In 2018, George Pransky set out to clearly identify the ten breakthrough discoveries of Sydney Banks. Since we are still floating in an absolutely wonderful feeling from our recent program with Elsie, The Discoveries of Sydney Banks, we wanted to take this opportunity to share this paper with you. Presented at the 2019 3PUK Conference in London, this paper breaks down the complexity of the Principles into a practical, digestible format.
The Specific Breakthrough Discoveries of Sydney Banks:
What he discovered from his epiphany and shared with others.
Section One - The Core Discoveries of Sydney Banks
Discovery One - Thought: Thought is the gift that human beings and other creatures possess to create subjective, momentary images and words in their minds. Sydney also discovered that realizing “the fact that we think” promotes human psychological well being independent of the specific thought (or the specific content of our thinking).
· Prior to this discovery thought was seen as only one of many inputs into the formulation of people’s experience rather than the exclusive source. It was believed that the content of people’s thinking should be the proper focus of therapeutic intervention. This discovery suggested that the focus should instead be on “the fact” that they are the thinker rather than what they might be thinking.
· Why this discovery matters: When people discover that well being comes purely through realizing the simple fact that they think, they are no longer tempted towards the effortful and ultimately unrealistic task of “managing” their thinking in the pursuit of well being.
Discovery Two - Consciousness: Consciousness brings thought to life via the senses.
· Prior to this discovery it was believed that our sensory data, our experience of life, came from forces outside of ourselves such as life circumstances and events.
· Why this discovery matters: Consciousness explains why thought does not look like thought but rather like an independent, free standing reality captured by the senses just as a camera captures a scene. Thus, when people discover the nature of consciousness they are empowered to take even the most compelling experiences in stride rather than overreacting to them.
Discovery Three - Mind: Mind is the creative power, the essence, and the intelligence behind all life.
· Prior to this discovery, “the mind” in the field of psychology, was often seen as synonymous with the brain, limited to the brain’s analytical and memory bank capabilities. Sydney Banks contributed to the field of psychology by stating that mind is spiritual in nature rather than biological and that mind is the source of all life and the fundamental intelligence behind all life.
· Why this discovery matters: Discovering mind for oneself points us towards realizing the connectedness between human beings. It awakens us to the power and the potential of universal intelligence and gives us the freedom and power that comes with feeling a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Section Two - The Corollary Discoveries of Sydney Banks Derived from the Core Discoveries
Discovery Four - Principles: Thought, Consciousness and Mind together compose three principles that inclusively and exclusively explain the nature of the human experience.
· Prior to this discovery there was no established set of principles in psychology that explained our mental lives but instead an ever-increasing list of contributing factors.
· Why this discovery matters: Realizing these three principles allows a human being to be resilient, taking experiences in stride, trusting they will have the intelligent/responsive thinking to have fulfilling and productive lives.
Discovery Five - Core Feelings: Love and joy as manifested in many desirable feelings like gratitude, peace of mind, and humility, are the core, essential feelings in human beings. Although these feelings might be overridden by peoples’ momentary thoughts, they are indeed the default setting, the homeostasis, in the human race.
· Prior to this discovery human feelings and emotions were seen as culturally and/or individually determined. Human beings were thought to have no core, default feelings.
· Why this discovery matters: Seeing love and joy as our default setting allows people to count on those feelings as an effortless way of life in the knowledge that any negativity is by nature short lived, a temporary “mirage” that will disappear on its own.
Discovery Six - Levels of Consciousness: Human being’s level of consciousness (level of understanding of life) can suddenly elevate to provide a nicer internal quality of life and relationships. This elevation of consciousness is a built-in potential in people. It is an effortless process that happens within a lifetime, often when least expected. It is the organic, natural method of a human beings’ evolution. When a person jumps to a higher level of consciousness, that person can count on living a new, separate, and nicer reality on a go forward basis.
· Prior to this discovery it was thought that behavioral change and improved internal quality-of-life required deliberately using awareness to address one’s thoughts, memories, feelings, or behaviors.
