From my early teens my favourite part of a magazine was always the problem page. By far. Someone suggested I was seeking to identify with the readers questions, looking for my own issues. I think this was part of it, but the bigger element was seeking answers to the problems that stumped me. Such as problems in relationships, issues with food, and later, attempts to control smoking and drinking. And the answers from the agony aunts NEVER helped one iota with my problems. It was always a kind of bish, bash, bosh, sorted! answer that I couldn’t begin to apply.
For example someone would write in about being insecure in their relationship, and feeling unhappy about how their boyfriend behaved towards them. My hopes would be momentarily raised, but no, the answer would leave them dashed again. ‘Give him an ultimatum’ the aunt would bark, ‘and if he does it again, leave him!’ But, at that time, I was too insecure to imagine leaving him, so that was no help. So now in addition to the original problem, I had an additional issue. I couldn’t do what apparently everyone else in the world could manage, so I was feeling worse.
Over the years I developed a kind of narrative about myself that I had a few deep seated and insoluble problems, which I tried to just suppress or keep secret, as I presented a more confident front to the world. Towards the end of my 20s, my drinking got so out of control that I quit altogether. Funnily enough once I had had a moment of clarity about how it was affecting me, stopping was relatively effortless. About a year later smoking went the same way. But the issues which involved ongoing relationships – partners, food and being organised – were more problematic than ever.
The aunts clearly weren’t cutting it and I discovered the world of self help, personal development and therapy. Actually in real terms that world was often the antithesis of those things. It wasn’t therapeutic or helpful and was more about self obsession than development. Most suggested that the causes of my problems were things that were impossible for me to change such as the behaviour of others, the past, outside circumstances and my genetics. The best I could hope for was diligent application of ‘healing’ techniques and processes to cure my brokenness! And the thing was the more I looked in the direction of my issues, the more issues and defects I found. Even the techniques that were helpful, such as meditation or hypnosis/NLP, could have a counter productive element in that they added to the to-do list and suggested that steps had to be taken in order to just be ok.
I noticed that my fellow travellers on the ‘recovery’ road were equally blighted. Even after decades of these processes they were no nearer cure – and often quite a bit further away – than when they started. (Recently a friend quipped, in response to his girlfriends statement that she’d been in therapy for over 20 years, ‘That suggests to me it doesn’t work.’ He got short shrift.)
Around the time began to dawn on me that all this ‘Recovery’ stuff wasn’t very helpful, I had an insight that I needed to trust myself more and I resolved to do that. Gradually I stopped focussing on and identifying with my problems. At the beginning of 2011, I stumbled across the 3 Principles and had an epiphany. Suddenly the issues I had had for my entire life became clear.
The ideas which really resonated with me were:
- My experience at any moment comes not from outside circumstances or events, but entirely from my thinking, conscious or otherwise, about those events. So, quite innocently, I am always creating my own experience, even though I often fall asleep to that fact.
- All human beings experience variations in mood or state of mind. Although high state of mind – where I am resourceful, resilient and clear thinking – is my default state, when I get caught up in my thinking about my circumstances, my mood drops, insecurity builds, and my mind becomes foggy, stressed and unreliable.
- Fluctuations in mood are inevitable. When ignored and not taken seriously, low moods naturally pass and I revert to a state of calm and clarity.
- At a high state of mind, I can access a wisdom and have insight which is simply impossible at a low state of mind. From there I can find my own solutions to problems and challenges. (Sorry aunts, you are redundant.)
- The source of insight and wisdom is Mind, the universal field, the formless energy behind the Universe and it is unlimited. It’s never going to run out and the potential for my life as I tap into that source is limitless.
- The 3 Principles are a description of how every human being creates their own experience moment to moment. They are the great equaliser.
- It is not a prescription but as I align myself with the principles – by not taking low mood too seriously (and forgiving myself when I do), by listening to insight and wisdom in higher states of mind, and by recognising that everyone is truly doing the best they can on the basis of their mood and thinking in the moment, life is simply so much better.
In the past 3 years so much has happened. Both my parent have died after periods of illness. I had 2 emergency hospitalisations and have been diagnosed with two ongoing conditions. The secure job I was in for 10 years, I am now leaving. Both my wonderful teenage children are in the process of leaving home, to go to University. I have been in a relationship with a man from a completely different culture which has led to such fascination, where once the insecurity and uncertainty would have overwhelmed me.
There was a time when such circumstances would have had me reeling. Knowing where my experience stems from – my own thinking – has enabled me to let go of painful thoughts more quickly. My health is vastly improved when I slow down and allow solutions to emerge. I am excited about being able to focus on teaching – and learning about – the principles. And I’m particularly enthusiastic about spreading this understanding within Scotland. I was inspired to sign up for a 1 year yoga teacher training course. And 2 (very part time) opportunities which draw on my original trade (law) have fallen into my lap.
Syd Banks said that his life changing experience began when an acquaintance told him, ‘You’re not insecure Syd, you just think you are.’ My release from insecurity has been the realisation that I just sometimes think – and feel – insecure. And those thoughts and feelings are neither true nor reliable.