The Intellect and Beyond

A recent poster to a popular Three Principles forum commented:

“It seems that in the 3P conversation there’s a variety of perspectives on things like free-will, control, to do or not to do. The notion that God (as in Mind, Consciousness and Thought) is everything vs there’s God and then there’s personal thinking. Do techniques don’t do techniques. And so on. It can get really confusing. So, perhaps those conversations aren’t helpful? Perhaps the more we talk the further we move away from seeing God. Perhaps the place to see God is in nature, poetry (not specifically about 3P), in art, in babies, in bees, in animals and in ourselves and each other before we speak. Perhaps the only thing that’s useful is to know that we’re all God? I would say discuss but oh the irony of even writing this! 😂💕x”

My response:

I like to remind myself that “there are no others”. Then serendipity happens. That’s love, or “God” if you will, peeking out. 🙂
You’ve indeed also spotted something endemic Clare. Your mileage may vary but my experience was that none of these (what you could call philosophical in the original sense of the word: love of wisdom) issues can be resolved from within psychology. The intellect is a necessary tool for enquiry and ridding one of beliefs and allowing understanding and insight to shine forth, but it has to be guided by clarity and wisdom, not beliefs, concepts and formulas.
I tried for over 20 years and went in circles. It all only became clear (and what Syd was trying to say but perhaps didn’t have the tools) when I got on the direct path of self-enquiry. In any case, from the perspective of the “mind” or psychology, it will all always all be utterly paradoxical by nature. I know this can sound repetitive but truly the answer is within and not in the formula, or in objects like poetry, bees, nature, or others… as Syd used to say, simplicity resolves all complexity.
PM me if you want.
Peace & Love,
Eric

To develop this theme a little further (for the purposes of this blog):
The block for me was the opposite: not the intellect or conversation, but an anti-intellectualism encountered (often a fascist precept within within spiritual circles – “look for the feeling” taken the wrong way), dogmatism, and lack of clarity and wisdom. Even the highest feelings of love can only take you so far, if they depend on devotion – so why not go direct.

It’s a good sign the field is opening up in some places to questions and intellectual inquiry. It means greater freedom.
One will by nature have questions – basic, fundamental ones, *your* questions – until you don’t. You can try and avoid them and take solace in whatever – but your mind will not be at peace until you’ve answered your questions (even if it takes lifetimes). The questions are based on the nagging feeling something is missing or not right. and it’s true: you are still believing in false gods, meaning you hold things to be true that are not true, assumptions inherited from society or history or wrong logic or however they came to infected your mind.

Silence speaks bountifully

The Meaning of Ott’s Jack’s Cheese and Bread Snack Lyrics

Heard this (trippy) song about ten years ago and loved it, and was intrigued by the lyrics:

Ott – Jack’s Cheese and Bread Snack

 

One: All composite phenomena are impermanent.
Two: All contaminated things and events are unsatisfactory or in the nature of suffering.
Three: All phenomena are empty and selfless (devoid of self-existence).
And four: Nirvana is true peace.

… but wasn’t entirely clear what they meant, though I knew it was basic Buddhist philosophy ontology. Now I understand (and ten years from now may see more deeply what they mean… :).

Basically, it’s like this:

One: It’s talking about separation and oneness: if a phenomenon, an appearance, which is what an object is composed of, must in order to be perceived as a thing in consciousness (what there is, and what all phenomenon appear within), have some sort of border, boundary, or seeming separateness from other things, then it is part of the world of change – you need time and space to have objects, and a self, and movement – then by nature it will come and go. Anything that is born dies; any perception, sensation, or thought arises then goes away; the only thing that does not change is the totality, which cannot be perceived as a thing because it isn’t – and intuitively it must the same as what is reading these words – the one perceiver.
So in short, “composite”, “phenomenon” and “impermanent” all imply each other: so see what changes and thus is illusory and you will know what is eternal.

Two: By “contaminated” here means the experience of fear and desire: reactions, unconsciousness, which if acted on – a reaction, which is repeated and automatic (karma: cause and effect) via mental activity – this by nature leads to suffering. Pure consciousness is “contaminated” in the sense of obscured: the waters are muddied by personal thinking, mental activity or vibration comes from separateness, which wants to complete itself, but blindly, through objects which it either desires, or fears, thinking they are outside itself, and complete disappearance (non-existence) is implied as a possibility in separateness, and this disturbance is suffering and not peace.

(In a practical sense or example, people can achieve a lot, be ambitious, but create a lot of wreckage in the process through desire and fear – the ego-driven activity, creating stress, suffering, such as coming from competitiveness, anger, driven-ness, unconsciousness, stupidity of learned or clever rather than natural intelligence; but in action through non-attachment the “sage” achieves without doing; life is lived through him, not by him).

