Many people mistake excitement, high-energy, cheerfulness as “the positive feelings” we talk about in the Three Principles. They assume that having a good time, being temporarily happy, is the desirable state. The Feeling we point to is deep peace of mind, a sense of connection to the moment and to the universe, a feeling that generates quietude, appreciation, love, and contentment, regardless of circumstances. From this feeling, we find faith in wisdom, always accessible but not always accessed, knowing that it is a Divine source of guidance through life. Once we experience that feeling, we lose tolerance for times when we are caught up in personal thinking, and look to return to quiet.
Those who have spent their lives accumulating knowledge and working hard to figure things out have, without realizing it, gotten lost in the Memory Library. Our personal thinking, a product of active, busy minds, lives there. It can only work with already-thought thoughts, what we already know, which is why we get frustrated going over and over the same problems with no new solutions, or asking the same questions, with no new answers. Inspiration, insight, fresh ideas, aha! moments all come to us when our active thinking quiets and we are curious and open to see something new. Then wisdom, the spiritual source of fresh thought that is our inner guidance system, comes to mind.
“What do you mean by ‘change is one thought away’?” people often ask us. “Isn’t change a hard, long process of working through stuff?” As we come to understand the inside-out nature of thought, how our thoughts create the moment-to-moment reality we experience, we recognize that change occurs when we realize something we didn’t know before. For example, in 3 Principles work, many people’s lives changed completely as soon as they realized their feelings were a reliable guide to the quality of their thinking, and they didn’t need to “figure out” ways to get rid of negative feelings. All it took was quieting their thoughts and allowing new thoughts to come to mind.
For 50 years, since Sydney Banks first shared his profound insight into how the intelligent energy of creation manifests in human beings as the power to think, to create our unique experience of life, some people have called us a cult. Mr. Banks spent his life telling people not to be followers, but to find their wisdom and insight to guide them through life. He shared what he saw about the innate health within all people. He refused to give advice, and avoided any situation in which people tried to make this about him personally, not about his discovery. We are people who all see the beauty and power within everyone, and point people to their innate capacity for peace and joy. No one tells us what to think or do.
Clients often say, “OK, I understand the Principles: Mind, Consciousness and Thought. We create our own thinking and then see it as real via Consciousness because of the formless power of Mind. But I still don’t feel any better.” The Principles are words, metaphors that explain the logic of how human beings come to experience reality. “Learning” that intellectually does not in any way change people’s experience. UNDERSTANDING the Principles at work arises from finding the deeply spiritual feelings of contentment and love. Then we REALIZE the Principles at work, and see for ourselves the power of creating our realities. That’s why Sydney Banks always urges us to “listen for the feeling.”
Traditional psychologies diagnose what’s wrong with clients and help them “fix” issues. To us, that does not lead clients to a deeper understanding from which they can access their spiritual power to think, and to recognize our shared origin from the intelligent, formless energy of life, the source of wisdom. We point to the deep feelings of peace and security that arise from touching our spiritual essence and trusting wisdom to guide us through life. Our intellect, our personal thinking, then becomes a resource for wisdom, not a frustrating means of trying to use our memories to “figure out” how to deal with life, rather than getting fresh insights in the moment. We see the freedom to create our experience as we go.
Continuing on our last podcast, since we are not analyzing what is wrong or problem-solving with clients, what DO we do? Although every 3P practitioner works from their own wisdom in the moment, and there are no “techniques” or “processes,” all of us listen as deeply as we can to clients until we “hear” their mental health in their stories and “see” where to enter to address the nature of thought. We know that everyone, before they become engaged with the content of their personal thinking, is perfectly mentally healthy and that everyone can get “before thoughts” into the profound spiritual feeling of the energy of life from which we find our own wisdom about what to do. We speak to that health.
Unlike other therapy approaches, The Three Principles has one primary goal for therapy: Happiness. While that seems counterintuitive to people who seek therapy to address problems or resolve issues, it is the expression of the profound truth of the Principles: Before the formation of thought, we come into the world at peace and content and living from wisdom. As our intellect gathers memories, we have the free will to look for answers there and to try to figure things out. But the intellect only knows what we already know. From a quiet and content mind, confident that we can access wisdom and insight in the moment to address all life situations, we live from happiness, not at the mercy of distress.
When we talk about living a happy life, we are not talking about living in denial of the facts of life events, we are not describing a life miraculously free of trouble, we are not suggesting a strategy of avoidance. Happiness is a deep feeling of well-being, of confidence in our moment-to-moment access to the guidance of wisdom and insight, of faith that we have all our resources to address life issues available from a quiet and content mind. Happiness shines from people; we are all drawn to people with that bright life force. Happy people respond to life moment-to-moment. They do not dwell on the past or worry about the future, but create the best possible response to life in the present.
We often encourage our clients to “reflect” rather than “think about” or “figure out” life situations. Reflection is a quiet mind in a peaceful feeling; it is when we turn off the spigot of our personal thinking and listen for the natural flow of the stream of wisdom. Wisdom comes to us directly from the unknown, before thought, and it is our source of guidance, insight, fresh ideas, and just common sense. Wisdom informs the intellect but the intellect has nothing to offer wisdom. When our minds are quiet, regardless of what is going on around us, we can count on wisdom to give us the thoughts we need in that moment. Quiet is our natural state of mind, the default setting we return to when our personal thinking stops.
