On our website, in our materials, and in the work we do with people, we refer to a set of three principles as a way of talking about the inside-out paradigm or orientation to life. Let me explain what these principles are and what they have to do with you as you walk around in life every day. There are three principles that we point to that together are 100% responsible for how our lives play out every day in every situation. Each principle has a different role or function. In Part 1 of this blog, I used an example of how I got annoyed after being woken up by my dog. I’ll use the dog example to point to each principle so you can see where it fits into the grand scheme of things.
The Principle of Thought
The first principle we point to is the principle of thought. As soon as I got woken up, my head filled with possible causes behind why the dog showed up in my room, whether or not it was avoidable, whose fault it was, the fact that sleep is a big deal. We call all of that thought. In my head, I editorialize what’s happening at that moment, and I do that about everything that happens in life. It’s a constant and everyone does it all the time. When my husband gets woken up, his thinking comes up with something humorous, or he has the thought to go back to sleep. We all think something about everything that we experience.
The Principle of Consciousness
The second principle is what we call consciousness and here’s how it works. At the very instant I had thoughts of blame and negligence, or that I got deprived of valuable sleep, those thoughts put me in a feeling through what we call consciousness. For every moment that I’m thinking my husband was negligent, I feel a degree of righteousness and bother and getting woken up feels to me like a big deal. As soon as I think something, it gives me a feeling. When I wake him up, he has humorous thoughts about how loud I’m being. He editorializes with a completely different flavor, and consciousness brings those thoughts to life for him and he feels humorous, casual, and light, and getting woken up does not feel like a big deal. My husband and I each have a very different feeling or reaction to getting woken up because we have different thinking that gets kicked up for us, and that thinking gives us each a different feeling. Consciousness makes you feel whatever your thinking does.
The Principle of Mind
We use the term Mind to describe the source and the intelligence behind the forces of thought and consciousness that give us the ability to take part in life and to be awake to what’s going on around us. Mind puts a constant stream of thoughts in our heads 24/7 and then makes each thought appear real to us. Mind is basically the energy behind our internal lives that creates all of the content and gives each of us life as we know it. It’s the power behind all of the technology.
So why use the technical jargon at all? Your life will be the same whether these terms are in your vocabulary or not — the terms themselves won’t do anything for you. But each of these principles points to a force that operates inside of every person, and we’ve discovered that when people step back and take a good hard look at each of these three forces, they get a grasp of how the whole system works. When people have a grasp of how their thinking works, they do better in life across the board. Using concepts or terms to describe something is one way of isolating each individual point and talking about it more simply and concretely. Our thinking happens so fast and affects us before we even realize it, so we have to slow down and ponder the anatomy of how our thinking really works in order to appreciate the logic and intelligence behind this system that we are all under the influence of at all times.
In Part 3 of this series, I talk about how this inside-out system works the same way for the bigger, more significant things that happen in people’s lives and not just the trivial things like getting woken up early on a weekend.