Do You Believe in This?

Here’s what I believe in—and why this work is so important to me. How about you?

  1. I believe that a paradigm shift in the arenas of psychological well-being (and performance) is vital.
  2. I believe that psychological health rests within every person on this planet.
  3. I believe that there is a direct link between one’s thinking and feelings.
  4. I believe that there is no link between one’s feelings and circumstances.
  5. I believe that a person’s state of mind creates his or her experience.
  6. I believe that one’s experience does not create his or state of mind.
  7. I believe that a person who does not understand 3, 4, 5, and 6 will behave unproductively at home, school, or work.
  8. I believe that you can’t solve problems through the deliberate use of the intellect.
  9. I believe that problems are the result of a mind filled with thought.
  10. I believe that as the mind clears, problems fade away.
  11. I believe that human beings are wired to self-correct when troubled.
  12. I believe that human beings stop self-correcting to the extent they use outside coping strategies in a quest to feel or perform better.
  13. I believe that human beings can overcome anything.
  14. I believe that when all else fails, do what human beings do naturally: carry on, stay in the game, or love.

Comments, questions? I believe you know where to find me.

Garret

The NFL Scandals: Time for State-of-Mind Policies

Last week’s article (http://garretkramer.com/how-ray-rice-looks-to-me/) caused quite a stir among this e-mail list. Interestingly enough, your responses ranged from extremely complimentary to extremely critical. And while I appreciate both, in this article I want to focus on the critical. In particular, these questions posed: “How can you say that Ray Rice shouldn’t be punished?” And, “ Doesn’t accountability help prevent bad behavior?”

Indeed, these questions are at the heart of what the NFL is grappling with. Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the league, is on record as saying he got it wrong in the disciplining of Rice. I haven’t heard one commentator disagree. As for me, I want to be clear (especially to the critical) that the focus of my work is not on behavior. My focus is on teaching people where their feelings come from because, to me, that is the only way to change behavior. Punishment will not.

Case in point: Adrian Peterson. He’s been suspended indefinitely for hitting his son with a switch. Peterson doesn’t seem remorseful, though. He claims: “I have always believed that the way my parents’ disciplined me (apparently the same way he disciplined his son) has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man.” Obviously, Peterson isn’t truly capable of seeing the errors of his ways. Why? He believes that his feelings come from his circumstances. That life works from out to in: His parents’ discipline made him a success; being a great football player means that he’s a successful man; and, most significant, his insecure or upset feelings come from the behavior of his son—so in order to feel better, he must beat his son.

That’s why I said that punishing Rice (and Peterson, too) won’t prevent another domestic violence episode. It’s also why it’s impossible to hold people like Rice and Peterson accountable. They don’t know that their feelings come from inside of them. If they did, they wouldn’t be lashing out at the outside world to begin with!

The bottom line is that there is no proof whatsoever that punishment, or threats of punishment, lead to improved behavior. None. Until the NFL and the rest of us wake up to the fact that behavior is a symptom, not a cause, behavior will continue to spiral downward.

My suggestion, then? Instead of addressing the NFL’s current behavioral problem with code-of-conduct policies, Goodell must begin to institute “state-of-mind policies.” Learning that one’s feelings and perceptions come from the inside (and have nothing to do with the actions of others) leads to higher states of mind. And a higher state of mind is the only thing that can lead to improved behavior.

Good Mother

We are a species of ideas which translate into many projects, philosophies, wars All manner of spectacular forms, and horrors Ongoing, out-there, and also in our heads!   And, like a Good Mother Earth Bears witness Good Mother, Good Earth Loving without judging Giving of her forests, oceans, rivers, streams, mineral[…]

Just being happy

I’ll bet you can’t watch a few seconds of the above video without breaking into a smile, and if you keep watching, I’ll bet you start to laugh, too. Laughter is contagious. People who are laughing together aren’t thinking about their differences, but joining each other in the common human experience of just enjoying the moment. Laughter is an expression of happiness, a beautiful ordinary feeling that arises within us readily when we aren’t focused on thinking that keeps it at bay.

