BY DR GEORGE PRANSKY
Where do feelings come from? When I’m anxious or depressed, inspired or content; what causes those feelings? If I can understand the cause, maybe I could end up with more of the feelings I want in life, and less of the ones I don’t want.
We’ve all had ideas, insights or realisations that have changed us or put us on a new and better path. Where do those ideas come from within us? If we knew the answer to that question we might have them more often.
The Three Principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness uncovered by Sydney Banks provide the answers to all these questions. By simply learning about these principles, people actually end up having nicer lives regardless of their past, their personality, or their circumstances.
Up to this point, the field of psychology has typically pointed to factors like early childhood conditioning, brain chemistry, or life circumstances as the primary source of the feelings we live in like depression, happiness, and self-confidence. The assumption has been that these factors affect everyone and are largely beyond the person’s control. At best people could learn to cope with the feeling which is why the field of counselling and therapy was originally created.
What people are finding, however, is that the factors that were thought to be fixed and limiting to people’s personal well-being don’t fully account for people’s feelings. For example, it’s common to see families in which two siblings have similar genetics and childhood conditioning, yet one is particularly high-spirited while the other struggles with depression. Sydney Banks suggested a much more scientific understanding of where our feelings and our well-being comes from, and how we’re not tied to those causal factors like childhood conditioning or brain chemistry.
In the 1970’s Sydney Banks discovered that every feeling that someone has, comes from the thought he/she is having at that very moment. Every time a thought changes, the feelings changes accordingly, with no exception. In a way, human beings could be seen as “experience-creating machines” that use the gift of Thought to create mental images and the gift of Consciousness to bring those images to life into a full-blown experience. Indeed, creating an experience of life in every moment is what fills our days as human beings.
The power and ability to create our feelings and moment-to-moment experiences comes from the third principal we call Mind. In the same way that our bodies are connected to what biologists call the ‘life force,’ our minds are connected to Mind, the very essence of life, the formless energy and the intelligence behind life. We
are all connected to Mind. Thus, we are all capable of wisdom, if not genius, at any moment. This universal intelligence comes to us through our thinking as if out of the blue to guide us in our lives.
In summary, the principle of Thought enables us to formulate our mental lives moment-to-moment. The principle of Consciousness allows us to feel and experience the mental life that thought formulates, and this is all connected to the Principle of Mind – the very source of the intelligence behind life. These Three Principles offer tremendous hope and possibility to human beings. It is reassuring for human beings to know that whatever unpleasant experience we might have, whether it is depression, anxiety, or frustration, is always just the thoughts we are entertaining at that moment. By nature, our thoughts are transient, and when they leave our minds, the accompanying feelings leave us as well. It’s very hopeful and helpful to us to understand that we are naturally resilient in this way.
The Three Principles – in essence – describe the landscape for the human experience.
Seeing the system of the mind allows us to navigate life with understanding and accountability. It allows us to make meaning of life when we might otherwise be overwhelmed or misled. To the extent that we grasp these principles, we won’t as easily get frightened by our life experience.
The Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought reassure us that even in our darkest moments we are one thought away from insight, relief, or a more helpful perception. We don’t have to “make that happen” because it’s in our nature to have new thoughts and to see life with more wisdom.
In short, the Three Principles suggest that we are not passive receptors of life circumstances and events destined to be thrown about by life’s adversity. Instead, it is our nature that we – knowingly or unknowingly – internally generate our own personal experience of life, moment to moment, within our own psyche. Thankfully, every psyche is connected to the very source of life with its infinite intelligence. Knowledge of these Three Principles can help us to gracefully move beyond our struggles and help us to find new thought and insight that we need as we go through life.