It started with a game

Louise Storey“Isn’t it funny you don’t realise what you have until you don’t have it anymore? Usually we mean this to be something we’ve lost that we treasure. In this case losing something has been the best thing that has happened to me and my family. Let me explain…”

As a teenager I remember feeling self conscious, lonely and depressed once or twice to the point of wanting to end my life. I didn’t even know what depression was then, the label came a few years later and I self diagnosed myself. I didn’t talk to anyone about my feelings, I just sat in my room, thinking and thinking and imagining how life was so different for me than everyone else. I learned to put on a good front / mask.

Anyway swipe through to a few years later, I didn’t do bad at all in my life I have a wonderful loving, caring, understanding husband of 12 years, I have 2 beautiful children and loving parents. I also had a well paid job that I loved and was good at.

However, I still had self doubt, I cared a lot what others thought and I lived my life and made decisions based on outside influences such as friends, family, adverts, society etc etc…I thought this was just the way life was….there was however, something constant in my life though, episodes of depression, sometimes they’d camp out for one or two days and other times they really move in and stayed for longer and dragged me down deeper. I coped though, tablets sometimes, acupuncture, reading all about it, drinking, diet changes etc etc

I got through some pretty traumatic times and was quite grateful for getting through 3 IVF rounds, split from my husband for 6 months, 24 week premature baby and then the diagnosis of my eldest child on the autism spectrum, without ending up in a straight jacket.

I went back to a full-time full on IT travelling job when my children were still young and hired childcare. I loved the freedom that my job was giving me and I spent 1 year putting my all into getting up and running after being 6 years out of corporate life.

What I wasn’t focussing on though was the beauty of my children growing up in front of me. I thought that having more money and being a corporate working Mum was who I needed to be to have what everyone was saying “my identity”.
What I wasn’t focussing on was the wonderful husband (and parents) who were so patient with the stresses and strains of managing both our travel plans, jobs around the house at the weekend, the commitments of parenting (grandparenting) plus the biggest thing of all a constantly stressed out out wife / daughter.

So supposedly I “had it all”. So why then did I feel so unhappy most of the time? ….

I remember very clearly the day before I was going to go on holiday I was in a meeting in work and all the insecurities that I had about being back at work and who I was started to descend on me. I was shaking, I had thoughts about how rubbish I was at my job, I couldn’t do it, I was a fraud etc. I could hardly function in the meeting. I made a decision that made me feel better in that moment, I was going to hand my notice in when I got back from my holiday.

I read Jamie Smart’s Clarity book on holiday.

Something got my attention, but I really have no recollection what. I don;t think the words “three principles” or “Syd banks” even popped out as relevant to me at the time.

I played a bit with some of the ideas while I was still on holiday, giving people my full attention when they spoke to me for example…sounds simple doesn’t it? It was fun and I enjoyed trying out this new game.

So I went back to work and I thought I had nothing to loose as I was going to hand my notice in anyway, I tried out some things from the book, listening mainly with nothing on my mind… although back then I don’t think I really knew what that mean’t.

Almost instantly in a few days, I hadn’t got the insecure thoughts I’d had before the holiday, I just couldn’t imagine them anymore, I became curious about some other areas in the book, tried them out and saw more changes at work. Still a game.

Fast forward to the end of that year, I had gone from an average performer to a top performer at work and winning two awards – one of which was for innovation. I had never won an award in my life!

This really was interesting…so I read more books about something Jamie mentions in his book Three Principles and a welder from Scotland called Syd Banks…well living life started right there…

Its been nearly 20 months since I first read that book and I have been through such an amazing journey of learning and it still continues.

During a 6 month period I started to question why I was working in a full-time full on job. I would wake and have different thoughts everyday. One day I’d wake and I knew I loved my job, it was good money and I had got where I was with hard work, so I shouldn’t leave, then on the other days I’d wake with a pure longing to be with my children, and then as time went on I just knew it was the right time and place to be at home with my children and I’d just have to look for work around the childrens’ school hours. One fear I had at the time was would I have regrets if I left? I was frightened of regretful feelings, would I be able to cope being at home? Now I see what those fears were.

Finally I knew I could trust my wisdom fully and I realised I had to leave, so I handed my notice in. My company offered me all kinds of working hours and workarounds to keep a valuable employee, things I never would have ever dreamt of asking for in the first place. I stayed for another 6 months working around the needs of the children and still doing my job with less stress and doing more productive work than ever……and then one day I just knew it didn’t make sense anymore.

