Spiritual Reflections on The Three Principles

I would like to offer a set of reflections on The Three Principles, a spiritual psychology teaching that originated in the mid-70s and has spread globally, and with which I’ve been involved for about 19 years. This view is from, and as, a spiritual perspective. I don’t really like the word “spiritual” since it always bring to mind images and ideas, all of which are not “it”. But it’s a starting point.

When we read or listen to something about the The Three Principles understanding (or anything else) there can be a tendency to hear from an agree/disagree filter – in other words, from a point of view.
But in presence there is no point of view, as it is within what all points of view appear, and disappear.
What we are has no borders, no manifest containers or boundaries. In a borderless, effortless space, things appear, such as our lives. A sense of self, of motion, of love for ten thousand things, the objects of consciousness, awareness.
In this space, any image of what this space is, is only an image, passing and vulnerable to revision. Another word for that is “illusion”.

True intelligence begins and ends with knowledge of one’s nature. The three principles offer a shortcut, a stepladder to the formless.
It’s a form that says there’s no form: a pointer. It’s a tool. Why is it important to see it as as tool? Because there is a tendency to take a tool too seriously, to focus on that which has already been formed, on memory. These tools were formulated (by psychologists such as George Pransky and Roger Mills, with Sydney Banks as a guide) in order to be able to communicate, teach, to convey a teaching, to repeat an outcome in time.

True understanding happens outside of time, in an instant the mind cannot create, since the mind is a machine that creates nothing, only repeats what was input, like a computer.
The gift of understanding comes unbidden, like a long lost relative showing up at the door, happiness on both sides, which is One happiness.

The word spiritual can also seem to imply there’s something that is not spiritual. Or something to do to be spiritual. Or someone to be, some kind of person, a spiritual person. Nothing could be further from the truth.
You can’t help but be spiritual. In fact the more you do, the less you are, even though you are anyway – a paradox, because there’s no way the mind can get this.

So treat the The Three Principles lightly, like a good friend, and not like they are your master. In fact that goes for any spiritual teaching.

We have tendency to get lost in psychology. And this is especially true with a teaching that is used to address psychological issues, or social issues, and focuses on the idea of thought and thinking in order to transcend thought and thinking. Many “get it” right away and free themselves from the tyranny of the small mind (“mind” is just a word or concept for a collection of thoughts, images and sensations – all thought-like), but others are fascinated, or frightened, or puzzled and full of questions, or in some way paying attention to and focusing on thinking. It’s our biggest hobby. We play with it all day long, and into the night, pick it up first thing in the morning. But …
Who are you?

Once you kick the ladder out, or let it fall away, the question has a different meaning. You’re all things, in a sense, and no things. The unknowable knower… words fail. And the mind falls quiet. You might laugh, or smile. It doesn’t matter – there’s no real mattering going on. There is this un-graspable simplicity. Quiet.
So Mind, Thought and Consciousness mean the totality of what is, and that’s the way Sydney Banks meant it, or Lao Tsu, or any other sage you want to name. Let’s not get hung up on names, but have fun along the way, playing with them, as they come and go, friends. Be happy, be free.

Poem: My Head Is Gone


My Head Is Gone

Went home and discovered
My Home is everywhere
Sand blasted through time
My foot is a radio
Picking an Infinite line
Zero definition
But so sublime
Quiet body, Quiet mind …
Love is an Atheist
Utterly blind
To conditions
Right left forward or behind
Scriptures flow fast away like rain
God only knows
I have no brain
Images lightly seen
Space creating
An empty happy peace
No need you see
Self existing



Do Circumstances Cause Feelings?

Dear Eric, thanks for your reply to my enquiry about meditation. Perhaps you might clarify something I’m also struggling with. I really don’t get this 3P [Three Principles Psychology] idea that it’s never the circumstances that cause our feelings. If I were in Auschwitz, or had a relative murdered in Orlando, or was wrongly imprisoned for 30 years, wouldn’t these dreadful circumstances not cause me to feel sick, disgusted, angry, suicidal etc ? If you can help me understand this I’d be really grateful. Also don’t you find that the 3P world is turning into a bit of an industry these days ? Like TM it seems to promise the earth !
Thanks. Keith

Hi Keith – Your question has two parts.
1. Do circumstances cause feelings. This is easy to discredit if you notice how different people react entirely differently to the same circumstances. If it were the circumstances, you would have consistent responses, but in fact you see as many versions of “reality’ as you do individuals, as a function of the thought systems they’ve developed, and thinking in the moment, to use the language of the Three Principles (3P). As further proof of this, there was a gentleman (Jewish) who found profound meaning amidst his experience at Auschwitz and later wrote about it: Viktor Frankl.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Viktor Frankl

Another way to put it is, there is a third factor between “you” and “the world”: the reality that your brain and consciousness (or whatever one points to as the “manufacturer” of experience) has constructed.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Viktor Frankl

We don’t know the true or ultimate nature of these things (nor of anything) – brain, mind, consciousness, etc. (despite the claims of many to the contrary!) – but we do know our personal experience is an illusion. In other words the reality you experience is a construction, not reality. We don’t even need to delve into “what is reality – consciousness or material reality?” Leave aside philosophy for now. However, *that* you experience is not an illusion: you are conscious. That’s the starting point of your investigation.
The awareness of this fact may or may not free you instantly or over time. The ego is pernicious.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
– Viktor Frankl

That’s a short answer. I did not talk about grieving, which is a good topic to look at (don’t hang onto personal thoughts of loss – for longer than their shelf life anyway – that’s ego again!). This whole topic you bring up is very deep and is at the heart of many of these teachings.

I also did not mention that there are what you could call automatic, physiological reactions to circumstances that are wired in for the survival of the body (whatever a body is – we don’t know). An example would be: you step out in the road and truck is bearing down on you and there is a reaction to step back (even physiological response can potentially be controlled however such as the yogi who controls his body temperature – that such a possibility exists is good to know about). However the response we are talking about that are problematic – the ones that cause you to seek help or change – are psychological in nature. They are arbitrary, learned, self-made and maintained, and ill-adaptive. They are what stand between you and permanent peace and happiness, the foundation that is our Being.

2. The Three Principles Psychology industry. Yes I do find that. It’s double-edged sword in that it helps spread “the message” but it does get watered down and misunderstood and become more and more a packaged product (and sometimes takes on the character of a evangelical religion: dogmatic and world-saving). However, I originally learned of it from one of the very early “packagers”: Richard Carlson. He didn’t call it “The Three Principles” or as something that was inspirited by Sydney Banks, but he was a great popularizer. It was too watered down for me, so I was fortunate to find a footnote at the end of his book about a book by Roger Mills (Sanity, insanity and Common Sense, by Rick Suarez, Ph.D. Roger C. Mills, Ph.D., Darlene Stewart, M.S.), that led me on a journey through “Health Realization” as it was called then.


Dependent on circumstances is no happiness at all
Re-creating the spark from circumstances doesn’t work
Manufactured happiness is elusive

Deep connection, from phenomenal to present

The spark not a product of the objects

Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense Revisited


The title and content of this article refer to an early book in the spiritual psychology field that has come to be known as “The Three Principles”. What follows is the fascinating dialogue in the form of a FaceBook thread,  from July 2015. Some of the “heavyweights” of the field weighed in, including Judith Sedgeman, Ami Mills Naim (daughter of the author, Roger Mills, and a teacher and writer in her own right), Jack Pransky and various other practitioners.

Does anyone know what became of Darlene Stewart and Rick Suarez, the co-authors of Sanity Insanity and Common Sense, along with Roger Mills? I ran across a copy of this seminal health realization book after cleaning out my storage. It was very important to me at one time. Parts are worth a re-read.

Rolf Clausnitzer I don’t know about Darlene Stewart, but from posts made some months ago, I understand that Rick Suarez does not wish to be contacted…..imo “Sanity, Insanity, and Common Sense” was and remains one of the best, early books, even though the Three Principles had not quite been clearly defined at the time…

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Posts made where?
I heard from a practitioner in the 90’s that he was a “good conceptualizer”. He helped formulate what was “Psychology of Mind” (which had 4 principles). From that information and reading the book, seems like he’s the one that came up with the idea of “principles”. I wonder how his concepts or understanding have evolved and what his view of the field is now.

July 3, 2015 at 7:14pm ·
Rolf Clausnitzer

Rolf Clausnitzer On this page, Eric (you need to scroll down a fair way :)) The earlier, original edition did not include Darlene Stewart as co-author. Also, the 4 principles were reduced to the present 3, and that is how they came to be taught under the title of Psychology of Mind. Over the years, it was argued that the use of the word psychology put some people off, that POM sounded somewhat cultish or New Age-ish, etc, with the result that the new term Health Realization replaced it, only for it to give way in recent years to The Three Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness.

Eric Platt

Eric Platt Couldn’t find it Rolf. I did a search.

July 4, 2015 at 12:57pm ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Yes I have both versions. In fact they were the first books I read (had to track them down in a university library through a graduate student friend), way back in the 90’s, when I had my first insight along the lines of what this understanding is pointing to. I wanted to know what was behind Richard Carlson’s views, which resonated but seemed too watered-down.
By the way, I wrote an article for the Psychology of Mind newsletter (about recovering from depression, which I was told was biological and incurable except through continued drug treatment), so I remember John Wood. And Allan Flood would be the friendly voice dispensing the tapes from Oregon. 🙂
And I am familiar with Roger Mills, went to the POM conference in San Jose, stayed at Ami Mills’ house, rode around in the car with Roger Mills (miss him!!), and also was in a seminar in Long Beach when he and Elsie Spittle taught.
I didn’t know that about the thinking about word psychology, or the use of “Mind”.
The 3P still turns people off for being New Age. Since it’s at bottom assumes a spiritual basis of the 3P, it’s understandable. I still wrestle with that, being an agnostic and philosopher. 🙂 And I have doubts it’s “scientific” unless you stretch the meaning of that word until it doesn’t mean much with respect to current science. This is part of why I am re-reading Sanity, Insanity, and Common Sense, to get clearer picture of “principle” vs. scientific law vs. an ontology, or whatever else is pertinent…

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler I think it might have been the lovely Bart Loos who posted about this book last time. I think that Barry Brownstein commented too.

I enjoy your questions, Eric. 🙂 I’m curious… What’s the underlying question that’s behind them?

