What’s the big deal?

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Whenever I have a chance to browse through the NASA photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope, I am humbled and amazed at the enormity of creation.  How astonishing that we, tiny specks of being on a tiny fragment in a tiny solar system of this roiling infinitude of energy taking form and dissolving back to formlessness, are a part of it all. We are participants in the whole of creation, the whole infinite universe of creation. And what we create actually matters, at least to that little pinprick of the universe we inhabit.

It is too much for most of us to try to wrap our minds around the whole of it, but we can see our part of it, and feel the energy of life flowing through us, and recognize our own power to direct and alter the formation of form. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that the same universal energy, the “life force beyond all things that has no form, yet gives form to all things” (Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p. 68), is our power to create experience and live it.

Whatever we create from the infinitude of possibility, we will experience. If we never see or recognize our role in creation, we will live at the mercy of random thoughts, stuck in the illusion that the “reality” outside of us is pushing us around. If we wake up to the power we have to create and recreate, we will live in the freedom to generate our own dynamic experience of whatever reality we see.

I worked with a young boy, maybe 12 years old, several years ago, who had started having nightmares that kept him from sleeping. His mother was concerned because he was telling her he couldn’t go to sleep because he was “afraid of infinity.” She didn’t want to put him on medication, but she was increasingly concerned about him. She asked me to talk with him.

The way I see it, from the standpoint of an understanding of the Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, there was nothing about “infinity”, an abstract scientific concept, that could frighten him. It’s just part of the “reality” out there that the term exists and describes “no beginning and no end.” The only thing that can create fear from any reality is the thoughts we have about that reality.

So I asked the young man what he “thought” about infinity. He said it was like “falling forever and never knowing when you would hit.” In his mind, infinity was like a really tall mountain. If you fell off, you would fall and fall and fall and be more and more frightened all the way down and never know when you would reach the end of the fall.

What he thought had nothing to do with the actual meaning of infinity, which is a “reality” beyond human comprehension at any rate. What he thought was his made-up version of it, which was frightening. Infinity has no power to impose fear on us. Our thinking about it is the power that creates fear from the inside out.

So I asked him, “Do you know what scientists say to describe infinity?” He didn’t, really. He just remembered hearing about it in school. So we looked it up. Of course, there are a lot of meanings, practical, poetic, and mathematical, but the basic one is “having no boundaries.”

So, I asked, how can you “fall” in something that has no bottom, no top, no sides? How would you know you weren’t flying?”

He was silent for a bit. And then he said. “Well, it’s not really scary then, is it? You’d never get hurt in infinity because you could be moving in any direction and you wouldn’t hit anything.  I guess I just was thinking about it funny.”

His mother said his nightmares stopped and he had stopped talking about infinity after our conversation. Again, from the perspective of the Principles, he reflected in a quiet state of mind and had a new thought. The new thought was not scary, so when it came to mind, it created a feeling of comfort, rather than a feeling of fear.

The content of the thought doesn’t really matter. He was only 12 years old; there was a lot more he could learn and understand about infinity as time went on, and the new thought he had wasn’t necessarily “right” or “wrong.” It was just a less scary thought, and, since it had occurred to him and made sense to him when he thought it, it was a relief to him. What we see for ourselves makes sense to us.

That’s important. What I could teach him next is more important. I taught him that we always, always, always have the opportunity, when we find ourselves scared, or upset, or anxious, or disturbed, to quiet down, reflect and “think again.” The quieter our minds are, the more confidence we gain in our ability to think from insight and find wiser perspectives, greater clarity, new ways of seeing reality, better answers. That’s the big deal.

When our thinking is not generating ideas that lift us up and move us forward and give us a feeling we are moving confidently through life, we don’t have to change life or give in to it. Our thinking will change when we allow it to pass, quiet our minds, and await new thought. As our thoughts change, our experiences changes.

The beautiful thing about our participation in universal creation is that we are the creators of our own thoughts, and thus we shape the ever-changing creation that is our own life.

Posted in innate health, Mind and Consciousness and Thought, Peace of Mind, resiliency, State of Mind, Sydney Banks, Three Principles | Leave a comment

Who knows?

I still chuckle when I think of the old joke about the teacher who asked her class to name the three greatest inventions of mankind. They named the wheel, the combustion engine, and then a young boy called out, “The Thermos!”

The teacher was taken aback. “The Thermos? Why?”

The boy responded, “Because, when you put hot stuff in it, it keeps it hot, and when you put cold stuff in it, it keeps it cold. It’s a great invention because it KNOWS.”

Hot or Cold?

Hot or Cold?

In the random way thinking works, I thought of that joke during one of the times George Pransky was speaking at the recent 3PGC Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, describing how he somehow helped people after he first came to see the Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, and before he really had any idea how he was going to share that new understanding with clients. He’s often told his friends, “About the best I could do was tell people, ‘When you’re hot you’re hot, and when you’re not you’re not!’ And the funny thing is, that helped people.”