I have just had the most magical beautiful Summer with my family. No regrets about leaving work, very happy and content in all areas of my life.

Having spent time on Jamies’ year long practitioner course, deepening my understanding of the 3 principles, has truly had a transformative effect on my life and the people around me.

I knew from the beginning that “I was living in the feeling of my thinking of thought taking form in the moment” all the way through I knew this to some degree, but I kept getting caught up and sometimes even questioning whether it might be different in this situation.

Now I absolutely know that it works that way 100% of the time with no exceptions, yes there are times when I still get get caught out, but for me the more I trusted and “tested” situations out and saw that it was always that way, the implications on life have been enormous.

So going back to my opening line… what don’t I have anymore thats made me realise what I had?
I had a misunderstanding about how our reality gets created.

Taking away this misunderstanding allows me to constantly see the pain and unnecessary feelings that I once had and that people around me have.

Equally it enables me to see the beauty of the world around me, like family, nature and friendships, all my senses are alive to the world and allowing me to experience a richer world. The implications of this is slowing down, being present with loved ones.

We all love “How to’s”….but there really is no shelving problems, there is no shoving things under the carpet, there is no thought changing method, all there is to do is to understand how our thoughts create our feelings and reality in the moment.

Emotions, memories, beliefs… all thoughts in the moment. The only thing that can happen when you see this misunderstanding is the feeling and thoughts dissolve away or you have the choice to take no notice. It just doesn’t make sense any more.

Sometimes I forget the game and thats when I get hood winked into thinking that something other than my thinking is causing me stress, fear, pain, I have too much investment on an end result, that I don’t trust the inbuilt guidance system we have. That guidance system is what got me through teenage years, IVF, Premature baby stages, I am here safely DESPITE my misunderstanidng.

The misunderstanding

As a teenager I had no idea that all the thoughts I created about my self image, self loathing, what other people were saying about me, the lonely feelings were all created by me, not other people not teachers not my parents, not my body, my clumsy sociable ways. All thoughts created by me…never questioned, and yes a good downing of alcohol cured it all for a while.

“I had it all” – what did that mean? Who’s beliefs were they? Media / friends / society? If so why did I did still feel pain? Again never questioned any of this, why would I?

The traumas – how did I manage to show up everyday when I thought my little baby was going to die at the hospital? Even at that time I knew something was carrying me through.

I even thought it was Jamie’s book that gave me the good feelings and thoughts, I was caught again. Some people might read Jamie’s book and not see it. Some do and it takes longer, some immediately… without trying out “having nothing on my mind” I might never have seen it, through the judgement and beliefs I had about myself and the world.

Work, I truly and honestly thought that going to work would make me feel happy and give me my identity back.

I felt happy when I was working …..BUT it wasn’t the job that was making me happy. Remember at the beginning I wasn’t happy? I was insecure. Then my state of mind and thinking about the job changed as I understood more…more clarity mean’t I had the ability to enjoy the job, but the job was still the same, the people were still the same. For me I was playing the game well, but then I realised I was playing the wrong game.

I thought that giving up my job and being with the children would make me happy. That situation had nothing to do with it. I was able to trust my wisdom that it was the right thing to do at this moment in time. Following wisdom meant the decision came with no regrets or guilt.

Why am I telling you this?

So why am I sharing this information?

From someone who was not looking for herself, thought she had it all in life and thats as good as it got and had to live with painful feelings and thoughts, who doesn’t come from a formal coaching, mentoring or teaching background. I know from living through all my experiences in life with the misunderstanding, I can now see what caused me so much unnecessary pain.

I now know my job in life is to share this with others, to ease their suffering and pain.
…..

Living a Dream

We are always living a dream. We cannot experience anything without thinking it first. Whatever thoughts we bring to mind create our experience, which lasts only as long as they are brought to mind. Our thoughts are uniquely our own; no two thinkers arrive at precisely the same thoughts, although many people can share a predilection for certain kinds of thoughts. So each life, truly, is a particular dream, experienced as it unfolds through each person’s thinking.

One of the first statements I saw from Sydney Banks is: “Life is a divine dream, suspended between time, space and matter.” I was fascinated by it, though I could not work out what it must mean at the time. It hung there in my imagination for a few years, equally puzzling to me each time I revisited it. Then I heard Syd speaking once about a conversation he had had with a scientist, in which Syd tried to point out that the constructs of time, space and matter are ideas we’ve made up to be able to talk about our universe. But the only truth is formless energy.  Peering through the thicket of already formed thoughts at formless energy is a pointless exercise. We are bound to be caught in the tangle of our thoughts, not seeing beyond them, if we try to work through them to clear a gateway to infinity.