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Lian Brook-Tyler I’ve been trying to get clear on that Lian. It has to do with a certain frustration or conflict, in communicating and understanding, perhaps with reconciling my atheist materialist upbringing, my scientific outlook and knowledge, my secular academic training in philosophy and philosophy of science (objective, evidence-based, rational), with my spiritual experiences and intuition, and seeing how the 3P understanding makes sense. I wrestle sometimes with the wording, concepts, and claims such as that it’s “scientific” (when it’s grounded in subjective, mystical experiences). And I worry that, despite the hope the teaching provides, it’s just not going to go down well, is going to be dismissed by a world that accepts as given the materialist viewpoint and agenda. And that’s in trouble. I feel a certain responsibility to use my skills to help. I need a better way to see it, formulate it and communicate it, one that bridges those understandings, those worldviews.
I cannot just accept things on authority but must understand them myself, both intellectually and intuitively. If not both, then there’s a conflict.
My question might be put as “where’s the proof?” It’s not enough to just say “look inside” since humans just look at their own thinking prejudices, hardened philosophies. It doesn’t change minds.
I think the 3P could be more effective, more powerful, and that it will need to be, given the world and people’s minds. Given *my* mind! It’s too slow, too little a change.
As this goes out into the world, how can it reach a broader audience? People who are extremely bright, analytical, research oriented, secular-material oriented?
A lot of the emphasis just seems to be: “how can I make money with this (for me)?”, so the concern is more marketing than with truth.
On the bright side, I do find support in quantum mechanics for the intuition of the unity of things, in the confirmed fact of quantum entanglement. Just ran across this great article last night: http://blogs.reuters.com/…/the-scientist-who-leaves…/

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler So Eric, I’m wondering if your question is really “Where’s the proof?”

Or is it more like “How can I understand things more deeply/clearly (so that I can have a bigger/faster positive impact)?” 🙂

July 5, 2015 at 10:15am ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt That’s called a leading question. Why can’t it be both.
We have become so practical that it’s impractical, aren’t looking at the foundations.
Maybe I’m a perfectionist but so what. 🙂

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler I guess I was trying to get an understanding of what lies beneath your quest for proof. 🙂 ie why would you like proof?

July 5, 2015 at 10:19am ·
Eric Platt

Eric Platt Why don’t you want proof? Are you afraid of what you might find if you look into it, deeply?

July 5, 2015 at 10:20am ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler And I’m rather a fan of foundations…

July 5, 2015 at 10:20am ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler “Why don’t you want proof?” That’s an untested assumption, Eric… Not very scientific 😉

July 5, 2015 at 10:22am ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Why are you asking me then, put it that way.
If it turns out to be the brain that accounts for all of psychology, and nothing spiritual – and there’s a lot of evidence for that (but no proof) – that would be pretty important to know wouldn’t it?

July 5, 2015 at 10:27am ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Eric, I asked simply because I enjoy your posts and I was interested to know your motivations.

What I’ve seen of what most people call psychology is sorely lacking in anything resembling a scientific approach so I’m not holding my breath for proof coming from that direction any time soon. But if it does, then great! 🙂

July 5, 2015 at 10:35am · Edited ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Here’s the previous thread about the book btw 🙂https://www.facebook.com/groups/3principles/permalink/1076374165722296/


Bart Loos to The 3 principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness

I am reading “Sanity, Insanity & Common Sense” on the Psychology of Mind, it’s the revised ’87 version by E.M. Suarez, Dr. Roger C. Mills, and Darlene Stewart.

I’m only 62 pages in, and although it drifts from the ‘traditional’ 3P teachings as we know it now, So far I have found this a highly highly refreshing read and perspective on the application of the 3P’s/PoM in change work and psychology.

There’s referring to 4 “principles”: Principle of thought – Principle of Separate Realities – Levels of Consciousness and The roles of feelings and emotions as indicators of the level of consciousness.

If you want to read something that doesn’t recap the same old metaphors you’ll find in almost every publishing of the last decade, this is one to get.

July 5, 2015 at 10:39am ·
Eric Platt

Eric Platt Yeah, here’s another way of framing it: do we want to teach things that are true or just do a sales job on people to make money? We are talking about very intangible good here. I want value and something real for my money. Especially if I’m a counselor and there’s no guarantee. In other words, what’s you knowledge based in. What do you know. What’s your “authority” if you want to put it that way.

Eric Platt

Eric Platt I’m glad you enjoy my posts. I sometimes feel like I’m shouting at the wind. Gosh Im getting poetic …

July 5, 2015 at 10:41am ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Great questions, Eric.

What I’ve seen to be true for myself is something that has completely changed how life appears to me, I don’t need any proof to feel that. However I’m always looking to understand this more deeply so that I can be of service to others whilst also knowing the challenge, which is as Adyashanti said “Thought cannot comprehend what is beyond thought.”

So knowing this, there’s another question I’ve asked myself: Shall I offer people something I’ve seen to be beautifully helpful now or shall I wait until we have ‘scientific proof’?

Eric Platt
Eric Platt I see your point. And I *wouldn’t* wait if I were you if you really are getting those results.
Part of it is a struggle with my own understanding: I need to be able to trust it (the understanding), and the practitioners who talk about it and those that try and teach me, in addition to being able to formulate for others. So as questions come up, I want to look at them square in the face, and talk about them openly.
Another impulse I have – and this is true in my art as well – is that I feel it should be universal, such that it’s not just some arbitrary thing, a product of a short term culture. That it stands the test of time and other minds (in a very broad world), and hard questions. And that I can answer them. And maybe improve things in the process.
it’s not good to be too comfortable or complacent, but to stay engaged, have a dialogue.
So here’s another question, a puzzle for readers, that comes up from skeptics: why is that consciousness seems to vary, if it’s supposed to a spiritual power or fundamental immaterial given? It seems to vary with how tired one is, what drugs one take, what physical injures or diseases you’ve had that affect the body and brain. If consciousness then depends on physical state, but is immaterial, how does it interact with the physical, to be affected or to affect?
I thought the answer was it was *thought* that was being affected, was the variable, but it seems subjectively like the light of consciousness can be brighter or dimmer, to put it crudely, depending on conditions.

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler My trust in my own ‘understanding’ was and is made easier because it wasn’t taught to me by anyone else. Of course, no-one’s understanding is taught but it can appear that way if one has studied someone else’s words as a way to see more.

As far as standing the test of time, the things that we’re talking about here have been understood by many people across millennia, and certainly very clearly in Taoism and Advaita Vedanta. That’s universal enough for me. 🙂

As to the question of Consciousness. We’re mostly only aware of consciousness from this ‘human side’ of it, therefore any perspective we have is only going to be that – a perspective. And one that appears to grow small and larger (or dimmer and brighter), even if it does no such thing. 🙂

Bart Loos

Bart Loos Does it? I don’t think it does … Although It looks that…

But is consciousness also asleep when in deep sleep?

The old vedanta teachings would say that the only thing that is really stable or unchanging regardless of physical condition is consciousness…before the personal thinking before the personal experience… It is always there, the only non changing “part” of us…that which allows us to be aware of not being aware, that which is aware of how tired we are, how drugged we are…

What with being in flow?

Then there’s been interesting research done into consciousness with patients who are in a vegatative coma, suggesting that regardless of braindamage and so, that patients are far more conscious than initially believed and being predicted by looking at their brainscans

Bart Loos

Bart Loos Btw Eric, to your OP, in Jack Pransky’s new book Paradigm, George Pransky elaborates on his view on why Suarez and Stewart and some others left the 3p community behind.

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler ‘Aware of not being aware’ beautifully said Bart 🙂

Would you expand on what George said please? I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Bart Loos

Bart Loos This is My short version of it: Basically according to GP, Suarez who had created a strategy and worked hard for years to change the field of psychology from the inside out…with this understanding, …riding on the tail of CBT – since both where talking about consciousness and thought … And he was getting somewhere..

Then seemingly one day Syd tanked the whole thing, because they werent including Mind…( they felt it was too spiritual, new agy …) … And Suarez who worked hard on trying to get a professional and well accepted psychology, outthere was totally disheartened by Syds response, and shortly after left the training institute in Florida he was leading to start his own practice. And a few of the people working there took sides and left (ie: stewart) also.

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Lian Brook-Tyler Your understanding is form insight but you put it into a form using words and concepts that you learned, and hopefully will continue to improve that outward form.
And the perennial philosophies have been around, yes, but they haven’t stood the test of time in the sense that we’ve had thousands of years of religious teaching, and mystics galore, and you have to ask if it’s helped or made things worse, by being turned into religion (for one thing).
Bart Loos Thanks for weighing in.
I’m aware (no pun intended) of Vedanta and other similar philosophies of the cosmic consciousness being there all the time. But is that actually the case – is that your experience?
As far as the brainscans and being aware, from my research it was not conclusive if their brain state correlated with their consciousness, because we don’t know when they were being conscious. We don’t have any way of measuring that from the outside.

July 5, 2015 at 2:35pm · Edited ·
Eric Platt

Eric Platt Bart Loos that’s really interesting, and what I suspected, because of the emphasis of Syd on the spiritual, and the lack of it in the book under discussion, and from other stories I’ve heard, like how he didn’t like the Psychology of Mind newsletter in Australia being a spokesperson as it were, for the psychology, and it was shut down too.

July 5, 2015 at 2:37pm · Edited ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Very interesting, thank you Bart. Xx

Eric, to measure ‘helped vs worse’ we need a yardstick. One person, a family, a community, a country…? Depending on where we’re looking from we’ll get a different answer to that question. From my own perspective I’d answer ‘helped’ to the first three at least. 🙂

July 5, 2015 at 2:40pm ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Lian I am speaking overall of course – the number if human being. One place you can look is the fact that more human beings have been killed in the name of religion than I care to think about. Millions. And not just what you usually think of as standard religion. Nazism was a religion, if you study the history.
Science is also universal, or should be, if it’s good science. That was the point of the book under discussion: making psychology a science. But spirituality should also be universal. But it seems to have a harder time, because it’s harder to confirm, and you get all these factions fighting each other, with no way to decide what’s true. In science at least things are testable. Buddhism has an emphasis on subjective experimentation, which is a step in the right direction.

