What Are the Three Principles?
Fundamentally, the Three Principles are a description of the mechanism behind our moment-by-moment experience. They provide a logical and simple framework that describe the system at work behind everything we feel and every sensation we have.
Before going any further, I would like to clarify what my colleagues and I mean by principles. We are not referring to the rules or beliefs that dictate or determine one’s behavior. The principles we refer to are the base elements that govern how something works at its core.
Following are the relevant definitions for ‘principle’ found at oxforddictionaries.com:
2.0 A general scientific theorem or law that has numerous special applications across a wide field.
2.1 A natural law forming the basis for the construction or working of a machine.
3.0 A fundamental source or basis of something.
3.1 A fundamental quality determining the nature of something.
A sample sentence provided under the first definition above is appropriate to the conversation about the Three Principles:
‘The application of scientific principles eventually leads to a fair evaluation of the benefits, disadvantages and true effects of every compound.’
The Three Principles conversation is not only about understanding the core elements that form the mechanism of our experience and the 'benefits' that naturally result from that understanding, but also about the 'disadvantages' that occur as a result of the innocent misunderstanding of where our experience comes from. The Three Principles are the building blocks for every psychological 'compound' that is formed or created and they point to the true source of our experience.
Brief History of the Three Principles
Sydney Banks (1931-2009) was a welder with a 9th grade education and he experienced a moment of enlightenment back in 1973 that instantly transformed his life. His insight was triggered by a comment made by another participant at a relationship workshop that Sydney and his wife were attending. You can hear Sydney speak about this in his video entitled The Experience by clicking here and going to 3PGC.org.
Sydney himself would say that the Three Principles are nothing new, that they are pointing to the same things that the mystics and sages have been speaking about throughout time. Though the message may be the same, the difference for me is in the simplicity and logic of the Principles, which makes it easily accessible to anyone.
The Three Principles Defined
Here is where things start to become messy. Even though the description of the Principles is simple, they are pointing to a formless energy that comes before the form; the form being everything in the physical universe and every experience and sensation that we have. It is impossible to use words to describe the formless, which is why I invite you to listen to the words loosely. The words are only a metaphor to help deepen your understanding of how things actually work. But the words themselves will not get you there.
Your understanding can only deepen with your own insights — a sight from within. The words and metaphors simply invite you to look in a direction that tends to make it easier for insights to happen quicker and more often.
Sydney Banks defined the Three Principles as:
Universal Mind: The energy and intelligence behind all things, whether in the formless or the form.
Universal Consciousness: The gift of awareness.
Universal Thought: The creative agent we use to direct us through life.
The Principles are often simply referred to as Mind, Consciousness, and Thought, with capitalization to represent their universality. My own description of the Principles is often something like:
Mind: The intelligence and life-force behind life, the intangible something that exists beyond ourselves (and within ourselves) that makes everything possible.
Consciousness: The ability to be aware of ourselves and of our own experience of existence.
Thought: The power that makes it possible for us to create, interpret, understand, and interact with our experience.
Even though they are talked about as ‘three’ principles there is really only one, which is the Principle of Mind. The other two, Consciousness and Thought, are part of Mind and are only there to make the conversation easier.
The Meaning of the Principles
In short, it means that our experience of life is created through us, by the life-force that makes everything possible, the thoughts that are created within us, and our ability to make those thoughts seem real via our awareness. Our experience of life is always from the inside-out, 100% of the time. In fact, it is scientifically impossible for our experience to come from our environment or our circumstances, regardless of how it seems or what we were brought up to believe. (I’ll cover this more in a future post.)
But why does this matter? Because the more you are aware of your experience as being created from within, the less you will feel victimized by your circumstances and/or your environment. The more easily you will return to your natural state of grace, of peace and of clarity. Don't get me wrong, I know the world outside is real. But your experience of that world and what you make of that world can only ever come from within.
We can only ever experience life as it becomes real to us from the inside. From the formless via the power of Thought, with Consciousness allowing us to feel our thinking and Mind making it all possible.
Much of the conversation we will have going forward is to speak about this inside-out design, to explore the Principles and to look at the implications of this understanding. I originally thought a good place to go from here would be to look at the Thought-Feeling relationship or to go into each of the Principles individually. But as I have been editing and re-editing this article, now I believe it will most likely be about The Courage for Effortless Change.
Please note that the farther away we get from the simplicity of Mind, Consciousness and Thought the more complex and confusing everything becomes. This is why I will do my best to bring us back to the simplicity at the core of the Three Principles as often as I can.
Borrowing the objectives used by the corporate consulting team at Insight Principles, my goal for you is to realize that:
The mind has a built-in design for success
The mind only works one way [inside-out]
The more you realize these two points, the more well-being and productivity you will have
I hope this brief introduction has sparked your curiosity to explore this further. Please leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Until next time, may the four winds help guide your way.
Lots of love,