That gave me the courage to ask Syd a question: “How can I understand that life is a divine dream, suspended between time, space and matter, if I cannot think about it?” At the time I asked that question, the only book Syd had published was Second Chance, in which there is considerable conversation about  SEEING (as opposed to seeing) and KNOWING (as opposed to knowing). The wise character in that book describes SEEING in these two passages, for example (although I highly recommend reading the entire book):

“Remember, I told you …. that there are more realities than meet the eye. This SEEING must come from an experience of SEEING another reality.” (p. 16)

“‘SEEING’ is what evolves man’s mind to a higher level of consciousness. It is this evolvement that enables him to psychologically understand himself and the world around him.” (p.26)

Syd did not answer my question directly, but instead asked me what I thought about Second Chance. I told him I was confused by it and did not know what it all meant. “Good,” he said, “it’s good to be able to admit you don’t know. That’s the opportunity for knowing. From a state of not knowing you are likely to SEE something new.”

So I remained baffled, but I dropped the whole idea of figuring it out. I found that acknowledging not knowing and being at peace with it had really quieted my mind down. Needing to know the answers all the time (a habit developed in elementary school where there was a high premium on being the first with your hand up) had been revving up my thinking a lot more than I had realized. From a quieter state of mind, I was able to glimpse that “SEEING” is spiritual and “seeing” is temporal: that is, SEEING is an experience beyond cognitive limits. SEEING is fluttering briefly into the emptiness before thought where you KNOW the power of thoughts forming, your own power to form thought, as a spiritual gift before form.  I realized that I had previously memorized, pondered about, and repeated the definitions of the Principles as they were always described, thus innocently focusing on the formed word to understand them, rather than awakening to the formless, the true Principles, the spiritual energy of all life in creation, before the words. I had been reading the notes, but missing the music.

That was one of the most exciting insights of my life, and it was a point of transformation. Oh, like all of us, I still talked about the logic of the Principles and described the inside-out outcomes of the ways we create and hold our thinking, but I knew that was all an interpretation of the point, not the point. Not the point. The point is beyond words, in Universal energy we all share and through which we become our formed selves. Seeing the pure energy at the source, though, we have certainty that anything we see or know now could change, simply with the formation of new thought. Access to that reality is through stillness, through quietude, not thinking harder.

Although we can talk about Thought and thoughts, we are pointing to the feeling of the power that frees us from any one thought to release the potential of infinite new thoughts. It doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks, how long they think it, or what they make of it, if they KNOW the Principles. That power is realized and experienced, not taught or learned. For me, in the instant I caught a glimpse of that, I SAW and KNEW the absolute absurdity of taking any thought seriously. No matter what. It’s no more possible to hang onto really beautiful thoughts than to drive away really ugly thoughts. They all pass naturally as the flow of formless energy continues to power us through life. We have to re-think them to “keep” them. When we SEE that for ourselves, we cannot possibly harm ourselves with our own thinking, any thinking. Because we KNOW we are living a dream brought to us by our unique imagination and the creative power of life. We know the dream is fleeting, evanescent, just images we create, passing across the screen of our minds, signifying nothing but the beautiful power to keep creating them.

For me, the depth of gratitude I feel for Sydney Banks for so simply expressing the possibility that any one of us, all of us, can SEE this for ourselves, is immeasurable.

 

The post Living a Dream appeared first on Three Principles Living.

Inside Out and Road Rage

Patricia TothTurning yourself inside out may sound funny, weird even. You might be perplexed not knowing what it means.   Or, seeing the deeper dimension of meaning could create a real “Buddha” belly laugh!  There are endless possibilities.  That’s the point.

The Principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought (as uncovered by the extraordinary insights of Sydney Banks) are pointers to a different and better way of seeing life because they are simple and give us relief of trying so hard to figure out all the variables. In other words, the deeper I understand life from the inside out via the Principles, the higher states of conscious awareness I experience, and the easier my life is….well, most of the time. But like yesterday, I had a real emotional melt down in a fit of road rage at “an idiot driver” (just my opinion of course).