July 5, 2015 at 2:52pm · Edited ·
Bart Loos

Bart Loos Well the written word is only experienced through your own meaning making system. And if people use it to drive their wars or love their neighbors… It has nothing to do with the source

That’s what most people don’t get…they think they are believing in the scripture but they are believing their own thinking about it…

This happens as well within the 3p community

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Eric, to understand ‘overall’ wouldn’t we need to look at the results of exposure to different philosophies and regions?

July 5, 2015 at 3:02pm ·
Dan O Dwyer

Dan O Dwyer Wonderful read…Thank you.

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Bart that’s true “Well the written word is only experienced through your own meaning making system.” The problem is not religion per se, it’s that humanity has misunderstood religion. True religion is inside, is global. But even that could be misunderstood. By coincidence, just saw this in “Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense”:
“With this understanding, the field will begin to see the common principles pointed to by the various forms of consciousness or awareness disciplines that have emerged from other cultures. We will begin to see what aspects of these disciplines are psychologically valid across cultures. In this way, the mental health professional will be able to identify the impersonal essence or principles involved in these systems so as to be able to relate them to this society in a more direct and common-sense manner. This will allow people to realize their practical benefits without becoming entangled in the trappings of a foreign culture, lifestyle, dogma, and the accompanying rituals of each conceptualization.
The field of psychology will take a new and exciting direction when we begin to look directly toward the mental power we as human beings possess. Once this new wisdom is shared with people, the benefits will spill over to society to help many people who are now looking for relief from emotional distress, from their own fears and anxiety, from mental illness and a recurrent life of self-destructive behaviors that always seem just out of individual control.This direction is also the one that will help the most people in the long run because, whether we are talking about improving the quality of our own individual reality or that of a society or even an entire humanity, the principle is the same and the only barriers to accomplishing these feats are those of thought. It is the knowledge of this fact that will allow human beings to successfully break the perceptual, emotional, and behavioral barriers of life.”

Eric Platt
Eric Platt What about people that have never had any spiritual experiences, who don’t seem capable of having them. My ex-wife for example, She never had a spiritual intuition in her life. She felt she was a computer, and only understood things analytically. She had Asperger’s Syndrome, I finally figured out, after many years. Has great social problems, mood issues. Kind of tragic really.
And for many, insights and intuitions come and go, are not a *reliable* thing. Unless you take entheogens (what used to be called psychedelics) – I’m only half kidding here – which I’m not sure really give one and understanding, and also doesn’t “stick”…

July 5, 2015 at 6:11pm · Edited ·
Eric Platt

Eric Platt Lian Brook-Tyler I’m just saying the general trend on the world. On reflection I’d say it’s not religion per se; looking deeper, it’s the violence of the Thought Machine, running unconsciously, as a fascist dictator as it were: the violence of that, manifest outwards. Mentally enforced peace is a kind of violence.

July 5, 2015 at 6:26pm ·
Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen Just reading Jack Pransky’s new book about the history of the Principles, and there’s a whole lot about Rick Suarez there. He and Syd had a major falling out over the way to get the understanding out to the world. (Oops now see Bart already mentioned this above. )

Eric Platt

Eric Platt Jill Whalen I’m intrigued, will have to get a copy. It was Jack that told me about Suarez as a good conceptualizer, in a personal conversation at the time of the POM conference in the 90’s.

July 5, 2015 at 9:44pm ·
Eric Platt

Eric Platt Hmm, his Amazon blurb is messed up with HTML – will have to write the gentleman a note …

July 5, 2015 at 10:02pm ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Eric, there’s plenty of people who understand things, or at least parts of things more clearly than people who are described as spiritual or religious, so there’s red herrings galore when looking at this with any degree of scientific rigour.

Likewise, many religious and spiritual figures have created more harm than good when we zoom out to the bigger picture so it’s not wise to assume that all or even any of the answers lie there.

Conversely, people who have had drug or teacher plant ‘DMT experiences’ often do retain a ‘raising of consciousness’, from what I’ve seen.

And insights are pretty predictable when we understand how they come about… 🙂

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Lian, not sure what you mean by red herring. There are some genuine questions here. I did post a link to the physicist who has looked into quantum entanglement as pointing to the spiritual, so the red herring is perhaps on your part? Was I assuming the answers lie in religion? I think I was saying they don’t.
I recognize people with DMT experiences have had transformations, but would you want to rely on that as a teaching tool? I’m just asking the question.
I don’t agree insights are predictable at all: you never know when or how they are going to come. Especially for those that don’t have them, as I already mentioned. This is the whole thrust of the conversation. I’m not sure what the source of your misunderstanding is.

July 5, 2015 at 11:59pm ·
Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Eric, I’m not arguing against you or suggesting you aren’t asking genuine questions. I’m agreeing with you. 🙂

The red herring is within much religious and spiritual thinking.

And no, I wouldn’t rely on teacher plants as a teaching tool, probably impractical and in most cases not necessary. But we can learn from how they work.

July 6, 2015 at 12:09am · Edited ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Lian, Ah OK, it was I who misunderstood. Thanks for your patience with curmudgeonly old me. 🙂
Yes, the teacher plants can open a door for while, Then we have to learn how to open it ourselves. Or allow it open …

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler De nada, Eric 🙂

So to your question about insights and people you’ve mentioned like your ex-wife. In my experience, whether it’s a person, teacher plant or an experience, anything that creates a connection of understanding and openness will create, what we’re calling here, ‘an insight’. Which makes them pretty predictable.

Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen Eric, you should definitely get Jack’s book. I think you’ll find it fascinating. From what I’ve read so far, it seems to me that Rick Suarez was on the right track. And because what he was doing was nixed by Syd, it slowed down the spread of the 3P message considerably at that time. It really explains why it didn’t break out in to the world as it should have, IMO. It sounded to me like Syd was only interested in getting it out in a “pure” form (his way) where Mind was the most important concept. While that may be true, it feels like there may have been a whole lot of missed opportunity because people can still have amazing insights by simply understanding the Thought –> Feeling connection. (Again, big IMO…I obviously wasn’t there.!)

Eric Platt

Eric Platt Lian, “Creating a connection of understanding and openness” is certainly what I would like or hope for. I guess I have to see it, have it, for myself and not worry about others lack of understanding or insight.

July 6, 2015 at 8:41am ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Jill, Just ordered. I had a nice little email exchange with Jack Pransky last night, and he says out that “Eighty percent (80%) of all proceeds from the sale of this book, after expenses, will be donated to the Three Principles Global Community (only 20% is going to the publisher, which is unheard of in the industry )”.
He also said that looking in Rick Suarez’s “..old stuff to find conceptualization that you can use, in my view you’re looking in the wrong place”. So that’s interesting. Whether true or not – we all need to find our own understanding – I still want to read it. 🙂

Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen Different people will resonate with different words. Lots of missed opportunities for reaching more people with this understanding may have been lost by them burying the old info that they didn’t think was spiritual enough or “the wrong direction.” Seems to me it could have lead to people eventually looking in what they considered the right direction and also to the spiritual side of it. That’s how it happened for me.

Eric Platt

Eric Platt Jill WhalenYes different approaches no doubt work better for different audiences. Ultimately, the 3P are just a gateway into the dog park, so you can let your dog off the leash. 🙂

Judith Sedgeman

Judith Sedgeman Rick Suarez is a practicing psychologist in Miami. He is no longer involved in the 3P community but a number of old-timers in the work are still in touch with him. Darlene and her husband Charlie moved to the East Coast of Florida some years ago. She published an excellent book for teachers called The Teachable Moment. The last I saw them, Charlie was guest-lecturing for Bill Pettit at Sarasota Palms Hospital, where he was training staff who worked with his patients. That was in the late 80’s. I was “there” when Rick left; I don’t think it’s right to speculate at length on what was a personal interaction between Rick and Syd. Syd was a friend to many, but his professional interest in the people working in the Principles was to be sure they saw and made clear that the Principles were a departure from psychology as it was known at the time because it was NOT cognitive, not focused on the thoughts we think, but spiritual, focused on the recognition that we are the thinkers, always able to think fresh. No thought content has power with that realization. It was much simpler than the original authors about it made it out to be once people started to demystify the idea of “spiritual” and see it clearly as formless energy, the life force, not as weird or woo-woo. You could read ANY book ever published and have an insight because, as Syd often said, “wisdom is everywhere,” but to understand the nature and simplicity of the Principles, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to parse books written by those who didn’t see that at the time they were writing a particular book. As an educator, if I am teaching the HISTORY of something, I’ll assign books about theoretical models that were discounted later by the discovery of principles, but I would not assign such books if I was simply teaching the meaning of the present state of the field.

Bart Loos

Bart Loos I must say I read sanity, long after I got into the 3p’s and I found it highly refreshing

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Judith Sedgeman Thanks for filling in on the people and the history. Of course no one can know exactly what went on in the past between these folks, but there’s nothing wrong with speculating or reading about it and discussing openly if if it illuminates how things might have evolved and where they stand now. It could be useful information. If you were “there” then fill us in on your (by nature subjective) witnessing of what happened, if it would be helpful.
Nothing should be off limits to research . What “spiritual” means (or meant) is part of what we were looking at, and whether it was necessary as a concept. Can you really “demystify” the spiritual? What “formless energy”, the “life force” means is also not obvious or a given, as it reflects the mystery of existence, which is not given in concepts – concepts that some audiences do not resonate with. So that should also be open to investigation. And I wouldn’t teach with the old materials unless there was a reason to. My interest was in untangling the concepts and the the evolution thereof, first for myself, but which ultimately serves the purpose of a deeper understanding and potentially an expression thereof.

Dan O Dwyer

Dan O Dwyer I read ‘Sanity’ 30+ years ago while going to talks at The Minneapolis Institute of Mental Health. It was all a wholesome endeavor back then compared to the hype surrounding it now. My experience has been that people do want some sort of ‘proof’…scientific or otherwise. Some comment that it’s too Eastern for them.

Barry Brownstein

Barry Brownstein Great thread with very evocative questions/points. Thank you all.

I was surprised by what Judy wrote about Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense. My perspective as an interested outsider, all the way back to the 80s is different.

I have always viewed and used the 3P as primarily a spiritual understanding but yet for me Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense would be my desert island 3P book. For me, the book is written with a depth of inspiration, clarity and revealed truth that few books rise to. I find the writing still electric even after all these years. I used Chapter 7 on Wisdom and Insight from the book in both my MBA and ethics classes for over 10 years.