It didn’t take much research to find out there is a worldwide practice of Laughter Yoga, and there is a World Laughter Day organized by that group to promote world peace. The popular health literature is filled with articles about how laughter contributes to physical healing, improves the long-term outcomes for cardiac patients, helps ease depression and other chronic mental distress, even helps migraine patients. But the serious medical literature is also filled with research about the health benefits of laughter.  Laughter is good for us; no doubt about that.

The only thing that stands between us and having a good laugh is seriousness — taking our own thinking, taking others’ thinking, taking life really seriously. I know, I know. Some of you are cringing at that statement. I did, the first time I heard someone working in the Three Principles say “Life is too important to take seriously,” a quote originally attributed to the Victorian Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. At that time, I thought seriousness was tantamount to responsibility, which was a hallmark of maturity. Laughter and silliness were for the very young. Of course, I was suffering from all that seriousness, but I also thought suffering was good, a sign of respect for the significance of problems. I remember that time well. Bobby McFerrin’s song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was enjoying the same degree of public enthusiasm that Pharrell Williams’ Happy is enjoying now. (Skip the ads, watch them both, I guarantee smiles and laughter.) Back then, I was so intense that I really thought all the people humming Don’t Worry, Be Happy to themselves were just plain out of touch! I would grumble, “They don’t get it! Life is difficult.”

How did I get over it? I started hanging around with happy people and I “caught” it. I discovered the state of mind that opened the door to everything I wanted: new ideas, warm feelings towards people I had previously considered “difficult,” the ability to bounce back from disappointment, feeling secure in the face of the unknown, success in things that had seemed out of reach for me before. I looked out at the world that had seemed gray and hopeless to me only months before and I saw color and possibility and solutions instead of problems. All of a sudden, challenges no longer looked daunting, but looked like learning opportunities. I saw the humor in things again, and was shocked to discover that I could create laughter in serious business settings and things would get done more easily.

So, for the past 30 years, give or take some gloomy thinking that crept into my mind from time to time, I’ve been a devotee of happiness. It’s a fun place to visit, but, honestly, it’s a fabulous place to live.

Once you see that you are in charge of the direction your thinking takes, you can’t help but choose the path to Happiness. It comes naturally to us and feels more like home. If more and more people moved in that direction, the world would be different because happy people just can’t hate or fight or hang onto a lot of serious thinking about what other people should be doing. Happiness comes with contentment, compassion, love, joy and hope. Try it, you’ll like it!

 

 

 

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Hikari’s Story by Antonio Gomez

butterfly

In the summer of 2011 my Japanese wife and my two daughters moved from Tokyo to live together with me in the Canary Islands in Spain. The youngest of the family, Hana, was only, 3 years old at the time and didn´t really notice the change that much. In just a few months she was fluent in Spanish and had become the most popular girl in her class. My wife liked some things about our new place and missed other things from Japan and from living in a big cosmopolitan city. But Hikari, my eldest daughter, took the worst part. She was 8 years old, had many friends in Japan, and didn´t speak Spanish at all. It was a real culture shock for her and she found the educational system so different that she didn’t want to go to school.

After one year, she spoke Spanish (not as well as her younger sister), was afraid of the teacher, and didn´t have any friends. She played alone in the playground and when she was home she didn’t want to go outside. She just watched TV or played with video games. Her personality changed so much that my wife and I seriously considered going back to Japan. She looked always tired, sad, even old, for her age. I felt guilty for having made her leave her friends, her country, her freedom, because in Japan she could move more freely than in Spain. It broke my heart to see her suffering, feeling so lonely.

After talking about my daughter with my friend Gabriela Maldonado, I realized that my suffering and my being continually worried about Hikari didn´t help her at all. In fact it prevented me from being fully present with her. So, once I saw that, I changed. Instead of feeling sorry for her I started to see my daughter´s resilience and wellbeing beneath her actual suffering. And I started to be more present with her and to be more fun for her. In a way we became friends and looked forward to spend some time together at night in her bedroom talking about the day, the school, the girls in her class, life in general. In our conversations I always mentioned that what we think it doesn´t have to be true, we don´t have to take it so seriously, even when she thought, and “knew for sure” that she could never have friends in Spain, that was only a thought, and things would change with time.

I applied the same ideas to everything that worried her- tests, friends, teachers, whatever. But more than with words I shared these ideas with my attitude, because now I wasn´t that worried about her. Now I knew she would be OK.