The difference was I was watching myself lose it.  I knew my fit of rage would eventually pass.  I just couldn’t stop myself in the moment. I had “touched the hot iron” so to speak and I knew I would have to cool down.  So, I did my best to do no harm to anyone else, except maybe myself by screaming like a maniac alone in my car.  Huffing and puffing and wearing myself out for a few minutes. I could actually see my thoughts as they went from rage to confusion to sheepishness and, yes, a bit of shame for being even worse than the supposed offensive driver.

You might say my wisdom and common sense went to sleep. And in my sleep I had a nightmare. But even in the nightmare I was a lucid dreamer to some extent because I was the observer of the dream.  I couldn’t even believe it was really me acting in such a negative way because I knew it wasn’t real. It was an illusion of my thinking.  My stubborn ego got in the way, and so I suffered.

Afterwards, I realized that I had been way outside of myself caught up in the world of form. And the paradox link, if you will, was thought. My thinking went down the tubes… temporarily. And my consciousness literally “dumbed down”. But only to a conscious state of being a hot head knowing she was being a hot head. The difference is magnificent. In my “heart of hearts” I knew “I” had lost it, that it wasn’t really the driver “doing it” to me, I saw the process if you will. And because of that I was able to get through it without much damage except a few minutes of high blood pressure and bad hormones pumping through my veins (not a good idea in excess). But It’s quite amazing to me that we as human beings can use these simple Principles in such a profound way to explain, well, anything!  They give us such rich ground to stand on, that we can walk through life with more ease and security, knowing the paradoxical nature of life.

Possibly the best part is….I didn’t hang onto the negative aftermath. I was able to let it go and not add it to a bag of bad memories, self-doubt, or insecurity. It was simply over and I carried a learning forward, which I am now sharing with you.

So the next time you “loose it” see if you can stop, breath, and turn yourself inside out.

 

Patricia A Toth

http://thechrysaliscounselingcenter.com/patricia/

The Three Principles

Everything I blog is grounded in the Three Principles of Mind. Thought and Consciousness. Sometimes, it seems we don’t take time to reflect on the significance of this, that there are Principles that offer deep logic to our recognition that innate mental health is a spiritual quality, the pure formlessness of the creative power that empowers life.

We can think about the spiritual, but because it is BEFORE thought, before we create form in our minds to explain it, we cannot ever truly define it. We can only observe spiritual power after the fact, as we use our power to think our way through life and realize, more and more, that power is within us. We don’t need to seek it outside ourselves, or look for others to provide it. It is who we are, living beings empowered to create ideas and images and experience what we create as our own personal reality.

When we fill our heads with ideas and images of what’s wrong, or what we fear, or what we dislike, or what we reget but can’t change, our personal reality is painful, sometimes even tortured. When we allow those thoughts to pass and fill our heads with fresh ideas and images, of what we appreciate, what is possible, what we love, or what we dream, our personal reality is refreshing, even joyful. The Principles describe the immutable logic of how this works; we can count on it. No one can “fix” us, but the power to change is always one thought away from within each of us.

So I offer this 2-1/2 minute video to explain the Principles. It is not complicated, but we can complicate it tying ourselves in knots trying to offer an intellectual interpretation. The key is to know that the Principles describe the formless energy behind all life. Because we are alive, we are part of that creative energy, and we use it to create the experiences of our individual lives. It is neutral; we have the choice of what to bring to form for ourselves. So we have ultimate freedom — as long as we don’t THINK we are not free.

The post The Three Principles appeared first on Three Principles Living.

True Change: Beyond the Illusion

We all change a lot over time. We grow from babyhood through childhood and adulthood to old age, with all the physical and mental changes that accompany life stages. We gain and lose weight. We get in shape; we get out of shape. We change our hair. We adopt new styles. We change locations. We change relationships. We change professions. We change financial status. We change our preferences. We change our politics. We change our reading habits. We change our minds in the face of new information.

Those “changes” are all illusions of reality we experience as we think our way through life. They have nothing to do with the spiritual change inspired by the Three Principles. So it is all too easy for people to say, “I heard so-and-so speak, and now I’ve changed my mind about …” Or “I listened to a Syd Banks tape and it changed me from being all stressed out to being really calmed down.” None of those represent the change we are looking for from an ever-clearer understanding of the Principles that are the essence of life. Any time change appears to result  from some external interaction — with a person, an event, an incident, a book, a lecture, a tape — it is temporary and illusory. Even if it takes us in a better direction than we were heading, it is not true change.