I pulled off the shelf today the Founders Monograph that Judy, George and Roger wrote in the 90s. I used that monograph in MBA classes for a few semesters–there is barely a mention of the spiritual nature of the principles in it.

I can give other examples. I am glad that in recent years the Principles community has embraced the spiritual nature of the Principles but that was not the public face that was presented decades ago.

Understanding evolves as ideas are shared.

I have heard George Pransky (recently) say multiple times (and then I have heard other teachers/speakers repeat this contention) that there are over 400 schools of psychology and only the 3P is inside-out.

I believe that statement is false. For one, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an inside-out approach. ACT therapists write of a “Transcendent Self” and they believe like the 3P that negative thoughts are not inherently problematical. Some of their leading ACT practitioners such as Dr. Steven Hayes are among the most cited and prolific academic contemporary authors in psychology.

Throughout the years of my involvement with the 3Ps, I have heard various calls for more academics to get involved and for more academic papers to be published. (Judy has been successful in that regard) Is making a claim like George’s conducive to entering into a conversation? Or does it appeal to our ego’s desire to be special?

To enter into a conversation we need to be willing to not only influence but to be influenced.

As an economist I know that closed societies fail. Societies that don’t trade fail. Ideas that don’t cross pollinate often become evolutionary dead ends.

Judith Sedgeman

Judith Sedgeman Barry, you are correct that all of us have deepened our understanding over the years. Back in the late 80’s, when I first got involved, many thought that the “spiritual” was off limits to anyone but Syd. There was a kind of agreement that the ordinary folks would focus on psychology and let Syd talk about the spiritual — this was not fostered by Syd. When he realized what was happening, he pulled everyone together and talked in depth about the Principles and the spiritual nature of our work. I only vaguely remember the Founder’s Monograph — do recall it was put forward at an annual conference in Burlington, VT. But I think it was back in the time when George and Roger were taking the lead as psychologists to bring the work into the field of psychology and to avoid appearing New Age or talking about something they didn’t really know first-hand (the spiritual). Later, we all saw more deeply, largely because Syd committed to our becoming students. I don’t have a copy of Sanity, Insanity any more, but I do recall Roger saying he no longer stood behind it and asking people not to distribute it any more back in the 90’s. I think the ability to let go and keep learning is a hallmark of all of our work; we see what we see — then we see more. When we stop looking to see more deeply, we are forsaking the promise of insight — that as long as we look to learn, there is more. I live every day in the expectation that I will see something new, something clearer, something deeper, something that will help me to help others more effectively. The possibility of learning and seeing more is infinite.

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Gosh, I’m almost sorry I brought up the book. Almost.
But seriously, it was part of a personal process I had to go through to unearth and upend my thinking and get clearer on certain things.
Now I feel a need to give some value here, and bridge some understandings. Or try. So here goes.
I think really what is at issue is what we mean by “spiritual”, and how that is accessed – *not* the spiritual per se, if we were to see the common (sense) basis of what the “spiritual” is and how the teaching model reflects that. Look: we are all wanting to point people inside, right? But what does that *mean*, to someone that doesn’t (already) know what it means? And “spiritual” is such a loaded term. It’s the old metaphor of the finger and the moon. The finger is not the moon but we need it to find the moon.
The simplicity escapes the rational mind.
Every one has to dig down deep… or some of us anyway … to get at the “spiritual”, which, being inside, is not amenable to definition, is the impersonal realized personally. Which is paradoxical. One of *many* paradoxes. Which by nature the spiritual is.
“Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense” *is* spiritually based, it just doesn’t know it! You see hints of it, but it’s just a bit too.. technical.. overall, for lack of a better word. And complicated. But here’s an example of a hint: “Wisdom, in essence, is mental health, and mental health, as we have noted, is a state of mind in which the human being understands the psychological principles of human reality. This is why the “wise,” irrespective of culture, warned people about the perils of judging what is “out there.” They were warning us about judging our own perceptions or misperceptions. They told people to look within for wisdom, noting that it did not exist in the realm of what mankind perceives to be real. And all pointed toward the feeling of love and goodwill as the route to a better reality.” – pg. 108.
So as others have noted, it’s a reflection of their understanding at the time. The book is not wrong, and it’s a huge jump from previous psychology. It just could be deeper.
So, if I have led anyone astray, know it’s ultimately in the bigger picture of coming back and appreciating feeling at home more soundly (it did for me). Like Judith said (and Syd said), it can never come to an end. There’s always more – more insight, more truth, more connectedness possible.

Eric Platt

Eric Platt And, might I add, that the whole thrust of this effort on my part was to try and bridge a more scientific and spiritual understanding, first for myself, then others. It’s a work in progress…

Jack Pransky
Jack Pransky I have not read this entire thread, only glimpsed at some of the entries, so I apologize for any redundancies that might appear here. From the little I’ve seen it would be wise for people to really listen to what Judy Sedgeman has said here (which does not surprise me at all).
First, the early Syd tapes: About 3 or 4 or so years ago, knowing the value of these early tapes and knowing that I, personally, found them even a lot more valuable than his later, official audio and videotapes (not that those are not very valuable because they certainly are), I personally asked Judy Banks for permission to digitize those old audiotapes, officially put them out again, and have all profits from sales go to her and her family. She said no. She did not specify her reasons. This disappointed me, but I felt like I had no choice but to respect that. Then I heard that some people had taken it upon themselves to pirate copies of them and distribute them. This did not set well with me at all. It is a clear violation of copyright laws and, to me, a lack of respect for Judy Banks and family. People can come up with all kinds of excuses for why they feel justified in doing that, but that is a fact.
That said, now that Paradigm Shift (a history of Three Principles understanding and dissemination) has just come out, everyone can see that those old audiotapes exist and were officially put out twice, once by Paul William Fowler, and once as a set by John Wood, both with Syd’s blessing, and therefore they are out in the public domain as audiotapes. (I, personally, found the John Wood set at a library book sale in Montpelier, Vermont, which surprised the heck out of me, and I quickly scarfed it up, even though I already had most of them.) And just like any piece of music or book (such as any of mine), once it is bought by someone they can do whatever they want with it except redistribute it; they even sell it at yard sales or to used bookstores, and it gets around, and no matter how many times it is sold after that, the author and publisher never get a penny from any of those sales. So the same can and does happen with Syds old tapes. Digitizing them and distributing them is another matter entirely.Now, at one point, Syd pulled the plug on Fowler being able to sell them any more and later on John Wood being able to sell them any more. The question is why. Putting aside any personal stuff that may have been going on between Syd and them at the time, it would be logical that Syd realized that certain language he used on those early audiotapes, about half of which were recorded before any psychologists came around, might get in the way of his message going out through psychology, which he believed it should. So, logically, that makes perfect sense; if certain language turns off some people, then in that respect, logically, it would be unwise to have those tapes out there, and I can understand that “reality.” On the other hand, I, personally, think we’re big enough boys and girls that we can handle it. Yes, some people will be turned off, but some other people will be turned on even more. All of the leaders of this “movement” heard those early “very spiritual” tapes and got even more jazzed to be part of this. But that’s just me.However, now that the history is out there for everyone to see in Paradigm Shift, it’s kind of a game-changer. Judy Banks saw and early draft of that book and did not raise any objections of those old tapes being listed. Everyone who didn’t know they existed now knows they exist. Maybe (hopefully, in my view), this will cause a groundswell of interest in them and it will spur new interest in getting them out there officially. Again, that’s just my view.Which brings me to Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense. Now that Paradigm Shift is out, anyone who didn’t know that book existed now knows it does, and there will be curiosity about it. For anyone interested in the history of the development of this understanding I see it as an important historical document. I also see it as ancient history. And even though it is possible for people to get insights from anywhere (because they always come from within, regardless), I don’t know why anyone would seek it out as the place to go to understand this understanding better, when it was off-base in many ways. I don’t deny that it is interesting, but as Judy Sedgeman says, we have evolved so far since then, why wouldn’t people, instead, seek out where we have evolved to.One more thing in light of what I said about Syd’s early tapes. Paradigm Shift also refers to the book, Island of Knowledge by Linda Quiring, which is ostensibly Syd’s first book. It is closest teaching to Syd’s original experience and therefore it is the most raw, one could say. I had not even heard of this book until about a year and a half ago and I have been involved in this since a few years after Judy, 1991. That’s how much it was kept under wraps. Why? Again, putting aside any personal differences that may have occurred, I believe it has to do with the language Syd used at the time; when psychologists later came along and Syd got the idea that it should go out through psychology, Syd saw that language as counterproductive (not only the spiritual language but also the counter-culture language of those days) and therefore actually harmful. However, we have evolved a great deal since the early ‘70s and, again, in my view I think we’re now big enough to handle it and absorb it. That book is being reprinted as we speak, and will be coming out within the next couple of months. Like those early tapes, it may well turn some people off, but as a historical document in my view it is priceless and exceptionally insightful (and the pictures in it are a gas), and in my view I think it does far more good than harm. I think people are capable of taking the hippie stuff with a grain of salt.So that’s my cut on all this, for what it’s worth, and I hope it is helpful.
(I’m also putting this in my blog)

Rolf Clausnitzer

Rolf Clausnitzer Hi Jack, thanks for mentioning John Wood and pointing to his pioneering work (with help from others, including me) in the 90’s in promoting and disseminating, in Australia and North America, Sydney’s books and tapes, as well as the work of countless other Three Principles teachers and practitioners….

Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen Thanks for that extra info Jack. And thanks for your latest book. So interesting to know the history and also learn of the humanness of Sydney Banks.

July 7, 2015 at 5:57am ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Jack Pransky, Fascinating post, and that’s wonderful that you have done the service of writing something of a history of the movement. I ordered a copy immediately. And I did listen to and respect where Judy was coming from.
“m not sure I understand “when it was off-base in many ways”: you wouldn’t know that until you read it. It was instructive to me how it’s off base. And rather than “off-base” I’d say not as evolved. Some people still think, apparently, from this thread, that it has value, as a different formulation, as far as being less spiritual, thus better for different audiences (if I’m understanding their posts). I wouldn’t use it myself, but if they do (and someone benefit from the major paradigm shift it represented), it’s better than the extant psychology, at minimum.
As far as “seek out where we have evolved to” – why not do both, looking at where we are now, then if interested, look at past formulations? To me, the language of the present formulations gets *so repetitive* for one thing! A person can get so tired of hearing the same principles over and over, you can’t hear what’s behind it. So to me *the process* I’ve gone through has been very helpful. If it profits an individual, that’s what matters. You recognized that the historical material has value (primarily Syd’s), and the history itself (your book is evidence of that), of which the Suarez et al book in question is a part of. I think we are adult enough to also handle a more “scientific” formulation (of which we presently do not have a good one of!), no?