Really, it makes sense that it would help people because the truth is alive within everyone, sometimes obscured but always there, and all it takes to help people is to resonate with it. People “get” simple ideas that are just plain true. Just like the thermos, we KNOW hot from cold, one from the other.

Here’s another example: About 20 years, ago, my late colleague Roger Mills and I discovered we were both working in New York at the same time. We had dinner one night and made a spur of the moment decision to just get a place and bring the two groups we were working with together for a couple of days and hold a retreat. Roger was working with residents from a housing project in Brooklyn. I was working with corporate executives. We were able to get a nice space at Fordham University, and on a sunny Saturday, we welcomed our very diverse audience. When everyone got into the room together, there was, at first, a little tension, each group eyeing the other with a bit of suspicion. But Roger and I soldiered on.

Towards the end of the first morning, we were beginning to feel we weren’t getting anywhere and we were starting to get into our heads over it. We gave each other the signal it was time to take a break. Just as we did that, one of the ladies from Brooklyn stood up and strode to the front of the room. “Dr. Mills,” she said, “sit down! Miss Judy, you sit down, too! I want to say something.” Surprised, we both sat down.

She stood at the front of the room quietly for a few seconds and then she said, “Don’t be thinking so much. The fact is, sometimes you’re in your right mind (she took a couple of strides to the right and stopped to look at everyone), and sometimes you’re not (she took several strides to the left, and stopped to look at everyone. Then she moved over to the right again and planted her feet and said, “THIS is better!”

Everyone laughed, but everyone saw the simple truth of it, too. Common sense makes sense. Wisdom doesn’t need a lot of window dressing. The group warmed up and started interacting and  the retreat went very well.

The fact is, we all know the same truth, deep down. Those who are lucky enough to have seen it clearly enough to talk about it feel compelled to try to share it because, once you see it, life is so, so, so much easier and more joyful. Your just get filled with hope that, if only everyone saw it clearly, everyone could find that for themselves. But sharing it doesn’t mean putting it INto other people; they already have it. It’s innate. It just means awakening their own wisdom so they see what they have — and then they want to share it, too. And on it goes.

Who knows? We ALL know. Everyone knows. It’s just a matter of seeing what we know.

All human psyches are rooted in universal truth and no person’s psyche is better than any other’s. Only to the degree of the individual’s psychological and spiritual understanding does it appear to vary.                                                                                                                                                                              Sydney Banks, The Missing Link

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Wisely using our power to…

In every waking moment of every day, every one of us is using our incredible power of thought to heal — or not. That sounds black and white, considering the infinitude of thoughts that come to mind. But, when you step back and look, Mind Power 2moment-to-moment, life is black and white. We are either moving in the direction of  calmer, wiser,  more insightful thinking, or moving in the direction of anxious, habitual, less functional thinking. Our guidance system is not the content of our thoughts, but the feeling state we are in as we generate them and see them come to life. Thoughts flowing through a calm or positive state of mind are likely to work out; thoughts flowing through an anxious or negative state of mind are likely to create difficulty.

How powerful is that? We always know which way our thinking is taking us intuitively, and we are the authors of our own thinking. So we are always at choice. Head towards healing — or not. The only reason the whole world is not always moving in the direction of deeper and deeper wisdom is that the vast majority of people in the world have absolutely NO idea that life is working from the inside out and they are living in a totally thought-created reality that reflects for each person the state of mind and level of understanding of the thinker. They are not living in an external reality that is causing the feeling state they feel and forcing the thoughts they think. Circumstances are not rushing at us like a speeding train; we are interpreting circumstances like an artist painting a scene.

In truth, most people live as victims of circumstances, ricocheting back and forth between emotional states in reaction to their perceived situation, feeling powerless and increasingly despondent if the situation is perceived to be bleak. This is what Sydney Banks used to call the “cosmic joke.” Our thinking appears so real to us as it comes to mind that it appears to us as though it is caused by what we see. It takes a deep insight to realize that we are creating what appears to us, and that it will appear entirely different to us as our thinking changes and our state of mind shifts. A shift in our state of mind is natural as soon as we experience the power of our own capacity to think and see our thinking for what it is.

Over the 30 years that I have worked in the many fields generated by the three Principles epiphany experienced and shared by Sydney Banks, the enormous power of this simple logic has become increasingly obvious to me. Mind, the energy of all things formless and in form, is the force of life. As sentient beings, we are part of that force which empowers all the systems of a living being, including the formation of Thought that comes to life in the brain and activates electrochemical responses that we “know”  through Consciousness, the capacity to experience our thinking as our reality. At first, it seemed to me like a revolution in mental well-being, that people could see how they were creating their own stress and distress and thus have the capacity to change. Then it seemed like a step towards a more harmonious public environment, that organizations and institutions could operate in higher states of mind and become more respectful, productive, responsive, creative and collaborative.