True change is suddenly seeing a different world. It happens in an instant, from insight, and once it has happened, there is no going back. It is looking out through your own mind and eyes at the very same things or ideas you were just looking at and realizing they all look completely different to you. It is a realization of something suddenly so obvious that you can’t even imagine that you ever missed it. It is a surge of feeling, a sense of clarity and certainty that brings with it peace and freedom and hope beyond the limits of your intellectual knowledge of life.

Many people first engage with the Principles and immediately grasp the common sense of the idea that we create our experience of reality via thought. I couldn’t begin to count the number of clients who have sat across from me, nodding, and saying, “Uh-huh. Yup. That makes sense. I’ve thought that before.” — and they feel just the same as they did when they walked in the door. They were hearing and analyzing  the intellectual content of the logic, without any connection to the spiritual truth of it. They are thinking about thought as content, missing the power of Thought as a Principle, the absolute freedom to create anything from nothing. What they’re agreeing to won’t make any difference at that point because the missing piece is the unfathomable experience of spiritual change, which is both ordinary and amazing at the same time. When clients aren’t listening in neutral but are engaging the gears of the intellect, I stop talking about the Principles immediately. Whatever they take from that conversation at that level will just make it harder to hear their own wisdom. (If I stop talking about the Principles, what DO I talk about? It doesn’t matter — anything that comes to mind that seems right in the moment to just put the client’s mind to rest and allow them to clear their heads and stop trying to figure out what I’m saying.)

It is a fact that the Three Principles, described and defined, are a logical, explanatory framework. They even seem linear to people — mind powers thought which powers consciousness —  although the very idea of timeless, formless, immutable truths being linear, which is a time and space concept, is incomprehensible. People teach them like addition, or subtraction, or evaporation, or a million other simple things. It doesn’t take much for everyone to learn them. But then what? Big deal. When you keep adding items or taking items away, you get bigger or smaller numbers. If you leave a bowl of water out, it will eventually dry up. That kind of knowledge doesn’t do anything for anyone until something DAWNS on them — yes, just like the sun rising to illuminate the shadowy darkness — what it really means. It doesn’t awaken understanding that leads to peace, wisdom and freedom, until we SEE something deeper than the facts and the logic.

Remember when you were little and you learned to count? At first, the only point was you could delight your family by correctly telling them “how many.” But then when you saw the deeper implications of knowing “how many” — how that knowledge empowered you to interact with the world — counting meant something to you. It allowed you to discover things for yourself and see the world through fresh eyes.

Sydney Banks talks about (his capital letters intended) SEEING. When I first encountered that, in Second Chance (p. 15), I was totally baffled by it,  and even a little annoyed because when the word SEE was first uttered, Jonathan, the wise figure in the book, says, “I can’t tell you what I mean by SEEING. It is something you must experience for yourself.”  The intellect wants a definition and a chart. I was thinking my way through a book that was never intended to be analyzed like a regular book. The best advice I ever got was to stop wondering about it and trying to figure it out, and just leave my thinking alone. That’s what “reflection” means; turning to internal quietude and simply allowing new ideas to emerge from nowhere. That “nowhere” is the spiritual power of the Principles, the formless energy from which we are formed with everything we need to create the experience of our lives.

My first experience of SEEING was the realization of how many times I had already SEEN and truly changed in my life, when a new idea took form in my mind and completely eradicated everything I had previously thought about that subject. One example. At the age of 29, after 12 years of trying and  to quit smoking because I completely understood all the medical and scientific evidenced that it was bad for me and especially bad for ME because I was prone to bronchial infections, I SAW smoking differently. I had not been able to smoke while I was pregnant; it was one of those things that made me sick during that time. I couldn’t wait until after the baby was born so I could smoke again. When I was first home from the hospital with my beautiful baby girl, a friend brought me cigarettes. I was so excited! I sat down with her to have a smoke, and I looked down at my sweet baby in her little lacy bassinette, and I SAW: “I am in charge of the air she breathes. She has no choice.” Suddenly, the whole idea of me, or anyone else, smoking anywhere near my baby was unconscionable to me. It looked entirely different. I never smoked again and I never gave it a second thought. That insight, in a moment, completely erased all the struggles and efforts of quitting. Why would I even think about it? It simply made no sense to smoke.

We all have moments like that, again and again, but we rarely pause to reflect on what they mean, on how deeply true change affects us and how it simplifies our life. We expend a huge amount of time and effort figuring out strategies for change, when all that is needed is quietude and insight. Sometimes the change is small, and sometimes it is a hugely significant turning point. — Always it is clarifying, refreshing. Always it is a reminder of the spiritual power that is our birthright; the extraordinary gift of the Principles at work behind all of life.