Gradually she started to develop the same attitude. Having friends ceased to be an issue, and she made a few good friends. The teacher, who was really stressed up sometimes, ceased to be an issue and his attitude changed towards her, even her grades improved.

And I have to say that it was a relief for me to see her smile and see her eyes bright more often than before. Hikari was like a butterfly opening her little wings day by day.

But though she didn´t feel sad and lonely like before, still sometimes she had a heavy feeling around her. Hikari dreamt of being a dancer, a singer, a top model. But she was painfully shy. At least she thought she was. And she didn´t dare to sing or to dance in front of anyone (only when she was alone). Even though she went twice a week to hip hop lessons she didn´t want me to watch her. And she didn´t dance as well as she could.

At night time in her bedroom I told her again and again, that there is not such a thing as a shy dancer or a singer (at least when she is dancing or singing). I told her every night that if she wanted to make her dreams come true she had to forget about being shy. Because it is not true anyway. It is just a thought that is powerful only if you pay too much attention to it.

Then one day we went to have dinner with Alicia, a friend of mine that is an actress. I could see the way Hikari looked at her when we were eating. She admired her. After dinner Alicia sang a beautiful Russian song, and when she finished I looked at Hikari and told her, “Now it is your turn. You know you can sing. And you know you love singing.” Hikari hesitated and then after Alicia and I insisted she started singing with the most powerful voice, with the brightest eyes, with the most beautiful smile. She also danced with the music. It was magic.

I´ve never seen her look so happy, she was glowing…

“I feel so proud of myself!”-she told me- “Now I know I can do anything I want!”

And she meant it. She changed completely after that night. She became happy, confident, and strong. A different person, or maybe I should say, a real butterfly…

Antonio Gomez

 

Antonio Luis Gomez

antonioluisgomez@gmail.com

http://antonioluisgomez.wordpress.com/

 

How Ray Rice Looks to Me

Ray Rice did damage. His actions were completely unacceptable. But like Ray Rice, I’ve done damage. My behavior, a few times in my life, has been completely unacceptable. And the same goes for you and the many people who’ve jumped on the bandwagon of judgment.

I know what you’re thinking: “That may be true, but I never hit a woman. Domestic violence is just plain wrong.” Well, violence of any type is plain wrong. Verbal abuse is plain wrong. Bullying is plain wrong. War is plain wrong. My question is: What the heck are we going to do about it?

So far, the standard answer for people like Rice, and organizations like the NFL, is to throw the book at him. Suspend him from the league forever. Hmm, can someone please tell me what that’s going to do? How is suspending Rice going to keep him from hitting his wife the next time he’s tempted? In the heat of emotion and rage, do you truly believe that a person is going to stop and say to himself, “I better not do this because if I do I’ll get suspended.” No chance. In fact, this type of discipline has been in place in virtually all walks of life forever. Has it really served as a deterrent? Is violence getting better or worse? We both know the unfortunate answer.

Ray Rice needs help. Ray Rice needs love. Ray Rice needs to be taught that his feelings (anger, insecurity, frustration, etc.) don’t come from the behavior of his wife. They don’t come from his past. They don’t come from his career. They come from him! And, again, it’s not just Ray Rice. It’s Israel. It’s Hamas. It’s the United States. It’s terrorists around the world. It’s you. It’s me. Feelings come from the inside. From the natural ebb and flow of thought. Until this principle is universally taught and understood, violence will continue to escalate.

It’s time to wake up, people. We’re all guilty of the same misunderstanding. You can’t wage war with another person if you grasp that your feelings come from your own thinking. Looking outside and blaming your troubles on something or someone else is just plain wrong.

Awaken Joy! A Special Three Principles Retreat

With Christine Heath LMFT, William Pettit MD, and Judy Sedgeman EdD

June 11 – 14, 2015 at Anna Maria Island Resorts, Bradenton Beach, Florida, USA

Enjoy Anna Maria Island, Florida…

Enjoy “island time” in this quaint beach town on the Gulf of Mexico with one of the USA’s loveliest shorelines. We’ll be gathered for our retreat time in a charming Pergola, right on the white sands, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, sheltered from direct sun or occasional rain, but open to the whisper of the waves, the call of the gulls, and the rustle of sea grasses in the breeze. Come comfortable; walk down to the water on your breaks and enjoy a dip.

