It can seem complicated, but it’s really very simple. When you find yourself in the present moment, a whole world of spiritual nourishment opens to you. We have all experienced this – when you’re on a long vacation, working out, being with your child, making pottery – suddenly, you find yourself IN THE MOMENT. Time slows down. You have a sense of presence. Often, you are filled with a feeling of well-being – of ‘all’s right with the world.’ And often new thinking and spiritual insights present themselves to you.
The present moment, and the spiritual nourishment it provides, is always available. It’s just that your mind is often too busy to experience it. We all need the mental rest and refreshment, as well as the deep sense of connection and purposefulness, that you find there.
The Three Principles, and the Single Paradigm they reveal, give you the understanding and the map you need to find your way back to the present moment. Every time you get caught up in your thinking, and then REALIZE that you’re feeling your thinking in the moment, and not whatever events and circumstances are happening in your life without the mediation of thought, you find yourself back in the present moment. Your mind clears itself of all the thinking you don’t need, and the world of the present becomes available to you once again. That’s where you find the spiritual nourishment you need for your heart and soul.
I’ve recently encountered a number of people in the 3P community who have mentioned that they went through a rough patch, but then they realized it ‘was just my thinking.’ Sometimes they go onto say, ‘so I realized I needed to clear my head, or drop the thoughts, or think about something else.’
The statement ‘It’s just my thinking’ puzzles me, because thought is so powerful. It may be an illusion, but when we’re caught up in it, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. Thought, as Sydney Banks points out, is the missing link between our psychological experience and the spiritual nature of life. Thought is a principle, and principles are very powerful – they’re forces of nature.
When you realize insightfully that you’re having thought in the moment, and it’s causing the experience you’re having (your feelings), you align yourself with the principles that govern your psychological experience – Mind, Thought and Consciousness. When that happens, the principles do the work – they clear your head of unnecessary thinking. This is very different from you trying to clear your head or drop your thinking, and the results are very different. People who try to do the work of clearing their heads often say that the same thoughts and thought patterns keep coming back. Mental calm and clarity, on the other hand, are a natural result of removing the misunderstanding of where your experience is coming from, and coming in contact with the inside out nature of life.
Learning about the Single Paradigm has helped me enormously with integrating the three principles into my life sustainably. Before learning to think about the principles paradigmatically, I was on a kind of emotional roller coaster, and so for the most part were my colleagues and our clients. It didn’t look that way to me at the time, because my life got so much better after learning about the Principles in 1993. And the roller coaster I was on was nothing like the mentally fraught life I’d lived before learning the 3P’s. It went like this: I’d listen to Sydney Banks or one of our teachers, my head would clear itself of whatever mental clutter I’d been carrying, and I’d feel great – for a while. Eventually my head would fill up again and that good feeling would disappear. Then I’d be on the hunt for someone or something to jog me out of it again.
Since learning the Paradigmatic way of understanding the Principles, I understand what the problem was. Though the Principles demonstrate that we are creating our experience (feelings) through Thought (combined with Mind and Consciousness), the illusion that events and circumstances created my feelings would slip in under the radar, time and time again. It looked to me like a fight with a friend, for example, caused my feelings, and then I had to wait for the Principles to clear my head of the mess my thoughts had created and start over.
The Single Paradigm makes it crystal clear that I’m either outside in – forgetting that Thought is creating my feelings in the moment – or inside-out – remembering to factor Thought in the moment into my moment-to-moment experience of life. Learning that has allowed me to find an instant re-set when I start to lose my grounding in the present. Instead of losing that good feeling for hours, days or even weeks, I’m back in the present as soon as I remember to factor Thought into my current experience.
I’m very grateful to have a way of living and teaching the Principles that is both scientific in its logic, and sustainable.
In my last newsletter, my blog was called “When you Say It’s Just My Thinking, What Are You Thinking?” One of the main points of that blog is that, when people say that, they’re often using their personal thinking to think about their personal thinking – a bit like a dog chasing its tail. This is quite different than aligning yourself with the principle of thought.
I was talking with a client yesterday who runs an antique business. She was recovering from a visit with a relative that didn’t go well. “I know it’s just my thinking,“ she said – there it was again. When I pointed out that she was thinking about this from a personal perspective, when, in fact, principles are impersonal by nature, there was a sigh of relief. “You’re right,” she said. “I’m taking this much too personally.”
The Principle of Thought brings you thoughts and feelings, and clears your thoughts and feelings, landing you back in the present for a millisecond before the next thought arrives. When your mind is functioning in this optimal way, you experience, calm, well being and mental clarity. When you forget that your mind is run by a system larger than you, you often fill it up with so much unnecessary thinking that it clogs the system. Then you experience insecurity, mental stress and confusion. These feelings are your signals that you’ve lost track of how your mind actually works, and gotten caught up in the outside in illusion that things, events and circumstances are causing the feelings you’re having. They are what allow you to re-align your perception with how it actually does work – that your mind is run by a system larger than you. Then you get all the benefits that this brilliant design of your mind provides.
Almost everywhere you look, people are running from their feelings. Whether it’s shopping, eating, drinking too much or, in some cases, exercise – people go to great lengths to avoid the feelings they’re afraid of.
I’ve even seen people try to use the ‘good feeling’ they get from listening to Sydney Banks, or 3P Practitioners, as a way to get away from their uncomfortable feelings.
This came up recently with a client who was going home for the holidays. There’s often a lot of tension and fighting at these events, so before she went she booked a session with me and asked me to ‘fill her up with good feeling.’
I explained that looking to get filled with good feeling under those circumstances would be like blowing air into a leaky balloon. As soon as that good feeling wears off, and your consciousness lands on the thoughts you’re afraid of, you’ll have the feelings you’re afraid of – maybe even a little worse, because avoiding feelings, and the thoughts that cause them, can be like adding fuel to the fire.
When you realize just one thing – that your feelings are coming from your thinking in the moment – even the scariest thoughts/feelings lose their power over you. You know instinctively that the quality of your thinking is changing all the time. So while you may be having an upsetting thought in the moment, it’s going to change. Realizing that that truly is all you’re ever up against gives you courage, and makes you more resilient. Those thoughts that have been bothering you will dissipate, and guess what shows up in their place? All those good feelings you were chasing after in the first place!