The post True Change: Beyond the Illusion appeared first on Three Principles Living.

European Tour III: Day 11- Life is a Beach

Day 10 11, Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just in case anyone noticed, I somehow got one day off in my dates again. I have no idea how that happened. I’m caught up now.

I woke up this morning to find an email from my publisher that the Three Principles History book, Paradigm Shift, is out and available. That’s a thrill, to have that labor of love out there (it certainly wasn’t labor for money).

Today I totally overdid it.

I rented a bicycle and rode out to what was supposed to be a beautiful beach on a fairly remote part of this island. Three quarters of the way there I wondered if this was a wise thing to do. It was far! But, oh well, I was ¾ there.

Aliko beachWell, I finally got to this beach and it was even way better than I imagined. I’d rank it easily in my top 10 beaches I’ve ever been to, and possibly in my top 5: Aliko beach (The other beach is Plaka beach, which is nice in itself—and a lot closer!). I have never seen water so bright, deep blue. Stunning!

I realized I’m not in the Mediterranean Sea anymore; I’m in the Aegean Sea for the first time.

But then I had to bike back. I had no idea it was going to be mostly up hill, with the wind now blowing hard against me, and in the mid-day sun. I had to stop and rest in the middle. By the time I finally got back I was totally wasted, and still feel that way right now.

I can feel my spirits dropping some.

The trick, I guess, is either to watch them do their thing and not let it bring me down, or to see them as the illusion they are and not take them seriously, or to realize my pure consciousness is still totally unscathed and is the only thing that counts. Can I do it? Wrong question. Will I realize it?

The post European Tour III: Day 11- Life is a Beach appeared first on Center for Inside-Out Understanding.

EuroTrip Day 17: Thank you Syd

Day 17, Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sydney BanksGot very little sleep last night. What’s been amazing to me is watching my emotions run like a roller-coaster all over the place. I feel like Dylan’s amazing album, Blood on the Tracks. Almost every emotion one can have I have had in the last 24 hours, from sadness to bitterness to compassion to gratefulness and everything in between, all brought to me courtesy of my changing thoughts being picked up by consciousness and made real every time a new one comes along.

I guess one of the tricks of life is that when life throws you something of this magnitude, or even smaller things, is to just see it as new experience passing by, and really know what I’ve said so many times to others: we can never know the future. How can I know that someone may possibly come along in the rest of my life who may be even better for me than Amy? Hard to imagine. Unfathomable to me right now. But there is always that possibility, and therefore always that hope. But it would be unwise for me to do the hoping. That could set up an expectation in my mind, which is never good, because that begets comparison thoughts, which are never good. The fact is, even if I don’t find someone else for the rest of my life I was so lucky to have found and been in the greatest relationship for 10 whole years, and, more important, if I become One with my spiritual essence, my pure consciousness, I am whole and complete within myself. Thank God for knowing the Three Principles. Thank you, Syd.

I arrived in Birmingham, England, U.K.  It was a shock to the system, after Albir, Spain. No beach weather here! The wonderful Janet Lindsay picked me up, took me out to eat, and took me home. I stay here now for about a week.

The post EuroTrip Day 17: Thank you Syd appeared first on Center for Inside-Out Understanding.

Is It Easy to Be Happy?

Recently I saw a new client who sobbed at the outset, “I don’t see how I will ever be happy again!” An hour later, as she left, she was laughing. “I’ve sure been a big drama queen with all that serious thinking, haven’t I?” she said.

How does a shift like that happen? In the simplest terms, it is the natural outcome of what Principles practitioners do that is new to treatment. We don’t take unhappiness seriously. We point people to the true, constant, unfailing, spiritual source of human happiness that nothing can touch. We teach people what mental well-being is, and where it comes from, and how we lose and regain our faith in it. They see the universal logic of it and realize what they’ve been doing to themselves with the innocent misuse of their own power. They “wake up” to the truth that, no matter what, deep down we are born to be at peace.

