Welcome to our group

Frank GerrytsThis site is dedicated to sharing the inside-out understanding of the Three Principles, as originally uncovered by Sydney Banks.

We have gathered together posts from other Three Principles blogs as well as our own ones. As time goes on we will be offering more services based on the Canadian West Coast and nearby islands. Look out for events and feel free to contact me to let me know about any events you think will be of interest to others in this area.

Where Leaders Go Wrong

As everyone can relate, the human experience vacillates between looking inside and looking outside; between harmony and discord; between clarity and clutter; between positivity and judgment; between confidence and insecurity; between yin and yang. And, as we’ve discussed the last few weeks, this vacillation can also be described as moving from the true Self (the realization of ONE shared being) to the separate self (the transient experience of being a personal entity or ego), then back again and again.

This week, I’m going to stay on topic and appeal to coaches, teachers, counselors, psychologists, parents, employers, preachers, friends, and politicians—the charismatic leaders among you. For you leaders, I’m going to reveal just how essential it is to understand that this vacillation between true Self and separate self is both normal and can never be manually overridden.

Let’s start with the separate self or ego. By definition, it:

A. Feels separate or alone.
B. Feels the need to fix this sense of separation.

That is, the separate self constantly feels the need to ease its sense of separateness in a quest to feel secure. So, when it comes to leaders, the separate self wants to offer strategies, techniques, orders, rules, punishment, personal opinions, and even indoctrinate others as it tries to scratch and claw its way back to the wholeness of the true Self. But this cannot work, and only fortifies the separate self, since, again, the true Self cannot be found manually or on purpose.

And that is where leaders often go wrong.

Because they don’t understand that the vacillation described above is normal (don’t understand the human experience), they fall for the temptation to fix what’s not broken—to the extreme detriment of those under their purview or care. In fact, every dictator in the history of human beings has succumbed to the lure of the separate self or ego. They’ve desperately tried to fix others in order to fix, or feel secure, themselves.

On the other hand, here’s what happens when leaders understand the transient nature of the human experience and, thus, don’t succumb to the lure of the separate self or ego when it appears:

A. The true Self fluently takes its place.
B. From the perspective of the true Self (one being), no personal entities exist who could be offered strategies, techniques, orders, rules, punishment, or personal opinions; there’s no one TO indoctrinate.

And what remains? Simply LOVE. And love, without effort, knows exactly how to lead.

Thank you for reading,

Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Saturday, January 14 & 15, 2018

