What are the Three Principles?

Principles are fundamental truths. They are the logic of the universe. They differ from theories in that they are not made up by people. They are discovered from profound insight, sometimes called moments of enlightenment.

Sydney Banks had a moment of enlightenment in which he “saw” the Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought behind all of creation. The enlightenment changed his entire perspective and revealed to him how we humans experience life. His understanding of human nature, and his own feelings about himself and others changed in those moments. Insights about the implications of what he had seen filled his mind. He realized that what he saw was simple and obvious and could point to the end of human suffering if all people could see it. He devoted the rest of his life to sharing it. We carry forward that work.

The Three Principles are Universal Mind, Universal Consciousness, and Universal Thought. Those are the words we use to describe the aliveness before thought — the universal vitality that energizes everything. We are referring to the formless power behind everything that is.

Mind is the word we use for the intelligent energy of creation. That intelligent energy results in a world in harmony, where all living things contribute to the whole and are interdependent and connected. 

Consciousness is the word we use for the power of awareness, the ability to experience what we bring to mind as real, and the spiritual power to know that we are the thinkers creating that reality. We can imagine Consciousness as the window to the source and the doorway to the forms created from that source. Consciousness brings creation to life for us. 

Thought is the ability to create ideas and images to navigate life moment-to-moment. We are always responding to the “reality” we have created with our own thinking. That is not to say there is no actual world in which we live; it is to say that every person is creating their own unique experience of that reality via their thinking.

  • The Principles are words we use to explain how form is created from formless energy.  Since we are thinking beings living in the world of form, we can only feel the truth of them, the truth that there is an infinite force before form. They are not forms, or concepts, or things. 
    Applied to the human experience, the Principles mean:
    The energy of Mind has brought us into form in this life and is always flowing through us;
  • We arrive into life with the power to think (Thought), and we experience life by constantly creating thoughts;
  • We arrive aware of our thoughts as they come to mind through our own senses. Our thoughts form the ever-changing reality we see, moment-to-moment.

The Principles describe how and why we, as the thinkers of our own thoughts and the creators of our own experience, can change. When we realize that we are always creating our own experience from the inside out, from our own power to think and experience, we realize we are the authors of our own story of life, regardless of the circumstances in which we are living. The outside world does not create our thoughts; we create our experience of the outside world via the thoughts we have about it as it unfolds. If we don’t like our experience, we have the power to change our minds, with every change of thought, our reality changes.

The Principles are our connection to the Wisdom of the Universe (via Mind), which is the source of original or new thoughts. Thus, we can consistently look quietly within ourselves, to the moment before thought is formed, to realize insights from Wisdom, seeing life from an increasingly deep perspective.

The Principles point us to our freedom to live the life we can imagine. The Principles point us to the safety of knowing that Wisdom is always available to us when we are uncertain or confused, that we can rely on new thoughts to guide us. The Principles explain the link between the universal spiritual essence of life and the reality of life. The Principles explain why all people, no exceptions, have mental well-being, even when they are not experiencing it. Before personal thought, we all have exactly the same creative gift, pure Mind, Consciousness and Thought. We are given the infinite possibility to create anything.

What is The Three Principles Global Community (3PGC)?

The Three Principles Global Community (3PGC) is a non-profit organization committed to disseminating the understanding of The Three Principles as discovered by Sydney Banks to people throughout the world. The Three Principles point toward the true source of human experience. Insightful realization of the Three Principles allows anyone to understand how all human experience is created, and to glimpse the very nature of that creative source. These insights uncover our natural resilience, innate feelings of well-being, and our natural connection and access to a universal wisdom found within everyone.

3PGC is committed to raise awareness and appreciation of the principles as a full and complete stand-alone solution to our psychological, emotional, and spiritual challenges.

3PGC activities and programs are focused on:

  • Raising awareness of the importance of Sydney Bank’s materials as the defining and primary source as the nature of the principles
  • Providing clarity on taking the principles as principles, and guiding people to understand why that is essential and beneficial to mental well-being.

Purpose of 3PGC

The purpose of 3PGC is to represent to the world the simplicity and powerful potential of these Principles to end human suffering.

The Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought discovered by Sydney Banks explain how human beings create their individual experience of life and how people change. They point to the spiritual energy behind all of creation that empowers each of us to create ideas and images in our own minds and see and feel what we have created via our senses. This becomes our ever-changing reality, moment-to-moment, as we think our way through life. As we become aware of our power TO think, we realize that WHAT we think is everchanging and not determined by the circumstances of our lives, but HOW we are thinking about the circumstances of our lives and whether we trust our own common sense about it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Three Principles?

First, Cognitive therapy is interested in the belief systems that are behind the client’s problem. The idea is to identify dysfunctional or distorted beliefs and challenge them. A principle-based approach isn’t interested in challenging belief systems. A principle-based approach would look at how those belief systems are created. The understanding of this human phenomena would be the point and would in itself give the person mental well being.

Second, when people understand that their thoughts drive their experience (not the other way around), they naturally question their perceptions. “Is it the bad weather that is giving me this bad feeling, or is it my thinking about the gray day?” Just the action of questioning one’s experience often changes it, and over time looking inward becomes habitual and people start to see more clearly how thought creates their reality from within.

