Beyond the Event Horizon of Thought

Definition: “Thought” – The energy used to form the contents of experience.

At this point in my life I find it harder to avoid feeling and thinking there can be only be one reality and one consciousness. How could you not? The answer is, by believing that Truth or Consciousness (or “innate health” as they talk about in some fields of spiritually-based psychology), or what is known, or knowable, is by Thought only, therefore one cannot know anything beyond the event horizon of one’s thinking – that world or reality formed by Thought.

I like that: “The Event Horizon of Thought” – it is a valuable insight (from psychology and skeptical philosophy) that all we can know are feelings, sensations, thoughts and perceptions formed of Thought. But – and this is a big “but” – it depends on what you mean by “know”. What if we expand from “what we can know” to “what can be experienced”? Then that would include pure awareness without content. Can that be experienced? We can put that aside as debatable for the moment and look at some other interesting observations. What is it that is knowing: thinking doesn’t know anything in itself, it’s just what’s used to form the content of what’s known – an instrument to play the music of knowingness on. So what is knowingness? Who or what is “knowing” – what is experiencing knowing? What are its limits? Does this knowingness experience always have the same limits as the thinking instrument it uses to form thoughts, perceptions, sensations – the contents of the mind in other words? What do we even mean by “knowingess”? To put it crudely, it’s the same is asking, “Who, or What is knowing?”

By using reason alone, there is no way to prove that consciousness or awareness is unlimited, universal, and not limited to this body. However, there is no way to prove it isn’t using reason alone.

But this all gets very ephemeral and “out there” – we can talk about ultimate matter or what can be known until we are blue in the face then feel like it’s just so much talk and grinding of gears. It just flows away and new thoughts come in, the car needs to be taken to the repairman and it’s time for lunch.

Like, “So fucking what?”
Because if you look closely at what you are actually believing, and at what is the basis for believing it, you might find something startling. And that startling revelation could change your entire life if you pursue it far enough. That which you held to be certain – that you are a material body in a material world, and consciousness is limited to and shares the limits of the body, and comes from the brain somehow, and that the body stops at the skin, and that there is a separate world of objects out there, and a person or self here, a human being “in here” (who is born, and is born with certain capacities such as innate health) – is not actually resting on certain knowledge at all, but on a belief that you were trained to hold and reinforced to adhere to and worship. It opens the door to the possibility that what you thought you knew is not actually a certainty at all, but an assumption held in place through repetition of habit.

We are still left with the not knowing though – reason tells us it could be unlimited – but we don’t know for certain either way.

This is where intuition and life experience come in. This is where one has to be honest about what one experiences and not try and change it to stay in line with one’s beliefs and assumption, not tow the line, not rationalize. You need to admit, “Yes, I am conscious right now” And “No I don’t ever actually remember being unconscious, only a lapse in memory” and “Yes, I’ve had a deep intuition of oneness”, no matter how fleeting, it was as real as day, and “Yes I see that it makes no sense to think there is more than one reality, because then there would have to be a higher reality encompassing both, thus always arriving at one reality.”

OK so then the one reality must be the same as the consciousness I am. I exist. Being is. I am, and I am conscious, that is Being right now. That is unquestionably real. This is a real experience. And if it’s real, and it must be the same reality as all that is real, which we have an intuition is one, therefore it is universal I AM, or universal consciousness.

However I can’t prove this except through my own life experience, since it depends on a self-proving. By experimenting with living “as if” consciousness were universal, I can see what happens. If it accords with reality, it will be a happier, more harmonious life.

The experience of oneness exists as a potential in everyone, even if they don’t remember having it. At minimum you will experience it when you die or in one of your reincarnations (if you don’t awaken in this lifetime). Since it is what we are, it is only an illusion that keeps a separate self in place, by effort of thinking.

The Reality of Universal Consciousness

Jesus said, “I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind.” – The Gospel of Thomas

The hard thing to grasp about Universal Consciousness is that it is not something that can be sensed by the senses, has no form, cannot be thought about or conceptualized or imagined, as it is the “light of awareness” itself. So how does one know it exists? It starts to sound more like a belief or an item of faith, or nonsense… like no thing. Nothing.

I will do my best to lay out an inexorable logic of experience that can show, to those receptive, how it is true. In other words, it presents a possibility that you can either embrace or reject. Whether you see it or not, is up to your willingness, readiness, and grace.

1. Experience: I Exist.
I am having an experience, and even though it may be a dream, or a hallucination, or created by Descartes’ demon, or a digital simulation in an alien’s computer, or a thought-form of some type, its still a *real experience*. Even if this experience of a body and a world is just an avatar and a scene in some insanely complex and detailed game simulation, it’s still a *real* experience. So *something* somewhere is experience-ing. There is consciousness-ing going on. In other words, I am Be-ing. Being is. I exist. So to start, we at least know that much for certain. And so even if you insist that I am not conscious and/or do not exist, I can know for certain that is just your idea or theory or belief. I have a rock solid basis from which to build, for me.

2. Reality.
But what about the question of what is real, and what is reality? A fruitful way of approaching this question in the context of ultimate or absolute reality is by asking, “how many realities can there be”? We have established that there is at least one (I Am, Being). Could such a thing as more than one reality be possible? Well let’s look at that notion: if there were two realities, how would one know about it? It implies that there would be a *third* reality encompassing both realities that knows of both realities. So that would be the one reality. If there were yet another reality at alongside that higher encompassing reality, then how would that be known? By yet another higher reality that knows *those*. So no matter how many levels, or how many realities, there is still only one reality.

Notice that it can be tempting, according to one’s assumptions, to say that maybe there is another reality out there – the proverbial tree that falls in the forest and no one hears it – that one doesn’t know about, or that no one knows about. But the assumption is that “reality” is thing-like, is like an object: it has borders, it can be distinguished, it can be perceived, or conceptualized (“discrimination” in Buddhist terminology), that is, as perhaps out there somewhere somehow, perhaps as another dimension, could be known, at least *theoretically* – otherwise why are we talking about it? The assumption is that it could be known at minimum as a theory or concept or something imagined, as a separate reality. But again, it is known by whom or by what? You’ve already brought in awareness, consciousness, knowingness, by the back door, whether you admit it or not. It’s either part of awareness or not. Something is either real or not. You can’t be half pregnant. This is not a conceptual or word game we are playing. We are waning to know what *must* be true, not what *might be true*.

It is meaningless to say “separate reality” unless we are talking about psychological, mind-based or personal reality: in other words, a thought-created “reality”, a perceptual reality. And this is valid in a psychological context (just see how two people can watch the same movie and have a completely different experience!). But what we are investigating are philosophical or spiritual questions, or ultimate questions, however you want to say it. Questions about life and the nature of life. Personal “separate realities are useful for understanding human behavior and relationships, and how to live, but even there, we want to put it in context, and not fall into relativism, and grant ultimate reality to whatever arbitrary thinking beings can fall into. Truth is truth.

So you can see it would be as meaningless to claim there is ultimately more than one reality as it would be to claim there is a little invisible man named Yehude in my pocket, and because he’s invisible and I can’t disprove it, therefore he exists. You would be seen as crazy, or at least a little looney. And it’s just as crazy to say there is more than one ultimate reality. Just because one can *say* something or *think* something doesn’t mean it exists or makes logical or intuitive sense. I can say “One plus one equals three, to me”. And that’s fine, you are free to say that, but who cares? It’s meaningless and not intelligent.

Therefore, using intelligence, we see that this encompassing reality would be the one reality: the totality. And this accords with our deep intuition that indeed there is only One reality, one infinite totality, without limits or borders. (I remember lying in bed as a child and thinking, “if there is a border to the universe, what is beyond that border? It would have to go on forever…” which is the imaginative insight about infinity that is the same as the spiritual perception I am pointing to here). If you don’t have that intuition then I kindly suggest you have been fooled by thinking and a fascination with form. There is still hope for you however: it is available to anyone. (If you insist on this way of looking at reality you will be at minimum unhappy and at maximum end up in an institution for the mentally imbalanced, whose prime characteristic is mistaking thinking for reality. I’m only half joking here … I truly think such syndromes as depression are the result of not knowing who, or rather what one is, and being fooled by thought. Such lostness can be and have been, cured by spiritual insight into one’s true nature).

It’s meaningless to talk about more than one reality. It’s not logical, and does not accord with one’s experience.

3. Evidence.
Can you find a limit to your consciousness? Have you ever and can you now find a border? All that you have ever known, or know now, or will know, is experienced within your consciousness. And I don’t mean your mind. Your mind – any and all thoughts, sensations and perceptions – is something known *by* consciousness. The content of your mind appear by to that which is experiencing: the same reality that is reading these words right now.

It is a very common mistake to equate consciousness with mind, to think consciousness is mind-like. This is one of the reasons behind much confusion in the fields of spirituality, spiritual psychology and psychology, not to mention philosophy. So it’s important to be clear on this: Anyone who meditates for example, will be told or be familiar with how, once you relax and open your attention, you can become more aware of how thoughts or mental images, or the sound of self-talk, are passing, how they come and go. They arise. The same with bodily sensations and perceptions. Nothing stays the same but is in constant flux. What is observing this play of form, the flow of thoughts and sensations, perceptions? Can a thought see a thought? Can a perception observe a perception?