Sunday, January 14. Day three of the training, and it turned out to be a fairly difficult one. I haven’t had a difficult training day for a few years, so this took me by surprise. At least among some of the trainees, the feeling dropped twice today. I think it’s because I haven’t really had a mixed group in a long time where a good portion of the trainees were complete beginners with the Principles, while others had a pretty good understanding, and because of the title of the training retreat I started going in a more advanced direction and the beginners got lost. Tomorrow I’ve got to pick up the pieces. It’s not that it was bad; it’s just that it didn’t go great, and I’m used to it going great. I’ve got to create a good day tomorrow.  At least this afternoon was very special. We took the open-ended truck taxi to an ancient volcano crater that had filled with the saltiest of water. We took a dip and it was impossible to sink, much like the Dead Sea or the Great Salt Lake. We heard about the healing properties of the salt water there, especially the mud, so Karen, who is a local in our group, and Charlie and I strolled around until we could locate some wet black mud, of which there was extremely little, and spread it over our almost entire bodies. Before spreading the mud we also found some soft wet salt that we also spread upon us. I then walked to the back of the crater, where it was very beautiful, and took some pictures of Dany (I found out that’s really how he spells it) in his favorite place to meditate. I didn’t disturb him. I must’ve looked quite the sight coming up from the mud bath because everyone laughed at me. I took an outdoor shower before leaving there, but had to leave my bathing suit on because the woman who had to turn on the water with a wrench just stood there while I was taking the shower. It was also fairly cold water. They charge for that shower, too!  My skin is very soft right now. By the time we got back I didn’t even have time to get to my hotel before we had to start the session, and my planning notes were in my hotel with my warm clothes. I thought the evening session started off well, but then it seemed to fizzle. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, January 15. Last day of training retreat. Well, I must say, we had an excellent recovery. I began the day differently than I would normally, with a combination check-in about what they’ve gotten out of the training for themselves so far and what would they like to cover today before we leave. I was astounded that this instruction essentially turned into a closing circle, with the feeling extremely high, except we weren’t closing. It definitely recovered the feeling from the day before. For the rest of the day the group wanted to explore the ego and how it gave the illusion of taking us away from our true essence, so that is what we did. Then we took the afternoon off again, so Damian, Donna and I headed for the beach. The wind blew a lot harder today, sometimes sand-blasting us on the beach; I actually put in my earplugs so the sand wouldn’t blow into my ears. The water was rougher, the waves bigger, so I didn’t attempt a swim. But I did go to the part of the beach best for body-surfing and took in a bunch of waves. Some were a bit scary. I caught a big one just as it broke that literally spun me around in a somersault—just about pushed my limit; okay, maybe I’d had enough. But it was really fun. Then we found some shelter behind a boat and I lay on the beach in the warm sun reading, which is one of my favorite activities. Then we went back to close out the training and ended on a high note. Turned out to be a really good training, judging by what everyone said. It was Charlie’s birthday so we all went out to celebrate at an Italian restaurant. I had checked out of my hotel in the morning so I’d brought my bags to Dany’s place, as my plane was departing at 1:45 AM! Dany had a cab waiting at his place at 11 PM to take me to the airport, but the dinner took so long and I wasn’t paying attention to the time, and all of a sudden it realized it was 10 minutes to 11. Luckily, Karen had her car (being local) and drove me back to Dany’s. Having never heard about the Three Principles before, Karen really caught something big, and I think she has natural talent. Howard graciously accompanied me to the airport. And now the Principles have been introduced to the Cape Verde Islands. Great trip. Sal Island really grew on me, especially with my first thoughts of, “What kind of a place is this?!” It definitely took some getting used to. It certainly has a relaxed charm to it that gets under your skin. It’s motto is “No stress.” I get it. But now the plane ride back home begins… Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep up with my daily tripblog postings because the internet connection was so bad and I could only get on line sometimes.

The post Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Saturday, January 14 & 15, 2018 appeared first on Center for Inside-Out Understanding.

An Upcoming Event


Here’s a rare Friday post to ask a question: Would you like to pick the brains of three people who have a ton of experience teaching the inside-out understanding?

I’ve been working on something very special with my dear friends and colleagues, Michael Neill and Jamie Smart. Each of us is an author, international speaker, and performance coach. We’ve each managed to have a big impact sharing an understanding of the inside-out nature of life with others. Now we’re looking for a select group of people to join us as we take this understanding deeper.

Here’s how you’ll know if you’re a good fit for what we have in mind (and vice-versa):

– You want to perform at a high level
– You want to make a positive difference in the world
– You want to turn your dreams and inspirations into tangible, real-world results
– You know that if you had the right impetus and guidance, you could really make things happen
– You’re interested in the principles behind state of mind
– You want to do all of this authentically, in a way that fits with who you are
– You’re courageous and willing to take action if the direction looks right to you

If this describes you, click here: https://jamiesmartltd.isrefer.com/go/GIG/GK001/

We’ll be selecting the group for this rare opportunity in the next few weeks.

I’m truly looking forward,

P.S. When you get to the page, just hit the button that says “YES – I want the details” and we’ll get them over to you right away. G

The Separate Self, the True Self, and the Art of Concession

Here’s a question, for you, regarding my last few articles:

Why would I write about the nonexistence of personal control or choice and, at the same time, suggest that those who stop trying to control tend to make better life choices? As several of you have argued: “You’re contradicting yourself, Garret. You’re saying we don’t have control over our choices, and then you’re asking us to make the deliberate choice to stop trying to choose or control.”

Well, yes, I am. But totally on purpose. And here’s the reason:

To help move readers inward—to a change of heart, love, or the true Self—it seems logical to me to make a concession to the separate or personal self that most readers think themselves to be. That is, because the separate self thinks it possesses the power of choice, I’m asking the separate self to make the choice to turn its back on itself. This allows the mind to quiet and the feeling of personal responsibility to fade away. What then remains is the ONE being who is not separate.

