Last week I returned to West Virginia to be part of a wonderful conference celebrating resiliency. The organizers were two women who had at one time beeen my students at West Viginia University, in the Public Health Master’s course called Prevention through Resiliency. Their imaginations were captured and their hope was inspired by the potential to awaken the innate health and strength in all people to elicit well-being, regardless of the presenting circumstances. They left that course dedicated to sharing what they were learning, joining an effort to create a new vision for prevention that was promulgated for nearly 12 years through the West Virginia University School of Medicine.
So it was that a more than a hundred people gathered last week in Flatwoods, WV, to celebrate the human spirit and share ideas about the many ways to strengthen the partnership of health that is the foundation of 3-Principles-based work. And so it was that we were all reminded that simple truth, told uniquely from each heart, reconnects us to the spiritual bonds that all human beings share: the energy of life that is our essence; the capacity to create thought that generates our ever-changing realities; and the awareness that brings us the sensory experience of what we have thought. Mind, Thought and Consciousness: these three principles, once seen, set people free from living as victims of their own imagination. They explain how we are always making up our own realities, each in our own way according to the way we are using and holding our thinking each moment. They show us that if we leave our thinking alone, trusting that it will change naturally, we will always come back to balance, back home. To put it in silly terms, they show us that we are like the Weebles of our childhood. We have a built-in self-righting mechanism. Remember them? Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.
That’s why the Principles are taught as “prevention,” because as people truly see how their thinking works from the inside out to create their reality, they know how to avoid the downward spiral of upsetting thinking. They know they can trust their innate resiliency to lift them to safety. They know the vortex is no more real than any other of the infinite thoughts they could bring to mind.
The man who discovered the Principles, the man who was the primary teacher of many of us “old-timers” in this work, put it this way. “The solutions to outwardly complex probems created by misguided thoughts will not arise from complicated analytical theory, but will emerge as an insight, wrapped in a banket of simplicity.” (Sydney Banks, The Missing Link, p. 139) Insight is a moment of wisdom that takes us home, beyond whatever thinking we are stuck in, and reveals some deeper, clearer truth. Insight is the pure and gentle flute melody that is heard when the clangorous brass quiets down. We always know it because with it comes a positive, quiet confidence, a sense of security in our understanding of where we are and how to navigate through life.
As we listened last week to the insights from so many people, told fresh in their own words, and felt the joy and vitality of people who have come home to the wisdom that Mr. Banks said “cleans the channels of your mind and brings sanity into your life,” we all were joined in compassion, warmth, love and hope. We renewed our faith that every person in the world, no matter how tragically or intensely caught up they may be in a cyclone of negative thought, is only one insight away from a totally different experience.
And at the end, as people always do in West Virginia, we sang “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” We joined voices and hearts in that simple call to be “in the place where I belong”. We rededicated ourselves to the vision for humanity that Mr. Banks expressed at the end of The Missing Link:
“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.” (p. 136)
Those timeless words were written in 1998. And we remain, timelessly, one moment, one thought, one insight, away from peace. We are never really lost. We are never far from home.