Someone asked me again—this time it was Jamie Smart, via an online message—”sounds like you’ve been aware of these principles for many years. When/where did you first hear about them?”. So here we go, the story, in brief.
In 1997 I had a dream that set me on the path of learning The Three Principles. In this dream I learned that peace and happiness are the most natural things in the world. It is who or what we are at the core. It is our nature. It is only our imaginations that get in the way. When we relax and this thinking clears in the moment, our problems do not exist and we can reveal a more beautiful feeling: our innate health and purity of mind. There are no words for it. It exists before the activity of the mind and words.
In a sense the dream was really about the dream we all live in.
The Three Principles—the spiritual psychology movement based on Universal Mind,Universal Consciousness and Universal Thought—has gone through various permutations over the years. For a while it was called “Psychology of Mind”, and “Health Realization”. Before there were three principles, there were four:
“As you will note, this set of principles is related to four common denominators or constants that are common to all human beings. These four constants, the basis of what we call the Psychology of Mind, are
1. The capability of each human being to formulate thought and the thought system that each human being has created.
2. The separate reality of individual differences that every unique thought system creates.
3. The capability of human beings to understand the nature of their own psychological functioning.
4. Feelings and emotions as indicators of the quality and direction of human psychological functioning.”
~ Sanity, Insanity, and Common Sense, by Rick Suarez, Ph.D. Roger C. Mills, Ph.D., Darlene Stewart, M.S. – pg. 30,
In the early 90’s had been seeing a traditional psychotherapist (meaning it was based on psychodynamic, family therapy models) for anxiety, depression, work and relationship stresses (and so forth – I see now it’s “unhappiness” and always has one root!), and had gotten frustrated with what seemed to be an endless circular game: we’d go over problems and situations, she would suggest reasons from the past or due to personal psychology, and skills to try. Though occasionally I felt some brief lifting of the heavy feelings, they’d be back again, and I’d go back to spend yet more time and money, and be the same troubled person or feeling the same feelings again. It was a fragile sense of health and being, if any. After expressing this frustration one day, she suggested I look into cognitive behavioral therapy, and mentioned the name Ellis.
I searched and found a book by Albert Ellis on Rational Emotive Therapy. What a revelation that was!: not because of the exercises of working on thoughts (thoughts can hard to know in retrospect or be aware of if unconscious, takes effort to find and undo, and the technique wears out quickly), but because it was the first time I heard that thought creates feeling! What a tremendous, liberating insight! A huge lightbulb went off. Why had she not told me this!? All this money and time spent on therapy and she could have said it years ago.
This was a 180 shift from the “old” psychology, of going into the past, or analyzing relationships, or trying to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. If thought creates feeling, then happiness is as close as one thought away.
All of this put the lie to the idea that depression was a chemical imbalance in origin (You’ll need to take Prozac or some other SSRI or anti-depressant the rest of your life, just as diabetics do, because you have a medical condition), or determined through time, since I released myself from it.
In 1997, after all this psychology work, and endless study of psychology, philosophy, brain science, techniques, self-help, and on and on, I was still not very happy with my relationship, my work, or my life. And I was working very hard thinking about myself, and analyzing. One morning I had a remarkable dream. I awoke feeling a peace I hadn’t ever remembered feeling.
Here is my journal entry:
The simplicity, clarity, and naturalness of this dream are difficult to convey.
Had a dream where [in the dream] I wrote this in a journal about my dream, made a page in the page:
Sept. 23, 1997 6AM
The purpose of life is enjoyment, (pleasure, fun), happiness.
Amazing that that’s such a radical thing. But it’s true, and it’s crystal clear, and it’s beneficial to others, so much so, to be happy around them, an inspiration.
And in another segment of the dream, this kid was shown or told about his mother having surgery – some scary picture – and then he became all worried and obsessed. So I took this little boy aside, and started asking him in a gentle, happy, excited way, not letting myself get involved in the fear, “Remember that big submarine in the movie and that part where…” and the kid’s mind goes to his imagination of something that he liked that was neat and fascinating, and leaves the morbid, frightening thoughts behind) they had this big room where they were projecting images onto a big screen, and they got all these pictures of all these orange things they could think of – fires and oranges and flowers and…”
So the was dream about our innate peace of mind, and that happiness is the birthright, and the means, rather than a by-product of achievement, and how it’s only our imaginations that scare us away from this peaceful state (“thinking” in Three Principles parlance). Shortly after this event, I happened to glance over and see Richard Carlson’s book You Can Be Happy No Matter What in a New Thought church bookstore. It jumped out at me somehow from a bookshelf: I had a feeling “Yes! this is it.”. I read it eagerly.
Carlson’s book was good, but seemed a little watered down, gave me a slight headache (what is he trying to get at?); however I wanted to know what was behind it: he was obviously onto “It”, the key I that had revealed itself in the dream. I found a footnote in the back about Roger Mills’ book (Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense: The Groundbreaking New Approach to Happiness by Dr. Rick Suarez, Dr. Roger C. Mills and Darlene Stewart. Fawcett, Columbine, 1987). With some effort, I was able to get copies of this from a university library. That led me to the Health Realization Institute, getting Sydney Banks tapes from the Psychology of Mind Center and Allan Flood, going to a Psychology of Mind conference in 1998, meeting Roger Mills, Amie Mills, George Pransky, and then taking a program with Elsie Spittle in 1999. The rest is history as they say… There’s much more to the story but I’ll put it in a longer article perhaps.
In one sense it doesn’t really matter how anyone comes across “the principles”. It only matter how good or deep their understanding is Now. Their “pedigree” is their humanness, as George Pransky so beautifully put it. It could be out another way too: your understanding is measured by the peace, love and happiness.