Indeed, great teachers or coaches, from Jesus to Sydney Banks, understood and relied on this subtle art of concession. They spoke to “individuals” and their apparent free will, even though they knew that free will, or the power to choose, was merely a concept of the human mind. Again, from the perspective of one being or the true Self, no separate entity exists who can choose. But to get there, it’s necessary to appeal to the separate self and the conditioning that gives rise to it.

It’s also important to note that concessions are strictly made as stepping stones toward the easing of personal responsibility or burden. They never add it. For example, Jesus said, “Do unto others as they would do unto you,” (a concession to the separate self) not to bolster the delusion of separateness or to apply personal pressure, but to ultimately reveal that, in truth, there are no others. Today, the overwhelming majority of teachers and coaches are offering up strategies and mantras (e.g., “it’s on you, look in the mirror, find your personal why, believe in yourself, or compete with yourself”) which reinforce the separate self and the burden that, by definition, it wears around its neck.

Bottom line? Over the past few weeks, I’ve made a purposeful concession. I’ve treated readers as separate entities with the hope that they stop trying to control, make deliberate choices, or assume personal responsibility. Only then will the true Self, who will always act peacefully, productively, and in concert with the greater good or universe, effortlessly emerge.

Thank you for reading,

First Responders: Noticing and Getting Curious – Cherie Ray, MLA

First Responders: Noticing and Getting Curious

Recently I noticed that when I considered following a new idea or inspiration about my business, some very familiar thinking would show up almost instantly.  I also began to notice the same dynamic kicked-in when considering the holidays or thinking about other things in my life.  

What I noticed was a flood of very real familiar thinking, very specific to the topic at hand, would show up in my mental conversation.  This immediate-believable-absolute-feeling-seemingly-truthful flavored thinking showed up almost on que to tell me the truth about how life works. 

As I noticed this dynamic happening more and more, these thought patterns occurred to me as my First Responders.  Just like emergency first responders that show up on the scene to support us in times of need, these familiar thinking thought patterns show up on the scene to offer me a helpful dose of my reality.  Something smelled fishy; my mental 1st Responders had a bias toward limitation.  I found this interesting too! 

In the game of life, if you look around, the nature of life is synonymous with potential and possibility.  How could something live in my head, be so familiar, feel so definitive, and not be true about life? In understanding more about our human operating system, we live in a world of thought and then see it as real, so this is where my curiosity kicked in again.  If my First Responders are not telling me the absolute truth about life, what else is there to see to around the topic I’m looking at?  So, it occurred to me to consider there are holes in their stories and to keep my eyes and ears open to seeing something fresh.  Guess what?  New fresh possibilities are coming to me and it can work the same for you.

Here are some bullet points to raise your awareness to your First Responders:

  • 1st Responders are not informing you about how life works.  It’s informing you of how you believe it works.
  • 1st Responders are reflecting your habits of thinking. 
  • 1st Responders are not informing you of what’s possible for you in life.
  • 1st Responders are a mirror to your current mood.  High mood, things look possible.  Low mood, things look bleak.
  • 1st Responders look real and feel true.  Remember, this is all happening in your mind, not in life at the moment.  For example, a busted water pipe in the mind is very different than a busted water pipe in front of you.  The one in front of you is really happening and calling for your immediate attention. The other only exists in the mind but it still feels real.
  • You may always have the same 1st Responders show up on the scene for you, whether they’re historic or futuristic, remember they are still not occurring now.

This is all good news. Why? Because we all get a chance to see more of our humanity as just that, an aspect of being human. Not a problem that needs to be overcome, just something to be aware of.  The more you see the role of thought in the moment, the more relaxed you effortlessly become.  Get curious.  There’s always more to be seen.





