The Three Principles are the principles of mind, thought and consciousness.
Principles, as defined here, stand for the fundamental way by which every human being experiences life. We can only experience life via these three universal principles of mind, thought and consciousness.
By universal we mean something which is widespread and not unique to a particular individual, group or community.
We are the principles in action if we look beyond the form of the human body.
Principle of Mind
There is an energy, intelligence, behind life. We can call it life-force energy, a higher power, prana, spiritual energy (some of us understand this creative energy as God). One can be an atheist and still acknowledge that there is a formless energy. This energy fuels us and keeps us going even when we aren’t paying attention to it. Examples such as the functioning of our body’s autonomic nervous system that controls vital functions such as our heartbeat, blood flow, our breathing, digestion and so forth.
We see this energy of life all around in nature. Trees and plants can use sunlight and a few resources and turn those into food. Flowers grow through cracks in the wall and turn toward sunshine. Birds migrate together to warmer places in winter.
According to quantum physics, exploring the nature of matter and light – everything around us are waves of energy, including matter, and all matter is fundamentally connected.
Principle of Thought
Thought is our ability to create forms or ideas from that energy. We all think. We experience our reality using the power of thought. Our thoughts create our feelings 100% of the time, without fail. It is part of being human to get caught up in our thinking and believe our thinking, as if it was the whole truth and not simply our perspective.
We all tend to dwell on our thinking and analyse the content of our thoughts. The more we do so, the more unsettled and insecure we feel. The less we look into the contents of our thinking and trust that we don’t have to take any of our anxious thoughts (habitual or random) seriously, the easier our mind quietens down. We function better from a quiet mind.
Principle of Consciousness
We are aware of our experiences. We are aware through our five senses – we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. These five senses can trigger off memories from the past. Memories are nothing but thoughts. The power of consciousness brings our thoughts alive. Throughout the day, every day, our consciousness goes up and down. Sometimes, we are aware that our thoughts create our reality and we know not to take those seriously. At other times, we are convinced that our thoughts are real – and we feel that our external circumstances and others are responsible for our problems and bad experiences.
When our consciousness elevates, we realise that our thoughts are only our own perspective and that there can be other perspectives too. As our consciousness rises even higher, we become aware that there is more to life than what meets the eye – that’s when we usually experience a deeper feeling, an insightful understanding that then guides us to our inner wisdom, our innate well-being – our natural state!
So, to summarise The Three Principles:
The mind is the energy of life.
Thought is our ability to create forms or ideas from that energy.
Consciousness is our ability to experience what we think as real.
So how could this understanding help people?
The Three Principles explain the relationship between thinking and experience like never before. It is an inside-out understanding versus the ever so common outside-in misunderstanding. People experience suffering because of an innocent misunderstanding of the relationship between thinking and experience.
Inside-Out or Three Principles understanding
Recognising that there is a creative process that generates our thinking and that we experience life, moment to moment, using our personal thoughts. We are aware of our thoughts because of the power of consciousness.
According to this paradigm, if our circumstances and people around us are good to us, we feel good and have good thoughts; if conditions are bad and people are negative to us, we feel bad and have negative thoughts. So we get caught in the trap of attempting to change our circumstances and people in our lives.
Let me give you an example here. Let’s suppose my children are arguing over what TV programme they want to watch and I get annoyed as I’m trying to complete some work. It will appear to me as if I’m angry because of my kids and their actions. That’s the outside-in paradigm. If I react, I can say that I responded because my kids were misbehaving. Now, although this seems true, it isn’t. The truth is that I had some angry thoughts triggered by external stimuli, i.e. children arguing. It is not their action that’s making me mad but my thoughts about their activity which is making me angry.
In other words, circumstances or people can’t make us feel a certain way. It is our thinking about events or people that make us feel a certain way. Our feelings come from within us, from our thinking. That’s the inside-out understanding. When we truly understand this, we realise that at any given moment we have the power to choose how we are going to react or respond.
