The Problem with the 3 Principles (#948)

When I first came across the field that is now generally known as “The 3 Principles”, it was known by a variety of names. In the field of social work, it was often referred to as “Health Realization”; in the field of therapy, as “Psychology of Mind”. Since then, I have heard it referred to as “Innate Health”, “Principles-based Psychology”, and in the field of coaching as both “Clarity Coaching” and “Transformative Coaching”.

Each one of these seemingly separate fields have been developed on a foundation of an understanding of three spiritual principles, or fundamental universal constants:

Mind is the formless intelligence and energy of all things. It is the fundamental nothingness at the heart of everything – the infinite spaciousness out of which all things in the world of form come into being. It is that which all religions point to and all seekers seek – the source of life itself.

Consciousness is the field of pure awareness that allows life to be both experienced and understood. While we sometimes talk about “levels of consciousness”, as a spiritual principle Consciousness is a pure, constant awareness, unaffected and unbounded by how “awake” or “asleep” we happen to be in the moment.

Thought is the creative force which acts as the missing link between both the spiritual and psychological and the formless and the form. It is like the “playdough” of the universe, endlessly being shaped and re-shaped into the realities we live in.
I cannot begin to do justice to the scope or power of these principles, and even attempting to describe them as “things” diminishes them. But if you settle yourself down and look inside , chances are you’ll be able to sense them for yourself. As you do, you’ll probably find yourself in a nice feeling (like the feeling of “all being well”) and with a relatively quiet mind.

This seems to be the consistent effect of seeing for oneself that these universal constants exist and that they create 100% of our experience of life. It calms us down and makes us more reflective.

Understanding how life works takes a lot of fear and superstition out of it. In the same way as looking away from the screen towards the projector can take the fear out of watching a scary movie, when we see life for what it is, it frees  us up to enjoy it to the full. We become happier – more at peace in ourselves and more loving towards others.

We take the foot off the gasoline of our personal thinking and begin to experience more wisdom and insight in our work. We connect more deeply with others because we’re not so obsessed with our thinking about ourselves.

We live more in the creative flow of inspiration and move more quickly through problems and challenges.

Yet herein lies the problem with the principles – because catching a glimpse of them can make such an impact, many of us in the helping professions have begun to share them with our clients, patients, and students. And in so doing, the bodies of work that have formed around sharing an understanding of these principles gets spoken about as if it is the principles themselves.

People ask “what is the difference between the 3 Principles and NLP?” or cognitive-behavioral therapy, or mindfulness, or religion. This simple confusion between the universal constants of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought and the fields that have arisen to help people learn about them can make practitioners seem hopelessly naive or hopelessly arrogant when they say things like “the 3 Principles are the cure for every psychological ailment known to man”.

Trying to compare the 3 Principles as an intervention to any other form of coaching or therapy is no different than trying to compare Psychodynamic therapy to EMDR or Positive Psychology to the work of Carl Jung. You can point to the success stories from your field and the failures of others just as they can point to the “failures” of your field and the success stories from theirs.

But to compare the actual principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought to any form of psychology or religion is like trying to compare electricity, magnetism, and gravity to a particular branch of science. It’s not like comparing “apples and oranges’, it’s like comparing apples and clouds, or oranges and airplanes.

I’m not honestly sure what to do about this conundrum, other than to bring as much rigor to our language as we can and to continually distinguish the principles themselves from the work we do in sharing an understanding of them with others. But whether or not the fields that are based on the 3 Principles ever truly gain traction and legitimacy in the world, it is my fondest hope that an understanding of the spiritual nature of life and the universal constants which make up everything becomes as commonplace as the realization of a spherical earth in a sun-centered universe…

With all my love,

Michael

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