July 7, 2015 at 9:09am · Edited ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Present practitioners keep talking about how they are “scientific” principles, citing the “principle of gravity” (gravity is a law, not a principle by the way). So let’s make it truly scientific (whatever that means – do we have to call on Quantum Mechanics? It’s mostly been misinterpreted as far as the mystical parallels), given an understanding the process and findings of science and what may lie in a scientific paradigm shift (since it presently does not accept as evidence purely subjective phenomena like consciousness, but only brain) avoiding pseudoscience and New Age nonsense, for those that need that to even *start* to listen? That’s the question I am looking into.
Interestingly, for some, science (or science fiction, ha) can even be the “gateway drug” into the unknown: seeing the boundaries and limits of science, they may want to see beyond, to the “spiritual”. Or it can happen the other way around: have a spiritual experience, then see the limitations of science as it is presently formulated.

Eric Platt

Eric Platt I have much more written on the topic, but don’t want to make novel-length posts. 🙂 People are interested, so will be setting up blog…

July 7, 2015 at 3:27pm · Edited ·
Barry Brownstein

Barry Brownstein Steven Johnson is an expert on how great ideas/innovations spread. He writes that we have a tendency “to romanticize breakthrough innovations, imagining momentous ideas transcending their surroundings, a gifted mind seeing over the detritus of old ideas and ossified traditions.” Johnson has convincing evidence and examples to show that this belief about breakthroughs is false.

It is easy to understand why, in all innocence, some think they can and should manage how ideas should spread. Perhaps they want to manage a unique idea to make sure it stays pure and uncorrupted. Of course such efforts are natural and even necessary at times; but does not entering into the great conversations of our time involve giving up control over how ideas are received, modified, and spread?

For me, the great spiritual conversation of our time is learning that we are not our thinking; we are not the ego identity that our thinking creates. There are many teachings/curriculums all pointing in the same direction. The 3Ps are just one form of this universal curriculum; it might be the “best” for many of us, but it is not special or unique at its core.

Individuals will receive their own guidance whether or not to read Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense, and that guidance will not undermine the respect that the book deserves or the respect that those who think otherwise deserve.

Lian Brook-Tyler

Lian Brook-Tyler Whenever you post I find myself thinking how lucky your students are to have such a wise teacher, Barry 🙂

Donal Doherty

Donal Doherty I’ve enjoyed reading all of the posts in this thread and I’m grateful to all that have contributed. This quote comes to mind for me –

“Do Not Seek To Follow In The Footsteps Of The Wise. Seek What They Sought.” – Matsuo Basho

In the context of this thread, it seems beautifully ambiguous to me.

Judith Sedgeman

Judith Sedgeman Or as Syd always said, “Don’t listen to my words; listen for a feeling.” The feeling, of course, is the experience of your own wisdom shining through all the words.

Ami Chen Mills-Naim

Ami Chen Mills-Naim I would like to point out here that Clytee Mills compiled a huge list of documents many years ago, that Chantal Burns and I later updated as much as possible with documents from the R. C. Mills Memorial Library and newer documents which were then shared with Jack Pransky, who seemed to have the energy for such matters, as he was compiling his history. I am sure Jack credited everyone–though I have not seen the book, but I did want to thank Clytee and Chantal more specifically for all their hard work. I need a team of people over here to help with this library (one day, not now, not this summer!) … which includes tapes that Syd made for Roger specifically, and specifically about community–and which are not problematic, but just very sweet and simple and disarming in the way that Syd often was. … Finally, as Roger’s daughter, I cannot speak entirely for him, and I know people would disagree, but my own view is that he was not a “co-founder.” For me, there are no “founders” of this “psychology.” Founding something, in my mind, implies founding “something”–a methodology or set of concepts or way of teaching or doing or working. If there is anything we share as “practitioners” consistently, it it those three principles, which are simple universal, pre-existent facts. If anyone was the founder, it was Syd himself, to me–although he did not create the principles because they ARE principles, but like Einsten, he revealed them. I regard my father and the group of people around Syd who went out, bravely, almost 40 years ago, with barely a hint of possible reward (and in fact, facing tremendous hostility, little pay, and long odds) as “pioneers.” And perhaps there are better words …”heroes” and “heroines.” I would include the wives, husbands and partners of such people … Finally, in the course of our compilation, I contacted both Darlene Stewart and Rick Suarez’s wife–these were all friends of my family in childhood. Darlene’s book is excellent, and her chapter on “Davey: the angriest little boy” is one of the most touching testaments to simple being/presence/listening I have ever read. Truly! I asked if she would consider re-writing and releasing the book and she just did not seem to have the time or energy. But she is open, I believe. Rick Suarez would prefer not to be contacted at all.

Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen Ami, in the book (Jack’s new book), George P. says the same basic thing about being a “founder.” Apparently that’s what Syd liked to call them, but he said that he was never comfortable with that term either, and preferred the word pioneer. From George’s interview in the book, it sounded (to me) like Syd felt it was really important to have highly degreed psychologists considered the founders. He felt it necessary to give credibility to the understanding.

Ami Chen Mills-Naim

Ami Chen Mills-Naim Apparently, I had a lot to say on this matter! And there is a bit more, from me. I see wisdom as a moving target–always. It changes with the times. Syd often changed his “strategy” for getting this work out into the world. For a time, he was “hidden,” and then I myself took a phone call from him at my father’s home in Saratoga, in which he told me to tell my father “they can stop hiding me.” Each time, with name changes (for the work), or these later strategy changes, they felt right–in line with the times, with a new feeling or consciousness in the world. Perhaps the context for these old books and tapes is now better–as this movement has grown so much. I have felt over the last 7 to 10 years that our focus on Syd and his awakening experience, while important, was getting out of context with the remarkable plethora of people TODAY who have had similar awakening experiences and who now speak very directly about Thought and Consciousness. Very directly, and without method or technique. We can look behind the times when we speak of Syd’s experience as somehow more important, or special … For me, what is special about Syd was his background as non-spiritual, totally; the Principles, of course, as a true, consistent foundation for psychology; and the man himself–who was both enlightened and also human. Who was both a teacher and friend. Who was both a formidable task master and also extremely sharing and caring and kind. I remember taking our little daughter Ali, at age 3, to his house once on Salt Spring and how much he hoped for a smile from her … how delighted he was when he got one. He told Judy about it, really happy about it. That was Syd, to me.

Ami Chen Mills-Naim

Ami Chen Mills-Naim Thanks, Jill Whalen. I appreciate the info.

Eva L Robinson

Eva L Robinson I have been involved with teaching, etc The Three Principles for 23 years. I don’t recall the book, but I would love to have a copy.

July 9, 2015 at 12:27pm ·
Allan Flood

Allan Flood I loved this book, find it a little conceptual now but didn’t think so at the time. I also love Roger’s book Realizing Mental Health, a wonderful book for therapists.

Karen Miller Williams

Karen Miller Williams It’s funny looking back… I went to lunch and celebrated with the authors when the book first came out. I was one of the nurses written about in the book’s Chapter 12 as we had such a change in our state of mind. I think I’ll go back and have a look at it again but I know it does not possess the spiritual aspect which is what calls to me today!

Eric Platt

Eric Platt Just got Jack Pransky‘s book this morning, started reading it. Can’t wait to read more. Fascinating! I heard George Pransky talk about these same first encounters (and his resistance) when he met Syd. It’s in a video from the Tikkun conference: https://vimeo.com/13042683

This is “George Pransky talks at the Tikun Centre” by Rudi KENNARD on Vimeo, the home for high quality…
Eric Platt
Eric Platt One of the encouraging things about reading Jack’s book is that it lends support to the idea that this understanding *could* come through philosophy (and physics and neuroscience …).
I’ve always seen our divisions of knowledge as being artificial anyway – it all comes form the creative mind. And there can’t be any conflict if it’s based in reality.
There’s a unity behind it all.

Eva L Robinson

Eva L Robinson Thank you Eric for setting me up with a copy of this book. I’m just starting to read it. I haven’t even heard from Rick Suarez in 10+ years. Cathy Casey might know. I never knew Darlene.

July 10, 2015 at 6:40pm ·
Eric Platt

Eric Platt Eva – There’s discussion about his whereabouts earlier in this thread. Apparently there’s some history in Jack Pransky‘s book about his disassociation with the 3P community, but I haven’t gotten to that part of the book yet.

July 10, 2015 at 7:18pm ·
Eric Platt

Eric Platt Allan Flood I loved Roger’s “Realizing Mental Health” too. I probably had more post-it notes in it than any other book. I couldn’t find it when I looked the other day though… may have given it away.

Allan Flood

Allan Flood I’m glad that Chuck and Darlene are still around. Chuck was a counselor at Family Counseling Services in Eugene the late 1970’s when I was trying to decide whether or not to take a job in Los Angeles. I was conflicted and in distress. Chuck listened to me prattle on for awhile, paused, and asked me what would I do if I wasn’t scared. I knew immediately that I should take that job and it was the right decision. I’ll always be grateful for Chuck.

Clytee Mills

Clytee Mills I would like to suggest to those who would like to read books by Roger Mills: “The Wisdom Within” co-authored by Elsie Spittle in 2001. Published by Lone Pine. Acknowledgement made to Sydney Banks. Shares The Three Principles and some of their benefits for society. Also please take the chance to read Elsie Spittle’s books which include her work with Roger and others in communities and early history of Salt Spring. I Iove these books! Available on Amazon.

Eric Platt
Eric Platt Clytee Mills Thanks for sharing that, and reminding me. I’ve never read it, despite taking a course with the two of them in 2000. (Why is it over $56 on Amazon – out of print?).
Another fascinating book on my shelf I had high hopes for was “The Renaissance of Psychology” by George Pransky. But it seems almost forgotten? Perhaps it was either preaching to the choir (3P folks) falling on deaf ears (most psychoogists) or not in a popular style, so it never picked up steam.