I write about these cases a lot, but it seems like we can’t tell this story enough. The way traditional therapy addresses psychological distress is not working effectively enough to stem the increase in stress, anxiety, and depression, the afflictions of the so-called “functional mentally ill,” because almost all approaches are attempting to give people tools to solve their problems or drugs to dull them. But the “problems” are slippery. They are the variable artifacts of the way people are thinking about them. And the more people and their therapists talk about them and dwell on them and take them seriously, the worse they appear. Principles practitioners realize we should not be treating people’s problems as though they have a reality of their own. We should be addressing people’s understanding of their states of mind, of the nature of thought, of the spiritual power we all have to create thought and take it more or less seriously. We should be helping them to understand when to take their own thinking to heart and when to let it pass and allow their minds to quiet.

We all take for granted without question the way our minds work on ordinary things. I go into a store and see an item I just love, but I don’t think I should spend the money. So I walk away. A few days later, I go back and think, “OK, if I love it that much, I should really buy it.” But when I look at it again, I don’t love it that much. Did the item change? No. My thinking about the item changed. I read recipes right before I go to the grocery store and I start thinking I really should try some of those exotic vegetables. I buy them. Two days later, I get ready to make dinner and I look at them and think, “Too much trouble. I’ll just make a salad.” Are the vegetables any less nutritious? Any less appealing? No. But my thinking about how much effort I’m willing to make to cook them has changed. No one would argue with examples like this.

But what about “serious problems?” That’s when we lose our perspective on the fact that things look different in different states of mind.  In the depth of seriousness, it really does look like there is no other way to see the problem. We forget that life is filled with ups and downs for all people, all the time. There are a lot of serious downs for everyone: we lose dear friends and loved ones; relationships fall apart; arguments escalate; bad things happen in the world; we lose homes and businesses to weather events; things break down just when we need them to work, investments fail; we fall victim to crime or violence. Everyone’s life can change in any moment. And in the midst of the worst things, we feel deeply painful emotions.

But here’s the thing about problems. You can’t change them.  You can only change how you approach them, how you think about them, how much of your peace of mind you are willing to give to them. The “drama” we suffer around problems is not a present moment, creative response.  The only way we experience drama is through dwelling on memories and regrets about what has happened, or dwelling on fear of what might happen next. In the present moment, with a clear head and a quiet mind, we just see how to move forward, one step at a time.

Here’s an example. I once worked with a client who, after years of what can only be called torture, finally escaped an abusive relationship and got far away from her abuser, to a place he would never find her or think to look for her. In a moment of clarity, she had an insight about how to do this and acted on it. For a few weeks, she was exhilarated in her new, free state. She found a job, found a place to live, started a new life. But then she started believing that her abuser would find her because she had let an old friend know that she was OK. What if the friend told him? What if the friend told someone else who told him? She couldn’t sleep nights. She was afraid every time she heard a footstep. She became, as she described, “a bunch of jangling nerves that never shut up.” She was just as terrified as she had been when she was living under the abuser’s roof. She started our conversation trembling, in tears, saying she would never, ever be free of him, no matter where she went. She insisted on closing the blinds to the room where we were meeting so no one could look in and see her. She had made her appointment under a false name and she arrived at the appointment wearing huge sunglasses with her long hair stuffed up under a wide-brimmed hat.

She wanted to talk to me about strategy. Should she move again? Should she chop off and dye her hair and have surgery to change her appearance? Should she change her name? Should she go to another country? She had thousands of thoughts about what she should or could do racing through her mind.

I wanted to talk to her about the beautiful feeling she had when she got the powerful insight about how to escape. She only needed to reconnect to that feeling, to that sense of peace and freedom and certainty, because in that feeling state, she would know what to do now.

I had no idea if any of her fears were justified, or if any of her ideas would work for her. It’s not my place to give advice to people because, in a calm state of mind, they are the experts on their own life choices. My job was to bring her back to the present moment and help her to quiet her frantic thinking and get calm. From that state, she would recognize the idea that would work out for her because her next insight would also come with an uplifting feeling in a moment of calm.

After a few sessions, she called me. She had read The Missing Link that I had shared with her, focusing on the passages about wisdom. She had done her best to quiet down and look in the direction I was pointing in our sessions. The morning she called me, it had dawned on her that she was working for a national corporation, a large big box store with thousands of locations all over the county, and she could ask her human resources department if there were any similar opportunities in different locations. She went right in to talk with them, and found out she could transfer to another state within a couple of weeks, if she was willing to move herself. She was making her plans to move. She had confided in her human resources advisor what her situation was, and the woman had a lot of compassion for her and was very helpful.

“This was such an obvious answer,” she said. “It was right in front of me the whole time. I just didn’t see it. Isn’t that weird? All of a sudden, it just popped into my head.”