And what have you ever known of yourself or the world except this passing play of thoughts, imaginings, perceptions and sensations? Your assumption has been that there is some solid thing out there behind it all. And, we may believe some day science will get to the bottom of it all and find out what it’s all made out of, and how it works, beyond just the appearances and the workings of the mind. Well, you’ve got a long wait my friend. Meantime, it’s time to live.

Through the use of reason and examining beliefs, we come to see there is a total lack of evidence for consciousness being limited and personal. But does this prove it is not? No, it is a negative conclusion. So we are left with a 50/50 proposition: there is a 50% chance that consciousness is limited; there’s a 50/50 chance, according to reason, that consciousness is not universal. We must go on to experimentation in our lives: living it.

(The mind doesn’t experience anything, nor do anything in it’s own).

4. The Logic of Experience.
Combining these insights, one comes to an incredible, startling, mind-blowing conclusion:
If there is only one consciousness, and one reality, they must be the *same* reality! This One Consciousness is the same consciousness I am experiencing right now. There cannot be any other. And, there are no “others” *in reality*. This, despite what my beliefs tell me, what my experience seems to tell me, and the society tells me. What is reading these words right now is what is creating this entire universe and this body and mind right now.

If you have followed the logic of this article, you can also begin to se why many sages have pointed out, or tried to, the fact that our experience is a projection of the mind.

What is reading these words right now is what is creating this entire universe and this body and mind right now.

Notice this is not the same as solipsism: the belief or position that my mind is all there is. Nor is it idealism, which says that the mind is all (the opposite of saying matter stuff is all: materialism, which is the religion of the modern world). What I am outlining is the view that *consciousness is all*. Consciousness encompasses, and *is*, both mind and matter.

This understanding is encapsulated in the statement “Being Is, and Non-being isn’t”, which reflects the fact that both consciousness is, and universal reality is, and they are the same reality. This Being is not personal or limited.
This truth is reflected in the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides writing, the Upanishads, The Course in Miracles, and other places:

“Now then, I will instruct you; hear what I say:
Two paths are open to investigation.
The first says: being is and non­being is not.
It is the path of certainty, because it follows the truth.
The other says: being is not, therefore non­being is.
This misdirected path, I tell you, cannot lead to a sound conviction
For, if this statement were true, it would not be possible for you to conceive of non­being, nor to name it.”
– Parmenides (read the entire poem fragment translation here)

“In the unreal there is no duration and in the real there is no cessation; indeed the conclusion between both the two has been analyzed by knowers of the truth.”
– The Bhagavad Gita

“Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
– A Course In Miracles

5. Living It.
Try this experiment: Endeavor to perceive, think, decide, act, and relate, as if Consciousness were Universal – that what you are is absolutely the same as everyone else and everything else – one Mind, one Consciousness, and all is a projection of mind. See what happens. You will be amazed.

In this article I have attempted to lay out The Reality of Universal Consciousness and The Logic of Experience.

I have proved it for myself. It’s up to you to explore, investigate, if you are willing and open…

Intuitive Intelligence

“Ordinary intelligence is a cerebral function. It appears as the faculty of adaptation and organization. It allows complex problems to be handled by bringing into play a large quantity of givens. Linked to heredity and to acquired conditioning of the brain, it operates sequentially, in time. This kind of intelligence is responsible for performing math calculations, formulating logical arguments, or playing tennis. Operating like a super-computer, it excels in accomplishing repetitive tasks and may one day be surpassed by machines. Its source is memory, the known.

Intuitive intelligence appears as understanding and clarity. It is responsible for seeing simplicity in apparent complexity. It strikes directly, in the moment. Always creative, free of the known, it is at the heart of all scientific discoveries and great works of art. Its source is the supreme intelligence of timeless awareness.”  – Francis Lucille,   Eternity Now

This innate intelligence is something that mystic and prominent healer Sydney Banks talked about quite often (an entire field of alternative psychology and life coaching was spawned from his teachings: Three Principles Psychology). He would call it “natural intelligence” (which is a misnomer because they are both natural), versus learned intelligence. Or “plain old common sense”. He also spoke of seeing in simplicity all complexity:

“Your eyes must see in the singular if you want to find truth.” The Missing Link (p. 69)

By “eyes” of course he didn’t mean the physical eyes, but the eyes of our awareness.

One of the reasons I left the academic philosophy department was that I saw very clearly (had a massive intuition to be honest – still unfolding to this day, in this essay, 30 years later) that the academic mind, particularly in Western philosophy and psychology, had lost its soul as it were, become alienated from true first-hand experience, and only recognized “knowledge” repeated from the past, in part or in whole. This could be called a machine-type intelligence, a processing intelligence, and not intuition. I also see there was a clear reason for this prejudice or taboo: intuition, seen deeply enough, throws into question all the assumptions about the nature of intelligence and who and what we are and what reality is, since it is a direct knowledge, straight from the unlimited source, the universal Mind. That is, from Reality.

“To see a light, no other light is needed.
So also, the Self being self-effulgent, needs no other means of knowledge.
It shines of itself.” – Atma Bodha by Shankara, translated by Ramana Maharshi

But academia is committed to the material and pseudo-scientific model that reality is built up from little parts and the operation of those parts to create life, intelligence, and everything. They believe in something called “matter”, even though the physicists haven’t found it yet. It’s a faith, and I lost faith when I saw directly their dogmatism and was criticized and put down for questioning their dream of salvation in finding the ultimate material model in the future. I saw clearly that that model can’t account for my experience (what I later called “Consciousness” – that wasn’t even in the vocabulary in academia), or intuitive intelligence. This intuitive intelligence is also one and the same as the source of creativity, was operative in the formation of the first living organisms, for the creative evolution of infinite life forms, for love, for beauty, or the perception of self-evident truth of logic, reason and common sense. They had their heads up their respective asses, in short. It was a big ego game. A merry-go ‘round re-playing the same questions and answering with the same re-used tokens of “knowledge”, hollow as a coin with a hole in the middle.

After that I became interested in a more applied philosophy: the question “how to be happy,” rather than the just more cerebral and academic puzzles. As it turned out, within the realization of intuitive intelligence, is the answer to that question.

“The ego concept is the root cause of all delusion and therefore, all trouble. It is the false identifying of “I” with a body rathe than with the Self.”
– Lester Levenson, from Keys to Ultimate Freedom

However I didn’t know how to access this intuitive or natural intelligence and freedom reliably. There seemed to be interference. This “noise” I was to understand later, is a very ancient habit, laid down over millions of years as we were evolving, as a survival program. This linear program (as contrasted with the non-linear one of intuitive intelligence) – this surviving through *time* – allowed plants, animals, and humans to continue through time and space, and is the imprint of the past that brought us to the shore – the shore of the Absolute – on which I stand now as I write this. It’s the mind’s story of what we are as a body and a world, a universe seemingly “out there”: the world of appearances (of phenomena). It’s the story we learned in school and from books and was reinforced by teachers, students, friends, society, family, and so on. It’s a beautiful and brilliant story, but it’s ultimately just a story. Useful up to a point, but limited. Fear and desire lurk inside it – maintain it.

“The ego dies hard. But once you know the ego is the source of all misery and the Self is the source of all happiness, the it shouldn’t be too hard to work at letting of of the ego.” – Lester Levenson, from Keys to Ultimate Freedom

The interesting thing is that this intuitive intelligence has always been there, and peeks out in moments of love, of the perception of timeless beauty, in moments of clear understanding that come to us out of the blue, and in remarkable experiences of serendipity, and in so-called psychic phenomenon such as premonitions (which are really just a peek behind the curtain to the fact that there is no real separation in reality – no space or time except from the mind).

Can all of this be proved? Only for yourself, in your own experience. It cannot be proved to the mind, the processing mind, because the mind operates only in time and space, like a computer.

“Getting involved in intellectual questions and discussions validates the ego and avails you nothing.” – Lester Levenson, from Keys to Ultimate Freedom

This is not to say that intellectual discussion is not fun, enjoyable, and useful at the “level” of the relative (levels are only a way of seeing). The intellect is a beautiful and incredible tool, and can even be used to un-do false beliefs, or build toys or tools in the world of phenomena, and see it’s relatively sustained laws, such as in physics. But ultimately it is like becoming mesmerized by surface patterns on a ocean, when what you want, what you are, is found by looking inside, in silence, and know the ocean (sorry for re-using a popular over-used metaphor, but it’s a good one!).

Intuition or direct knowledge gives you a shortcut through time. It’s like God giving you a free pass. It’s what’s called the “vertical dimension” by psychologists (for instance George Pransky) interested in human potential. It’s easy – effortless. The only hard part is the seeming difficulty of letting go of the ego. Another name for ego is “who you think you are,” as opposed to who you are before thinking.

Have you ever noticed how the answer to a hard problem you’d been working on, or actively analyzing, or something you were trying to remember but couldn’t, came to you after you stopped struggling and working on it, stopped effort-ing? The answer came while you were doing the dishes, taking a shower, walking, or while driving, when your mind was relaxed or focused on something in the flow.