Allan Flood

Allan Flood I was running US satellite office of the Psychology of Mind Resource Centre in Bend (we sold hundreds of George’s and Rogers and Joes and Roberts books and tapes). I threw away hundreds of George’s tapes and books (including Renaissance) on his request one day and I’ll never forget how hard that was and how courageous George was.

Eric Platt

Eric Platt Allan – I just finished reading Jack’s book, and it talks about that situation with George and the tapes. Sounds like there was a lot of pressure on him to stop using the tapes, from Syd and others that Syd influenced. He finally saw the logic of it. (I guess he kept a nucleus of them). I didn’t know that about the book being dumped too– wasn’t mentioned in that way. That’s cool. Yes, brave. Onward and upward!

July 12, 2015 at 8:18am · Edited ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt As far as the dilution of the purity question, I think part of the problem George Pransky didn’t mention in Jack Pransky‘s book is that more and more the emphasis is on making money (seems to me – I could be wrong). Lining one’s purses. Rather than seeking the truth or having integrity. Saying what appeals. Not caring about the core, learning it as an external thing, seeing what works. Selling it as a thing.
Thus Rudi Kennard’s article or video responding to the common question ”How can I make money with the 3 principles?”.
What struck me:
wasn’t a helpful question to him – limited your potential
details kill potential
acting from inspiration
the 3P could manifest in *any* form, not just teaching the 3P
fire your heart
stop getting out the garden shears and cutting away love [paraphrased]
who you are is more than enough to do everything you want to do
With that, I head out for a walk …

Imogen Caterer

Imogen Caterer Rudi’s video is excellent, and I’ve given it another circulation. I don’t think that the desire to make money is particularly new phenomenon. Its prominence partly comes from the expansion into the coaching world. People very new to principles don’t yet have the grounding that Rudi displays and so keep asking the question that bothers their profession… how to make money.

The question that may have bothered the Licensed Psychologists of previous generations was…. how do I practice this without falling foul of the licensing board. Some would dilute what they say in order to keep in with board no doubt.

And another psychologist saw the 3Ps in action in his practice but turned his back on them because the client turnover was too high, he feared he wouldn’t make the money being effective.

Michael Neill and Jamie Smart’s conversion to the 3P understanding has been a huge blessing, but there is a downside and we need to work to developing new people’s grounding before they claim the 3P name for a rather shallow version of 3P coaching.

However, let’s be pleased they are looking in “the direction” at all.

July 12, 2015 at 12:19pm · Edited ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Imogen Caterer Thanks that helped clarified the situation (“keep asking the question that bothers their profession”).
I just listened to a video that totally blew me out of the water. Really touched me. The feeling behind it. (By “pure” doesn’t mean conceptually. It means the opposite). I have to go take a walk now, 🙂 ….
3PGC Webinar- Christine Heath / The importance of keeping the message pure.

The importance of keeping the message pure. Chris will talk about how we…
Judith Sedgeman

Judith Sedgeman The whole world needs to be asking the essential question: How do I work from joy and love in service to all mankind? No matter what we do to assure our own survival, it is meaningless without pure love at the heart of it. Free from ego, we make a life and trust that we will be OK.

Imogen Caterer

Imogen Caterer Quite, Judith. Some people get past the money focus quickly. Others slowly.

July 12, 2015 at 12:30pm ·
Judith Sedgeman

Judith Sedgeman And that is what Syd meant by levels of consciousness. Greed is a symptom of insecurity.

Eric Platt

Eric Platt Greed: I would add to insecurity, toxic goals picked up from the culture, and the need for stimulation which can get more and more as an over-stimulated individual becomes more bored. The outside-in orientation of the society has to be taken on in one’s thinking of course. But a rise in level of consciousness would help someone see what was going on or simply not need it.

July 12, 2015 at 7:52pm ·
Eric Platt
Eric Platt Christine Heath responded to a question about (something along the lines of) is creativity from Mind?
She pointed out that the prisoners she (or someone) had worked with were very creative in how they might escape or rob a bank.
I didn’t see this before: that creativity is a neutral. But it’s just like ambition: has no value in itself (the Nazis were creative and ambitious!).
And it’s validated with my experience: I’ve known artists that were the nicest people in the world, and others that were the most manipulative and selfish people I’ve ever met. That they were extremely creative didn’t enter into it. Or rather, it just meant that they like all of use can use the power of thought and mind however our free will chooses.
I guess it’s like invoking Mind is like using God in an argument. I doesn’t buy you anything. Not that I’m promoting arguing. 🙂

The Nature of Ego in the Psychology of Happiness

I found this article on my computer. I don’t remember writing it – it says 1998 (this is June 2016) – but I kind of like it. The writing seems fairly cohesive and has a friendly tone, and I think it might be of interest or who knows, even useful, to someone new to a spiritual take on psychology such as what is now known as “The Three Principles” field, or has an interest in Buddhism and how it relates to everyday functioning as a person (with an “ego”), etc. At the time I’d been heavily influenced by a dream I’d had about innate natural peace: namely that it is our birthright, and that the only thing that takes us away from that is our imagination. After the dream I discovering the work of Richard Carlson (instant recognition of “Yes!” when I saw the title “You Can Be Happy No Matter What”), then Roger Mills from a footnote, George Pransky, and going to a “Psychology of Mind” conference in 1997 (what became Health Realization and the Three Principles) – all of whom were influenced by the enlightenment of Sydney Banks.
In any case I’m putting it out there and you can be the “judge”. I guess it was just my ego that didn’t think the article was good enough at the time, haha!

I want to talk about ego. I want to define ego simply as anything that takes you away from the moment. Any kind of thought process that takes you away from full awareness and living in the moment, being free, having your mind free, in the moment. So this pulling you away could include fearful thoughts, insecure thoughts, could include jealous thoughts, anything involving over-planning, worrying, or anger and resentment clung to, or desires leading to expectations not fulfilled.

What is ego? It’s not a thing, it’s not a thing in the sense of a psychological entity, it’s more like a habit pattern – something that’s always there – everyone has ego. So I am going to talk about ego in a sense different from a Freudian sense of ego. A Freudian sense of ego, is, as I understand it, a psychological structure of the adult, something that needs to be strengthened, more like the center of adult identity and action, it’s what you’re operating out of. But I want to talk about ego more like the Buddhist would talk about it, where ego is anything that is false to your true self. It’s an illusory kind of activity, mental activity leading to behavior (all behavior starts with thought – thought broadly defined).

Anytime you’re trying to prove something to someone – acting out of that kind of insecurity – that’s ego. So rather than something that makes you strong, ego is a limiting factor. It limits you in your happiness, it limits you in your ability to live in the moment, and experience enjoyment, love, all the richness that’s available within yourself, and that’s capable of being experienced here and now. The ego relates to externals, to what you think you want or need, or have to have from the external world, or what you need to sort of falsely create as a shell protect yourself , in your behavior, as in the example I gave earlier of trying to prove something to someone. Or ego can be the personality you pull out when we are feeling insecure – when we are frightened at some level around other people – we’ll put on a persona. If we’re not relaxed and letting ourselves be, letting ourselves flow, spontaneously, self-consciously, then we are acting out of ego.

There are countless examples of how ego can act. It’s endless. But there is only one example of perfect peace, and it cannot be described, only experienced. When you put ego aside, it’s very simple, it’s difficult to describe what it’s like. You cannot replace it with a verbal description. One can point to those states though that almost everyone is familiar with.

What we need to do to feel beautiful feelings is get beyond personality. Personality only darkens our spirits, causes us to despair in our loneliness, behind walls of our own creation.

Probably everyone has noticed how, when they are engaged in an activity they really enjoy, their mind works differently. Let’s say you are with a close friend you really trust, and you are not worried about how you are acting, you are not self-conscious, your ideas and behavior just flow from one moment to the next, there is no effort involved, and it’s not contrived. Things just happen naturally.

So, you don’t want to get rid of ego, in the sense that, through some effort, you try to get rid of this “thing” called ego. First of all, the effort would increase the strength of the ego, the effort itself is ego. Second of all, it isn’t exactly a thing – an object in the normal sense of the word – that you can push out or push aside. Maybe we could call it a “reaction pattern”.

So that points up another interesting aspect of ego. If it’s a reaction pattern, where does the pattern come from? Well it comes from the past, from memory. Now, everything is in the present. Everything that we experience is in the present, even if we are going over the past or thinking about the future, that is still mental activity in the present. The reality of the past is that it exists as thoughts in the present.

OK, so what are the nature of these thoughts? They are habits or patterns or memories that we’ve stored, and we’re putting them into place, we’re using them in the moment, but not in a new way. And so what would be different from that would be newly generated ideas which come along and are let go. We spontaneously generate new ideas and create new patterns in the moment – there is something generative or productive.

So the ego then is circular in the sense it’s using old habit patterns, old thoughts, old memories. It’s self-validating in the sense that you will perceive that as the reality and it will validate itself wherever you look outward, in a circular way.

Let’s see if I can explain this more clearly. Perhaps an example would help. Let’s look at a typical kind of insecurity. Let’s say someone believes they are not a very likable person or that people find them unattractive, and this is an idea, a fear – you could call it part of their ego – when they are around someone, their insecurity triggers fearful thoughts, and they act out of that in a way that validates it. That is their reality in the moment, according to how they are thinking. They will not perceive anything that does not correspond to that reality, to those thoughts – they will not perceive someone acting in a way that makes it evident that they like that person. They won’t be able to see that someone likes them. And they will act and generate behaviors that are less likable. So there is a sort of self-validating logic to it – or psycho-logic. It’s what is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy as it were.

So all these ideas fit together. But what I want to talk about, and what you probably want to hear, is how do you get beyond ego? Well that’s a very interesting question. The Buddhists would say that it’s through meditation, and that kind of awareness, you see the illusory nature of ego.

I would say not through meditation but by being in a meditative state, and not by the rituals, techniques or effort of meditation per se. That sort of artifice – getting into all the trappings of meditation, schedules, the discipline, and what happens when you do that, or you don’t do it – either clinging to the rituals and schedules and disciplines, or reprimanding yourself if you don’t do it. That’s simply reinforcing ego. Now, some Buddhists would probably recognize this, but they would still it is as very hard work – you know, penetrating, cutting through ego.