· Why this discovery matters: Levels of consciousness offers the hope of a sudden positive change/evolution on a go forward basis without the need for will power. Sudden, out of the blue evolution is consistent with the research findings that in the therapies tested, change happened in “discrete moments” rather than progressive, incremental change. The possibility of sudden positive change without effort or even intent, offers the ultimate hope to anyone, at any time, under any circumstance.
Discovery Seven - Clarification of the Concept of Free Will: Sydney Banks clarified the existence of free will in the human experience. Free will (freedom of thought) is both the freedom to think what we want and the freedom to regard our thoughts as we see fit (act on them or ignore them as the two extremes). He discovered the link between free will and levels of consciousness. When our level of consciousness (level of understanding) goes up we experience more free will as we gain freedom from the prison of our own thinking. Paradoxically, also when our level of consciousness goes up we become more understanding, more at peace, with the fact that sometimes we will be gripped by our thinking and won’t experience free will in that moment. We are more comfortable and more accepting of the fact that we cannot ultimately manage or control our thinking and don’t ultimately need to control our thinking.
· Prior to this discovery and clarification about free will, it was thought that there were two mutually exclusive stances toward free will: the total “free will” stance that had people facing chronic frustration in their hopeless attempt to “control” their thinking. The “fate” stance asserting that we are resigned to our fate rendering free will illusory. Thus, the “free” camp struggled with gaining more free will and the “fate” camp struggled with victimhood and resignation.
· Why this discovery matters: Sydney Banks’ free will discoveries freed people to live the dance of individual freedom while knowing they are a part of a greater system, a greater intelligence. They were spared the struggle associated with misunderstanding, a lack of clarity about the true nature of free will with its connection to levels of consciousness.
Discovery Eight - The Quiet Mind: A quiet mind at peace is human beings default setting, our homeostasis. A quiet, reflective mind is associated with powerful benefits such as insight, stress release and interpersonal connectedness.
· Prior to this discovery it was thought that discipline, techniques and rituals were required to access a peaceful, meditative mind.
· Why this discovery matters: The capacity for insight, the ability to release stress, the capacity for connectedness/closeness with others, the capacity for resilience are all leveraged by a quiet mind. These associations with a quiet mind are well established by research and/or recognized in the vernacular (the research link between stress reduction and meditation, as an example). The capacity for insight (the business vernacular term “back burner”), creative thought (commonly associated with off-site retreats), greater capacity for connectedness/intimacy (couples feeling closer when minds are free of the day to day) are experienced first-hand by human beings. The power of a quiet mind makes it a means as well as an end. While receiving the benefits of peace of mind one is accessing the benefits of insight and perspective.
Discovery Nine - Transcendent Intelligence: Sydney Banks discovered that there exists an intelligent life energy that exists before the creation of anything on the physical level of life. This transcendent intelligence knows how to create and operate all of life. Thus, all human beings notwithstanding their IQ, culture, gender or age have equal access to a profound, responsive and infinite intelligence that always dwarfs the personal data bank of their life experience and education. This infinite pool of intelligence is shared by all creatures and exists before the creation of thought.
· Prior to this discovery it was thought that higher levels of genius and profundity were limited by age, education, experience, and IQ, to name a few factors.
· Why this discovery matters: Transcendent intelligence offers us confidence and faith, that we have the necessary ideas, insights, and solutions when we need them. Furthermore, this intelligence is a level playing field with everyone having as much potential (mind power) as the so-called geniuses of the world.
Discovery Ten - Enlightenment Experience: Sydney Banks represented a historically rare example of the possibility of enlightenment for a person. It came to him out of the blue, without preparation or even desire.
· Prior to this discovery it was thought that the enlightenment experience (aside from the recognition of such rare examples represented by Sydney Banks) was exclusively associated with a critical mass of knowledge, study, and spiritual practices by only those seeking such a spiritual experience.
· Why this discovery matters: Sydney’s “experience”/ epiphany/ moment of truth is possible for anyone given that it happened to an ordinary person without preparation who was not even looking for such an experience. A jump in a level of consciousness- albeit considerably scaled-down from an enlightenment experience- is of the same ilk and is part of the human potential. Elevations in levels of consciousness are so common that most people can identify one in their history if prepped to do so. Sydney’s experience reminds us of the possibility of jumps in consciousness and how profound they can be. That realization is the source of considerable hope.