For accommodations, contact Anna Maria Island Resorts, which offers four locations close by the Pergola with different styles and types of rooms and amenities. Talk to Events staff, by e-mailing events@annamariaislandresorts.net or calling 1+941-778-6611 x110. Book your room with code Joymtg. Discounted rates are available to retreat attendees who register by April 1, 2015. Visit the resort site at http://www.annamariaislandresorts.net/ to preview accommodation choices.

Boat and Bicycle rentals are close by, as well as the convenient Anna Maria Island Trolley that will take you to all the local attractions. Many restaurants in walking distance. Enjoy a completely carefree few days.

About the 3 Principles Retreat…

We’ll gather Thursday evening to get to know each other and talk about our current understanding of what it means to be at peace, and share our hopes for the retreat. Light refreshments served. Friday and Saturday we will meet on a comfortable schedule, to elicit an ever clearer and deeper spiritual understanding of the Three Principles behind all of life.

Judy, Bill and Chris have worked with clients and groups all over the world to share the Principles for more than three decades, inspired by their training with Sydney Banks. You can expect a profound, but lighthearted and loving, perspective that sets the stage for your own insights. The goal of the event is to draw out the purest recognition of your own spiritual nature, and the sustained peace and joy that flows from it. It is our experience that a retreat with lots of reflection and fun time is the ideal way to get in touch with your wisdom and realize the Principles at work.

Retreat fee: US$400 until March 30; after March 30, US$450. Couples US$750. Register below or call 1+808-254-6484 and speak with Deb. Registration will be limited because of space, so register early!

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Three Principles Conference 2014

Three Principles ConferenceThe Three Principles Conference is coming up on October 23-26. You can register now at the conference site.
I am moderating a plenary panel there called (something like) “Modello and Beyond,” with Pam Gibson (who was working at Modello when Roger Mills showed up), Lloyd Fields (who was the first one Roger hired) and Beverley Wilson Hayes (who was essentially the first to take the Modello model and successfully apply it in another housing project with similar results—Coliseum Gardens). I am totally excited about being part of this wonderful panel.
I am also co-leading a break-out session on research with Tom Kelley, Judy Sedgeman and Linda Ramus. What’s exciting about this is we’re presenting a research and evaluation instrument that we’re hoping all 3P projects will begin using so we can gather enough data through a controlled study that will appear in a peer-reviewed journal and finally give us the credibility we’ve been seeking in the scientific community.
Besides that, the conference is almost guaranteed to be great (as last year’s was), as people from all over the world gather who have been touched by the three principles and are helping so many others live healthier lives throughout the world. I really look forward to seeing you there!

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Highs and Lows

Where do they come from, our highs and lows? From our bank accounts, marital status, success or failures, the weather? Because sometimes it looks as if our moods come from circumstances such as these (and sometimes it doesn’t) this question has plagued human beings forever. So let’s see what we can do about ending the confusion.

In short, our highs and lows don’t come from any of the above. They don’t come from anything circumstantial, or on the outside. They come from the inside. They come from our thinking.

Now, this is not theory. This is not my personal concept or approach. Inside each of us, there is a direct link from our thinking to our feeling state. And this link is an irrefutable truth. Meaning: It’s also an irrefutable truth that any link from our circumstances to our feeling state is an illusion—it’s all made up.

What I’m pointing toward is merely this: You’ll feel good to the extent that you’re not linking your feelings to circumstance. You’ll feel bad to the extent that you are. For example, if I’m at one of my kids’ athletic events and attribute my feelings to his or her performance on the field, I’m bound to feel anxious. Why? Because feeding this outside-in misconception with attention and belief requires thought—a lot of thought. And the more I think, the worse I feel. That’s how the thought-feeling connection works.

This is not to say that it’s wrong to look toward circumstance as the source of your feelings. It’s almost impossible not to. We all have particular life situations where we’ve made it a habit to look outside for the reason we feel low—or high. Yet, take a step back and consider how you feel when you do this: That off sensation in your gut is actually a sign that you’re experiencing a momentary overload of thought. And that overload makes it look like your moods are the result of something that’s happened, or going to happen, “out there.”