Those who are in the habit of questioning and skeptically objectifying may be asking, well why would Intelligence or Consciousness hide itself or make it hard to to realize the Self or intuitive knowledge? The answer is that this is nearly the same in essence, as the age old question about the existence of evil (if God is infinitely good and powerful then why is there suffering and evil?). That’s a question to be answered in an entire chapter, but for now, by analogy let’s say “Why do you look in a mirror? Why do you like stories and dramatic music?” Why do you like to have fun and not be bored? And as a corollary why do you take life so seriously?

Why do we like to fight, argue, create conflict? Why do we love to be miserable (admit it, when you are totally honest in your heart), be victims, point out the flaws of others? Why do we judge, feel superior or inferior, enjoy watching violence on TV, soak up the news of other’s misfortunes, laugh at cruelty and suffering, get angry at the idiot drivers, and yell at our loved ones? Why do we hate our bosses and politicians and anyone else we can think of when we run out of people to hate? Why do we indulge in guilt and remorse about the past, which we have no control over?
Answer: because it keeps the ego going, the sense of a separate self. This sense of a separate self is under the delusion that its existence – the arrogant presumption – is necessary and needed because you will absolutely disappear and not exist without it. It believes in death. Death and separation go hand in hand. If there were no separation, how can there be death? The totality is always and everywhere the totality. Therefore, we must hang on, and want to have seeming control – power over the fate of this separate entity.

To sum it up (limited in time and space as the writer and this essay are, or seem to be), in the Now intuitive intelligence knows itself in a moment of Self-revelation or uncovering. This is called insight (a sight from within), and is not only useful in self-understanding and with problems in the world when allowed, but comes with a feeling of joy. Happiness is our true nature, and its unlimited nature are present when we stop interfering in the channel and are open and giving. Love never disappears, it just gets veiled for a time. Relax and let it flow. Live from the inside out…

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

Just Say No to 3P Fundamentalism: Mistaking the Form for the Formless

 

“Your eyes must see in the singular if you want to find the truth.”
– Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p.69

(Note: This essay has to do with The Three Principles Psychology or “The 3P”: a successful spiritual psychology teaching model used in life coaching and countless others areas of human relations, counseling and psychology worldwide. The profound epiphany of a man-turned-mystic philosopher and healer name Sydney Banks was the catalyst for what got formed into a psychology and teaching model).

Recently a long-time 3P practitioner made a post to his blog in which he “protested” the potential divisiveness and revisionism with the field, to not taint the message, and to keep the “purity”. One of the oft-heard concerns – not just from this person – is that practitioners are believing they need something else besides the 3P to help people, are are “mixing” things they learned that are “outside-in”, that practitioners are not understanding the inside-out nature of the understanding deeply enough.

This is confusing two different issues: 1. using outside-in stuff – practices, tools and techniques – and 2. understanding deeply enough. The latter issue will take care of the former. In other words, if you see deeply enough, understand the essence of the 3P, then “mixing” will not be an issue. One will see the truth (or lack thereof) across all models and within all teachings, and use whatever words are appropriate in the context of the situation and the moment, and your being-ness will be a teaching in itself. A good teacher of spiritual truth is not going to pull Freud out of the bag (except perhaps as an example of insanity). It will be obvious what is bullshit and what is real.

Others have commented or complained on confusion, divisiveness, diffusion, dogmatism, and so forth within the Three Principles Psychology. They are also concerned that it’s become just a coaching model, or a business model, and it’s getting diluted as it spreads. Of course, much of this is inevitable: a deep teaching is only going to be understood by a few, and of them a smaller number will be able to teach or write about. It took me 20 years to see through the “cruft” of my own thinking, stubbornness, social programming, bodily patterns of contractions, and the encrustation of added psychology of Syd’s message before I “got it”.

Rather than combine the 3P with something else, what is needed is to take things away from the 3P. In other words, to simplify the message to it’s essence. I’ll qualify that with “often” needed and “with many”. The 3P are seen truly only in simplicity (as Syd kept pointing out). New or fresh takes on it are helpful in this regard. But don’t mistake the form for the formless essence, the non-objective nature from which all appears.

Someone using the 3P approach and having some understanding, may eventually realize that this pointing away from or speaking out against practices tools and techniques, and pointing within, is really the same as the “direct path” spoken of by so many teachers of ancient and of today (Taoists, Buddhist, nonduality…). What we are is non-objective – in other words, alive in the moment and not a memory, not a concept. It cannot be formulated and stored away. This can seem tricky to convey since it can’t be held or grasped, but also means there’s nothing to fix, control, hold onto, solve, or figure out. You are whole and complete because you are that whole, living, free, unknowable yet all-knowing intelligent life, if you stop being that little self, that little thought…

The “old” forms that are not appropriate in this regard to combine with a spiritual psychology are the old psychologies (therapies, theories, models, practices, tools and techniques, etc.), that go into the past, focus on problems, pathology, cause and effect, and get one involved even more deeply in the endless games of the personal mind. But “old” forms of spiritual teachings, which also point to the formless, are perfectly in tune, once understood. Old spiritual traditions can be useful tools to help cut away that which is not essential, not you, not true. They also reassure us that truth is truth, tell us we are on the right track in triangulating on what is true, no matter what form it comes in, and that it’s timeless. Syd would often say “there’s nothing new” and what he was teaching has been around since time immemorial. 

In other words, it’s “safe” to mix the 3P with teachings that point towards Source (formless, context) as long as you are clear with differing concepts and words, or definitions, but it is *not* safe (does not make sense, confuses or takes away from) to mix with content-oriented teachings and techniques. That would include almost all of the old psychology, which is based in theories from a personal mind of a theoretician and a divergent interpretation of phenomenon, with no underlying common framework of understanding of where all this content is coming from, or that it’s even content. Another way to say this is that these content and concept-oriented models are thought-based and not reality-based. For example all the descendants of Freudianism and other medical or quasi-medial models, and materialist belief systems (which is what most individuals in the modern Westernized world cleave to, like a religious faith) which is I understand around 3 to 400 different schools of therapy and psychology.

“To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes.” – Hsin Hsin Ming by Seng-T’san

“Wisdom is found before the formation of form.” – Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p 132

Syd realized that the world is Consciousness in various forms, including thought-forms, and that the nature of the world is duality – suffering is built-in – as a game Consciousness is playing. Listen to early Syd tapes and you can hear him talk about poverty and sickness and wars and that there’s nothing you can do to change this. The whole point it to free yourself first, realize oneself and be happy, and that will change the world inherently, through your freedom, however that freedom manifests. The world is a sea of ignorance and bailing it out with a cup of wisdom won’t make a dent in the universe. For example, teaching is done for the inherent joy and love, the giving. Helping out of compassion happens spontaneously, if there isn’t personal thinking in the way. It’s natural to help a fallen person in the street, and does not need to be legislated by religion, psychology, or techniques.

I sometimes wonder then why there is sometimes an urge to save the world or “spread the message” by 3P practitioners. Sometimes it’s driven by compassion, or enthusiasm, or by being “true believers” that they’ve found the answer to all the world’s problems, or simply a professional desire for expansion, or a mixture. But there can be a subtle mistaking-the-form-for-the-formless again. Truth doesn’t need to be spread, it’ already here now. Removing the veils of ignorance happens in it’s own time (in the timeless) – this cannot be explained or made to happen from the small mind, their personal self. This is difficult to explain, but is worth mentioning because we have seen the dangers of those that want to save or change the world: the Hitlers, the Pol Pots, those with an agenda. Sometimes the fierce desire to change others or the world is a running from one’s own pain, grief, sadness and so forth, that has not been faced. It’s trying to change the show in the world when what’s not being seen is, where is the show coming from? The simple point of “heal thyself” first is missed because it’s unconscious, and projected outward. There are deep assumptions going on (about who one is, what the world is, what life is) and the need for escape. Spiritual leaders are not immune to addictions.

“…the purity of our understanding is the vehicle for change, nothing more. We can only change ourselves, we can’t change the world, and we can’t change other people. We can only get our minds very still, very pure, and then work through the feeling to lead others to their own wisdom.” – Syd Banks

Any teaching that shows you how to be yourself is naturally going to be paradoxical: there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go to be who you truly are. It’s like a Zen koan, yet that is the paradox that the mind sees, because the mind only sees in duality.

Come to know that you *are* the world, and not the world, in an absolute sense. That’s the whole game.

There is nothing to protect, either as an illusory person or as a field of psychology. However, if there are beliefs, and a sense of separateness, or a “brand” association (related to one’s business interests) one wants to protect, that is a tainted message with respect to Truth.

“Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists” – A Course in Miracles

What is essential in all this is to make the distinction between the 3P as a teaching model, and the spiritual truth or reality that it’s pointing to. If you don’t make that distinction you are heading to fundamentalism, or a religion. You will become bound again rather than free.

There are no authorities other than your True Self, the insights via the One Teacher: your own innate wisdom, what you are. Don’t be a follower. You have everything within that you need and want, and the whole universe as a creation from the one Mind.

