Most of us take for granted that quiet arises from shutting off the outside noise in our lives, turning off the music or the TV, going to a quiet, peaceful space free from traffic noise or busy people talking, settling down without distraction. Finding quietude is much deeper than that; it is turning away from our personal minds and the thinking and analyzing they always produce, and turning towards nothingness, towards not knowing and wondering. External activity has nothing to do with that kind of quiet; it arises from the depths of our soul and is always accessible.
This is the time of year when most of us come up with a list of things we must commit to do in the New Year. It has become a source of wry humor that most of us compare notes in February and realize we haven’t kept up or aren’t really committed to our “resolutions.” For some, that’s amusing, for others, it sets off negative, judgmental thinking. Yet, when we understand how thought works, it makes sense. We don’t change because we “should” or we feel pressure. Change comes from moments of inspiration, when a change feels obvious and easy, because it arises from our wisdom and and makes sense to us.
A term used in Psychology for people who have an optimistic outlook is “toxic positivity.” The idea is that people who embrace life in good spirits regardless of external events are burying or denying reality, or refusing to “process” serious problems. A common misunderstanding among people learning about the Principles is that those who “get it” are relentlessly positive and dismissive of negative feelings. The Principles describe how life works; they do not prescribe how we will work out our own lives. People who see the Principles at work experience the full range of emotions and responses to life. An understanding of the Principles allows us to know that states of mind are always changing as our thoughts change. It keeps us from becoming frightened by our own negative feelings, or from trying to cling to positive feelings. It leaves us at ease with all of life.
People have asked us whether it’s arrogant to talk about the Principles as spiritual truths, rather than as someone’s theory. Principles, in every field of endeavor, once discovered, explain everything, no exceptions. The Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought explain how the experience of life is created, why it is changeable, and why as long as we are alive, we have the power to change. It explains where beliefs and theories come from – the power of Thought. Without Principles, there would be no theories. Once people discover Principles, they need no more theories; they understand how something works and they are free from needing to keep looking for new theories to explain exceptions.