Cherie Ray, MLA,

Consultant l Coach

Human Potential l Creativity




Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday, January 13. Day two of the training. Last night, walking back to the Aparthotel of Santa Maria Beach where I’m staying, I had no idea of where to go with the group. Something came to me that sounded good. But by the time I got back there in the morning, it had changed. I almost always start my groups off the next day by asking for any insights, comments or questions from the day and night before, which most of the time is my favorite part of the training, and this one was very nice. Just as our break finished, I had changed my mind again about where to go with the group. Planning without being attached to the plan; this keep me completely present with the moment and it can change on a dime. And it must have come from wisdom because this second deep listening activity we did on creation of illusion went very well. We were served the typical Cape Verdean meal for lunch. Then we went into retreat mode, took the afternoon off, went to the beach, and met again at 5:00 PM. This is a really nice beach. It is why tourists come to this island. When I get to a white sand beach like this, first I have to run on it, then I have to swim in  it if it’s not too rough, and this was almost perfect swimming. So I swam for about 10 minutes, before I got bowled over by a wave because I swam too close to shore. That made me want to go body surfing, which I did for another fifteen minutes. In this particular place, where the beach curves just right, the waves were breaking perfectly. So I had a great time taking in some waves and getting some great waves. Some of the waves were deceptively powerful. Then I swam back another 10 minutes to where Damian and Donna were sunbathing, which is the other thing I have to do when I get to a beach like this. Great afternoon. Then we met back at the training from 5 to 7. This is definitely the way to run a training retreat. It really helps people because it relaxes their minds. This group is really starting to feel close and get a beautiful feeling together. As Syd Banks always said, “The answer lies in the feeling.”

The post Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Saturday, January 13, 2018 appeared first on Center for Inside-Out Understanding.

Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Friday, January 12, 2018

Photo by Helen James

Friday, January 12. Day one of the training begins. Especially from talking with people on the hike the day before, I assumed that most people had had a lot the Three Pinciples experience, and I had planned accordingly. But going around the room with introductions in our opening circle, I discovered this was not the case at all. Most people were new or considered themselves beginners, with a couple of exceptions. I had to make some quick on the spot adjustments to my plans. We are supposed to be delving deeply into consciousness, but instead we had to cover the basics of the 3P’s first, plus I wanted them to have an experience of deep listening. But it seemed the first day of training went over very well, and I got a lot of positive feedback. People were happy just to relax and be in presence together. That night we all went out to dinner, sitting outside at one of their open-air restaurants on the beach, and I left the group to take a nap, as we were supposed to meet again later at the Calema Pub, where the disappearing mystery woman whom I had met on the plane, was allegedly playing at 8:00. I fell totally asleep and woke up at 8:10, so in a groggy daze I zoomed over to meet the rest of the group, who were sitting outside at a long table. I almost ran right by them, but I heard them yell my name. The music had not started yet. We checked and they said she would now be starting at 10:00 PM instead. Okay, we had some drinks, and I had a wonderful conversation with Miriam from our group. When 10:00 rolled around, the woman performer still had not shown, so I went into the pub and asked again. They said she had a migraine and would try to call her again. I decided she really still didn’t exist, so I left the group and went back home to sleep. As I was getting ready for bed, I got a call from Damian saying that she had come in at 10:30 and had started to sing, if I wanted to come back over. I found out the next day that most people really liked her; that she was very different, kind of ad-libbing in at least three different languages. But by this time I felt like just going to sleep. My goodness, she exists after all (not for me yet, though.)

The post Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Friday, January 12, 2018 appeared first on Center for Inside-Out Understanding.

Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday, January 11. Part 1. We landed in Praia, Santiago Island, Cape Verde early, about 1:00 in the morning. I had found out after I left that I would need to get a visa—now they tell me!—and that I could do that when I got off the plane at the airport but if I wasn’t close to the front of the line it could take me 45 minutes to get through. I was smack dab in the middle of the plane. As I stood in the line a while waiting to get off, somebody told me to turn around. The other half of passengers had gotten out a back door. So I was nearly the last one off the plane. But I walked fast to get into the visa line about in the middle of the pack. Then, all the people behind me went to a new agent who had opened a new line, so suddenly I was at the end again. Took me an hour or more to get out of there.