Love and Freedom Cannot Be Separated

 

Freedom and love can’t be separated. 

By “freedom” is meant true inner freedom, and by “love” is meant impersonal love, the nondual living truth, not human love. 

A lack of love and freedom is experienced as darkness, pain and suffering. 

But if love and freedom is who are, then how can there be a lack?

In fact there can’t be a lack, but there can be a perceived lack. 

Why is there a perceived lack? Because who we are is obscured by what we are not. 

What we are not can be characterized in various ways: as something learned, as a movement of thought, as a forgetting one is caught in a dream, as an effort. 

If what we are is effortless freedom, how can there be effort? It doesn’t seem possible for a being so powerful, so limitless, to be able to make an effort and be limited. How can it fool itself? Well, in order to create a world, a universe, a perception, there has to be a difference somewhere. There has to be a somewhere, and and if there’s a somewhere, then there is space, a here and a there. And if there is a here and a there, then there is movement. If there is movement, there is something perceiving movement, and change, and therefore the possibility of time. 

So we have a world and some kind of being in time and space, perceiving and moving about. In this world of differences, you have bright and dim, awake and asleep, good and bad, easy and hard, effortless and effortful. In other words, in our case we are experiencing what is presumed to be a person, a human being. The human being is thinking, perceiving, deciding, willing, acting doing,  having things happen to them, and so forth. 

But wait, back up. Who is experiencing a human being? A person can’t be experiencing a person, or they would be two beings: an experiencer and an experienced.
Something is going on here: more than meets the eye. 

So what do I know?

I know there is awareness, and it’s hearing sounds we call “words” in an “inner” space where other sounds appear, and I see and have the sensations of hands typing them, and the visual perception of hands and fingers moving. There are also sounds “in my head” we’ve learned to call “thoughts”. And there are also sounds that seem to come from “out there” that we call “noise’ or “music” or “speech”, but are actually experienced in the same inner space as the “thoughts” sounds when I really am honest. And there are also images and sounds we call “memories” that are “thoughts” that are repeated. They are associated with images from what we call the “past” but are experienced now.

Where are the boundaries to these perceptions? That is to be investigated, first-hand.

In the meantime, the presumption of a self can be examined on it’s own.

From these raw facts of first-hand experience outlined above, various false inferences are made.
First let’s look at examples of true and false inferences, so we are clear what is meant.

Valid inference:
You see many examples of fire, and smoke happening together, and never smoke without fire, and you infer, “where there is smoke, there is fire”.

Invalid inference:
Someone told you in childhood that smoke is caused by the Goddess Prahali from Venus, and you infer, “Where there is smoke, there is Prahali in action”.

The false inference in question is: “Where there are perceptions happening, or thoughts, or decisions, or choices, or actions taken, there is a separate self responsible, a thing, a doer of the actions, a willer of the choices, a person”. That perceiver, thinking, decider, chooser, will-er is the god we call my “self” or “me” or “I” (in the personal sense).


Love without Freedom playing out in the world is rules, religion, conforming and following…

Freedom without Love is endless seeking, wildness, chaos, instability and lostness…

True freedom is like a child running and laughing in the sheer joy of being alive, in love with Life, just Being. 

In maturity true freedom expresses as knowing one’s own nature, which is the same as love:  being aware of Being, nameless and formless. 

Love and Freedom married, lead one’s world into a self-perfecting life, ever-evolving, and
growing anew: infinite potential manifesting, the form and the formless dancing in celebreation of peace, love and beauty.

However, they were never separate to begin with…

 

Notes on “Feelings”

 

“The teaching is not in the words, it is in the love and understanding from which the words proceed and with which they are permeated. The words are just the packaging of the teaching. They are important but only in so far as they lead to the love and understanding from which they originate. As such, and in the hands of a skillful and sensitive teacher, a very wide variety of means and expressions will be used depending on the moment…”– Rupert Spyra

 
 

Sometimes in the The Three Principles field, or in nondual circles, I’ll hear the word “feelings” being used in many different ways, but with the assumption that we are all talking about the same thing. So it may be useful to flesh out what is being pointed to when a teacher or coach talks about them, especially in the context of being pointed to “a feeling” as guide to truth with a capital “T”.

This is my initial attempt to bring some clarity to the concepts, as well as spark some understanding and perhaps inspire some insight into what we mean when we say “feelings”.

First, a definition “understanding”: I’ll use the word “understanding” as it’s used in these fields to mean seeing for oneself the truth of the direct knowing or intelligence “from Source”, when we suddenly understand a problem’s solution, or have an insight into a situation or about a friend or loved one, or into life as a whole. A moment of understanding can be as tiny as it suddenly becoming obvious where you left your car keys after you’d been trying to figure it out, to as large as what Universal Intelligence is. The bigger insights are the kind of understanding that the teachers and sages are generally pointing to, or that a life coach is facilitating the insight into, for example so we can get a “grounding” in “the understanding” (of our “true nature”), but big or small understandings are all of the same nature: standing under truth. 

The Feeling of Happiness is Home

The greater context of the concern with feelings is that the most global level, all beings seek happiness, and this is generally thought to be a feeling, even if we don’t acknowledge that what we are seeking is either a feeling we assume is happiness, or we seek happiness itself. For example, someone might seek to become wealthy, or decide that living in a hut with only a pot for a possession if the path to happiness. We because we believe at some level that it will make us feel loved by others, or loved by God, or free, or safe. That is a feeling, and is temporary: someone may become wealthy and have a good feeling for a while but it will pass and change. Ot their life in a hut turns out to have as many ups and downs as their life in a large house. However real happiness is not so fickle. We all seek happiness because it’s our true nature and is our “home”, and at some level we know that, consciously or unconsciously.

So humans in particular do many things they think will bring them happiness. As children, we are born knowing how to be happy, naturally. After we are children, we do try and this with knowledge from the culture that is learned: various formulas for seeking happiness outside ourselves, through relationships (including with ourselves, such as who we think we are: our identity in the world), situations, or things. Ultimately we want a good feeling in life, and ideally, a good feeling that lasts, is more or less a permanent home we abide in, and not just an occasional guest in our house. So it certainly seems important that we look at what feelings are, especially in a field like The Three Principles Psychology, or if one is a spiritual teacher or student, since almost everyone comes to them in order to feel better, even if happiness is sought indirectly via “enlightenment” or self-realization, or just self-improvement.

It’s also important to see when wanting something is driven by fear or desire. Desire is a sense of wanting, felt in the body, that can drive thinking, and whose source is the sense or belief to be a separate entity, a person. Fear and desire can play out in all kinds of ways – the whole human comedy or tragedy – but the key thing is that there is no freedom in being controlled by feelings or thoughts. Something that is not conscious is like a robot, and it will do what it does automatically, mechanically, repeatedly. As a person, we have no control. There is only one will, the will of freedom: in contrast a separate entity will be determined by the endless chain of cause and effect that appear to exist in time and space. 

There is no lack, no wanting, no sense of desiring and fearing in a state of true happiness. And again, it is not a state – we lack words for this reality of what we are, ever-present, all-encompassing, impersonal freedom – it is reality. But it gets covered up from learning and life experience, and the repeated thinking. But once you are tired of that and desire peace and freedom more than derivative love and pleasures, ways are sought – some direct, some more indirect – to get back Home. 

Ultimately, true happiness is not a state. A state is referring to something that changes: a local, or personal, conditional state of affairs. Since we are talking about spirituality and psychology, and one that points people away from circumstances.

Feelings as Barometers of State of Mind

And as many practitioners point out, feelings are an indicator of what’s going on in terms of our thinking and state of mind, or level of understanding of ourselves and reality. If we have a true understanding, we will by nature feel better, and conversely, if our understanding of life is very low, our feelings will reflect that.

One of the bits of wisdom the field has helped to spread is that feelings can be a guide to the quality of our thinking, much like the dashboard on a car. Here is a quote from an early Three Principles book (from 1997 when it was called “Health Realization”):

‘Just as the warning lights on the dashboard of your car alert you to potential danger, your negative feelings alert you that your thinking is no longer serving you. Without your feelings to alert you that a problem is lurking, you’d have no way to determine when you have drifted off course.

If you constantly label your negative feelings – for example, “I’m angry” – instead of simply noticing “I’m uncomfortable,” you keep the negative feeling alive in your thinking, increasing the degree to which you are caught up and concerned about how you are feeling. Your thinking becomes a spiral whereby the more analytical you become about how you are feeling, the more trapped you will become.

The act of noticing uncomfortable feelings — seeing them as a warning flag — reminds you that you are thinking; it wakes you up. This simple act clears your mind and points you back in the direction of your healthy thought process.’
– “Slowing Down To The Speed of Life” by Richard Carlson And Joseph Bailey

On Thoughts and Feelings

People in the Three Principles field, by way of responding to question about how to “Get it” – the understanding – very often say “It’s in the feeling”.

One of the key ideas that is prevalent in the Three Principles field is the direct and inseparable link between thoughts and feelings. This useful insight plays out in several forms. So for example a recent thread on FaceBook (in the “What The F*#$ Are The Principles?” group):

Claire: we all have wisdom, we all feel called to help others as coach or otherwise and if we speak from ‘our heart’ (metaphor) we’re doing the best we can! So we can forget about specific words, and just go out and love people and say what occurs to us!