Three: Given that self and other arise together (how can there be one without the other – it would just be One), the separate or personal self is a phenomenon like any other, composed of passing, illusory sensations, perception, thoughts: a concept, the “I” thought. So just as this self does not actually exist in any real and substantial sense, so by implication are all others, all of what was considered to be “out there”: as such all phenomenon are as non-existing in-themselves as this self, ultimately. That is, absolutely, all phenomenon do not exist in themselves but as the perceiving ultimate witness, which is universal. That unknowable “this-ness” is empty as far as being objective.

Four: Nirvana is true peace. True peace is nirvana. Is happiness, is love, is beauty is truth. Is Self.

On Having Less Thinking: Untangling The Three Principles Psychology from Psychology

7/19/18

This post is in response to a question on a FaceBook forum.

Jennifer commented:
“I found it confusing when a 3 P teacher says for us to have less think[ing] and then say we have no control over our thinking. Because of that I think it would be helpful to be really clear they are not talking at the me self level that has no control. Not sure if I am explaining this well 🤔”

Eric:
“I never said to have less thinking. I said to have more understanding. As a seemingly separate self you can aim for that; do your best, let God do the rest.”

Jennifer:
“I was not referring to what you said. I agree with you I just think saying the other is when it gets confusing. Maybe being confused is part of the journey 😊”

Eric:
“Yes, the 3P are often a confusing teaching. It’s why I’m working to help make them more clear (I need to hone many of my blog articles down, but it’s time-consuming!) – Syd’s wisdom got mixed up with psychology and it’s been a tricky thicket (sticky wicket?) ever since. 🙂
Peace”

Jennifer
“Eric Platt I am interested to know more about this how it can be simple.”

(This article is the answer I gave):

What I was alluding to was to go beyond the mind – in other words, go beyond thought, or thinking. It seems that too often people get stuck at the level of thinking. They become aware that thinking is problematic in a sense, but don’t see how to let go or change or quiet down thinking.

Syd Banks was a natural mystic or non-dualist, but he didn’t have the tools linguistically, nor the preparation in any spiritual tradition (such as Advaita vedanta), to speak of his enlightenment experience in anything other than what he picked up in the culture around him or the collective unconscious, the zeitgeist of the time. So, for example, he speaks in his early tape of “Christ Consciousness”.

As Garret Kramer pointed out (private conversation), Syd was making a concession to the audience, putting his insights into a form digestible to whom was listening. Later, when he encountered psychologists (mid 70’s), it occurred to him (in his naïveté or outlook – a ninth grade education and welder) that psychologists were “professionals” and helpers of humanity, and that they would be the way that the teachings would spread out into the world. He felt it needed a professional face to give it legitimacy.

Unfortunately Mr. Banks didn’t realize that, while such profound spiritual insights could potentially change psychology, the outlook of psychology would also affect or often limit how a spiritual message might be heard. In essence, the spiritual is about universal reality (the Absolute), whereas psychology addresses the personal. They start from different assumptions and worldviews. Western psychology starts with the assumption that there is such a thing as a person, and they are a body, a mind (that comes from a brain and nervous system), in a world of circumstances, and so tools are needed to change and affect that body-mind (techniques, drugs, analysis, changes to lifestyle, circumstances, relationships, work, etc.). It is a materialist worldview. The 3P seemed to introduce new tools, but really it was undermining the entire reality assumption underneath. Even though psychologists who were working with Syd understood to some degree that this was a very radical change in outlook, they themselves could not shift their outlook far enough fast enough through an effort of will (and Syd was often confronting them about their lack of understanding – see the book “Paradigm Shift” by Jack Pransky), or their students (patients) would hear it from their old way of seeing things – in other words from the (small) mind, from the (small) self or ego, from their conditioned way of seeing, perceiving and acting.

By way of contrast, Traditional spiritual paths like Advaita and the yoga philosophy and practices of Kashmir Shaivism had tools to address these mental and bodily patterns of conditioning. Syd Banks and the psychologists assumed that talking and understanding would be enough to effect a radical shift, a transformation in outlook. And indeed sometimes these transformation did occur – for example from simply attending Syd’s lectures, and being around him and the people around him living their lives on Salt Spring Island – and it’s enough to keep the hope alive. But a large portion of the time, people are now wondering why they are not getting it or what exactly it is they are getting or not. It’s heard as concepts, a learning, a philosophy or psychology. However, what is needed is an unlearning: an unlearning of the forumlas for happiness we learned, the beliefs we picked up or arrived at, the habits we hold on to.

