We’re delighted to add three names to the co-signers of “Sharing the Principles” document. Please feel free to share this new document with other practitioners who may find it helpful.
There has been a groundswell of interest in sharing this work so Elsie Spittle and George Pransky decided to write a paper that represents a collection of firsthand learnings from their original teacher, Sydney Banks. They collaborated with many of their colleagues who have been learning alongside them in hopes that their collective knowledge might help the people who are interested in using this understanding to better the world.
Based on the direct teachings of Sydney Banks
The purpose of this document is to offer what we learned from Sydney Banks about how to effectively share our understanding of the Three Principles.
This document is not about the Principles themselves, but exclusively about guidance for sharing the Principles.
Sydney Banks was an ordinary working man who had a spontaneous and profound spiritual experience in 1973. He uncovered the Three Principles that underlie the human experience. These Principles offer the world unparalleled hope and guidance in understanding human psychological functioning and how to foster permanent and positive change.
Shortly after his epiphany, the extraordinary change in Syd himself had a powerful effect on those closest to him. As he began to share what he had realized with lay people, they too began to experience insight and positive change. The unprecedented transformation in these people, coupled with the evidence that such knowledge could be shared, began to attract the attention of caring people beyond that small community.
Within a few years, professionals from various fields were touched by the understanding and wanted to convey it to others in their professional capacity. Mental health practitioners were the first professionals with whom Syd had close contact. He could see firsthand how they attempted to share their understanding. For example, some tried to teach the Principles in an intellectual way. Others intentionally kept a “clinical distance” from clients.
Syd reminded us that understanding the Principles was a matter of the heart, not the intellect. Because of the nature of the Principles, they do not lend themselves to the traditional methods of education. The learning happens via insight rather than memory based learning.
He told us that sharing with people as fellow human beings would be more effective than positioning ourselves as the “experts.” It was clear to him that the traditional methods we were using (a carryover from our previous approaches) were not well suited to convey this understanding. He mentored us to more effectively share his message.
During his lifetime, Syd provided invaluable guidance that has helped us share the Principles effectively throughout our careers. As people who were fortunate enough to spend time being mentored by Syd, it is our fondest hope that highlighting what is most meaningful to us from his guidance will empower future generations in their work as practitioners, and help us all share the Three Principles with the wider world with greater depth and purity.
This document is not designed to serve as a substitute for Syd’s material. His materials provide the context and depth not possible in this short summary. Including his materials in one’s practice is the only way we know to provide direct exposure to the deepest/purest expression of the Principles. All of us who contributed to this document have found Syd’s materials an integral part of our work with clients, as well as our own learning.
We learned from Syd that the most powerful place to look and to point people toward is ‘before the formation of thought’ or, said another way, the nature of the Principles. This does not preclude discussing how people use the Principles in their lives, because this discussion can be helpful in the education process. He simply taught us that realizing the nature of the Principles is what changes lives. Speaking to the nature of the Principles offers a broader understanding of who and what we really are, at our core.
The Three Principles are universal and spiritual in nature. Spiritual, in that they are both form and formless; universal, because they apply not only to everyone but to everything. They do not originate in the psychology of each person, but rather derive from the formless energy behind life, just as the physiological heart beat comes from the life force, not from the heart itself. The Principles are the all-inclusive expression of what Syd uncovered. As the heart/core of this understanding, they are the foundation of our teaching.
Here are the key points Syd would point us toward:
- Health of the helper
What ultimately qualifies a teacher is the extent to which that person reflects and demonstrates the quality of life that clients desire (we call it “grounding”), and the teacher’s abilityto share what he or she understands that accounts for that quality of life. A teacher’s education, experience and ability to articulate might leverage their grounding, but the grounding itself is the most valuable quality that practitioners bring to the table. We have learned that the best way to increase our effectiveness as practitioners is to increase our level of understanding, by looking deeper into the Principles on an ongoing basis.
- Look to people’s innate mental health, not their symptomology
There is a wisdom and logic to the Principles that exists in all living things. Seeing this fact, and seeing that your client is no exception, allows practitioners to see beyond clients’ symptomology. Seeing that people already have mental health within them provides hope for the practitioner as well as the client, independent of a client’s level of functioning. The practitioner’s job isn’t one of getting across information, “fixing” clients, or putting something into clients, but rather helping clients to awaken to their own wisdom.