So, then, the next time you wonder where feelings come from, remember: If you feel low and decide to look toward circumstance, you’ll find a hundred excuses. What’s cool, though, is if you feel low and don’t look outside, you’ll self-correct (your head will clear) and you’ll feel better in spite of the exact same circumstances. As I said, your highs and lows come from one place only—the ebb and flow of what naturally takes place on the inside. The thought-feeling connection is foolproof.

“What’s wrong with me?”

Since I have begun seeing clients one-on-one as a Mental Health Mentor, the most frequent questions they ask in the first session are: “What’s wrong with me? How did  this happen? Why can’t  anyone explain to me what happened to my mind?”

For the most part, they’ve had a lot of therapy. And they’ve been given diagnoses. But  diagnoses do not explain. Diagnoses describe and label symptom sets. What’s eating at people are the WHY? questions. Why can’t I just be OK again? How did I go wrong? How do people get chemical  imbalances? How come I have it and my siblings don’t?

What is so humbling and thrilling to me is that I can answer their questions with a clear,  simple,  logical explanation that puts their minds to rest. I remember when I was struggling  with depression and I had those same questions. I had everything a person could ever want in  life, except peace of  mind, and that’s the only thing that ultimately mattered to me. Until I  stumbled upon the Three  Principles, it seemed to me that I was somehow flawed, and that I could never be at peace. Then I saw for myself that I was simply tangled up in a web of insecure thinking. I didn’t even need to try to  stop thinking those thoughts. I just had to see them for what they were — the places my mind goes  and stays when I start getting insecure. My own thinking taken seriously. The illusions of low moods. Images that would simply pass if I didn’t take them to heart.

Everything changed for me with that insight. Absolutely everything. The misery was meaningless to me. It started looking like a bad movie I didn’t have to sit through. I could simply turn away from it and allow my thinking to move elsewhere. There was nothing wrong with me. I was just a regular human being experiencing the ups and downs of my variable thinking about life. I didn’t realize I was taking the “downs” to heart so much that I was holding off the “ups”. I didn’t realize that I was creating all my experiences, good and bad, via my own power to think and see my thinking as reality. When I did realize that, it all cleared up. I was fine.

Now, I can share that with others, and point them to their own insights. The simple truth of it — we are the thinkers of our own thoughts and we “see” what we think as real only as long as it’s in our thinking — just resonates with people. The most frequent comment I get when the first insights start to pop for them is, “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this before?”

The answer is that the mental health field doesn’t know, either. No one told them before because they had not stumbled into a mental health educator who is not a traditionally trained therapist. Therapy assumes there is something wrong and does all it can to treat it. It often helps a lot. Three Principles practitioners assume there is nothing wrong and do all they can to point clients towards seeing that for themselves. It’s just a whole different paradigm. It offers the possibility of sustained change, what we call “cure”.

The fact that it works, time and again, is the evidence of its validity. Not proof. Evidence. People see their thinking for what it is, and see the power of the Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought at work and then they drop their negative thought habits, come into the present moment, and find peace of mind.

The answers are readily understood:

What’s wrong with me?  Nothing is fundamentally wrong with you.

How did this happen?  Over time, without realizing it, you started taking your most negative or upsetting thinking seriously and became even more frightened or distressed by it.

Why can’t anyone explain to me what happened to my mind?  Without realizing it themselves, people have been describing to you how unintentional misuse of your thinking creates the experiences we call mental illness. But since it is all an illusion created by your own ability to think, it’s impossible for someone who doesn’t see that for themselves to take the explanation any deeper than that. When you focus on what you have made up with your own thinking to try to “fix” it, you are caught in an endless loop. You have to keep thinking it to deal with it. As long as you’re thinking it with no understanding of how thinking works, it looks real.

How do people get chemical imbalances?  Upsetting thinking changes the chemistry of your brain, and ultimately your body. It all starts with thinking. There is a huge body of research describing the relationship between stress and chemical changes within us. When you stop entertaining stressful thinking and taking it seriously, your chemistry returns to normal.

Oh, yes. It is simple. And life-changing. As Sydney Banks put it in The Missing Link,

“All human psyches are rooted in universal truth and no person’s psyche is better than any other’s. Only to the degree of the individual’s psychological and spiritual understanding does it appear to vary.” 

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