A few years ago, I learned about something called “The Three Principles.” Syd Banks, a ninth-grade-educated welder, first articulated these principles in the early 1970s and claims that they explain the entire range of human behavior and feeling states.
Before I heard about the Three Principles, my personal path had led me to explore the non-dual philosophy that, although very powerful, is also very complex and not very easy to apply to daily life. Yet I could see the potential of how a deep understanding of its proposed ideas could improve a person’s life. So, my challenge was double: on one hand, I wanted to deeply understand its concepts and, on the other, I wanted to be able to easily explain them to people who were not familiar with them.
Once I discovered the Three Principles, I realized that they were a very practical and didactic way to explain the non-dual philosophy.
The Three Principles, according to Banks, are the principles of Mind, of Thought, and of Consciousness.
The definitions of these three principles are very clear, and you can find tons of information about them on the internet. However, I want to take you a different direction. Every time I’ve mentioned the Three Principles to someone who has never heard of them, I enumerate the principles (Mind, Thought, and Consciousness) and then try to explain their definitions. But that doesn’t give my audience a good idea of how understanding the Three Principles can change their lives, which requires them to understand how the principles interact which each other, and that takes further explanation.
So, just for fun, I want to elaborate my own version of the Three Principles, a version that easily explains how they work based on my limited knowledge of them so far:
1) Our natural state is one of well-being. Human beings are, by nature, full of peace, creativity, joy, and love. You already have within you all that you need for psychological well-being. It’s always there, deep inside of you, but you’re not always in contact with it.
2) Our experiences are created by our thoughts. We experience only our thoughts, not reality. We see the world through our thoughts all the time. Our thinking is our life. The outside world can never make us feel anything; only our own thinking can make us feel things. Feelings are created from within, not caused by that which is outside of us.
3) Our thoughts can cloud or connect us with our natural state of well-being. Between our natural state and our experience, there’s always a thought. And that thought can connect us with our well-being or it can cloud it so we feel far from experiencing it. How do we determine if a thought connects or disconnects us from our natural state? By noting how we feel. If we feel stressed out, angry, frustrated, or anything else that is different from inner peace, we can be sure that we are entangled in a thought that is clouding our natural state. A second question could be: Is there a way to experience more thoughts that connect us with our natural state? Yes, with a quiet mind. The pathway to peace of mind is a calm, quiet, or clear mind.
Because there are already tons of literature and resources on the web, I don’t want to go further in this post. My hope for you with this post is that it got you curious and wanting to know more about how to experiment with all the above. Take some time to check out some of the available resources if you want a deeper understanding of these principles. It’s fun, powerful, and can change your life!