Memories are stored thoughts, like all information we have accumulated. They have no “power” until we focus on them. Otherwise, they are like books we’ve already read on the shelf, unimportant unless we take them down and start reading again. They have “invisible” power only because, when they come to mind, Consciousness brings them to life and we re-experience them. If they are good memories, we call that reminiscing. If they are painful memories, we call it suffering. But no matter, memories are just thoughts, not things that are happening in the present. We decide how much time and attention to give them. When we turn away from them and come back to the present, they are gone.
Often our clients bring up some version of, “I understand what you’re talking about, but knowing it just isn’t helping me.” The Principles are not about “what,” but about “how” life works, and SEEING what it truly means that we are the thinkers always creating our own experience. What “works” is listening for the feeling behind the words, allowing your own habitual personal thinking to quiet, so that insights can arise within you. We are pointing towards the inner spiritual nature of life, and doing our best to foster the connection that allows clients to see for themselves. But what works is not our words, but the space of quiet beyond the words, that sets the stage for your own insights.
A misunderstanding that arises from talk about the Principles is the idea of “listening for a feeling” or “following your feelings.” When we create thoughts, images in our mind, Consciousness allows us to recognize our thoughts and to understand whether they are helpful. Our feelings provide feedback. When our thoughts are producing negative feelings, that tells us it is time to quiet down, clear our heads, take a break from our personal thinking. When our thoughts are producing positive feelings, we can trust our thinking and take our thoughts to heart. Our feeling state is not something to indulge or examine, but simply a guidance system to let us know when we need to quiet down.
The Principle of Thought describes the absolute power every individual has to create their own experience of life. We do not experience anything we have not thought, whether it’s a memory, a fear, a desire, a pain, a recognition, a profound insight. Until it enters our mind as a thought, it has not happened for us. The good news is we have free will, and we can allow thoughts to pass, think again, look into quietude for new thoughts, turn old thoughts over and over in our mind, dwell on painful thoughts, play with fanciful thoughts, imagine a new direction. Realizing that life truly is all thought is the key to our peace of mind, happiness, and enjoyment of life in the moment. It is our freedom to change.
We’ve all done it — looked for an expert, or a highly recommended source, or a certain book, or a guru, or a technique, to find the answers to our deepest questions. No matter how hard we look, we end up still confused or uncertain. For many, the search goes on for a lifetime. Looking outside of ourselves for understanding will never lead us to peace and certainty. The Principles explain that we are born with everything we are looking for. Divine Mind, Consciousness, and Thought, the pure energy of life before personal thought, draws forth wisdom; when we look within and “see” wisdom in action, we get insights, our own answers to our own questions.
People are always asking us to “define” Mind, Thought, and Consciousness again, or put them in different words. If you’re trying to “figure out” the Principles by looking at the words, you can easily become frustrated and confused. Definitions are the intellect trying to figure things out. Look to understand how life works through us, from within us. Experience the life force that is our spirit in action, recognize how real our thinking looks and feels to us, and how quickly life looks different and we feel differently, as our thoughts change. We never come to the end of understanding the Principles, but as our minds quiet, we get a deeper and deeper feeling for what they mean to each of us.
Most of us grew up being told that humility was recognition that we were “mere mortals,” or that humility was a set of behaviors — modesty, consideration for others’ feelings and needs, being grateful. The Principles describe a universal fact: we all come from the pure energy of life, and before we use our gifts to think and see our thinking as our reality, we are all the same. Pure energy; pure potential to think. Humility is our own insight that that is true: we are distinguished by our unique thoughts, but the universal capacity TO think is the source of our understanding of humility. Anyone can change. We are all equally free and capable of changing the thoughts we create and thus changing our reality.
The essence of The Three Principles is that everything in the world originates from Spiritual Energy formed into thought. The Principles belong to the Spiritual realm; they describe how the energy of life works and what creation is. Often, when people hear “spirituality,” they think religions, but religions are the form the energy of spirituality has taken. Often people mistake spirituality for a learned behavior: they take certain actions or define themselves certain ways to show they’re Spiritual. But Spirituality is not a designation; it is a truth of life. We are all spiritual beings; everything created arose from the Divine Intelligence of the Spiritual realm. We discover our spirituality in a beautiful feeling of ease and contentment.
Psychology is a product of early 20th century interest in studying the soul and the mind. The word psychology has its origins in Greek words meaning “the study of the soul.” As scientific methods — focus on the measurable — became the focus of study, Psychology abandoned the immaterial, immeasurable soul, calling it the purview of Religion, and focused on behavior, which is measurable. With that, we lost the understanding that a soul at peace would generate different behaviors than a soul in turmoil. We lost focus on the spiritual source of thought and started defining people by the outcomes of their thinking. The Principles bring us back to the Source, a Feeling of deep connection to the universe.
Everyone has guilty thoughts. Some people get stuck in guilt and never lose the feeling. Others experience guilt and make amends if possible, or learn from the experience it’s related to and move on. Guilt is a feeling that informs us we have done or said something that we realize was not right or caused harm. It is healthy to experience the feeling, reflect on the source, and clear it up. It isn’t healthy to go on and on harboring guilt over things from the past which we cannot resolve or change. We act on the thoughts that make sense to us at each moment in life, given our state of mind and level of consciousness. The gift of growth in understanding is to see beyond thoughts that no longer make sense.