Then the fun really began. Damian had told me the hotel was a stone’s throw from the airport and I would need to take a taxi but it was only a couple of streets over. I walked out of the airport into sketchy land. A dude came up to me very friendly and asked if I needed a taxi. I said yes, told him where I was going, that it was just a couple of streets away. He couldn’t speak any English but we finally figured out he was saying it would cost three euros. I said okay. As were walking down the sketchy street, it suddenly occurred to me that I have no idea whether he’s a taxicab driver or not. What do I know? I have no instructions except the address of the hotel and “take a taxi.” Suddenly another guy appears, unhappy with the first guy. Neither of them speak any English; probably they were speaking Criolo, the native tongue of Cape Verde. They also speak Portuguese, but that doesn’t help me. Anyway, the first guy finally manages to communicate that the second guy won’t let me go with him because there is a taxicab queue and it is proper to take the first taxi. So I find myself in another guy’s taxi, whom I hadn’t explained what I had told to the first guy, and we are driving, driving, driving and I’m starting to get nervous. If this is a stone’s throw from the airport the guy must have a throwing arm 100,000 times greater than George Washington. Finally, we arrive. He charges me €10. The guy from the hotel comes out. He speaks no English either, but I think he said that €10 is what it costs. So I don’t know whether I was taken or whether I was saved, but now it was time to try to communicate with the guy at the hotel and I have never in my life had a more difficult communication experience. We could hardly find more than three words we could both understand. He takes me to my room, and it’s kind of a hole, but at this point at about 2:30 AM beggars can’t be choosers. And, I have to get up at 4:00 AM to catch my plane at the airport again, my final leg to Sal Islsand. I had gotten a new alarm clock, and I hadn’t used it yet, and I was praying it would get me up in time. Unfortunately, I was wired by the time I went to sleep, so if I was lucky I got in one hour.

Never have I been more both happy and miserable to hear the alarm ring. I felt in a total fog. When I went to check out the hotel the same guy was there, but he went and got reinforcements because he was confused, and unfortunately the reinforcement didn’t speak any English either and was just as confused. I assumed Damian had paid for the hotel but I didn’t really know, and they were insisting. And the currency they use here is really scary if you don’t know what the exchange rate is. So my bill came out to be $5526, which I had to put that on my credit card. Scary moment. Found out later that equals around $55 US. Phew. They also put a new charge on my bill for a taxi to the airport, and I was just glad one showed up. He didn’t speak English either. Luckily at check-in people did speak some English.

One funny thing happened. A striking woman walked into the airport with two guitars. I could tell she had just rushed into the airport, wiping sweat off her brow. I was struck by her energy and the fact that she was a musician, as my son is a professional musician. For some reason I had a feeling I would talk with her. Then it seemed like she got into a different queue for a different plane, and I thought, okay, so much for that. So I get on the plane, and this woman walks in as the last passenger and sits right next to me. Weird or what? Anyway, we had a great conversation. She and her husband are natives of the island of Santiago here, she is in fact a musician, plays a combination of bossa nova, jazz and blues, and she was playing at a club on Sal Island. I thought maybe we could check it out. She gave me the name of the club, asked me what I did, and then she wanted to come to my training. I told her it was fine with me but I would have to ask Damian. I told her to come to find me and Damian after she got her bags and guitars all set so I could tell her where the place was and if she could come. I went talk to Damian for a few minutes, waiting for her. Then she disappeared. Everybody had to come out the same door. She had to walk right by us. But she was gone. I went back in to look for her. Gone. The thought occurred to me that in my stupor I may have made her up.

Thursday, January 11. Part II.

Damian met me and he and his taxi driver took me to my hotel. Not the greatest room in the world, but acceptable. As soon as Damian left to go back to his place, I found out there was no Internet. Unacceptable! That was one of my requirements, as I must have email at my disposal because it’s the lifeblood of my work. I was supposed to take a much needed nap, and Damian was supposed to pick me up in a few hours. So I never got the name of the place he was staying. I picked up my phone to text him. No phone connection—not even good enough to send a text. I didn’t know where he was, I couldn’t get in touch with him or anybody else, I needed to send a few emails out and I couldn’t, and I was stranded. At that point I was not a happy camper. But, oh well…, it was a sign that I needed to get some sleep. I woke up three hours later to a ding on my phone. While I was asleep the phone service had suddenly kicked in, and Damian just got my message and got back to me. He came over and we tried by various means to get me an Internet connection. We thought we had something, but it was to no avail.

I’m seeing something about my thinking during adventures like this when things just don’t work out like they are supposed to. First my thinking gets very grumbly as it all tries to sort itself out, but then when even the worst happens (not that the very worst ever did, knock on wood, I just resign myself and say, “Oh well…” And not just on adventures like this. I think this is my habit.


Thursday, January 11, Part III.