Not weird at all, I assured her. It’s the guarantee of the human operating system. If we don’t over-ride the thinking that is natural to us, the easy flow of thought in the present moment, we keep getting the answers that make sense for us.

Did she really need to move? Was this the very best possible solution? It doesn’t matter. She found an answer she felt good about that made sense to her, and she found the understanding of where the answers come from that will continue to keep her safe. She found her happiness, and she knew where to look if she lost it again.

Was it easy?

To me, it’s the simple path to take. Trust that you have innate wisdom. See disquiet and insecurity as a sign you need to let your mind settle. Follow quiet and good feelings. They lead directly to happiness. When we are happy, “problems” fit into the tapestry of our lives and fade from the moment as understanding and solutions come to mind.

__________________________________

Join me and my colleagues Dr. Bill Pettit and Christine Heath in June for a wonderful retreat, Awaken Joy!        We will share the incredible power of happiness and peace of mind to change our lives, and the world around us.

The post Is It Easy to Be Happy? appeared first on Three Principles Living.

About deep listening

OanaMy son Vlad is six and a half. He enjoys playing outside with the kids. There are about five kids near the block, besides him, who are playing outside every afternoon after school. Kids are usually supervised by their parents. I leave Vlad by himself because I think he is old enough to get some confidence in his own strength and to start looking after himself.

One day I hear the kids outside playing and tell Vlad “Hey sweetie, kids are outside, do you wish to go and play with them?” The usual reaction would be him running at the window, looking and then rushing to put clothes on (without even asking for help as when we go to some less desired places) and living in a hurry with a lot of enthusiasm.

What answer do I get now? “I don’t wish to go outside, mom!”

You can imagine my surprise. I ask why, hardly listening to him, and he tells me “Kids won’t play with me.” Not listening careful enough I just answered something like “How did you get this idea? I’m sure they will play with you.” And ended the topic, Vlad went to play on the Ipad and I continued what I was doing without giving it a second thought.

The next day the same, he doesn’t want to go outside. Babysitter tells me the same. After a few weeks of ignoring the issue, one day, when I’m coming back from work he is with the nanny outside. Children were playing like 50 meters away and he was playing in our little front yard with the cats.  I want to go in and ask him if he stays outside. He says again no. I ask him why and he tells me angry “I told you before, kids won’t play with me!” I am on the edge of getting angry and shouting at him that that’s just stupid, when I get another thought: “I might try to figure all out, what is going on with him.” So I’m asking: “Do you want me to go to Maia and ask if she will play with you?” And he says “Yes!” So living my judgment’s behind, regarding how can I go as an adult to ask a kid if she’s playing with mine, I’m going to Maia and ask. “Hi Maia! Vlad tells me that you are not playing with him, is that right? She answers “I do, I will, ask Danut.” So I’m thinking something is fishy here… and I ask Danut: “Danut, will you play with Vlad?” and he says yes but Maia should tell you…good. So I am turning again my attention to Maia and ask her, “Did something happened, Maia?” and she starts shyly to tell a story about Vlad punching Danut younger brother…”But he didn’t want to, It was an accident!” and she also tells me “Go ask his father! „Good, I’m telling to myself, it seems I’m getting to an end. Asking the dad it turns out he told Vlad in an angry voice: “If you can’t play nicely with the kids, don’t show up here anymore!” My first thought when I heard that was “How can he talk like that with children? And then he explains me some more “I didn’t hit him or anything…”  I could kill him for that!” I didn’t’ acted on it though… I nicely asked him that if he has some problems with Vlad in the future to approach me.

I’m calling Vlad and he comes shyly. I’m telling him that nobody is angry at him, he is allowed to play with the kids and all that in front of the dad which approves. So my little beloved boy immediately goes to them and start engaging in their games.

I was so sad that Vlad had to go through all this without my support and that I was blind and deaf enough for a few weeks to see and hear what was going on. I wonder how painful it was for him all that time to see the children playing outside and thinking that he is not welcomed or accepted. I went to him, apologized for not seeing it sooner and asked him to tell me if any adult approaches him in the future on any topic. I explained him that I give him the freedom to be by himself outside but this comes with the risk of me not being there to support him if needed. I asked him again to tell me what is going on so I can do that, stand by him and be there for him. “Kids should deal with kids and adults with adults!”…”Yes, when some adult talks to me I will come and tell you or Geta or Corina, whoever is with me!”…

 

Oana Vaideanu

http://www.oanavaideanu.com/en