeper and deeper peace and contentment. We learn facts that are already known from our intellect. But insight brings us fresh and deeper understanding of our own experience and true knowledge about the possibilities that arise from a quieter mind, looking to see beyond the already known.
It’s easy to get addicted to troubled thinking because our worst moments, or our most negative thoughts look and feel more significant to us than ordinary everyday thoughts. We get frightened, embarrassed, discouraged, upset, angry, etc. about them. In other words, they bring us bad feelings. Bad feelings get our attention. They’re supposed to. They tell us we’re overthinking, stuck in the past, using our memory to try to figure out what we don’t know. When we find our minds racing and our feelings plummeting, the answer is not to think more about the thoughts that are bringing us down, but to take that as a signal to turn away, and allow all those thoughts to pass. Then we drop into peace and wisdom comes.
In traditional psychology, practitioners often see “resistance” in clients. Resistance, from the standpoint of the Principles, is really hopelessness. People lose hope that they have innate mental well-being, that they always have access to their own wisdom, that they are born with the gift of creating their own reality, and that peace of mind is always within them, even though they can obscure it indefinitely with personal thinking. As we get trapped in our intellect, which only knows the past, we are living in the prison of our own thoughts. Rediscovering hope is seeing that it is one thought away, and we hold the key to the presence, peace of mind and trust in wisdom that sets us free.
We all have in common that we emerge into life from the power of Divine Mind, Thought, and Consciousness and we use that power to create our experience. Every single one of us uses it differently, and builds their own unique personal thought system. Even after we see that finding peace of mind and access to wisdom to guide us through life is the path to happiness and contentment, we still stumble into our own entrenched “realities.” Knowing ourselves means being “onto” our long-held habits of thought by which we innocently trap ourselves in the past or in hopelessness. Once we’re “onto” ourselves, wisdom shows us the way to peace. We know our “true selves” as spiritual beings experiencing life.
Psychology is traditionally focused on solving problems. Right now, there is a focus on working through past traumas. We say that when you dredge up the past, you get trapped in something that cannot change. Every time you think about it, you relive it, but you can’t make it turn out differently. With the 3P perspective, a Wisdom-Focused approach, we help people see we all create life from the inside-out via Mind, Consciousness, and Thought, and explain that all people have innate Wisdom, available through a quiet mind, to guide them through life. We point people to being safe in the present moment, understanding the past is now only thoughts we choose to carry forward via our own gift of Thought.