Third, cognitive therapy tries to help people change their thoughts: a) after they are created, and b) from the same level of consciousness at which they are currently operating. Understanding how thought works helps people to see that their current level of consciousness, mood or state of mind is generated by the quality of their thought. A principles-based teacher helps people to see they have a “self-righting” mechanism that can be engaged and the quality of thought will change without effort. Understanding how thought works at different levels of consciousness to create our experience, recognizing that each person is the thinker, and recognizing the innate (default) ability to live in a healthy state of mind all come together to create the new paradigm we teach in The Three Principles community.

The fact that people feel better when they think positively is something everyone can get behind. But unless you are a naturally positive thinker in your habits of thought, it is a slippery slope to try control your thinking to make it more positive. This creates the practice of thought management, which in itself is unsustainable and effortful. Sometimes you get the feeling that people who are positive thinkers are trying to slap a positive thought over what they see as a negative reality.

The difference between what we do and positive thinking is the understanding that when we’re not trying to think positive, we can relax into a natural state of wellbeing. A state of wellbeing is a positive feeling that naturally comes when our minds quiet down. When we quiet down in our heads, we don’t need to force a positive feeling.

Because we are such a society of doers, people often can’t help but look at application. Again, we point people in the direction of understanding. We want people to realize that understanding provides an obvious simple answer. We have all heard the old adage, count to ten when you’re angry before you speak. The three principles provide the logic of why this works. This is a simple example but most of us would admit that as we wait to speak our experience of our anger changes. Sometimes it resolves itself. For some people it gets stronger. But the point is that our experience changes, and we begin to see that thought is the culprit, and there is nothing to do but understand this phenomena and that understanding applies itself.

… I don’t know how to help my family.There are so many messed-up people in my life, but they don’t want to listen to me telling them to read Sydney Banks’ books or listen to videos. They think I’ve gone off the deep end and am out of touch with how horrible life really is. What should I do?

People who have spent a while involved with the Principles realize that their own understanding and deeper feelings are all they have to share. It is impossible to share the Principles as information or knowledge; the sharing is in the feeling and our confidence in the innate health in all people. To the degree we see other people as “messed up,” we are missing the point. There are many people in all our lives who are struggling with their dysfunctional thinking, or living at the mercy of a “reality” they have made up themselves without realizing where it comes from. Talking about that to people who are in a low state of mind is pointless. But loving them unconditionally, not seeing them as “damaged” or “messed up”, but simply as temporarily “lost in thought” without understanding, allows you to be in their presence in a different, non-urgent, non-judgmental way. And we have to accept the fact that we all have free will; a person who is committed to their thinking may not listen, may not pick up on the feeling, may not be inclined to change. And no matter what, they will do it on their own “schedule,” when they find a moment of quiet and get an insight for themselves. So we can’t fix or change others; we can only have faith and confidence that they are, truly, fine at the core, no matter how they are using their thinking at this time. And at any moment, they might see that. Our good feeling nurtures the space for such a moment, but does not guarantee it.

Sydney Banks used to say, “the Truth is everywhere.” The “truth” that you are whole, complete and need nothing for your happiness has shown up in some form in probably every religion and spiritual tradition that has graced the face of this earth. The problem is that “truth” becomes tied to a particular concept, a thought structure, a name, a physical shape or form, a bodily or mental technique, a “type” of meditation, a location within the body, some “sacred” location on earth, or somewhere “out there” in the cosmos. When this happens, we actually lose the essential truth that truth is everywhere. Most importantly, truth is in each person. When someone hears something from “outside”, from a teacher, book, movie, friend or relative… and it strikes a chord — it lights up something inside of the person—it does so because the truth was already there, within the person.

I spent years as a “seeker” and tried all kinds of New Age approaches and so on. Finally, I just gave it all up. I don’t feel any better, deep-down, than when I started. What makes what you do so different from all the other quests I’ve undertaken?

First of all, the answer is in your question: people don’t need to “seek” the Principles because the Principles are who and what we are. They describe the very essence of the human spirit, the spiritual, energetic truth that is life itself. So you already “have” wisdom, peace of mind, calm, creativity – all the benefits that come from understanding the Principles – within you, available to you, and, as Mr. Banks often said, “only one thought away.” That thought would be some insight particular to you that you are fine, you are whole, and any distress or dysfunction you experience psychologically is just negative thinking taken seriously, without understanding. Once people “see” for themselves the Principles in operation, they are no longer living at the mercy of their own thoughts. There is nothing to seek; they realize they are creating their own lives moment-to-moment.

I know people who are happy and content and getting along fine in life, and they don’t know anything about the Principles. Why is it so important to “understand’ the Principles?

Innate health is just that – innate to all people, a truth about all of us. Some people never fall into the habit of overriding their own clear-headed, in-the-moment, responsive thinking. So they live their lives naturally as an expression of their innate resiliency and well-being. For those people who lose touch with their innate health, or think their way away from it, coming to an understanding of the Principles points the way back to it. For those people who live at ease, coming to an understanding of the Principles explains things to them and gives them a way to share the explanation of their contentment with others.

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