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What Makes the 3Ps Different?

By Christian McNeill

The thing which really distinguishes the 3 Principles understanding from every other management, training or therapeutic approach is a fundamental clarity about how human experience is created.   Other approaches might credit thought as being a factor in a person’s experience. However they will still describe jobs as being ‘stressful’, writings as being ‘inflammatory’ or other people as ‘difficult’. 3 Principles recognises that circumstances exist in the world but points to the fact that our experience of the circumstances is a thought created reality. Feelings are created by the principle of Thought, not by circumstances. 100% of the time, without exception. There is only one direction of travel. This exclusive inside-out direction is what makes 3 Principles unique.

Syd Banks had a massive insight about this at the outset of his epiphany. With others, including me, it seems to be more of a slow burn. So to expand on this with an example.

This week I was speaking with a business owner and parent, Jed*, who was struggling financially [income wasn’t meeting outgoings], dependent on an unreliable agent to find work and failing to find the partner he sought to create a consultancy business. There were clearly circumstances in his life which were unsustainable. And he, unsurprisingly, had a lot of anxiety, frustration and victimhood around this. Jed is familiar with the 3 Principles and we talked about coming back to the truth, that all feelings indicate are the quality of thought in the moment. 

This is NOT a denial of circumstance. Nor is it a lack of compassion for the pain which has innocently been created. It is simply a recognition that the Thought/feeling connection is distinct from the fact of circumstances. They are 2 different trajectories even if most people are unaware of that. At that point Jed was unable to see it. (I suspect he was hearing that I thought his circumstances were not important, which was not the case.) He assured me that he was quite capable of reframing the lack of work as a positive experience as he had more free time for other things.

Reframing however is not what the principles point to. When someone truly has an insight about the real source of their distress in a ‘difficult’ situation – i.e. their thinking [both visible and invisible] – they gain a deep level of clarity. A lot of extraneous thinking falls away. From that clarity the situation can be seen far more accurately and it is suddenly obvious what if anything needs to be done next. The recognition that 100% of our experience is being created by Thought is not an invitation to be ineffective or a doormat. It’s a truth which sets people free. There is no situation, even life threatening emergencies, where that quiet clarity cannot occur. 

After someone has sleep walked into a crisis such as insolvency, observers might ask. ‘What were they thinking?’ And that is the point. There is so much noise going on in their heads, innocently creating unhelpful feelings, that clarity and common sense are obscured.

If Jed were to have an insight about the true source of his feelings, the thinking behind it would fall away leaving him clear to see what steps were appropriate. Sometimes in that clarity it becomes obvious that what seemed like a huge problem was nothing but trivial nonsense; other times it is patent that immediate action is required; and often resources and ideas which were invisible someone has a lot on their mind, suddenly materialise. And ironically using ‘reframing’ to create positive feelings about a genuinely difficult situation can actually take someone further away from clarity and prolong the issue.

The question we can gently come back to when caught up in painful feelings is, ‘Where is my experience right now coming from?’

The more deeply someone looks in this direction the more profoundly they ‘get’ that if all they are dealing with are feelings created by thought in the moment [which by its very nature is transient] that is a lot easier to cope with than having to change the world in order to feel ok. 

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