But there is a paradox there. Letting go of ego is absolutely the simplest, easiest thing in the world. It is the nature of effortlessness: what we are talking about is a natural state of being – and how we get out of that into this way of reacting called ego. So you want to be careful about setting it up as something that you have to do to get in the future somewhere, or worrying about that you didn’t have in the past, or worrying about that you don’t have now.

Does a child have to meditate or worry about their ego?

The way around this seeming dilemma, or the way I want to suggest as a way of helping you, is to point you in a direction of deepening your understanding. Because by looking at your own experience and what happens in the present, reflecting on it, understanding your mind a little better, you can get a perspective. And furthermore, by pointing you in the direction of positive states of mind, and what that’s about, you can familiarizing yourself with that. The Taoists call it gathering Virtue.

That is the direction that will help you let go of ego: becoming more and more familiar and at ease, and having greater faith in that positive state of mind. And then it will just happen, without you even noticing or looking for it. You’ll start developing greater awareness, greater ability to live in the present, to let go of old patterns, get insight into yourself and your life and what’s going on. This will happen easily and naturally, with a higher level of understanding. Which is not to say that you won’t have moments, times, perhaps days when your psychological functioning isn’t as good. But you’ll always have a way back to peace and faith, and you’ll have a way forward – you’ll know, you won’t be as disturbed by your own thoughts – what I was calling ego in this essay. And you’ll have hope. I mean, everyone has moods and ups and owns, and an “interesting life” as the old Chinese curse about living in interesting times talks about. But you can learn from those. But above all, over time, you’ll make sense of things. You’ll see the psychological realm is not this superstitious, chaotic, scary realm. There is a way to comprehend, to understand what is going on.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I know the ultimate nature of mind. What I am talking about is understanding what is happening in the mind with thought and consciousness. I can talk about consciousness in some other essay. Mainly I was talking about thinking and ego – what kind of thinking patterns I’m calling ego. But the mind – or the Mind with a capital “M” – I don’t think anyone knows the nature of mind. Things come from Mind – it’s like the power source behind our thoughts, backing them up. You can speculate, give it a name, but I don’t think we understand where creativity and new patterns in life, and the energy of life comes from, except in material terms. We can explain, or describe realistically, material “energy” in physics. But the creativity of life and mind, and it’s beauty, is still a rather wonderful mystery. We can deepen our understanding of what we see going on, but we can’t explain it away. Like trying to explain the nature of love, these are big things, bigger than me, bigger than any individual – and bigger than ego. We can participate in them, but not capture them in our concepts.

So what I was doing here was taking the idea of ego and use that as a point around which to talk about conceptions of psychological functioning, or healthy and unhealthy psychological functioning, and pointing the reader in a positive direction.

One other thing about ego – or lack of ego rather – we don’t take our thoughts, our selves, or our selves based in thought, so seriously. We may witness ourselves acting in the world in a happy way, enjoying ourselves. But we don’t attach so much significance or seriousness to the “little” self. We experience a lighter sense of being, still rich and full and flowing along, but less acutely aware of being a center of the world. You see that your so-called personal problems are not that huge, not that significant in the overall scheme of things. The world looks different to you. Your perception changes drastically.

So, in short, when we step aside, or don’t let ego affect us negatively, we are more aware how thinking operates in our lives and don’t get caught up in it. We then have greater resources available to us from inside. We get fresh new thoughts, and beautiful feelings such as joy and gratitude. We can never step aside from our thoughts entirely, or we would be pure awareness without content. Leave that to the hard-core mystics.

But step aside from ego for a while and you uncover the ordinary peace and happiness that’s always waiting there. Isn’t that what we all need and want?

notes 6/15/04
Ego: both positive and negative sense of self-importance (I’m so wonderful or I’m so bad – form of excitement, distraction, amplification, falseness).

Eric C. Platt
© June 1998

Back To Reality?

Just back from a retreat yesterday, I go into the bank and am chatting with the cheerful teller, telling her how I’m just back from a week retreat and am adjusting, and she commiserates about vacations saying, “back to reality” twice in our conversation. What? I walked out, wondering, what on Earth was she talking about? I glance over as I write this and see a book with a sub-title “A Real World Design Guide”.
I suppose it’s an indication of some clarity of mind that I don’t see any division between the reality or real-world-ness of life here at work or at home and the one on a spiritual retreat or vacation. It’s all the same, to me. Mind and Reality. Making it up as we go along…
So am I *supposed* to be unhappy and uptight at work, and only allowed to relax and Be on vacation?
If your work isn’t feeling like a vacation often enough, or your vacation is too much work, there’s something you’re not understanding. You need to vacate your mental premises and let life work through you.

OK back to work …

(This posting is purely for your enjoyment…).

Transform a Difficult Relationship By Seeing Yourself

Seeing from the eyes of love and understanding, rather than judgement and fear, we can see someone anew. This is not a technique, but something that happens spontaneously, in the moment.

I’m not in a romantic or intimate relationship at the moment, but I’ve seen an amazing transformation in at least one “relationship” with someone in my life who was very problematic before. I perceived them to be egotistical, dominating, type-A, and saw their behavior as often manipulative, coming from an agenda, not straightforward.

Instead of seeing what was wrong with them,  I started to look from eyes of happiness and love. Things changed in an instant, then transformed over time. We are now on terms of ease and generally great cooperation, etc. Instead of me feeling an underlying fear and tension, I saw *her* fear, the insecurity that was driving her behavior– not intellectually as before but more compassionately, in the moment – as an ordinary human being, not from a critical standpoint. She no longer seems a threat.

I was looking at her ego.  What I needed to see was mine!

It’s so easy to identify other people’s “problems” – what’s that saying about the sliver in their eye and the two-by-four in your own?

So it’s not a matter of being critical of ourselves, but focusing on our own happiness, having an insight that we are indeed really the same: what I see in you is what I am seeing in myself, literally, because you only exist as thought in this “eye” …

It’s easy to fall into the trap of other people existing as something other than a thought in our selves. Another way of saying this is, we are all part of the same reality, which is one reality.

You think you know what’s wrong with someone, what makes them trigger your frustration in “dealing with them”.

I heard the psychologist Mark Howard say once that if you find yourself trying to teach a loved one some psychological understanding, you aren’t *listening*. If you have experienced this – seen the humor in the situation when they don’t exactly take kindly to you pointing out something like “It’s all in your thinking” – you know what I’m talking about.

In psychology, we come to this truth from inside thinking (thinking-feeling and perceiving), transcending it from the inside-out. In some spiritual circles, this is transcended directly, by looking at the experience of awareness of the “I am” and seeing that is the same as the reality of oneness, then looking back or down and transforming all the details of one’s life, such as thinking about others and oneself as separate entities, and feeling in the body, and so forth.

Change and learning and growing never stop, even for so-called enlightened folk…

How To End Anxiety: The Dawning of a New Understanding

It’s only via an apparently finite mind that we can know an apparently finite object – Rupert Spira

Here’s my two cents on anxiety – something I’d had lots of experience with, once I’d cured myself of depression. Today it was happening – I was feeling anxious – and as often in the case, I was not sure if it was associated with thoughts about anything in the external world. They call this “generalized anxiety” in the psychiatric world of thinking.

There was nothing to do as far there being something underneath that was driving it: it did not appear to be driven by thinking about something that needed to be done that I should attend to. I’d already done everything I could do as far as “taking care of business”.

So, taking cues from some of the teachers I listen to, I just experimented with looking at the possibility that this is just a mis-identification with the belief in a separate self.

Specifically, I looked at the sensations in what I take to be the body – I perceived an energy, or perception of energy felt in the center of the body. Like a vibration, or whatever it feels like to you. You look at what it *actually* feels like to you. Yes, have courage. It’s nothing to be afraid of. Just a movement, a sensation. And presumably some thinking triggered by the sensation, or helping to create this movement, in a kind of feedback loop.

OK. What does this sensation mean? Nothing really, except for the fact that I’m aware of it. So it exists within this awareness. I move my arms outward, in a motion like I’m sending it out, the contraction, if it’s there. This is just a joke because I don’t believe it would work, but a friend told me to try it. Can’t hurt…

Play with it:
Where did the thinking come from? From where it was before? Or from nothing? As far as we are concerned, it comes out of nowhere. In other words from the unknown, from the not-known, from the formless, whatever you want to call the nothing from which it came.

OK so we are in the middle of nowhere, and what’s here? Awareness. And what’s inside awareness?
Aha, we were thinking this thinking is *me*. That that’s us. A thought. Got wrapped up in that thought! The little “me”. That’s the key right there.

Me and my anxiety. And thinking about me and my anxiety. As if I *know* who and what I am: I’d been identified with this activity totally. Pff. Hahaha. What a game.

At that point I fell asleep.

When I awoke, the anxiety was gone.

As I write these words, I breath and feeling a relaxing, expansive sense. Nothing is wrong. Peace.

Some Thoughts on Thought

Some Thoughts on Thought, Universal or Not?

Since becoming involved with an Advaita community (meditating and discussing consciousness with them, etc.), many of whom are also informed by Buddhism, it’s interesting to see the differences of language and concepts pointing to the same understanding of the universality of Consciousness, as well as experiencing it (to what little degree this not completely realized being can!). Getting glimpses of this lends life feelings and sense of underlying love, beauty and truth.

I’m not a coach, teacher, professor or anything else, just a explorer of truth and life and always looking to heighten happiness and peace in myself and therefore others, anyway I can, including putting my thoughts down in writing.

In the Three Principles Psychology community, there is much talk about universal Mind, Consciousness, and Thought, as this “metaphor” is the primary, central teaching tool. Now, I’d always thought that Thought must also be universal, as part of that (spiritual) trinity as it were. But after bringing up the topic with the teacher (Francis Lucille) at a question-and-answer session following a silent meditation satsang recently (something new to me), in an attempt to give some context to my question (which I don’t even remember at this point) I began to wonder of I had it wrong. He pointed out that in his experience, Thought took place *in* consciousness and was not universal. I was taken aback but couldn’t argue with him.


What is your actual experience with respect to Thought? The experience I have is that it happens *within* Consciousness, and is not universal in the way that Consciousness and Mind are. Thought is universal in the sense (no pun intended!) that it’s made of Consciousness, since everything is. Universal Consciousness and Universal Mind are really the same thing, but we make a distinction between Mind and Consciousness, plus Thought, as “how it works”, as a teaching tool. Then hopefully, the scaffolding can be discarded once this “I am” as the subject is having a direct experience as awareness itself (the central insight – sight from within), or at least seeing that their experience (such as feelings) is somehow “made up” and coming from within, not outside (not people, circumstances, biology, etc. – nothing objective).