Some of the tools that traditional paths use are for example, a method of self-enquiry where one’s core beliefs are questioned, by very carefully asking, “Who Am I?”, and what are the beliefs that support the idea of being a separate entity, in a world of objects, in a dead universe (for example). In terms of the body, ways and means include the yoga of non-duality, that help one carefully observe the nature of the borderless-ness of perceptions and sensations of the body and sense perception, promoting a dissolution of those held patterns of aggression, fear and separation that live in a (seeming) body. The body itself is seen to be a set of sensations and perception and ultimately a concept. In other words there is the presumption of a body. This identification, which is false at bottom, eventually will be seen through. The assumption of being a separate entity is behind the fear of death, and the sensed feeling of separation, lack, and the fears and desires that drive thinking and behavior.

In a sense it’s great that a way, an avenue was found to try and do what psychology hadn’t been able to do very well, and point people towards a complete shift of perspective. But few realized how utterly and truly radical a shift was being talked about. Syd, in his innocence, just saw the love, beauty and truth, and forged ahead in great faith, and thought that once the world heard and understood it, psychology would inevitably change. Hopes were so high that it was felt that the problem of mental illness had been solved, and the old psychology could be left behind. The book “The Missing Link” attempt to forge a link between spirituality and psychology, and Thought was seen as the connection. But it’s a double edged sword. In my view, there is too much emphasis on Thought, and offshoots of the Three principles, such the “Single Paradigm” approach, take this emphasis – since thinking is indeed foundational to our sense of self and the world – and make a coaching model or self-improvement psychology of it.

The emphasis should really be on the non-objective nature of reality, and on a kind of self-enquiry that eventually will allow one to entirely free oneself from the central illusion that causes suffering. The question is, how many are ready for this? Regardless, which should adhere to what is true for us, to what we know.

The intent to point to an inside-out view is a good one, since the majority of humans live outside-in, particularly in a Western culture, founded on what is seen to be an objective, scientific outlook. However, science is limited in scope, as it deals only with phenomena, and not where phenomena appear, which is unlimited consciousness. Science cannot approach the qualities of truth, beauty and love inherent in our experience as revealed in self-knowledge.

As one of my teachers (Laura Lucille) likes to say “It’s simple but not easy”. It’s not easy to let go of habits accumulated for ages. And the mind is stubborn.

(This article from last Spring may be helpful – I wrote it in response to the central issue of thought-stuckness and transcendence):

On Beyond Limitations of the Three Principles Psychology Model

Thank you Jennifer for the question: it helped me put into words something that I’d see or reflected on but had been so far partly unspoken.

What is Self Love

I’ve often heard it said, for example, that in order to love another, or to find love, you have to “love yourself first” (including from prideful people that are not really loving).
It’s always been puzzling because it sounds like there are two entities: someone to love (your self) and the one doing the loving (me?). Or it sounds like an excuse for egotism (“Aren’t I wonderful, I love myself, and you need to be as wonderful as me before you love your self too!”).

When I have truly experienced self love, it is none of these. IT’s a different kind of experience. If I had to describe it, it’s more like realizing I am love – the usual “I” is not there, not in the way, you could say – a collapse of boundaries (words fail) – and love is not personal. In other words, it’s self love with a capital “s” – nothing to do with “me” or “them”. And sometimes there’s an experience of a love from an encounter that is so surprising, fresh, that one is amazed at the wonder of it. And this can happen out of the blue with a neighbor, a cashier, a total stranger… maybe the less we know them the easier for it to happen!

That being said, the mind co-opts the experience, and one is back in “where did that come from, and where did it go?” because the mind wants to see it as coming from somewhere – another apparent person – and wanting to make meaning or hold onto it.

In any case, I have no idea how this could apply to what we call “relationships” since those seem to come and go, without any sense of being able to hold to a “love” however you want to define that.

Sometimes the path of self-knowledge can be felt as a lonely one. “You have to walk that lonely valley, by yourself…” as the old song said.

But what is the “spiritual” path? You could say it’s as much as possible being honest with oneself, and sticking with facts. At some point you realize, there was never a goal or thing to get – an endpoint (realization or enlightenment) – just stuff to lose. Lose the lack, as it were. The happiness one was trying to find was there, merely temporarily infected with a self-sense that didn’t belong. A self sense pretending to be unhappy.

One of my spiritual friends said there is always a choice, at any moment, between love and control… which makes sense to me at an intuitive level. if you are already happy, and unafraid, what need is there to control? The future does not exist, or exists as something one is creating through a free will – either whay, what is there to be afraid of, or worry about? We act as if life were imposed on us, from the outside. But what if there were no outside? What is it’s all us, that is, all “I”, all self, or this?

How much do we feel that love comes from outside, someone else, or needs an object? How much does one then feel dependent on that object, or series of objects, for validation, to feel love, to feel “that feeling”.
It is never coming from them.