Now it seems to me to be the single most important recognition humanity needs to stop the trajectory towards disaster and turn the destructive tendencies emerging from an increasingly insecure and alienated disintegration of societies towards compassion, harmony, peace and creative solutions to the world’s problems. The hope in this is that the answer lies within, it is freely available to every single person on the planet, and it is an infinitely self-renewing resource. There is no end to what we can discover together if we look together towards incrementally increasing understanding and peace of mind.

We have, innately, the power to:

  • change our minds
  • forgive ourselves and others
  • transcend current thinking
  • create original ideas
  • start fresh
  • love unconditionally

It is the same, exact power we employ to:

  • cling to our prevailing ideas
  • remain remorseful and unforgiving
  • ruminate about what we already know
  • subvert original ideas
  • stay stuck in the past
  • love only when conditions are met

That’s the irony. We are already employing our enormous power to create life experience no matter how we are using it. It is the way life happens. Only when we become aware, realize the way life happens, can we be accountable for how we employ our power and create the life experience we want.

As Sydney Banks puts it in The Missing Link, “The answer people seek lies not in their separate beliefs, but in the realization that Thought is the common denominator in all psychological and spiritual understanding.”

Posted in innate health, Insecurity, Mind, Mind and Consciousness and Thought, Peace of Mind, psychobiospiritual, resiliency, Security, State of Mind, Sydney Banks, Three Principles | 2 Comments

Squandering Our Power

Across the developed world, environmentalists have gotten our attention about power. We use energy efficient light bulbs, appliances and devices. We turn things off. We adjust our home thermometers not to waste power when and where no one needs to be warm or cool. We care about gas mileage. We recycle. We are increasingly committed to conserve  and use the power we have wisely in every aspect of our lives…

Except the most important.Brain power

I repeat. Except the most important. Across the world, we are squandering the absolutely most important, greatest infinitely and universally available power of all of humanity: Our power to think and create. To use our minds to know the difference between wisdom and insanity. To use our freedom to follow the thinking that inspires, uplifts, creates, harmonizes, resolves, and leads us to transcend all limitations at any moment.

At some point in time, it will be known that the greatest tragedy of the current era was that humanity squandered the most valuable resource we had and almost destroyed itself and the planet. It will be recognized that we squandered our personal power because humanity was almost entirely oblivious to the fact that the only — I repeat, the only — cause of hatred, of murder, of warfare, of anger, of frustration, of mistrust, of every horrible thing of which humanity is capable is unrecognized negative, insecure thinking taken seriously over time.  The tortured thinking that each person living in anguish is making up from the inherent power of all human beings to think for themselves and see what they think as their personal reality is the source of all of humanity’s pain. As soon as people see that, see for themselves that thinking is something we are doing and that our thinking is entirely within our control, and thus our personal realities are entirely within our control, they change. They just do. They change because people are intrinsically drawn towards peace and happiness. When people see that it is within their own power to find peace and happiness, they use that power constructively. They use it easily because it is right there; it is innate; it is our birthright as human beings to use the power we have to think to create our personal experience of reality. It is the only way we see life.

The truth is all around us. When we see people operating from wisdom, common sense, love, compassion, ease, grace, we are deeply touched. We admire them as though they were special. We fail to realize  that there is no difference between them and anyone else except that they are using their power to think more wisely, and following positive feelings to higher levels of thinking. No one is special. Some people are just more deeply in touch with their own psycho-bio-spiritual health and wisdom. Some people cherish peace of mind over upset, and know it’s within them to find it.

When I look at the huge unsolved problems humanity faces, locally, regionally, nationally, globally — everywhere — it hurts my heart to know that the answers are simple and available. But we can’t find them when our minds are agitated and tormented with fear and negativity.

If, suddenly, across the world, people woke up to the fact that we are all living in a thought-created reality that could change in a moment, it would change in a moment. We don’t like what we have created. We don’t like poverty. We don’t like to see people demonizing others and committing unspeakable atrocities. We don’t like war. We don’t like starving children, displaced families, resources blown to smithereens by senseless terror, murdered innocents, hateful discourse, brutality… No one would choose any of the awful things we face today — if they knew there was a choice.

There is a choice. It is one thought away.

As soon as the world realizes that we are creating all of humanity’s experiences from the inside-out, that our experiences are not the product of our circumstances, but our circumstances are the product of our own thinking, everything will change. Quickly.

There is a whole movement sweeping across the globe doing everything in our power to elicit that change, to awaken others to the extraordinary gifts we have as human beings, the infinite, universal power to use our minds to think and create the life we want.

For those who have seen it, ordinary life changes that appear to be miracles occur all around us, all the time.

Look into it; follow the resources below. Please. Let’s join together to stop squandering the only real power we have that can change everything.

Cut off from innate wisdom, a lost thinker experiences isolation, fear and confusion. This is why there are so many horrible atrocities throughout the world. Newspapers are full of wars, killings, children starving.  Ignorance of our own inner wisdom is the cause of sin. There would be no sin without such ignorance. The malfunction of our own personal thought system instigates the breakdown of personal relationships and leads to the crumbling of societies, causing unnecessary suffering and sadness. The misled thoughts of humanity, alienated from their inner wisdom, cause all violence, cruelty and savagery in this world. Since the beginning, the state of any society is a direct result of its conditioned way of thinking. As you think, so you shall hear. The sage hears fools and wise alike. The fool hears only fools.”