After a much needed three-hour nap, Damian and I walked down to meet the other attendees who had come in. This group and this place just kind of fell into Damian’s lap. He has an uncanny ability to just have faith that things are going to work out, and generally they do. So, while logistics is not his strong suit, making things come together in a way that works, is. Not only is this a really nice group of very sharp people, but his local contact through this process, Dani, proved to be a very special person. He took us on a hike to and up a very small mountain on the coast so we could be on top in time for the sunset. Most of us drove in the back of an open-ended pickup truck, and I only had worn a T-shirt and it was cold.

I talked with Dani as we walked along, learning much about the sometimes sordid history of Cape Verse. When the Portuguese found this set of islands in about the 1400s, they were uninhabited. Then they became the major slave trading port, the most convenient stopover point between Africa and America. Also in the 1800s they discovered this island‘s vast salt resources, so Portuguese and others moved in to gather the salt (hence the name, Sal Island) and mixed with the slaves and their descendants, and Cape Verde because most racially intermixed country in the world. It only gained its independence 42 years ago, so it is still a very fledgling, with all the difficulties of a newly developing Third World country. Many Senegalese and people from other African countries have since moved in. Unlike the other Cape Verdean islands, Sal Island is mostly very flat island with a few little mountains, but what it does have is more sun than any of the other Cape Verde islands, perhaps more sun than anywhere else in the world except for a desert, and really nice beaches (with great surfing), which is why people come here. Almost the entire industry is based on tourism. Yet many of the native residents who serve the tourists seem rather annoyed with us, but Dani says I have that wrong. The feeling I get, from such a limited experience so far, is that this entire set of islands could use one big Native American cleansing ceremony. I may have that wrong, too.

On this hike, much of the land seem to combination of sand and lava rock, some of it very unstable. It wasn’t that easy to walk, but Dani did the entire thing in flip-flops. He said he wouldn’t hike any other way. At one point about in the middle of our hour-long walk to get to the mountain, I stepped up onto a mini-cliff of unstable part of ground, which broke under my weight, and I bit the dust. Fell pretty hard. I landed on my hands and my right knee, trying to protect my camera. People were concerned about me as I came up bleeding a bit and bruised, but I was fine and kept walking. Once up on the mountain the views overlooking the ocean were really nice. Great little trek, very nice afternoon with really nice people. Then we had dinner together and I left everyone to get to sleep. The training starts tomorrow.

The post Jack’s Three Principles Travel Blog Thursday, January 11, 2018 appeared first on Center for Inside-Out Understanding.

The infinity of possibility

The infinity of possibility

The human mind has no limits. We can create anything. We can imagine unseen worlds. We can dream far beyond our knowledge. We can conceive responses to any challenge. We are dynamic players in an infinity of possibility.

The promise of this for all of humanity, no matter how haltingly realized, is the eternal hope for thriving beyond survival. At any moment, an insight might bubble up in anyone that provides a solution to vexing problems. Right now, someone is conceiving how to transcend discord between cultures and individuals.  An answer is taking form in a doctor’s mind to cure a deadly disease. A child daydreaming by a fireside is playing unheard music in his mind. A scientist is stumbling into an unexpected development in a lab that sets her mind alight with a new direction for research. All over the planet, the power of creation is pulsing through all of life.

We are not the product of creation; we are creation both in formlessness, our powers to think and shape our thinking into reality, and in form, our very existence that allows us to interact and build and and dance and laugh, and, yes, to scream and cry. Because we are always thinking our own particular reality into form, we are living in the illusion that we are fixed in time and space, bound by our own limitations. Only when we step back to see the whole beautiful system in operation do we realize that we are fixed only by the limitations we make up in our own thoughts.

What are those limits? Simple things like, “If that was such a great idea, somebody would already have thought of it.” “I’m not smart enough to solve this problem.” “I can’t do math.” “That’s beyond my pay grade; don’t ask me that.” “I don’t understand art.” “My ideas aren’t that good; I can’t help you.” In the ordinary course of every day, we stop short, again and again, of allowing our own minds to work as they are designed to work. We turn our backs on the infinite possibilities of what we might see in this moment now, and travel backwards and forwards into fear and doubt about ourselves.