Julie: It’s truly in the feeling.

Pam: I find when I speak from a feeling, what I am trying to say is heard. I’m not a coach, but I do want to share what I have seen.

Amir: This is as simple as it gets

Eric: Sounds like you got it.
Only thing that comes to mind is how Sydney Banks would say Thought is like the rudder steering us through life. So surely it’s a tool guided either by either reaction or wisdom. More metaphors…

Michael: Well said

Eric: Thanks. I’m just the rudder…

Michael: Eric, So funny, I meant for that to be to Claire. Looks like your rudder is off.
Words are funny! My take on that is that the rudder (thought) is the animating force behind our experience of life. fair?

Eric: *Your* rudder is off lol – you were replying to my comment, not the main thread. 🙂 Though you can count on my rudder being at least partially off a fair amount of time. 😉

No the animating force is universal intelligence or “energy”. The rudder is just a creation, movable and changeable, part of the movie. But we can’t see it normally because we think we *are* the rudder (and the boat)…

Michael: Damn rudders. I was using animating force as that which enables how we see it in the moment (thought/rudder) not that which animates or gives life. AKA universal energy.

A later question and answer chat:

Question:
Hey Eric, you mentioned thought as the rudder. In your study of non duality is there a differentiation between thought and feeling.

Answer:
Hi Michael – Let’s see, I suppose one should first differentiate between a non-dual understanding and the path to get there. The “direct path” is what I’ve been around, or am at, and this takes as a *starting point* the fact of awareness as universal consciousness as what one truly is, rather than assuming there is a person to do something to get somewhere. In other words it starts at the top of the mountain rather than a winding path leading up.
The various things in the way – beliefs and tendencies we learned of unconsciousness (“ignorance” in the East) – are dissolved in the relentless pointing to It which is not an “it” (an object within awareness).

From the perspective of seeing the dynamic of thought and feeling, the non-dual teaching will sometimes as a practical matter, like the 3P, point out to the student how their thoughts will create or correlate to a feeling – feelings being ultimately just a sensation in the body –  or thoughts triggered by a feeling in a feedback loop, such as giving the feelings meaning or importance (seriousness), which adds to or changes the feeling reaction. 3P teachers, especially the early ones (Health Realization days and before) in a similar vein to the direct path, but more psychologically-oriented, point to feelings as an indicator of one’s quality of thinking, thus giving one an opportunity to wake up to thinking-in-the-moment. They both point out the fact that the more unconscious one is, the more identified with thinking and feeling one is. One’s state or “level” of consciousness automatically will rise when this thinking is released. There is always a choice to react or not, and a non-reactive awareness is where we want to abide. Then we are the driver and not the driven.

From the perspective of the direct path (the pathless path), they are all just *content* – and so we ask: what is aware of the thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions? It’s always pointing back to who you are, absolutely: simply Being aware of being aware, which is state-free, undifferentiated, global, real, and True. So thoughts and feeling are lies in this absolute awareness: just passing, changing appearances, relative to the unchanging nature of what we are.

Some Notes On Understanding and Expression of Truth

I’m going to attempt tease these out because maybe it will help us see more clearly what’s going on. As I see it there is the understanding and there’s the expression of it. So the possible combinations of those two – understanding & expression – are:

1. High understanding and ease of expressing & communicating it.
2. High understanding and difficulty of expressing & communicating it.
3. Low understanding and ease of expressing & communicating it.
4. Low understanding and difficulty of expressing & communicating it.

Note the expressing & communicating are not necessarily the same thing: where I sit on the balcony as I write this, there are many birds singing. They are being very expressive indeed, but they are not communicating to me. The same bird species and perhaps other birds understand them at some instinctual level, but to me it’s just pretty noise, like music.*

For the purpose of this essay, to simplify things I’ll assume we are all good communicators, such that there’s not a huge practical difference between expressing and communicating (and we are all of the same species speaking the same language!). Therefore the issue at hand is, what do we really mean in the Three Principles Field and in spiritual-psychology teachings by “feelings” (and in non-duality and since there is an overlap in all these fields, and that is also where I’ve become familiar with other’s interest in understanding more deeply what feelings are, since we all want “good” ones and not “bad” ones supposedly, in our innate search for happiness) .

Let’s focus on #2 – an understanding and difficulty of expressing it – since it may be best to assume folks seem to have “it” to a degree (an understanding, and that’s whom I’m addressing), and I’m writing about how to better express it in words, how to “language it” (or try!). Why? So we can communicate, lessen confusion, and hopefully maybe even shed a little light on the matter at hand (a better understanding).

By the way, I like one definition of “understanding” a friend gave once: “standing under truth”. There you are, minding your own business, after struggling to understand something, and an insight comes from out of the blue, from above as it were, and you find yourself with a greater or better understanding.

So in terms of the understanding, what Syd meant when he said “look for a feeling”, at it’s most basic level was simply saying that what he’s pointing to is an an experience, not an intellectual understanding. It can’t be contained in words or concepts, but must be felt and understood as a whole. You come out of a meditation or a class, or after a great insight has shifted your outlook, and your perception of life has changed, and everything has a different feel to it that’s hard to pin down.

On a somewhat more temporal level, there are particular deeper feelings that could be said to be intimations, or perfumes of timeless truth: the hard-to-pin down experience of our shared universal reality: love, peace, deep joy, great beauty… very “quiet” feelings.

Then on a even more temporal level, there are more ephemeral feelings, like being “in love” that are exciting, like a drug. They are experienced in the body (which is the mind: sensations experienced in consciousness via the instrument of the body). They are a little less quiet.

And even shorter lived experiences disturbances we could call “emotions” (e-motion) like anger, lust, fear, “stress” – that have an intensity and may seem real but come and go very quickly. Also in-the-body-experience of course. And even noisier.

So to be helpful to others, it’s good to distinguish what feelings are experiences of lies, and what of truth.

For example, one friend in a Three Principles forum gave the example of a violent sociopath who (he claims) gets a good feeling from killing someone – a sense of glee perhaps. Do you want to say “follow your feelings”? No – in that case it would be immoral or lead to bad behavior. So it can be important to distinguish what we mean by “feelings”, on a practical as well as to make sure we are communicating.

Bondage is following feelings that are lies – not reflective what you truly are – and freedom is being lived according to true feelings, and experience that can’t be described, only “felt” as a whole.

It can be difficult to talk about or convey some of these deeper feelings: poets and mystics have been taking shots at the moon for thousands of years, and there’s never an end to the attempt to express. These feelings are not rational: they are of a non-linear reality that we are trying to package in a linear fashion via a string of sounds, or in the case of writing, some little strings of symbols that represent sounds, and by some amazing magic, these sounds in the mind are turned into, exploded into, birthed with meaning. These little marks on paper or on a screen are what a reader makes sounds in their heads with, that hopefully spark something for them (an insight, an experience, an understanding).

“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” – Sydney Banks

I’ve also heard Syd on a tape say “Don’t be a afraid of feelings. Now, I don’t mean going around proving you have feelings…”

The way I read this was, “How can you dissolve these feelings if you aren’t even aware of them? How can you reveal deeper, better feelings if you are clouded by uncomfortable ones you don’t acknowledge, or that are unconscious, that are running you, that you are letting yourself be controlled by? I’m not saying change your behavior: rather, look within.” For example, I was using substances for years to try and control, reduce uncomfortable feelings like anxiety or depression. But those feelings were covers for deeper feelings that were evidence of deeply held beliefs that were untrue (for example that I was a separate and limited entity, a body that was going to die). How could I uncover, unmask the feelings and see what truth they were hiding if I was running scared from them? Like monsters that are just mirages: sensations in the body and thoughts, all of which are in the mind. And what is this “mind”? A set of activities, movement, that another thought comes in as labels as “me”, then takes seriously. That’s what gets us in trouble.

Are these feelings “rational”? For example are any of these “levels” of feelings good guides to action (in the present, or to gauge what someone has done in the past, or to decide on a future action)?

There are better words than irrational. “Irrational” can be a pejorative term, for example, an “irrational fear”, or someone is acting hysterical or irrational. We could say “un-rational”, “un-rational” or “para-rational”. Take your pick.

Here’s what I posted to a Three Principles FaceBook group recently, as an example of a feeling-as-experience:

‘This is something I’ve seen lately, but am not used to ‘hanging out with’: that spiritual truth, love, beauty…. are irrational. But in a good way. 🙂

For example, lately the focus-point if you will, has to do with the will, doer-ship, personal will, decision, choice, however you want to say it. And yes, as I was discussing with my spiritual friend yesterday, it’s paradoxical. The mind just can’t get around it, has to give up at some point.

The experience of “being lived”, as some have said it (Wei Wu Wei, Byron Katie are the one’s I’ve heard lately) happens in the moment, for example in “being of service”, or “being in love” (happens several times a week for me) and we can think about it later, conceptualize it, but it’s like the empty shell, the mold from which the sculpture emerged, or the cocoon leftover, but the butterfly lives and flies free.’