                                                                             Sydney Banks, The Missing Link




Posted in Consciousness, innate health, Insecurity, Mind, Mind and Consciousness and Thought, Peace of Mind, psychobiospiritual, resiliency, State of Mind, Sydney Banks, Three Principles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How I met Leon

I don’t tell this story often because, for people who aren’t used to trusting the power of a calm state of mind, it is at best weird and at worst frightening. But it’s true, and it happened to me in New York City in the early ’90’s, when my daughter was a student at New York University, living in a tiny apartment not large enough for me to stay with her. When I visited, I stayed at the Washington Square Park Hotel, several blocks from her.

One night, while I was walking back to the hotel from her apartment, I had the prickly dsc_0020-1feeling there was someone a few steps behind me. My first thought was to run or scream, but that didn’t make sense. I was walking past closed academic buildings. I did not know who was behind me or why; I wondered how to find out. I came to a crosswalk and stopped, and the person behind me remained behind me. He or she was hesitating; it occurred to me that the person was tentative about what to do next, too. They must be insecure about what they’re thinking of doing. Then the thought came to me that no one who is taking so much time to act can remain intent on doing harm to someone who is friendly and cares about them. So I turned around, extended my hand to what turned out to be a young man in a navy blue hooded sweat shirt. I said, “Hi, my name is Judy; what is yours?”

He was startled. He stood stiffly and stared at me. I kept talking.

“You know,” I said, “I was visiting someone back a few blocks that way. I am on my way to where I’m staying. I’m a little nervous walking alone. I didn’t realize it would be so quiet out here. Would you walk with me? I’d feel better if I had someone to walk with. What is your name?”

There was a pause, and then he relaxed, shook my hand, and said, “My name is Leon. And, yeah, I’ll walk with you.”

I asked him where he was from. “The park,” he answered. “I used to live in an apartment, but my mother got sent to jail and my little sister got sent to foster care. I am too old for that. So they just put me out. I live in the park now. In boxes, or whatever I can find to sleep in. I don’t sleep much. I’m scared most of the time.”

“Are you in school?” I asked. He looked downcast. “I was. I can’t go to school any more. I don’t have an address. I have no place to get cleaned up. I dropped out.” He told me he was nearing the end of 11th grade when he dropped out. He said he had had a B average and he used to think he would be able to go on to a public college, but now he had no hope of finishing his education.

I asked him if he had ever heard of the GED. He had, but he didn’t think he could take it. He didn’t have an address or a phone number, or parents at home. How could he fill out an application form? I told him, “Leon, come on, be a New Yorker. You can do it. Just put a number from any pizza box you find in the park on the form, use your old address and your mother’s real name. No one is going to call you; forms just need to be filled out. No one checks the information. Just pay close attention and make sure you know where the test is given and what time, and show up. You can go pick up your scores; they don’t have to mail them to you.”

“Do you think I could pass?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, “but if you were doing well in school and just about finished 11th grade, you probably will pass. And if you don’t,  just take it again. Once you know what you missed, you can always go to the public library and study on your own. You have nothing to do anyway; you’ll be a lot safer in the library and you can read there all day long if you want to. Don’t give up on learning just because you’re not in school right now.”

As we walked along, he told me how worried he was about his little sister, and how frightened he was living on his own in the park. He never knew day to day what was going to happen, or how he would eat. He looked for a job at first, but there wasn’t anything that didn’t require a high school degree and now he was embarrassed because he looked so dirty and unkempt when he went to apply. “They look right through me like I’m nobody,” he said.

“You’re somebody,” I said. “You’re Leon. You can decide what Leon will become. Don’t give up your choices.”

We came near to my hotel, and I stopped and said, “Well, we’re just about where I was going. I want you to promise me that you will follow up on that GED. I know you can do it. You’re young; you were on a good path; you can get back on it.”

“Thank you,” he said, and then shook my hand again and started to walk away.

I called him back. I took out my wallet and went to hand him most of the cash I had.

“Oh, no, you’ve been so nice. I couldn’t take it,” he said.

“You were going to take it before we met, weren’t you?” I said.

“Well, yeah, but that was before I knew you. You’ve been really nice.”

“Now,” I said, “you can take it because I am freely giving it. Remember this: More people than you think will help you in life if you ask. Don’t do stupid stuff when you’re desperate. Calm down and look for someone friendly to help you along the way.”

He took the cash and waited on the sidewalk as I walked up the steps to the door of the hotel. When I turned to wave, he said, “I’m going to do what we talked about. I am. I promise. Thank you.”

I never saw him again, and I have no idea what he did with the money or whether he ever went to take his GED. But I know he did not hurt me, and maybe I helped him that night.