- Insight/pure intelligenceThe realization of innate wisdom or pure intelligence comes from within the listener via insight. Everyone has innate wisdom within him/her. Wisdom is realized in real time, via personal insight. This is where lasting mental and behavioral change occurs.
- Deepening levels of consciousness
Deepening levels of consciousness is a matter of the heart and not of the intellect. True understanding will bypass the intellect. We have learned to keep the message simple rather than analytical and complicated. Syd taught us that although there is a connection between the Principles and the psychological and intellectual capacities of humanity, the most powerful place to look and to point to is the spiritual nature of life, to talk about universal intelligence as it relates to Mind, Consciousness and Thought.
- A conversation between friends
There is a great value in leveling the playing field and talking with clients as if it were a conversation between friends. What would traditionally be called “teaching” shifts more to drawing wisdom out from clients and has the feeling of “sharing.”
- Listening to truth
We learned from Syd that the truth of the Principles can only be seen via insight. No manner of trying to figure things out ever really helped. Insight is not limited by anything. It can happen at any time from any state of mind. That said, however, a quiet, reflective mind is a more conducive medium for insight rather than an active, analytical listening process.
- Listening to clients
We learned to listen beyond the client’s story to hear their wisdom, and to point them in that direction. This will help them see that they know what to do, no matter what their history has been, or what has happened to them.
- Stick to what you know
It is important that we stick with what we know (what is real for us) and not try to talk beyond our grounding. When we share only what we know, we will see more. What we know now is more than enough for now. Syd often said that “what little we know might be decades ahead of its time.”
- Sharing our story
Some things don’t lend themselves to direct, easy expression. The Principles fall into that category. Stories and metaphors can be helpful in this regard. Syd also encouraged us to share our own personal story (how we came to understand the Principles and what we saw for ourselves). We learned that sharing our story brings our understanding of the Principles to life. It is the deep feeling of well-being that occurs when we share our story that helps awaken the innate mental health in those with whom we are speaking. Our story will also point to the results produced by our usage of the Principles and provide hope.
- Connecting the dots
When people have insights, they change. They see and hear differently and feel different, but they may not always realize this at first. Pointing this out in the context of our clients’ results has great value. It releases a feeling of hope. The feeling the client is experiencing is more informative to the practitioner than the client’s grasp of the content.
- Stick to the Principles
Syd reminded us that everyone has the wisdom and understanding within themselves to stabilize and solve their problems. Practitioner techniques intended to “improve client wellbeing” disempower people, because they undermine the message that they have all they need within themselves. The Principles empower people by pointing them to their own wisdom, creativity and natural resilience.
- Trust your inner wisdom/pure intelligence
Ultimately, we all want to trust and follow our own wisdom, what we personally understand. That said, we also want to be open to hearing/seeing more than we do right now. This means listening from within, and being open to hearing something new; something that will deepen our grounding and growth. Syd expressed that point eloquently by saying: “Don’t be a follower; a listener, yes, but not a follower.”
- Having your heart in the right place
Not long after Sydney Banks had his profound experience, he knew that what he had realized would be of great help to humanity. He set his sights on being of service and encouraged those who learned from him to point in that direction as well. While Three Principles practitioners obviously need to make a living, it is wise to allow being in service to take precedence over personal gain. When we focus on service rather than feathering our own nest, we will find our teaching more fulfilling and impactful. We have seen time and again that when our priority is being in service to humanity and being true to our own wisdom, the practical aspects of life inevitably fall into place; often in ways we couldn’t possibly have imagined.
This document is a collaborative effort to share the combined insights, understanding and vision of a group of practitioners and lay people whose lives were profoundly touched by their encounters with Sydney Banks and the mentoring he provided over a period of decades.
First and foremost, we are deeply grateful, beyond measure, to Sydney Banks, for sharing his profound insight of the Three Principles with all of us, and with the world. Without his lifelong dedication to alleviating the suffering of humanity, serving as a beacon to us all, this message of hope and transformation wouldn’t be sweeping the world as it is now.
It is our fondest hope that this collaborative effort will be meaningful and helpful to those ever growing numbers of people and practitioners who are or will become dedicated to sharing this profound understanding with a world in need.
Original idea: Dr. Jack Pransky
Co-authors: Dr. George Pransky and Elsie Spittle