There is a famous cartoon by Sidney Harris featuring two men at a chalk board:
While the cartoon is clearly poking more fun at scientists than coaches or therapists, the same three step formula often seems to apply to our clients when they undergo a transformative shift:
We do whatever it is we know to do to make a difference in their world.
Then a miracle occurs…
… and somehow their life is completely different after than before. They go from inaction to action, stuck to flowing, limited to free, miserable to happy. They’re no longer compulsed to drink alcohol or go shopping or take regular hits off their drug of choice. Before long, their career takes off, their relationships improve beyond all recognition, and their creative output soars.
Anyone who has worked with enough clients has seen it happen at least once if not regularly. But what is the source of these seeming miraculous transformations?
The incredible creative potential of the human mind.
Our minds can think literally anything. And because of the way the human system is set up, the power of thought not only determines what we feel, it also informs the senses, shaping our perception and creating our moment by moment experience of life.
Which means that the moment our thoughts change, our experience of life changes right along with them. Which is why we can go from happy to sad to fearful to loving in a matter of seconds. And why life can seem so wonderful in one moment and so bleak in the next.
And it’s also what allows us to be “more specific in step two”. If we replace “Then a miracle occurs…” with “Then a new thought comes to mind”, we now have a formula that is considerably more reliable, practical and predictive.
We do whatever we know to do to assist our clients in understanding more about how the mind actually works.
As their level of understanding increases, they experience more new thinking and a river of insights begins to flow.
When a new thought is sufficiently profound, the impact on the person’s life is transformative. Nothing changes on the outside, but everything’s different from the inside. As that person reflects on their old way of being in the world, they wonder “what was I thinking?”
Over time things that used to make sense (like being fearful, taking drugs, and fighting with their partner) now seem impractical and unnecessary. And as more old behaviors fade away and more new thoughts lead to new actions, the quality of results they produce in their life begins to transform as well.
How do we apply this “formula for miracles” in our own lives?
Just follow along with these two simple psychological equations:
Mind + Thought + Consciousness = Reality
Mind + New Thought + Consciousness = New Reality
And if that still seems hopelessly complicated, you can take comfort in the words of the philosopher Sydney Banks:
for the wisdom you seek is like that
butterfly over yonder.
if you try to catch it with
it will simply fly away.
On the other hand, if you can still
someday, when you least expect it,
it will land in the palm of