And I am sure that trusting myself to know what to do if I kept from jumping ahead of the moment and didn’t get reactive saved us both from harm that night.

Wisdom gives us the answer to every situation. The answer is always love.

“Love and understanding harmonize the mind of humanity to its true inner nature. What you give in life is what you receive. To give love is to receive love. A mind full of love and good feelings can never go wrong.”

Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p. 117.

Posted in Peace of Mind, Security, State of Mind, Sydney Banks, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Can we find common ground?

In an insecure state of fear and anxiety, this is how people behave:

shooting gun

  • They expect the worst.
  • They do not trust others, especially others who are “different” from them.
  • They feel on edge and unsafe.
  • They act impulsively out of that fear.
  • They are certain they are justified in any action to protect themselves.

In a secure state of peace of mind and wisdom, this is how people behave:

handshake copy

  • They are present in the moment without expectations.
  • They respect others, even those who are “different” from them.
  • They feel calm and at ease in life.
  • They act from insight out of common sense.
  • Their actions tend to elevate situations, and need no justification.

The same holds true for organizations, for communities, for nations…

State of mind matters. Peace of mind matters. As a matter of fact, it is the primary quality in life that matters if we hope to live without constant strife among our neighbors, within our organizations, at home in our communities, or in the world.

The Trayvon Martin case brought this into sharp focus, but there are examples all around us at every level of human interaction.

What if both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin had come, early in life, to understand the nature of thought, and the spiritual bonds that unite us all: We are all thinking, seeing our thinking as real, capable of allowing negative, distressing thinking to pass, and thinking again.

George Zimmerman would have seen a stranger in his neighborhood, a young black man in a hoodie, and had the thought that he could be one of those punks that get away with crimes, and called 911. He would have realized he was getting worked up and taking that thinking seriously with no real evidence. He might have calmed down, pulled up alongside Trayvon, rolled down his window, and said, “Son, I’m George. I’m a neighborhood watchman, and I’m armed. I feel responsible for keeping this neighborhood safe. I have called the police. I am no threat to you, but I do need to know who you are and where you’re going.”

Trayvon Martin would have seen a stranger in a black van trailing him, and his first thought might have been he was a “creepy” guy who might be a pervert. But he would stop to think what would make sense to stay safe in this case. Maybe he would have gotten off the phone with his friend and called his father and asked him to come out of the house and meet him because he was frightened by someone who seemed to be following him. Maybe, if he were confronted by George Zimmerman, and George Zimmerman identified himself respectfully as a neighborhood watchman, he would have said, “Oh, man, you really scared me. I had no idea who you were. I thought you were going to hurt me. I live right over there.” And George Zimmerman, to satisfy his duty as a watchman, could have gone home with him, met his father, and made a new friend in the neighborhood.

There is nothing in what we have learned about either party to this case that would suggest this neutral scenario could not have happened. Their friends and family loved them and thought they were good people. They had treated others gently in the past. They were regular human beings, just like us, going through ups and downs, moving in and out of varying levels of insecurity, thinking their way through life.

The tragedy is, not knowing anything at all about how different life looks to us in different states of mind, not knowing that when our thinking is most urgent we can least trust it, not knowing that if I am insecure and taking insecure thought seriously, the “other” might be doing the same thing … they fought and the one without the gun died.

It is heartbreaking that all the commentary, all the news, all the discussion about this case is not about the answer to the underlying reason these tragedies occur: insecure thought taken seriously.

Do we truly want this kind of thing to stop happening?

Then we have to look deeper, to the fundamental cause and the real solution.

This will be part of the conversation at a significant conference of people who are deeply dedicated to bring about a paradigm shift in the world, from prevailing insecurity and anxiety to prevailing security and peace. Come join us to see how thousands of people have realized that possibility, and you can too.

“With wisdom people see beyond the filters and biases of race and culture, to realize the beauty in everyone. Such understanding enables people to stop fearing and distrusting those who are different, to see the commonality of human beings regardless of cultural differences. Wisdom applied to society would do more than anything else to halt the ethnic clashes and wars the world suffers from today.”

Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p. 136

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Ask the deeper questions

A flood of questions follows horrifying actions like the Boston Marathon bombing. Who is to blame? How did it happen? Why? Could we have stopped it? Can we keep it from happening again? We analyze each incident with an excruciatingly complex compilation of details. We hope for answers from the accumulation of minutiae.

Shouldn’t we also ask the deeper questions, the questions that would generalize speexploding mindcific events to insights about the universal nature of fury, hatred, alienation, dissociation in human beings? Have we taken seriously the critical need to truly understand and address mental health, not only here, but across the globe? What erupts within the human heart and mind to inflame the rage to kill?  Could anything inhibit the rabidity that fuels terror? Could people ever see how to create and sustain peace and stability?

