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.
Last week, I published a brief Blog and video posting about the Three Principles as discovered by Sydney Banks, the foundation of Mental Health Education as I and thousands of others practice it. This week, I offer another brief Blog and video, just on the Principle of Mind. (The Principle of Thought will be next week, and The Principle of Consciousness after that.) I hope these are helpful to sharing the profound understanding of how these Principles can change the understanding of the true human potential for peace, across the globe.
When asked why there are three Principles, Sydney Banks used to say, “Well, actually there is just Mind. But we would not know it without Thought and Consciousness. Combine those three and there is nothing more we need to see life.” To see this in depth in Sydney Banks’ own words, read The Missing Link, or any of his other books, all of which can be found at Lone Pine Press.
As much as we try to talk about Mind, there is really little we can say because our very presence on earth is after the fact of Mind. So just as we cannot ask a savant to describe how he “learned” his gift, we cannot ask ourselves to describe how we acquired the gifts that give us life. All we can know is that we are alive, and filled with the potential that being alive in a dynamic state allows us the possibility, at any moment, to change. The Principles describe our power to change, and it all starts with Mind.
This video is also available on You Tube
Turning 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
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.
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.
Day 12, Thursday, July 2, 2015
I may have had a major breakthrough last night, but I hesitate to say it in case it’s another illusion. Well, last night I started to drop like a rock. I decided it was time to listen for the first time to an audiofile of my birthday psychic reading from the great Jean-Jacques Guyot of Montreal, just before I left for Greece. The insights I’d gained from hearing it in person had helped me a lot, but it went by so fast.
With great trepidation I stared listening; it had potential to bring me down even further. When I heard again his first real eye-opening, jaw-dropping insight, I could feel myself come crashing down. I had to stop the “tape” and just lie in bed, stunned, floored.
I’m not going to go into personal details here, but all of a sudden I saw how I had built my relationship upon a false foundation. And when I saw that, after wallowing in self-pity for a while, all of a sudden it was like this foundation completely shattered, like the glass that hit my unforgiving tile floor in Florida, and scattered everywhere—and I got this image of the pieces of my foundation—me—hurtling through space, scattering everywhere into the universe. Suddenly the fact that the illusion of truth in this foundation no longer existed, meant the pieces of the foundation scattering in all directions (I got the image of Humpty Dumpty) held no truth either.
The only Truth was the energy holding the scattering pieces all together. The energy of All things. The energy of my true Self. And I truly saw what I only intellectually knew before, that any answer out of my heartache would be found in this Energy, MIND, and to look anywhere else was futile, and to even look there was futile because there is no use “looking” for what I already AM. Big? Weird, but huge.
I woke up in the morning feeling pretty darn good. Pretty amazing.
Back on the bike
I was going to turn my bike in a day early because I had completely exhausted myself yesterday, but with my renewed spirit I decided not to, because I could make use of it. So I rode the 7 km. to the town of Naxos (about 1/3 the distance I rode yesterday in the other direction; luckily, it was against the wind on the way there this time) to take care of my ferry ticket to Mykonos in a couple of days, and the bus ticket to get to the ferry. Plus it gave me an opportunity to go to the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, which I had noticed when I first got off the ferry.
Walking out on the walkway to the Temple the waves were crashing so hard that they kept spraying over the walkway; it was a little unnerving. These were big waves! It was so windy! In fact, I saw a ferry in the distance coming in and it was listing from side to side so much it looked scary, and I could imagine how many people were getting seasick on board, which made me say a little prayer for the wind to die down within the next couple of days.
Then, before I biked back I saw that a shop had soft-serve ice cream, very rare for Greece, and I couldn’t resist, even though it was before lunch.
Then, by accident, I bumped into the best market area I’ve ever been to in my life: The Old Market. It was almost like being in those caves in Spain (not quite), with all-enclosed, narrow little corridors weaving in and out of little shops, and it kept going on and on. It was like a maze in there. One could easily get lost. It was so cute! How can anyone not like the Island of Naxos?
Then I biked back with the wind at my back, and even the uphills didn’t bother me. Then I rested my minor sunburn—I’ve tried to be so careful—during the hottest time of the day, then went back to Plaka beach later in the afternoon. Took my ½ hour swim—that’s another criteria for my beach. Did some reading. Had delicious moussaka for dinner, which is almost as gluttonous as pastitsio. Good thing I’m getting all this exercise. Did some writing. A good day.
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Day 4, Friday, April 23, 2015
I had an even better sleep last night. I had an interesting experience at breakfast this morning. I sat listening to my EPTers having a conversation about things pertaining to health and the Three Principles, and it was really an eye-opener.
First I heard somebody talking out of her beliefs and jumping in on the conversation instead of listening; then I heard people being confused about “free will” vs. “meant to be,” then I heard somebody say about her husband “it’s his nature [to be a certain way].” All of a sudden I realized that this is a whole ‘nother way of seeing people’s cutting edge of the limitations of their own understanding. I was able to hear things I may not have heard if I was either involved in a one-on-one conversation with someone, or engaged in running a training. I wondered how I might incorporate into a training this idea about me observing a conversation about the Three Principles (3Ps), and then even having other people observe conversations of others talking about the 3Ps.
How do I even justify writing this blog, when I have a whole new book to write that has been dying to come out now for about a year. The only way I can justify it is to perhaps steal the good stuff for my book–if there are any.
To the lighthouse
I took another hike up toward the lighthouse, but this time I took another trail way down to the sea below, walking very carefully on the loose rocks and steep cliffs. The sea is like a living breathing organism. I saw this as the aqua-turquoise waves trickled into the cove and meshed with the emerald seaweed stuck to the rocks, waving with each wave. Sitting down by the water away from all crowds, big cliffs way up on either side of me, I am totally at peace. It occurs to me that I guess the trick would be to feel this way no matter what craziness one is surrounded by in life. But since it all comes to us courtesy of our own thinking, it makes sense we’d be able to. It just seems a lot easier when the outside is perfectly aligned with the inside, because the inside itself is peace.
“Je t’aime Julie” is written on the rocks. Normally I hate to see something like that, but for some reason this doesn’t even seem like graffiti defacing the pristine rocks here—even though I wish it hadn’t been done—but in this case it just feels like an expression of pure love. I wonder if they are still together…
Ruins make me wonder what it was like back then. Did people have the same kinds of thoughts? What did they get caught up in? In this case it was ruins of an old mine, probably an ocher mine, because there was a cave down there where people used to mine ocher. But the stonework and mortar were really beautiful. Someone or some people really took care.
As I’m walking back down the trail to go back up again, being careful where I stepped because I didn’t want to fall off the cliff into the sea, I spotted a row of ants in single file meters upon meters long. One small one was carrying something literally five times its size. I nearly stepped on one by accident. You can step on an ant, but I wonder how big an ant would have to be for to be a fair fight. My mind thinks some very weird thoughts.
Further on I see flowers growing out of cracks in the rocks where it looks like nothing could grow. You just can’t stop the life force from coming through. You just can’t stop mind from coming through.
The Extended Professional Training starts
This afternoon our training started. Just sitting in that room again with all these beautiful people studying the three principles warms my heart. There was an automatic good feeling, felt by everyone.
We had met six months before in October, then every month between I gave assignments, they completed them, I gave feedback and we had Skype sessions.
It felt like my best to training yet. In fact it was one of the things that made me decide to do it again, because I never thought I would do it again, because all of the time it takes to make it really successful is really too much time.
This session now was preparation for an evening presentation to new people, hearing about the Principles for the first time. I am so proud of them. They all did such a spectacular job, sticking to their own stories of discovery and being sure their main point came through. When I see how good they are at teaching, it makes me feel like I’m doing something right. People telling me is one thing–my thinking about that feels really good–but when you can actually see the results with your eyes, that’s really something!
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