So Thought is “universal” in the sense that it’s common to everyone, whereas Consciousness (and Mind) are truly common, as reality is all the same Consciousness. However we experience this self as a separate entity because of the action of Thought, creating the infinite forms of experience and this sense of a separate entity, even though what it is experiencing has it’s origins in a universal source. Thus we talk of form from the formless. Of course, if everything is spiritual, then Thought is as well. But it’s not universal in the same sense that Consciousness is: indeed what makes looking at Thought useful to us in this context of universality is that it’s the *bridge* between the form and the formless, the universal and the seemingly-not universal. Or we could say it’s the connection between the spiritual and the psychological. These are all just different ways of pointing to the same fact: that Thought is the missing link.

The answer people seek lies not in their separate beliefs, but in the realization that Thought is the common denominator in all psychological and spiritual understanding

– Sydney Banks, The Missing Link

Notes, June 22, 2016:
Thinking and thought are just part of what is, which cannot be separate, since reality is just everything that is. Separateness is just an idea. So thinking is subject to the same laws as everything else, and is completely determined. Free will is only an afterthought. Nothing is random. However, Consciousness in itself is completely free. There’s the paradox. Unless you see that Consciousness does not come from the body. The situation is reversed: thoughts of a body happen within Consciousness.

What Is Meditation, and Is It Needed?

To taste something sweet, is it necessary to eat strawberry ice cream, or can you simply eat a wild strawberry?

Meditation. Like yoga, it seems to be something you hear about more and more, as more and more people do it, hear about it, or feel they should do it. But I wonder, with increased popularity, is there a decrease in understanding? Like yoga, which has gone from a deep practice of mind-body-spiritual integration, to more of an American-style exercise program, has much the value of it been lost, as it’s gone from an inside-out understanding to just a another practice or technique, a thing to do – about the mind, with no understanding of Consciousness – or a de-stress tool, or just set of clothing to take on to prove yourself with and talk about with your friends?

In any case, even before any popularity, you may hear people in spiritual groups or outside talk about how much they meditate, how long they’ve meditated, or how long one needs to or should meditate in order to make advances towards one’s goal, whether that’s a short term goal or a long term one. They may do it to reduce stress, or in order to realize some special state, such as enlightenment. Or they discuss and compare what kind of meditation they do, or that they feel bad because they haven’t meditated: guilty or stressed because they dropped out of the habit, like someone that jogs and hasn’t had time. However even the sincerest meditators can misunderstand what is going on with this subtle form of self-enquiry, self-therapy, self-improvement, or whatever you want to call it.

So meditation is usually seen as a goal-oriented activity – don’t we always have goals when we do something? – where one tries to achieve something, the highest form of achievement being “enlightenment” or “Self-realization” (the distinction between those is enough subject for another article). As “seekers”, we are seeking to fill a lack, or find something. And if you achieve that, you’ve made it spiritually, and then maybe become a spiritual teacher yourself, instead of following one. That’s meant only half as a joke – there really is that thinking out there! You can see how this would plug into an achievement or competitive, comparing-oriented social mindset. This realization is seen as something that happens through time: some are told it could take 20 or 30 years, or more than one lifetime.

I’m not a Buddhist, Hindu, Three Principles coach, Non-dualist, licensed psychologist, or any other brand of religion or psychological-spiritual practitioner – call me a freelance philosopher if you need a label – but from my limited perspective as a seeker, finder, thinker, and realizer of glimpses of Truth, here’s my perspective.

After spending a little time hanging out with some nondualists and meditators “non-dualists” I find myself asking this question yet again: what is meditation and what is its real value? The non-duality Advaita school of teaching – and spiritual communities in general – is one that seems to value meditation highly, and often see it as a necessary tool of self-enquiry and purification as it were, to see the conditioning and true nature of beliefs (along with intellectual self-enquiry) and habits that stand in our way, on the path towards realizing the true self.

On the other hand, mystics may say otherwise. They will point to the fact that you are already enlightened, already happy, and what you seek is who and what you are. A seeming paradox.

And within a spreading global spiritually-based psychology movement called “The Three Principles“, it’s often mentioned that meditation is not needed, perhaps seen as superfluous, or even looked down on or dismissed as a waste of time, since if you’ve seen the simple truth that innate health and wellbeing are our default state, and have an understanding that it’s thinking you taking you away from it, you can easily drop the interference and return to “home”. You are your own teacher (despite the fact that there is an enormous and growing cottage industry of coaches, teachers, counselors, therapists, consultants and so forth that want you to invest quite a bit in their teachings! But I digress…).

My view of meditation is becoming more nuanced as a result of exposure to and discussion with those in both the Three Principles Psychology (“3P”) communities and the nondual ones (online and off). And in living it: 19 plus years in the 3P and, well, it depends on how you define it, but I got interested in Zen Buddhism around 1988 (seriously anyway) and before that had a spontaneous and profound nondual type experience around 1980, when thought ended and “I” died and consciousness merged with the total absolute light, the Mind of neverything (I had no framework or understanding of what had happened, and got lost for quite a while, haha)… but I digress…

An Analysis: Being or Doing, And Understanding or Not
I see we have these two axis at play: meditation as being or doing, and understanding or lack thereof. Let’s codify this so we can play with the combinations:

Am: Meditation as Being, a mental state: a quiescent mind, or
Ap: Meditation as Doing, a practice, a technique or goal-oriented activity.
Bu: An understanding of what’s going on, or
Bl: A lack of understanding of what’s going on.

OK now so just for fun let’s combine these 2 axis into 4 possibilities, with some examples:

1. AmBu: A meditative state, with understanding
Walking in a park, you start seeing so much beauty, feeling a happiness, like an expansive love for life welling up inside, and understanding it’s a reflection of a deeper reality that’s always with us but is obscured by what we do with our minds. This could be healing or be an upward shift in consciousness, or if less profound, simply enjoying what is, Life. “Noncausal happiness” is you will.

2. AmBl: A meditative state, with little understanding
Walking in a park, you start seeing so much beauty, feeling a happiness, like an expansive love for life welling up inside, and thinking it’s a reflection of this park where you’re walking, and your city, so you keep going back to the same park trying to get the feeling. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

3. ApBu: Meditation practice, with understanding
You sit, meditate with some friends and let your mind settle, and feel a good feeling well up as your thinking quiets down, and understand it’s a quiet mind that’s allowing the reality that’s always there to surface. You’re able to see this happen at other times too, but the practice is a nice opportunity you took advantage of.

4. ApBl: Meditation practice, with little understanding
You sit with some friends and let your mind settle, and feel a good feeling well up as your thinking quiets down, and attribute it to the technique and new habits that need reinforcement from this technique. You may feel bad about yourself, or in a bad mood if you miss your meditation sessions, or even become “addicted”. You might beat yourself up thinking you aren’t being good and disciplined, or maybe your mind gets scattered and lost in a stressful state and you attribute it to lack of meditation practice.

The conclusion I draw from this is that meditation as a practice can be useful and enjoyable, but generally is not necessary. Meditation as a mental state is necessary, and more or less tantamount to what makes a happy and fulfilling life.

Furthermore, with a deep enough understanding of life, or for those naturally knowing or inclined, a meditative state is a common and spontaneous occurrence.

Curious to get other’s perspectives on how they saw meditation in light of the Three Principles, I had some online conversations with various folk from that field.

Elena Castro, a Three Principles coach, said it like this, first quoting Sydney Banks, the enlightened man from which sprang, with the later help of some psychologists, the whole field of Three Principles psychology:

From “The Ultimate Answer” (an audio CD of Syd Banks speaking):

“You are looking for silence. That is why people meditate all over the world, trying to silence their mind so that this wisdom will come in. Now, that’s one way of doing it, and I am not going to say any more about that. But you know what 3 principles do? They direct you into it.”
– Sydney Banks

My own experience, Eric, was kinda similar to yours: decades of meditating with nice feeling while doing it, having no idea what that really was. 3 principle made it clear what was happening while meditating and that that experience is not a result of a practice, but it is me feeling mySelf. Never had a need to meditate afterwards – I experience myself, knowingly, relaxing into myself regardless of what I am doing.

I found this in an early audio tape of a Sydney Banks talk from 1975, in Victoria, Canada:

I’ve been picked on so many times about [meditation]. It’s a beautiful thing for your mind, it’s a beautiful thing for your body, it’s a little like taking a tranquilizing pill. The state you get from it will [inaudible] last two hours or who knows. But the mind searching for itself cannot find itself, this is the game of life. If you sit thinking about Life, you’ll never make it. The mind searches for itself belongs to a form. And we’re all forms playing the game of life. This is what we’re supposed to be. We’re not supposed to know what the game of life is. This is what we call the game of life. And what we’re supposed to do is to try find our way back…

Lian Brook-Tyler, another Three Principles coach, puts it like this:

Mindfulness can bring some benefits and like other techniques, is something that makes sense to practice when we don’t understand how things work and we’re trying to manage and improve our experience.

The three principles is a description of how human experience is created. It’s useful to understand because it often results in an experience that feels a whole lot easier and more enjoyable. 🙂

And Elizabeth Lovius, another Three principles-inspired practitioner, who calls herself an “agent of change”:

Mindfulness = prescription (something to do). Three principles = description. (Something that is/to understand)

And Damian Mark Smyth, “author of Do Nothing!: Stop Looking, Start Living (Volume 1), about the principles that create our inborn happiness, clarity and calm in business”, put it succinctly:

Mindfulness is balancing… the Principles are Gravity

Do what makes you happy, and not because you should. Use meditation as an occasional tool to “see” such things as a feeling you just can’t seem to get a handle on, or a mood that you can’t shake. Don’t make it  mechanical habit. It’s a beautiful “thing”, and life is not a thing!

Draw your own conclusions. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights.


Rupert Spira  
The Highest Meditation

Rupert Spyra’s teacher, Francis Lucille:
Nonduality 13 of 16 – What Is Meditation?

Meditation 6 of 24 Regarding the Apparent Contradiction Between Self-Inquiry and Meditation

At the end of the above video, Francis says – and this is a nice way to end this article:
“…The great secret is that consciousness is universal. You have to be open to that – before you do all of these exercises, be at least open to this possibility.”