When my grandson (the artist of the illustration for this Blog) was little, it used to thrill me when he would open a box and dump a bunch of Lego pieces in a pile and, unfazed, look at the picture on the box and begin sorting the pieces to build it himself. The first time he did that, to be honest, I was momentarily concerned. I had the thought, “Oh, gosh. He’s so little. This is too complicated for him. I don’t think he can figure it out, and I hate to see him frustrated.” Fortunately, I didn’t express that thought. I just went about fixing dinner. A half-hour later, when I went to tell him it was time for dinner, he was fitting the last few pieces in place and smiling from ear to ear. “Look Grammie! I saw how to do it! I looked at the picture and I saw what to do!”

That’s the starter kit we’re born with, unlimited faith that we can see what to do if we just wonder and look. Little children who have not been told they can’t always start from “I can.” Limitations are acquired thinking; we come into the world with nothing on our minds. And then we fill our minds with whatever we borrow, observe, see or discover for ourselves.

I learned, watching my grandson grow up (he’s 18 now) that if you don’t ever discuss limitations with children, they don’t find them. He watched his mother running a half-marathon when he was 10. “That looks like fun,” he said. “Great,” she said, “you can run with me next time.” He did, starting with 5k’s, and six months later, he finished his first half-marathon, filled with joy. He watched his father, an artist, draw simple animals on butcher block paper in a restaurant when he was a little tyke, barely able to grasp a crayon. “I do it!” he exclaimed. “Sure,” his Dad said, “and guided him to creating his first orange bunny rabbit. Within a short time, he was drawing all kinds of things on his own. He watched me pulling weeds in the yard when he was five. “Can I pull some?” he asked. “Sure,” I said. “I’ll show you how to tell the weeds from the flowers.” By the next Saturday, he was out there working confidently by my side.

We come into life exuberant to live it. We throw ourselves into the freshness of it all and start thinking our own way through the color and light and sounds and adventures of seeing life anew. At every step along the way, our minds are optimally wired to make the most of it and generate rich experiences of it. But our minds belong to us, and we can think anything. The mind doesn’t care. Whatever images we put into our heads, our consciousness will bring into our reality. So the first time we think, “Oh, no, I can’t,” we have the experience of holding back, stepping away from opportunity, doubting ourselves. That’s not all bad; we have to learn not to put our hand down on a hot stove, not to go into freezing weather without protective clothing, not to do and think a lot of things. But we need to learn, from early on in life, that thinking is our gift, the way we create our precious life experience, the pathway to entering the unknown and finding new treasures.

No one can stop the flow of thought; it is the creative process moving through us. No one can keep new thoughts from coming to mind. But everyone can see that flow for what it is, an energetic movement of stuff, like detritus floating in a fast-flowing river. We can watch it pass, or we can grab something and look more closely. When we don’t know that we can watch it pass, we try to grab everything, and end up muddled. When we don’t know how to tell the good stuff from the junk, we make mistakes and hold onto to things we could have allowed to pass. When we know how it all works, we can enjoy it all — no harm done.

That’s the key, knowing we are not our thoughts. Our thoughts are the fleeting products of our own unlimited capacity to create images and ideas. Our experience of them allows us to know what to do with them, but none of them can hold us back. They don’t have the power.

We are Mind, Thought and Consciousness in motion. We are the power.

A Power You Don’t Possess

Here’s a super-quick post to help clear up some confusion.

It seems to me, at this stage of the game, that most of you who read my weekly articles understand that you don’t possess the power to control what thoughts pop into your head.

That’s wonderful.

However, many of you feel that you (or some controlling force inside of you) DO possess the power to act, or not act, on thoughts once they occur. As a reader told me last week, “I’m not responsible for my thoughts, but I am responsible for whether or not I follow my thoughts.”

Well, with all due respect, this common claim is questionable. Why? Because a thought occurs to you, out of your control, and then the choice of what to do with that thought—which is nothing more than another thought—also occurs to you, out of your control.

To illustrate:

“I want to tell that dude off” = a thought

“No, I’m not going to tell that dude off” = another thought

It’s simple. All choices present themselves in the form of a thought. It can’t work any other way. And, as we agreed above, you’re not personally responsible for, and don’t possess the power to control, any thought that occurs to you.

Such liberation.