Although most people will agree that our thinking can create our experience of reality, most of us are yet to realise that we do not have to control our thinking and try to change our negative thoughts to positive ones. Yes, we can try to do this and it may seem beneficial in the short-term. However, if we try to pay attention to every negative thought and change each of those to positive ones (as in the so-called positive psychology approach), sooner or later most of us would be quite exhausted by it all!
Implications of The Three Principles understanding
There are several implications. I will list a few here:
1. There is nothing we need to do with our anxious thoughts or memories.
The key to mental health and stability is recognising that there is a creative process or energy which is generating our thinking and thoughts don’t mean anything except for the meaning we give them.
There is nothing we need to do with our insecure thoughts or memories. We give a lot of attention to painful memories from the past. Some people suffer from flashbacks from past traumatic events (one of the symptoms of PTSD). By past I don’t mean the distant past, like 5 or 20 years ago but as in 5 minutes or 20 minutes ago. Flashbacks and memories are both derived from the power of thoughts. They are not real but appear very real. The more we dig into the past and analyse our insecure thinking, the more thoughts we create. Once we start seeing all memories, flashbacks and anxious thoughts as mere thoughts (flashbacks are thoughts with special effects) and remind ourselves that it is best to leave the past in the past (be it minutes or years), the insecure feelings will soon pass. That will create the opportunity for our personal mind to quieten down. From that quiet space, we start getting fresh thoughts and ideas to solve our perceived problems.
And just because we have a thought doesn’t mean we need to act on the thought. Thoughts are not real but appear real.
2. Each of us has access to fresh thoughts and wisdom.
Understanding the inside out paradigm will allow us to wake up to a higher level of consciousness. We will be able to free ourselves from attachment to the contents of any particular thinking, trusting the creating process behind thoughts and that thought comes and goes naturally.
3. Take important decisions and action when in a better state of mind.
The quality of our state of mind will give us an idea of the quality of our thoughts. If we have fewer thoughts on our mind or good quality thoughts, we will be in a good state, get good feelings, be in a flow and get more done. In contrast, if we are entertaining our problems and have negative thoughts, we will feel insecure and anxious or low.
From a low state, we react more and act out in ways that we may regret later. Making significant decisions from a depressed mood state is unwise. When we trust that our quality of thinking is bound to change sooner or later and that we will bounce back, we can defer the decision until then, if possible.
4. Realise the power of Thought, and that feelings are merely shadows of thoughts.
We all want to feel good. No one likes to feel negative feelings like getting angry, fearful, overwhelmed, anxious, low or upset. When we feel an uneasy feeling, we try to fix it by turning to something outside us. That can explain why people may turn to alcohol or drugs, food, sex, gambling, impulsive shopping or other self-injurious behaviours. Innocently, people are frightened of their insecure feelings, and in an attempt to make such feeling go away, they may resort to self-destructive habits.
When people get a more profound sense of the power of thought and that feelings are merely shadows of thoughts, they will gradually stop fearing their insecure feelings and thoughts. They will realise that they don’t need to fix the feeling or make it go away. It will eventually pass when the thought passes by. Gradually people will learn to be patient and graceful with their negative experiences, and experience a sense of ease as they go about their lives.
5. You can’t avoid falling into the outside-in trap.
I would like to offer a note of caution here. Part of the deal of being human is that we are bound to get caught up in our thinking (or thought avalanche!) from time to time or most of the time. We will find ourselves reacting to circumstances despite having an understanding of the Three Principles. We may feel hurt, angry, upset, overwhelmed, jealous and have accompanying hurtful, angry, overwhelming, resentful or even murderous thoughts! And then, we will judge those thoughts adding another dimension to our thinking. As a consequence, we are bound to go lower in our level of consciousness as we blame ourselves for our thoughts.
There is nothing wrong with us. Falling into traps of thought avalanche is human and should not be taken personally.
We are simply human beings trying to do the best we can, given our state of mind or the quality of our thinking.
One thing is for sure – One cannot learn the Three Principles with an analytical and intellectualising mind. The real understanding comes from an insight that’s always awakened at a deeper level.
I hope you have found this useful. Do feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.