In order to fully prevent — to eradicate — anything, the source must be clearly identified. Until the root cause is certain, prevention is randomly effective and situational. For example, even though it had been known since the Roman Empire that sewage must be diverted to avoid widespread sickness in concentrated populations, no one knew what was intrinsic to sewage that was the actual cause of illness until the germ theory of disease was proven in the mid-1800’s. Then we knew how the primary source of illness could contaminate and disseminate in many ways. Solving the spread of the one true source was the answer that allowed us to begin to control diseases.

As we think about cruelty, violence, evil now, we are like the ancient Romans. We want to keep them away from populations, so we look after the fact to figure out how to do that better. We take it for granted that dealing with those dark aspects of human behavior is inevitable, so we keep looking for more ways to wall them off and push them farther from us — more security, more barricades, more restrictions, more suspicion, more weapons. We are especially dismayed in the face of obvious ambiguity, of situations like the Boston bombers and other youthful terrorists around the world.  Those who grew up around the perpetrators often tell us that they were good kids, good friends, happy guys. How could that be?  Does the potential for terror lurk even in the apparently nice people we generally like? Why would seemingly intelligent, athletic, friendly young men turn into ruthless, remorseless, mass killers? What is the contaminant? How do we keep it away?

In the more than 30 years I have been working to extend the reach of the Principles of an inside-out logic that explains the whole range of human experience, I have wondered  why some central questions have not generally registered with people. For example:

  1. If  the causes of human behavior are external, why wouldn’t the same external forces create the same reactions in everyone exposed to them?
  2. Since common sense shows us that people respond differently to the same external circumstances, why aren’t we looking for the mediator that explains that?

Questions that reach below the surface of our prevailing assumptions easily get lost. It is the history of humanity to live within the boundaries of the theories about life that are most widely accepted in our eras. So, before the discovery of germ theory, people accepted frequent contagion and widespread outbreaks of disease as normal “acts of nature”. Now, we see them as abnormal and we know what to look for to bring them under control.

At this point in our general understanding of human psychology, the prevailing theories all suggest that life happens to us, and everything we think and feel and do is generated by things outside ourselves. Without realizing it, we see ourselves as perpetual victims of circumstances, both good and bad. We consistently look for causes outside ourselves to explain effects within ourselves. Who or what should we blame or thank for our experience of life? He made me mad. You make me cheerful. I’ll be happy if … Of course, he or she is this or that — look at his or her family/schooling/background/environment/friends/religion… Because we empower all the stuff in our life, we are always struggling with things outside of our control.

What if we are missing a crucial link in our understanding of ourselves? What if we generate our experience from within, by the thoughts that flow through us, mediated by the level of awareness we have that we are the thinkers of our own thoughts and thus the creators of our own experience of reality? What if the power is within each person on earth to recognize how thinking works and see how to discriminate wise thinking from destructive thinking? What if this knowledge is intrinsic, but not always understood, and therefore easily awakened? What if the universal source of all of our responses to the external world is the way we hold and use our own thinking about it?

Reflect for a moment. A mind at peace does not, could not, conceive violence as a viable action. A mind at peace creates ease, connection to other people, compassion and engagement in life. A mind in turmoil will conceive and act on whatever thoughts seem to offer relief from inner torment. A mind in turmoil creates insecurity, righteous self-absorption, alienation, hatred and disregard for life.

If part of early education, just as ordinary as math and reading, were a true understanding of how our own minds, how all human minds, work to create our experience, young people would know early on how to use their feeling state to navigate their own thinking. They would recognize which thoughts make sense to guide them into action, and which thoughts to leave alone. They would not be frightened by any of their thinking, regardless of how bizarre or destructive, because they would understand that all thoughts are fleeting images created within our own minds that have no meaning beyond our level of commitment to them. They would live at peace within themselves. When we are at peace inside, there will be peace in the world.

Cut off from innate wisdom, a lost thinker experiences isolation, fear and confusion. This is why there are so many atrocities throughout the world.  Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p 83.                                                                 

Posted in Consciousness, innate health, Insecurity, Mind, Mind and Consciousness and Thought, Peace of Mind, psychobiospiritual, resiliency, Security, State of Mind, Sydney Banks, Thought, Three Principles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Enough said

One of the effects of quick and easy electronic communication is that anyone can say anything to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people with a few quick clicks and a press of the “send” button, without even a moment’s pause. We’ve lost the value of allowing time and space for reflection to frame and produce our comments.

Who asks themselves these questions any more: Do I need to say this? Is this valuable? Is this the best way to say it? Is this what I really want to say? Is this clear and concise? Could this inadvertently bring hurt or harm to someone else? Is this true? Does anyone even care about this? Sometimes it feels like the whole world of interpersonal communications is set to either “knee-jerk” or  “stream of consciousness”  — unedited, unconsidered, unending.

Long before the advent of the internet, when we still wrote our first drafts in longhand and pecked out the final manuscript on a manual typewriter, when we still developed readable penmanship to write and mail letters to friends and family, I was trained as an English major to care deeply about the written and spoken word. Then I was trained as a journalist to know that any sentence that is incorrect or easily misconstrued could destroy my credibility or lead to lawsuit.  So I have always had a predisposition to exercise some care about my words.