* This is true even though I “know” intellectually, that naturalists say the birds are using song to carve out and maintain their territories, sometimes I wonder if they are also expressing joy of being, since I may get an immediate impression of that when I feel there is no difference between “me” – when “I” disappear – and the bird singing. This is the difference between intuitive knowledge and intellectual, stored knowledge. Which is right? Depends on your perspective and purpose.

On Beyond Limitations of the Three Principles Psychology Model

  

‘There’s no limit to how much you’ll know, depending how far beyond zebra you go.’ – Dr. Seuss

The following article arose from a post I made to Amir Karkouti’s the spiritual psychology FaceBook forum “What The F*#$ Are The Principles?“. 
(post permalink)

I’d like to share something, for whatever it’s worth, about the Three Principles Psychology (3P) model that has been vague for a while came into sharper focus yesterday, in large part because of participating in an online forum and becoming familiar with how people are responding to, using, and (trying to) live the 3P.

I’ve been involved with this field for about 21 years, since it was called Psychology of Mind, and then Health Realization (as student-participant, writer and occasional counselor).

Here’s the rub: the emphasis on Thought as a power, or Thinking as a function (in the moment, forming one’s perceived reality), can be powerful, if contextualized properly – which is what Universal Consciousness and Universal Mind are supposed to do – but not enough emphasis or intuitive energy is given on who or what the “I” is that thoughts occur to. So what happens is people fall back into the psychological and personal. This is especially true if one is intellectually oriented, as we generally are in this culture, some of us more than others (like me!). So we remain more or less, off and on, trapped in thinking, one’s experienced filtered by thinking and habitual, unconscious tendencies. The blind spots remain.

We respond with, or plateau at various levels off and on, of, for example “I know it’s just thinking but… How do I get out of thinking? How do I change my thinking? Can I stop thinking? I know it’s just my thinking, but that’s not helping?”… and so on, often not sure how to transcend thinking. And of course telling ourselves or them it’s just their thinking (especially without a broader, deeper understanding first) often doesn’t help, and may even irritate or frustrate (especially if it’s a loved one!).

Meanwhile we are not seeing in unity and simplicity, but in duality: A thinker with it’s thoughts, and a (separate) world.

I myself was fairly stuck, off and on, with slow progress of my understanding over the years – more often talking the walk than walking the talk – and didn’t get zapped in the way I needed until a very direct teacher said “Who are you?!” in an energetic way that shocked my thought system, and eventually led me to go hang out with non-dualists. Then the scales started to fall from my eyes. (This “zap” was by a coach who uses the 3P but was grounded in his own totally physically-lived Zen-like experience of life prior to learning about Syd Banks’ beautiful teachings, which helped him give form to what was an extremely direct and energetic understanding, for use in coaching).

I realize this is my path, and everyone is unique, but thought I’d share how I see it now: this caught-in-thought phenomenon and the sense that something isn’t quite as simple or direct as it could be in the 3P, has been bugging me for a long time.

It’s not clear yet what the solution is yet – how to introduce a kind of self-enquiry to “bring it home” – I’m just starting to explore this… and of course it all depends on the student, the context.

It does occur to me as I write that the basic situation is that the 3P are heard as a kind of objective model or description – which is made worse by it sometimes being called “scientific” – when what is needed is to point out somehow the radically subjective nature of experience. (This objective-seeming model is also why it can easily be taken on as a belief, to replace other beliefs).

However, this is all impersonal, everything that’s happening. It is happening to you, as a perceiver at the same time as it’s completely universal. The mind can’t grasp it, but you can start to chip away at the armor, the false beliefs. Eventually one will be open to see in unity, in truth.

You can also start to see why it all depends on the teacher: their “grounding” (here we go again, haha…) and what they “transmit” via their presence, life, who they are. Their happiness and love and psychological freedom are the most important substance of their message. The form (the 3P, the teaching action, the person) is just a way to try and communicate the formless. Sydney Banks always kept reminding the psychologists that it’s “spiritual”.

My two cents of the moment… (end of FaceBook post)

Some Additional Notes on the Three Principles Teachings and it’s Origins

Because it came from a spontaneous realization (for the most part: Sydney Banks did say he had read some Krishnamurti that a work buddy at the mill lent to him, but he certainly wasn’t a student of spirituality or a seeker or knowledgable) – and he had no tradition other than some standard Bible-based teachings in the orphanage, his teachings don’t belong to any tradition or lineage. He also had only a 9th-grade education. A formal education however is not a prerequisite for spiritual insight, in fact it can get in the way. The intellect, speech and the learning are mere tools for expression and investigation.

This is evident in the language Sydney Banks used in his early talks (tapes from the 70s), which are a profoundly heart-felt mix of language that he picked up, or that occurred to him, or Christian metaphors (e.g., “Christ Consciousness”). They were used spontaneously to try and convey his mystical insights.
This, like all teachings, is a double-edged sword: whereas traditions (like Advaita from Hinduism) have the drawback of all the baggage and concept, religious attitudes and ornamentations (not to mention schisms between interpretations), a new spiritual teaching has the drawback of being difficult to interpret and understand clearly. On the other hand it has a freshness and power that is felt at the level of feeling and intuition, when the mind can’t hold onto the words.

Such new teachings do not come through a lens that has been refined through the ages. However it may have an impact in the way it addresses people in the current concerns and pre-occupations of the time – which for example for many Westerners is psychology, psychotherapy, counseling, the world of self-improvement, New Age teachings, and so forth.

That Syd then happened to meet some psychologists (George Pransky, Roger Mills, etc.) who, along with Rick Suarez and others were able to help shape the teaching into a model over the years, was a fortunate “accident” of history. There are no accidents however. In retrospect it was fate, and seems perfectly fitting. For this wisdom to go out into the world in a way that is digestible – with Thought as the bridge – by a very broad audience is an amazing, well, miracle if you will.

What “reaches you” and opens your eyes depends on your propensities, what resonates with you, what you feel you can trust. With the Three Principles, I could feel something that the intellect could try and deny but it was obvious Syd was onto Truth in a deep way. Then years later, the clarity and precision of the teachings of Francis Lucille, and Laura Lucille (Advaita vedanta mainly, non-dualism) and others from a that school of teachings, that lineage, helped open the doors and clear the way conceptually and in terms of a felt presence, since I have been able to spend time with them (Syd died physically in 2006 and I only saw him once, at a conference in 1997, from a distance).
Having a formal background in philosophy (and philosophy of science), and an intellectual bent, meant I needed that precision and clarity in order to have my questions answered, and fortunately, Francis also had a background in Western as well as Eastern philosophy and science.

I still have a way to go in the terms of the body, relationships and certain emotions (which are interrelated) but at least I know that light needs to be shed there… 

Mind, Consciousness, and Thought are training wheels.
Non-duality is the ground on which they stand.

Q: I really enjoyed reading the history of 3P and your take on non-dualism being the foundation. I agree that ultimately what Syd was pointing to was non-dualism. I have studied with Rupert Spira and really enjoy Francis Lucille as well but I have a question for you. Where in non-dual teachings is there any reference to circumstances having nothing to do with experience. I have never heard or read any non-dual teacher saying anything like that? The reason I ask is I think the Inside Out understanding is very helpful and I would like to anchor it back to spiritual truth but I can’t find it.

A: Thanks. The answer to your question would depend on the non-dual teacher. I’ve heard Laura Lucille (Francis’ wife and a “spiritual friend” as she puts it) talk about how the world we experience is a projection of mind. Her last teacher (for one year before he died) was Robert Adams. However Robert Adams saw the reality of the world differently than how Francis Lucille sees it, since Adams was more pure Indian Advaita, and Francis is influenced also by the Kashmir Shaivism school as well as Western philosophy, physics, etc. But none of the traditions matter so much as what we can uncover via this dialogue, using the 3P and nonduality as mirrors.

I could try and answer what I think they would say but it’s better to ask them. As I pointed out, it would take some time and effort to get the language and definitions straight. I tried to do this with Francis when I first met him, but quickly realized it was better to understand as best I could what he was wanting to convey than try and get him to understand 3P. That approach has worked well, because I can now shine a light back on the 3P.

I would start by saying that you could see it like this (partly tongue-in-cheek): Mind, Consciousness and Thought are like 3 training wheels. Non-duality is the ground on which that trike stands. The direct path (Francis, Laura, Robert, Ramana Maharshi, etc.), is the quickest way to get to that ground (situated on a mountaintop), but it’s a very steep path, and not very many desire to go that route.

I would say the emphasis is a little different with the 3P, and since Syd’s insight came through psychologists (in order to get it out into the world on a wider basis), there is more of a concern with an application to what is seen by psychologists and in areas where there is dysfunction, conflict, and suffering, or less-than-optimal functioning, and a greater manifestation of human potential is wanted: namely in a person or in communities. So there is more of a concern with the human than with the absolute or with looking at the ultimate nature of the self and reality. In Advaita and Buddhism the concern is with enlightenment via undoing the mistake of identification, and realizing in essence that you are not human, but a figment of imagination as it were, in the cosmic dreamer.

Given this emphasis on the human and relieving their suffering via a spiritual psychology, the powerful tool of 3P can spark the insight that one is not a victim (of circumstances or anything) because you made your experience up via the power of thinking, and it’s brought to life via the special effects department called Consciousness and the energy and intelligence of Mind behind it all. What it meant by “universal” however, in my view is played down (by psychologists, coaches, practitioners, etc), partly in order to sell the medicine, and partly because it’s so darn hard to comprehend and really “see” and live what is meant.

But this universal aspect is what answers your question: the common ground between Syd’s teaching and direct path teachings is breaking down thought patterns that are in the way of realizing what you are. In the direct path they are called “beliefs”. They both point us “inside” until we see the nature of the true self, and then that evolves to seeing the nature of the world as well, as also created and empty of objectivity.

They also show us not to take life seriously, and stop focusing on and trying to solve problems. They both point to the ego as the troublemaker. The ego is just an image – made of thought, propped up by beliefs – all supporting the belief in a separate self.

Syd and the non-dualists both point out that we have free will as universal consciousness-mind, and whatever we experience we are responsible for it. It all comes out of nothing (I heard Syd say this in an early tape) which is exactly what the Buddhists and Advaitans say too. But you have to have a proper understanding of what “nothing” is: the source that is not an object. What we are.

You have to be careful about setting up a dualism regarding thought and circumstances. You only know of circumstances via experience. The point is it’s all created, and it’s all you – you as Mind, Consciousness, thought – so take responsibility for your experience, both of circumstances and reactions, since you chose, as absolute freedom, to create it (ask yourself why you did create it if it’s problematic, and enjoy it if it isn’t problematic).

If what you are referring to by “circumstances having nothing to do with experience” is the fact that happiness doesn’t come from circumstances, I’ve heard this mentioned many times by Francis and Rupert (e.g., seeking happiness “person place or thing” is setting yourself up, etc.), or if you mean, how our feelings and experience in the moment are coming from thinking and not from “out there” then I’d say this is true but can be heard in a limited, psychological sense, and thus can be a slippery slope, heading towards solipsism or the the personal and the worldly, and I doubt Syd would put you on that slope. To put it more bluntly, experience has *everything* to do with circumstances, because they both arise from the same source (Syd used to say the material and spiritual are One, and give examples from Native American or Hawaiian spirituality teachings where they would use their own metaphors for that). In other words, absolutely everything is included in the experience you have created – thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions, a body a world, a universe – and nothing is excluded in non-dual spirituality. This is the ultimate inside-out understanding: no inside and outside.

So instead, look up-slope towards the vertical dimension of the reality of Consciousness-Mind (or “awareness of being aware” as Spira puts it), once freed from its own creations of thinking patterns (beliefs), will reveal the truth of what you are: perfect, without attributes, boundless, and free.

Postscript

I should point out there is no real “going beyond” the Three Principles – all these wisdom teachings and religions, underneath, are pointing to the same (non)-thing: they are (talking about) the “beyond”. Syd said that all the time, and would talk about Native American spiritual wisdom, Hawaiian kahunas, and so forth, or say things like “keep going to your church” and listen, beyond the words, to the essence.

All I’m saying is, the form, whatever it is, isn’t it. Go beyond the form, to the spiritual (origin, essence … all just words and concepts). Syd kept saying this over and over and over again, in a thousand different forms. Find it for yourself because the form is the outer, the formless is the inner, and they are the same thing. It’s a paradox to the mind and the mind can’t hold it.

It takes no time to be who you are.

Jumping the Boundaries of Time – Syd Banks

 

The Three Principles and The Direct Path

What is the difference between the Three Principles psychology (3P), a spiritual school that uses the model of Universal Mind, Universal Consciousness and Thought, and direct path methods? The direct path is a path of spiritual enquiry wherein one goes directly to truth, rather than through steps (also called the “progressive path”). It is a process of seeing through the beliefs of who and what you thought you are, and being pointed (by a teacher, if you want to go faster) to what you actually are. Paths that are indirect use various practices as well as (sometimes) objects of devotion. The practices are meant to purify, prepare, and undo conditioning. They happen through time. The direct approach is, well more direct (hard to describe how something can happen outside of time! that’s where “transmission” of truth comes in, and unconditional, impersonal Love). Practices can include meditation, bodywork like yoga, chanting, lying on a bed of nails or various forms of asceticism. There are as many forms of practices and techniques as there are potentials in the mind for creating things to get rid of (endless in other words), and ways and means of preparing a person. The direct path gets straight to the point and informs you there is no person to begin with.

Mind, Consciousness and Thought are training wheels. Non-duality is the ground on which they stand.

The common basis with the 3P then is there is no reliance on techniques or motivation, but rather the attempt to impart an understanding. The understanding – a moment of suddenly seeing for oneself, the Aha! moment – that there never was a problem to begin with, were it not for your use of the power of mind (thought), the gift of universal Consciousness, and the infinite intelligence of Mind. The traditional direct path teachings put it in terms of Consciousness, folding in Mind as that aspect that is the infinite innate intelligence of life (which is in consciousness), and talk in terms of the “bodymind”: the sum of personal thinking, feeling and perception we place in an arbitrary and illusory container we call ourselves, which really only exists *within* consciousness. Consciousness is the only reality.

The 3P are not usually taught in such a bold way as to come across as a spiritual teaching, given the secular context of our Western culture, and the psychological context of it’s origins and name (not to mention it’s taught as self-improvement, such as for business performance or in schools). For example, students will usually assume “consciousness” means some localized, personal phenomenon, probably coming from the brain. Likewise the notion of universal mind will seem a little strange, unless put in terms that sound religious, like “God” (which is also dualistic: there is a “me” and a God somewhere). Given the contexts of teaching, there are concessions made to an audience that for the most part couldn’t swallow something as direct as a direct path teaching. The 3P are also, more and more, being adopted as a coaching model, and so starts to become, or seem, as akin to a technology or system. It is sometimes even called a technology or as “scientific” (it’s not: science is about phenomenon, and consciousness is not a phenomenon, it’s what appearances take place *in*).

There is also the fact that the 3P originated, or were catalyzed, in the response of a enlightenment experience (of Sydney Banks) and his early exposure to modern psychology. This exposure came in the form of psychologists like George Pransky ( a very ambitious man) and Roger Mills, who came to visit him, curious about reports of people getting happier. Thus their form reflects the history and the intent. While the field has changed in the 20 years I’ve been observing or participating in it, I did witness a liberating focus on the contrast with traditional psychology and therapy (something I also had exposure to, as a patient of therapists and as a student of psychology). Sometime this contrast was put in terms of, seeing how psychology looks to ones’ past, digs into memories, and tries to solve problems using the tools of the mind, thus re-creating the very source of the problem in the first place. The analogy is telling someone that the cure to burning one’s hand on a stove is to place the hand back on the stove! Sometimes the contrast was in terms of “processing thinking” versus “flow thinking (or experience)”. Indeed, it was a 180 degree turn from traditional therapy to not be directed to get involved in memory, and be told one is already healthy. Most importantly, the attention was directed to the function of thought, and the total context in which thinking in the moment is taking place, rather than the content of thought. Almost all other approaches are focused on content: how to change it, fix it, explain it, access it, talk about it, control it, and so forth. Indeed, for some it is so eye-opening to be told they are the thinkers of their thoughts and that this is what is creating their experience, that it totally transforms them. For others, it was little more difficult (myself included: I needed a more direct and intellectually clear teaching).

One can start to see what some of the difficulties are for a teaching model that tries to get at the core of what we are, in order to release greater human potential, such as happiness, love, harmoniousness, creativity and peace of mind. What is being pointed to will be taken in by the “small self” – the mind, or “ego” – and turned into a new set of beliefs, or rules to follow, or something to be understood by the mind. This is the model we grow up with: we go to school to gain some knowledge and skills and get a grade and award and stamp of approval. But here we are asked to stop believing things, unlearn what we learned, and let go of who and what we thought we were. Such a thing has to be introduced gently and gingerly. It is as radical as you could get. The word “radical” come from “forming the root’ and ‘inherent’”. It is being pointed towards what is inherent: freedom and happiness.

The false self is akin to an entrenched political bureaucracy. It will do anything it can to preserve itself, including lying, trying to control, manipulate, beg steal or borrow another day of existence. It will absorb any new teaching and claim it as it own. The ego will morph into infinite forms to pretend to be what it is not: real. It will even pretend to be spiritual in the name of a new self, trying to get out of self by more self-ing. What a cosmic joke! What it fears s non-existence: absolute disappearance. Ironically, the functioning of the false self just is this movement of thought: a self-preserving illusion. As such, it takes effort to maintain, and this energy and effort is felt in the form of tension, stress, depression, conflict with others and with oneself, and a million other symptoms of unhappiness and dis-ease of body and mind. This goes on outside of the direct awareness, and thus is called “unconscious” or “blind spots”, and is the reason why becoming conscious of these patterns and games spells their dissolution. When light is thrown on a shadow that looked like a snake, suddenly the snake disappears: it was never there in the first place!

