The Three Principles: Simply explained

How would you explain something that cannot be explained with words? One example is the Three Principles.

Another example is explaining the colour ‘white’ to a blind person?

That is what Sydney Banks has made your life’s work. As a stinking ordinary person from Scotland with no university degree, he is likely to experience the enlightening realisation that we humans are subject to a small but important misunderstanding.

We have thoughts.

And we live under the misconception (at least most of us do) that our thoughts and feelings are determined by the outside – our environment and our fellow human beings. However, any experienced meditator will tell you that this is not so. Through meditation, people come to realise that they are not their thoughts.

I think and a feeling arises in the body; more precisely, a sensation arises. Thus, a meditator gains the realisation that all their feelings come from thoughts.

Did you know that we have up to 60,000 thoughts a day? 95% of them repeat daily and biz to 80% are negative (National Science Foundation, 2005).

However, most people are not aware of their thoughts because we are only aware of about 10% of our thoughts. That is our consciousness. 90% of the iceberg of thoughts lies beneath the surface of thought, also called unconsciousness. We are controlled by our habits. We live in the illusion of our thoughts and do not realise that we are not our thoughts.

And we all know that our feelings influence our actions. When we are sad, we have a slack posture. When we are lonely, we don’t even want to leave the house.

And we all know that it is through our actions that we get results in our lives.

And the real fascination lies in the fact that the logical sequence “thought > feeling > action > result” is constantly being complicated by our personal thinking.

Please let me explain this with an example.

Before we have the goal of taking a holiday in Thailand, we mentally weigh up whether we can afford the holiday, when we would have time for it, whether it is dangerous to travel to Thailand and what we would specifically like to do there. Then we start researching and realise that Thailand is really big. We then have to decide whether to do a round trip or just spend two weeks on an island to get away from the stress of everyday life.

The research often takes place in our heads. Sometimes we ask our friends on Facebook: “Do you have any Thailand tips?”. And then we get contradictory tips and have to think carefully about what we want.

After much deliberation, as it is our annual holiday, we finally decide to go to the island of Koh Samui in the south of Thailand. We finally make up our minds and book a flight.

What we overlook in this example of an everyday situation is how much we think mentally about a fairly simple process – both before the decision and afterwards. On the way to work we think about whether Thailand is the right destination, when we should fly, how much budget we have, and and and. It’s an important decision, after all we “only” have an annual holiday, we think.

However, the fun really starts when we realise after booking the flight that we overlooked the rainy season. And suddenly the old king, loved by the people, dies and now his son is in power. All these imponderables. Then we think about whether we shouldn’t have gone back to the Baltic Sea after all – even though we can’t be sure that the weather at the Baltic Sea is really nice, the political situation in our home country suddenly seems safer than in Thailand.

The anticipation is gone.

Suddenly all the positive things about Thailand that led to our decision no longer interest us, because mentally it is nicer and safer in Germany than in Thailand.

After weeks of brooding and self-reproach, we finally go to the airport – with a queasy feeling, but still happy to finally get away from the stress of everyday life.

However, when we arrive at the airport, we get the unpleasant news that our plane cannot take off due to torrential rain in Thailand. We have to wait a day and hope that the weather will improve. The anticipation is really gone now and our thoughts start again.

When we are finally on the plane and on our way to Thailand, we realise that we have forgotten our toothbrush. How can we go two weeks without brushing our teeth, we ask ourselves. We have such a funny feeling in our stomachs as we think, “Gosh, I’ve messed up again.” And along with the thought