Even so, looking back to my life before and after I came to understand the way the human mind works to create reality, I can see a huge change in the frequency, intensity and quality of my communications. Having learned to reflect, I find I have less and less need to say a lot, and I care more and more about what I do say. I find that a sudden urge to write or say a lot, in detail, with fervor, about anything feels symptomatic, rather than important, to me (not that I never do it anyway). By “symptomatic” I mean it lets me know my mind is racing, and I’m losing the capacity to reflect and speak from insight and wisdom, not from habit and reaction. It’s certainly not that I’m especially insightful or wise. We’re all the same. Everyone, abbubblessolutely everyone, on the planet has access to insights and wisdom beyond their habitual thinking. We don’t always take advantage of that access; some people have lost touch with it. But it’s there for us all, always.

We recognize that access by the feeling of a quiet mind. A mind at ease generates responsive ideas that are right for the moment, and nothing more. A mind at ease produces a graceful flow of ideas with plenty of space between, reflective space to allow fresh thoughts to form, like bubbles rising to the surface. A mind at ease listens without thought, taking in what others are saying and allowing it to have its own impact, without rushing to produce an answer. A mind at ease allows small thoughts to pass, unwritten and unsaid, while larger thoughts are rising. A mind at ease is comfortable in silence and clear in communication.

What generates a quiet mind and appreciation for it? We don’t have to do or fix anything to find our own quietude. It is our natural state. We just look to live in a quiet state of mind, to enjoy our lives as they unfold, simply realizing that original, constructive, creative thoughts are the natural gift that is our birthright to thrive and survive. Insight, wisdom and common sense come through us readily when we allow our minds to work in harmony with life, knowing that ideas will arise and create our experience of reality. Once a reality appears, it is. As thoughts flow, each passes, and something else is. A quiet mind does not entertain extraneous thought about the dynamic course of reality. It is.

Enough said.

Posted in innate health, Mind and Consciousness and Thought, Peace of Mind, State of Mind, Sydney Banks, Three Principles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life and Death

Anthony F. Arpaia

Anthony F. Arpaia, my father, 1898-1978

My Father and I used to take long walks around Washington, D.C., spending hours talking about life. On one of our last such walks, just before we moved away from D.C. and I got ready to leave for college, never to live at home again, my father said, “We measure out our lives with celebrations. First, you go to your friends’ weddings, then to baby showers, then to your friends’ children’s graduations and weddings, then to retirement parties, and then your calendar begins to fill more and more with funerals.” He had just lost one of his best friends, a man who was a lively participant in our lives as long as I could remember. I felt the loss, too, but I realized in that conversation it had a different significance for my father. It opened a chapter that would be filled with more loss. Or so it seemed.

I asked my Father, “It’s not possible for anyone not to die, is it?” That had never really hit me as a fundamental truth before. The journey to death begins at birth; there is only one ultimate destination in this world. My parents would die. I would die. I began to cry. “So why are we here at all?” I asked, welling with teen-age angst.

We were walking through the National Zoo, and my father pointed to a bench where we could sit a while. He pulled out his pipe and lit it, the sweetish aroma of his beloved Cherry Heering tobacco wafting past me. “We’re here to live,” he said. “To enjoy every moment of life that we have. To contribute to the story of mankind that continues to be told through the generations. We don’t need to think about death at all. When the time comes, it’s the natural outcome of life, an experience shared by every living thing, so it is nothing to fear or even consider. It’s just what ultimately happens. The point is to live every day so that when the end comes, you look back in joy and you look forward in peace.”

“So you’re not sad when your friends die?” I asked.

“Yes and no,” he said. “I’m not sad for them, just fulfilling the promise of all life. But I’m sad for myself because I enjoyed spending time with them, and I miss them. Grief is essentially a personal feeling.”

“What about people who die in horrible accidents, or war, or children who die of some disease before they even have a chance to live? Isn’t that some sort of perversion of the whole natural system?”

“No. It’s not for any of us to say who dies when. The point is to live from the outset  knowing that accidents happen and death could come at any time. So don’t waste a moment of your life. None of us knows in advance how long we have, but all of us who come into life have a chance to live each day we have to the fullest. Don’t give your life away postponing things.”

I’ve replayed that conversation many times over the years, when I was discouraged or tempted to quit something, or when I had thoughts about whether I was “ready” for some opportunity that came my way. I took it to mean, “Take what life has to offer and make the most of it.”

And now I’ve come to that point in my life where, increasingly, my contemporaries are dying. I’ve lost so many friends and colleagues in the last few years, people who were central to my life and work, whose absence changes the shape of my days and the arc of my life. And now I see more clearly the wisdom in my Father’s words. Looking back, each person who has gone did contribute to the story of mankind, accomplished things that mattered in their lifetimes, touched those who knew them in some way. While their absence is felt, so also their presence was and is still felt.