This message is quite in contrast to the culture at large, which trades in what are supposed to be the objects of happiness: persons, places, and things. But many come to feel at a loss for why they are not happy even though they have it all. Or, they are at a loss to why they can’t get anything at all, the things according to which they were told or assumed, would make them happy.

Notes:
see also Direct vs Indirect paths. (Immediate vs Progressive paths)

About Needing “Grounding” and Spiritual Teaching

The question often comes up, what is meant by “grounding”. Am I “grounded” and how can I tell if someone else is “grounded”? The question was spurred by my participation in forums of the spiritual psychology movement known as The Three Principles (3P)*, which is where I hear this question often, and occasionally in the context of other spiritual communities, such as Advaita vedanta.

What follows are some of my initial thoughts: think of this as an editorial (but with a large grain of truth, based in experience, happily!).

That one needs “grounding” is not the best metaphor in my view, as it bring to mind an image of a *thing*. Or it sounds like achieving a certain state. It really simply means you can only give or teach who, or really, what you are. You can only teach what you know.

Would you go to a poor man to learn how to be rich? No, you would go to a rich man and get some clues from him. Likewise, would you go to a teacher who is miserable, or worried, or driven, or somehow not completely free and happy, in order to learn how to be happy?

So ask yourself:
1. Are you happy?
2. Is it lasting?
3. Can you show others the way?

Then, if your answer is yes to all three, some tools are handy:
A. Being a teacher (not everyone is born to be a teacher or wired that way, or have learned the skills).
B. Some good tools or metaphors, stories and analogies, like The Three Principles teaching model.
C. A strong desire to teach or a call from others who need your services.

But the model is not the territory: a grounding in the 3P is not about the 3P, it’s about what the 3P are pointing to: what’s been called the “inside-out nature of life”. This is often confused. You could take 300 classes and seminars and study the 3P for 30 years and be certified and stamped as “grounded” and learn everything backwards and forwards and be able to recite it and write books and give seminars, and still not be actually, truly grounded.

As a side note, Jack Pransky interviewed George Pransky, for Jack’s book “Paradigm Shift: A History of The Three Principles”, about trying to implement a certification system back in the early 1990’s, and looking at grounding, but they realized there was no objective way to measure it, and the project was scrapped.

“We began to see that this work was all about grounding, and that grounding is hard to evaluate. It’s a large, subjective component. There were no techniques that could be evaluated, as in other approaches. The only thing that mattered was the person’s understanding, and that was difficult to quantify. …We concluded that this understanding does not lend itself to an objective qualification program. I feel that way to this day. I think that a certification program in the Principles would be fraught with insurmountable difficulties.”  George Pransky, in Paradigm Shift, p.74 

Who is to say who is “grounded”? Would it be the highest guru or teacher? Who certifies that? It would have to be God, but unfortunately, the various direct channels to him are alas, back to square one: us imperfect, generally incompletely realized, subjective humans. So… only you, the “grounded”, know for sure, and the students may get an inkling too, as well as other teachers, from how happy they become and the kind of vibe they pick up from you. But no one but you can say for sure. It’s just like with religious or spiritual teachers: you can only measure it, as it were, from the fruits of the teaching and understanding: are people becoming happier and more free, or are there all kinds of shenanigans going on, that indicate ego at work (an extreme example would be religious or cultic leaders like Osho or Jim Jones).

So how can you measure it? You can’t, but you could tell by the fruits (see the 3 questions at the start of this essay).

And like “grounding”, Mind, Consciousness and Thought are not a thing, not tangible, but a message, a metaphor used by teachers and students, indicating towards the source of experiencing, the reality of which cannot be grasped by the personal, limited mind or understood intellectually. It is pointing out what is behind your every experience, right here and now. The understanding is experiential in essence, as it is not only about experience, but is experience. And the quality of that unfolding experience will change, yet be “grounded” in that which does not change: the unnameable reality of “Mind” or “Consciousness” or whatever you want to call the source of experience. It is a self-rewarding process, not dependent on externals. It’s a love affair with Truth, as it were.
The 3P are just a tool to show the way to knowing what you are, just like all paths: non-duality, Buddhism, mystical Christianity, whatever.
The 3P are not a thing, just a pointer, a teaching tool.

Sometimes I think the 3P are too complicated, because in being put out through psychology, or as an answer to the old psychology, or packaged as a kind of psychology, it becomes a thing to understand, learn, study (another thought form). But what it’s pointing to is a “vertical dimension” that transcends thinking, that accounts for new thinking and complete changes of outlook. as in non-dual teachings, what one needs to do is *unlearn* all the false beliefs about what you’ve concluded is “you” and allow the unfolding, the flowering of what you really are: that is what the 3P and all the teachers have been trying to point out. It’s about reality as fact, not as thought (what you think you are, or thought you were, or what you thought reality was…). In this sense it is similar to the Direct Path.

Why do you think Syd Banks (the enlightened founder) kept pulling the rug out from under these psychologists who were developing the models, and coaches, laying down the law, and for example having them pull their tapes that were getting too much into detail about specific psychological issues, and telling them “You don’t understand the Three Principles!”, and saying “It’s Spiritual!” to psychologists like Mark Howard, before he was about to give a talk? (See Jack Pransky’s book, Paradigm Shift, for more details about historical incidents like these).

Ground down to its essence (no pun intended), the 3P’s aim is to show you that right now, there is only one thing in the way of being happy: your thinking. And parenthetically, I believe this is why the “Single Paradigm” teaching has arisen, thanks to folks like Dr. Keith Blevens & Valda Monroe, to try and get to the “purity” (another deceptive word and concept) of the teaching or message or method. But the purity is to see that whatever you think The Three Principles are, that’s not it. The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.

The result of this insight or grounding is that one sees things from the inside-out instead of outside-in. Peace and happiness are seen to be innate, and things “out there” in what we took to be a solid objective reality, we realize couldn’t be causing unhappiness or distress. Of course, there is no inside and outside – that’s the point – we created a duality and set ourselves against a world: a world of our imagination. Ineffably, reality is found to be friendly and harmonious. It has built-in super-intelligence, that goes beyond our piddling personal will.

On top of that is the commercialization, the attempt and desire to “apply” it, making it more of a thing to study and commodify. Therefore you have to certify or prove your “grounding” and worth in the marketplace. It also becomes goal-oriented: you’re trying to get something out of it, for the self that needs to be looked at for it’s reality in the first place: so do you come to the teaching with ulterior motives, or is it a truly impartial looking and investigation?
There is nothing wrong with getting paid for a service, and trying to help others to be happy and free, but if a business or career goal is the initial or primary motivation, before one has even found one’s “grounding” and Source, you are playing a game with your mind. It’s just like the game of self-improvement: you will never “get there”, because you are starting from the assumption of what is the problem in the first place: the little self, the thought-derived false entity, or “ego” (I don’t like that word because it carries too much baggage from psychology and Freudian concepts of self). So one, in essence, ends up applying a tool without knowing what it’s for!

In my opinion, no one should be teaching the 3P or other spiritually-based teachings unless such an impulse came about as a spontaneous realization – whether from studying the 3P or not it doesn’t matter – and they are a (born or made) teacher, and their primary motivation is love of what they do, and a continual subjective flowering of their true self. If they have a object-oriented outlook (i.e., they see themselves an as object, the world as objective, and they have an objective, and see you as an object…) and see others as means to an end, watch out: misery-lane ahead, confusion will ensue, and/or you could end up wasting a lot of time (and money). Although, the truth is, whatever “mistakes” you make, or “bad” teachers you encounter, will also be a part of your true path: they will help you discriminate the wheat from the chaff.

There’s also the interesting misperception in the spiritual community that if you become “enlightened” (who becomes enlightened?) you automatically become a teacher. Not so…
Likewise someone could have the world’s deepest “grounding” in the 3P and not become a teacher or coach…

Finally, it’s very important to see that by working on oneself, by becoming happier in a true way, in and of itself, becoming more of who you really are, you are automatically helping the entire world, the entire universe – because you are that. Like ripples in a pond, light spreads endlessly. Do not set out to save the world (we’ve had enough Pol Pots and Hitlers and Stalins, thank you very much). In truly and absolutely freeing yourself, you are of service to all. So start with yourself, and start from where you are. Don’t make the focus others – there are no others – or the world. Be in this world but not of it: transcend thought, be the observer of the mind-created universe. That is the best way to help humanity and the planet, etc, paradoxically. Let it unfold naturally, effortlessly…

To end, I’ll mention that in my life I’ve taken a long tour as it were, through many different wisdom traditions, all pointing to the same nothing (no-thing). And here I am, feeling very light, not knowing who I am – so it’s more like a not-taking oneself (the real, serious, fake self) seriously, and not knowing: a kind of mature innocence, a freedom.

But to teach something takes skill, and a love of it, and there are some people who are born teachers. It’s also good to have a good repertoire of tools, like a gift for or memory for words, stories, helpful concepts, a vehicle for your clear understanding. And a calling…
Personally, I have always enjoyed creating stuff and writing, and spontaneous conversations with friends and strangers. So that’s what I do. It could change – never say never. But now is now.

My 3 cents. 🙂 Keep it simple …

*(The Three Principles are universal Mind, Consciousness, and Thought).