My daughter and I spent Saturday night taking part in a murder mystery dinner at an old-school Los Angeles restaurant that used to be the nightly haunt of Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, and many of the bright lights of Hollywood past and present.
As part of sowing the seeds of confusion (we had been told the murderer could be any one of us so we should trust no-one but our host and the police detective), I renamed myself “Sean” for the evening but gave my profession as “self-help author” so as to not have to make up every aspect of my imaginary life.
When the police detective began questioning me in front of the assembled diners and guests, he tried to ascertain what kind of help I gave to which kinds of selves. Whilst I would, of course, like to have answered “I write about a kind of spiritual understanding first articulated by an enlightened Scottish welder named Syd Banks based on three unchanging and eternal principles generally referred to as divine Mind, divine Consciousness, and divine Thought”, I settled for “not weight loss”, which seemed to be the scope of his references for the kinds of things self-help authors wrote about.
As it happened, two of the other people at our table turned out to be directly involved in the murders while a nice normal couple whose real names probably were “Chip” and “Sarah” wound up being falsely accused of the crimes by about a dozen of our compatriots.
All of which has relatively little to do with the subject of today’s blog save for the fact that this morning I was reflecting on how difficult it can sometimes seem to explain what it is those of us who work with the principles actually do and why it is that we do it.
In other words, two of the most common questions I get from clients and in my workshops, seminars, and trainings are variations on these:
2. Why should I care?
For those of us who share the principles with others, there is a third question that invariably guides (and occasionally plagues) us in our work:
“How do I know if I’m sharing the principles in the right way?”
Here’s how Syd Banks answered the same question many years ago:
“Is it working?”
In other words, Syd went on to say, when you spend time with your clients and students, has their level of consciousness gone up? Are they happier and more content? Are they more at peace with themselves and their lives?
If so, then you’re sharing them “correctly”, even if it’s different to how other people share and teach sharing. If not, then you’re not, even if you’re doing absolutely everything by the book and in the “right way”.
Why does someone get happier and more at peace when they gain a deeper understanding of the principles behind the human experience?
Because when we can distinguish that which is constant (what Syd Banks called “spiritual facts”) from that which is variable, we can put our trust into the constants and enjoy as much of the variability of the rest as we can.
I found my own first constant while watching a video where Syd said “Every human being is sitting in the middle of mental health – they just don’t know it.” Suddenly a lifetime of struggle with my own psyche faded into the background and I began to experience the stability of my own true nature – the space within which all other experiences arise.
Nearly a decade later, I continue to marvel at how the ramifications of that one insight have played out in my life and teaching. While I have seen a few other “spiritual facts” along the way, knowing that my default is already perfect and there is nothing I need to change, do, be, or have in order to be happy has been a great comfort to me.
And this points to the promise of the principles and why a deeper understanding of them is so helpful:
When we can separate that which is fundamental from that which is created by the mind, we see more of who we are and how life works. When we see more of who we are and how life works, we find ourselves with a solid place to stand. And…
When we have a solid enough place to stand, we can rest easy in the face of any challenge and perhaps even move the world.
With all my love,