Anthony A. Quesen, my grandson, 1999-

Anthony A. Quesen, my grandson, 1999-

My Grandson, who was named for my Father and who was born almost 100 years after my Father was born, asked me, not long ago, if I was sad to be getting older. My first thought was the old saw, “Well, the alternative is much worse!” But I let that thought pass and reflected, because I wanted to honor my father’s memory with my answer to his namesake.  I told him, “No, I am grateful because every day is a gift, another opportunity to contribute to the story of mankind, another day to experience something new, to learn something, to help someone, to work at what I love to do, to understand life better. I have been ‘getting older’ since the minute I was born; so are you. All any of us has is this moment, this day, to make our life joyful and meaningful.”

“Wow,” he said. “I never thought about it that way. So it’s no big deal, getting older. You just live and do and don’t think about it. Cool.”

“Well, we can both thank my Father,” I said, and I told him the story.

“I wonder if that’s what his Father told him,” my Grandson mused.

I don’t know. But I suspect it is the wisdom of the ages, revealed generation to generation, by those who love the moment and fear nothing.

Posted in innate health, Peace of Mind, resiliency, Security | 5 Comments

Those beautiful unopened gifts


No matter how many pretty wrapped boxes we open, no matter how delighted we may be with this or that, no matter how thrilled we are to get something we were hoping for, the experience is fleeting and briefly satisfying. A universe of material things could never fill one soul.

The gifts that do fill our souls and lift our hearts are the gifts we carry with us always, the gifts we often forget we have, and often forget to open. They cannot be boxed and wrapped. They are ethereal and uncontained, and yet whenever we open them, they are all we need. Peace. Love. Joy. Gratitude.

These gifts are innate to us. They are never exhausted, worn or outdated. They are perfect whenever we rediscover them. Finding them is as natural as looking within. “Losing” them is just a matter of looking away. We merely lose sight of them. Look within again, and there they are. They are our human nature. Look into a baby’s eyes, look at a baby’s smile look at a baby’s easy interaction with everything and everyone around. That is the uncontaminated expression of the pure, deep feelings that are our birthright.

Why, then, is there so little peace, so little love, so little joy, so little gratitude in the global condition that spreads itself before us every day? As much as we long for peace on earth and good will to mankind, why are they so elusive?

To me, it’s because the prevailing consciousness in the world is mostly turned away from the infinite and impersonal spiritual gifts humanity naturally shares, and towards the finite and personal gifts people think they need to seek: goods, territory, power, control, influence. Because contentment and ease cannot be generated externally, no matter how hard we try or how much we get, the level of frustration increases, the level of dissatisfaction increases, the blame and hatred and resentments that drive the quest for external rewards increase. The only outcome for living in the constant feeling of “not enough yet” is pain, pain, and more pain. The relentless pursuit of unattainable happiness from things outside of ourselves is eroding the spirit of humanity. Yet, the beautiful gifts we have within are still close at hand. The hope for change is as simple as turning away from the hunt and quieting down, embracing the deeper feelings that bubble to the surface as soon as we let all that frantic personal thinking pass and leave it alone.

When life is all about me, my experience of life spirals down into a small dark cone of insecurity. What about me? What’s in it for me? What do I need? How do I get more? Who’s getting ahead of me? What will make me feel better? When those kinds of questions come to mind, I am thankful that I know now that they don’t mean anything. They are best ignored. They are not information about life, but about the quality of life; they are information about my increasing state of self-focus and insecurity.

When I am all about life, my experience of life expands into an ever widening circle of ease. What about others? How will this affect people? What do we all need? How can we work together? How do we open up new possibilities? How can I share good feelings? When those types of questions come to mind, I am thankful that I know now they do not mean I am losing ground. They are uplifting. They, also, are not information about life, but about the quality of life; they are information about my peace with being a part of the whole of humanity, the whole of life, an increasing state of gratitude and security.

When a critical mass of people find peace within, we will live in a peaceful world. With an understanding that the origin of our individual realities is the energetic expression of the pure force of mind manifested through our thoughts and brought to life by our conscious awareness, we wake up to the power to create each moment of our life experience. If what we are creating is not helpful, does not make sense, is sucking us into insecurity, we can stop, allow all those thoughts to pass and fade into nothing. A quiet mind will create entirely new thoughts.

If what others around us are creating is hurtful or hateful, we can allow those thoughts to pass us by without response, knowing that, unattended, they will diminish, knowing that others, too, can quiet down and get a fresh start.

It seems too simple. Not taking insecure thinking to heart is the opening that admits the illumination of peace, love, joy, gratitude. As simple as it is, though, it depends on each person experiencing that moment of truth, that moment of seeing that thoughts are illusions that come and go, of seeing how readily things change when certain thoughts pass and others come to mind.

Change comes one person at a time, but when it comes, it comes in an instant, in a flash of insight that shows us we are so much more powerful, so much better, so much happier,  than we think we are.

Posted in innate health, Mind and Consciousness and Thought, Peace of Mind, resiliency, State of Mind, Three Principles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment