Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense Revisited
The title and content of this article refer to the book “Sanity Insanity and Common Sense” that was an early entry 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…
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.
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 Couldn’t find it Rolf. I did a search.
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 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?
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 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)?” 🙂
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 I guess I was trying to get an understanding of what lies beneath your quest for proof. 🙂 ie why would you like proof?
Eric Platt Why don’t you want proof? Are you afraid of what you might find if you look into it, deeply?
Lian Brook-Tyler And I’m rather a fan of foundations…
Lian Brook-Tyler “Why don’t you want proof?” That’s an untested assumption, Eric… Not very scientific 😉
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?
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! 🙂
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.
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 I’m glad you enjoy my posts. I sometimes feel like I’m shouting at the wind. Gosh Im getting poetic …
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’?
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 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 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 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 ‘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 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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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 Eric, to understand ‘overall’ wouldn’t we need to look at the results of exposure to different philosophies and regions?
“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.”
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”…
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.
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 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.
Eric Platt Hmm, his Amazon blurb is messed up with HTML – will have to write the gentleman a note …
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… 🙂
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 I must say I read sanity, long after I got into the 3p’s and I found it highly refreshing
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 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 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 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.
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 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…
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 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 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.
“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?
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 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…
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 Whenever you post I find myself thinking how lucky your students are to have such a wise teacher, Barry 🙂
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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 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
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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!
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 doWith that, I head out for a walk …
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.
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.
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 Quite, Judith. Some people get past the money focus quickly. Others slowly.
Judith Sedgeman And that is what Syd meant by levels of consciousness. Greed is a symptom of insecurity.
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.
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. 🙂
Thank you for this.
As someone who learned “the principles” 30 years ago in a very NON spiritual way, I appreciate hearing how the organizations around (then) Psychology of Mind evolved over time. I’d read Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense a number of times back then. I remember enjoying it and appreciating it immensely. I’d love to re-read it to see how my perspective on it may have chagned.
I knew some of the details, but not many. I also recognize a number of names in the above conversation – from various points in time of organizations involved with “Psychology of Mind” or “Health Realization.” I am also in possession of some of those early Syd Banks tapes. (I can’t listen to them any more, I don’t have a cassette player!! hahaha.)
Again, after learning… truthfully, I didn’t know what I was learning… “the principles,” all I knew is that I was receiving effective psychological counseling! There was nothing (to my knowledge) spiritual about it!!
I’d heard rumblings about someone named Syd Banks, and found some tapes of his. At first, I remember being, hmmm, unnerved by his use of language and talking about a “Christ-like consciousness.”
Which, now, to me is OK. I learned to accept what he was saying as metaphor — and probably extrapolated that to all religious and spiritual teaching, but I remember the first time hearing it and thinking “Whoa, is this some kind of Christian cult?”
Fascinating discussion. I’m only 2 years late to the party. I’m enjoying reading your blog.
This post has brought up lots of great perspectives as well as historical information.
Thank you, again.
Hello Krista – I just saw your comment from a week ago. Thank you for posting.
I’m glad you got something out of the article. I may have a lot more to say in another article about the 3P soon, as my involvement with the non-duality community has altered and deepened my perspective. I more clearly see the three principles now as one, and as a metaphor they are pointing to different aspects of the one non-thing that is our true nature. In fact, if you listen to the Hawaii lecture of Sydney Banks, he says that very thing – I don’t remember his exact wording – that if you understand the true nature of any one of them, Universal Mind, Universal Consciousness, or Universal Thought, you are home free.
My only bone of contention may be that there is a bit of confusion about thought being universal in the same sense as the other two aspects of Reality. But that’s a very subtle and long topic potentially to get into. Suffice it to say thought in general is what is associated with, and creates, the perception of a seemingly individual or separate bodymind, and of time and space – they arise mutually – so thought is universal only in the sense that everything is a part of Consciousness, and all three arise or are aspects of the Absolute (reality). Others may have a different view on this.
Speaking of Syd tapes, I have copies of most of the early ones (digitized) in my private collection. Send me an email if you would like to hear some, and we’ll figure out a way.
Good work Eric. I bought Darlene’s Book creating the teachable moment. A great read. I recently purchased sanity, Insanity and common sense.
They’re hard and expensive to obtain. If it helps, a soft copy exists here: http://www.3principles.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/284-Sanity-Insanity-and-Common-Sense.pdf
I agree that the spiritual side of 3P will put a lot of people off. I was dubious of spirituality in the first few years of my 3P journey, however, I now know otherwise 🙂
I was first introduced to Richard Carlson’s “You Can Be Happy No Matter What” about 8 years ago after suffering from my own self generated crisis and depression. At the time I had no idea I was depressed. This book literally blew my mind, took my whole belief system and pseudo identity I was living behind and chucked it all out the window…in a good way. At first it was shocking and so simple to see, how could I have missed it? It was my own thinking generating my depression, as thought generates feelings that coincide with the content of the thoughts I was constantly thinking about. I was in a repetitive thought pattern for many years and was “unaware” of it. From this book I was lead to Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense and was even more mind blown, as it validated the principles of mind even further to me. I bought several copies of this book and gave them away, I even wrote a review on Amazon which I’ve posted below. After reading and rereading this book several times I went on an 8 year in depth study of the worlds spiritual teachings, studying the ancient sages, mystic spiritual teachers and religions of the world. By spiritual is meant psychological, they are one in the same, so is mind the same. What I’ve found is that all these great mystics were teaching psychology, the basic understanding of how the human mind functions, and the role of thought in our lives. Meditation is the key to becoming aware of how your mind functions, or observing its functions, and to becoming the master of mind instead of being mastered by the mind. The problem is that most humans do not know that they are even sick so they see no need to get well. Like the Tao Te Ching states;
“Knowing ignorance is strength.
Ignoring knowledge is sickness.
If one is sick of sickness, then one is not sick.
The sage is not sick because he is sick of sickness.”
but if you believe that you’re not sick then you do not seek a cure, yet it is this sickness that prevents you from seeking and the sickness is that the mind believes its own thoughts as reality because it is that which produced the thoughts, so who is willing to question their own thoughts? Which is precisely what is needed and meditation is the prescription that will remove and help heal the sickness. The prescription cannot work if it is not taken. It is the human propensity towards belief which is a plague on getting well, we must question our own beliefs for absolute validity/truth and when you do you quickly become aware of and re-cognize how many of our beliefs are completely mistaken and even false. I cannot recommend this book enough. Once you’ve seen the principles clearly in your own life, they cannot be undone and you will forever be changed and in control of your own mental health.
5.0 out of 5 starsAn enlightened end to suffering
June 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Finally man has done it, found a logical way to present the truth that all the mystics, sages, saviors, yogis and enlightened humans have been trying to tell man for thousands and thousands of years. This book hands down should be read by the entire world, especially those within the present control institutions i.e. the education system, organized religion, government and the like as it explains how all of mans suffering and need to control is a direct result of thought in a low level of consciousness. Basically all the problems of the world are due to the ignorance of man not understanding how lost he is within the realm of his thoughts. This book ties together what Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Osho, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Vernon Howard, Anthony de Mello, Eckhart Tolle and the like have all been trying to tell us: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD, LIFE IS LIVED IN THE PRESENT MOMENT NOT THE THOUGHTS OF THE PAST OR WORRY ABOUT THE FUTURE. This book can act as a bridge to set humanity free and put the human race back on course to return to the beautiful, all providing Garden of Eden this world truly is!
Yes thank you DemoDude.
You said: “…this sickness that prevents you from seeking and the sickness is that the mind believes its own thoughts as reality because it is that which produced the thoughts, so who is willing to question their own thoughts?”
It’s like a filter, or a block, that prevents it’s own seeing. Isn’t reality amazing?
Davis R. Hawkin’s energy levels of consciousness are useful way of looking at it, to make it less personal.
Given here the sincerity and good hearts of those, including myself, who are participating in the struggle to understand human nature, thus our own nature, which has made manifest the unfortunate human condition we find ourselves in today, I’m hoping my contributions here will be of value. Many years ago I realized that the extent to which a human being does not FULLY understand human nature, one must not FULLY understand oneself, nor anyone else for that matter – it is, therefore, no surprise so many people have difficulty getting along, locally and globally; peace evades us internally (our inner struggle with our own self), in our relationships with one and other, within our groups and between nations. We have the intellect required to travel to other heavenly bodies, yet we can’t figure out who and what we are – now that is a monumental mystery, and therefore, it behooves all of us humans to dedicate ourselves to the study of human nature, so we can know ourselves better, relate to each other better and hopefully achieve what we like to call ‘peace.’ In all these cases, individual humans are involved, therefore, if we can learn how to repair ourselves first, then perhaps the other relationship problems will naturally work themselves out. I’d like to suggest the problem is one of “free will”, because if we don’t have free will or if we have free will but don’t know how to use it, then we are not in control of ourselves. And if we are not in control of ourselves, even if we discover what does control us, we won’t be able to do anything about it without a free will, by definition. For this reason, we must first discuss what free will is and if we each have one. Would anyone on this blog like to travel down this discussion path with me? If yes, what say you?
You brought up several topics here so let me address them, and see if there’s an underlying theme.
From the wording of your question, I would hazard to guess that you are (still) looking at the situation through the wrong end of the telescope.
I have known folks who have spent decades studying every self-help book they can find, going to psychologists and coaches, attending seminars, participating in online chats, and thinking and analyzing their problems and other’s problems. They have tried countless techniques and been quite enthusiastic about the solutions they thought they found at times. They have accumulated a vast array of information and ideas.
They are no happier, and their lives are worse.
If you are involved in the 3P field I’m sure you are quite aware of this situation. In fact, what I’ve seen, is that it is even more radical than you may be aware. It’s not just that all the thinking is the problem, but the self that is seeking. You may be aware of that too: that any information that is taken in, no matter how wise, is received and processed through the very self-ing process that is the cause of the problem. Not even the cause, but *the* problem. There is no objective problem in the universe. That is very hard to accept, especially with all the perceived human suffering, and all the investment in problems, solutions, and selves. So what is going on? How can the universe be perfect, yet seem so obviously imperfect?
Because you are still looking at the universe, and not what is aware of the universe. You are still looking at universe-ing, and self-ing, and not what is conscious of all. That is what needs investigating. Once that nut is cracked, all else will unfold, naturally. Call it “radical subjectivity”. It seems taboo and crazy or perhaps a pat, standard spiritual answer, but don’t let the images and beliefs fool you. You are here for this, whether you realize it or not. Don’t believe me, look within. But what does “look within” mean? And is there an inner and an outer than can be separated? That too needs investigation. Thorough investigation.
There will never be peace in this world, because the world is made of and by the mind, which is duality in action. The movement of the mind and all the ten thousands things, the objects of consciousness, dance and twirl to the tune of what is created and celebrated by the powers of creation. We are mesmerized by the products. But what is the source? Can it be known by your mind?
Imagine if everyone were perfect and all were enlightened. Can you see how boring that would be? Einstein quipped that “God doesn’t play dice with the universe” in regards to the notions of quantum mechanics and the statistical nature of it. I would alter that a bit and say “God plays dice with the universe, because otherwise it would be *boring*”. What kind of story or game is one where there are no bad guys and no spice of difficulties and drama, no wars or conflict, no gain and loss, no light and dark, no differences among people?
Once you see there *are* no others, then the field is one of the play of life, wars and politics as entertainment, a trust in the underlying goodness such that a friendliness reveals itself, once “you” are out of the way. There is a sense in which humility and love cannot be separated, because in knowing you are nothing, an undeserved and uncaused love is allowed presence. While the mind says “No”, one can say “Yes” to “No” and experience going from “Why?” to “Why Not!”, and an effortless joy can peek through.
It is indeed a vast mystery as to why a species that can engineer a vehicle to go to the moon so artfully, can achieve such greatness in outward things, still struggles with the basic getting-along-with-others kindergarten lesson of being human.
But herein lies the rub and the key: *are* we human? It should raise suspicions that so much meaning, value, and significance is placed on being human. If one goes out at night in the desert on a clear night and look up, you would see millions of stars, an infinitude of stars, and galaxies and gas and planets in a perfect stillness of quiet, in a vastness of space that cannot be imagined. What is it mostly out there? Space. And if you look within the molecules and atoms that we believe compose the matter, what do you actually find? Vast space, with some vibrations of energy, as best we can tell, that make up “particles”. But we still don’t know what this stuff is, just some ever-changing theories composed of math and measurements and mental models of what seems to look more and more like mind-stuff. Who knows? No one.
Looking within, what does one find – once a stillness is experienced, there is a quiet and what could be described as an emptiness or a “nothing”. And what is in this nothing? Everything. So in no-thing is every thing. And these every things are made of what seem to be just movements of mind or energy or whatever you want to conceptualize it as – again, something made up. From nothing to something. And back again.
So as within, as outside.
As regards free will: take note whether you know what you will be thinking 30 second from now. Are you in control of your thoughts? Your liver seems to be running quite nicely (hopefully) without you, by itself, and so is your brain. So despite the illusion that you control your thinking, it is quite automatic. If you are not in control of your thinking, then are you in control of your decisions? Because what are decisions, but thoughts. And I’m afraid, no neuroscientist has been able to find, nor any long-term meditator, any real “you” in there. It’s like a kid who is given a toy steering wheel beside his dad who is driving the car. The kid turns when the dad does, and feels like he’s turning the car, even when there is a delay between his trying to turn the car with his toy steering wheel before or after the father. So it is with us. We keep reinforcing the illusion by an activity that keeps alive a virtual self that seems to control, or at least wants to control. In fact there is no separate controller or any separate anything. There is no separate doer. In short, human beings have no free will.
If you observe an animal, such as a bird, very attentively, you will notice how there is observing and acting, and it all happens very energetically and spontaneously, with no delay. There is not what you would call self-consciousness. A similar thing can be observed with a young child. If they have an urge to yell they yell. It just happens. Everything just happens.
I’ll skip over the whole phenomenon of self-consciousness because that could turn into a book, and skip directly to an adult developing a transcendent spiritual awareness. Now this is very paradoxical from the outside. On the one hand, they start to be more spontaneous like a child, yet more self-aware, yet without “self-consciousness”. In short they have transcended the self. They have seen through what they are not: they are not a man, a woman, a body, a mind, a career, a wife, a husband, a bank account, a name, and on and on… they are no one. They are not human. They have seen through the illusion.
So herein lies the solution to the problem, by a dissolution of the basis of the problem. Paradoxically, in a will-less state, freedom is found, because it is in the very nature of the infinite to be unbounded, unlimited, undivided, imperturbable, and free.
So, to answer your inquiry about a discussion, I would entertain that as individuals, we have no free will whatsoever, but as what we are, in reality, we are nothing *but* free will. In fact as the absolute, such terms have no meaning, nor do they need to, as no distinction or measurement is possible. But in this love, the hidden perfection reveals itself at moments in the human experience as serendipity, as beauty, as understanding in an instant of knowing.
But in the human experience, we can witness a spectrum of levels if you will, from the most miserable human being feeling they are a victim, and creating victims and suffering, to those who are still in an egoic state but feeling some *relative* happiness, to those starting to feel more and more connected and experiencing a sense of the divine nature, with no need to fight or struggle because they see reactions as just passing memories, thoughts, feelings and sensations – not real – on to higher and higher levels of self-realization until the personal self, by grace and earnestness, is surrendered completely. Most of us can only hope to someday be experiencing that bliss and openness continuously, and live in a miracle of timelessness.
Along the way, whatever works to help pry open the ego and the illusion of being a human being, is good. There are no rules in this game, other than be happy, be free.
A very interesting post. Thank you.