The 3 Principles explained
The Philosopher Syndney Banks developed this model as a way of discribing an experience he had when he was a middle aged man looking for the root of his inner disharmony.
Mind - Consciousness - Thought
Thought - Our meaning making, thinking, the stories we tell ourselves
Consciousness - Our awareness of day to day experiences
Mind - The infinite field in which all the above takes place.
We each of us have between 70,000 and 100,000 thoughts a day wizzing through our heads. Given that, I think we can agree that the likelyhood of being able to exert control over that endless stream, is pretty unlikely.
Each time we have a thought we make some meaning out of it, in order to try and make sense of the world around us. The trouble is we can only make meaning based on past events and experiences and our cultural settings or even what others around us helpfully suggest. From this soup we draw our often very misinformed conclusions.
From that river of thought follows a river of feelings.
Consciousness is how we experience our day to day lives. It's how we know we are alive. We feel our thinking moment by moment, day by day and as we become aware of this, we see for ourselves the moments when we get tied up in our thinking and the feelings linked with those thoughts.
Making up stories by filling in the gaps of information and predicting things that haven't yet happened and freaking out about these fictions, when we have no idea if they will or won't happen. We feel it all as if it is real. I call these thought storms and the tsunami of feeings that come with them feel very real and are often very uncomfortable.
Mind - The Spiritual Element
Sydney Banks saw the interconnectedness of all things and the intelligence behind all things. We are all linked to one another and the world in which we live; physically, emotionally and elementaly.
As such we are part of a greater whole which you may understand as God or Universal Energy or something else. Whatever or however you see or term this, this energetic force is where thought and consciousness come from.
Even the most agnostic of us know the sense of awe we feel when we watch a David Attenborough documentary and see the amazing beauty in the natural world. In those moments we feel our interconnectedness, we marvel at the wisdom behind the creatures we watch and we identify with them in some deep seated way. That's what Syd is pointing to when he talks about mind.
The repercussions of this understanding.
The more you become aware of this in action, the more you see that judging thought as positive or negative makes no sense. Thought is not real or true, it's simply an illusion created by your past experiences and cultural norms and the feelings you have in reaction to your thoughts are feedback, because you feel your thinking. That's just how it works.
When you realise this for yourself, it becomes easier to ride out the tsunami of thoughts that can engulf you and with them the associated feelings. You discover you already have the strength to let the thoughts just be without the need to do anything about them and that is liberating.
The less attention you give to unhelpful thinking the more those thoughts fall aways. As they do, it creates space for fresh thought which is often insightful because it takes you beyond your old habitual patterns. When you see that thought no longer has the power to control you, you begin to understand that you do not have to do what you think, you do not have to be enslaved by unhelpful thoughts and that means you have more choice about what you do and how you live.
This is why a program based on this model is now proving to be so helpful in the rehabilitation of drug addicted prisoners. Beyond Belief is a not for profit, run in various prisons thoughout the UK and there are many other such programs in the USA.
Finally, the efect of seeing it in yourself is that you also see it in those around you. You see beyond the thinking and behaviours driven by the thinking and see instead a human being, doing the best they can, even when that leaves a lot to be desired. This leads you to be kinder, gentler and more compationate with others, as well as yourself. You appreciate what it is to be human and you see moments when you and those around you, go amazingly beyond your previously held limitations and expectations and that is very precious.
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