Three Principles Living

Judith A. Sedgeman, EdD

Deep Questions

Deep Questions

“Why do I need a spiritual paradigm to understand ‘Mind’? Can an atheist believe in the 3Ps? Can’t we just say that thoughts emanate from the depths of our brain…and we don’t need to take them seriously.” 

A colleague of mine posted those questions that he got from clients recently. They go right to the heart of why the Three Principles represent a dramatic change in direction from all the ways we have previously thought about helping people. These questions point to why principles are not theories. They point to why religion is a thought system and the the Three Principles describe the pure energy enabling religions and all other thoughts. They clarify why cognitively-based approaches to helping have nothing to do with the Principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness.

There is so much to say about each of these that responses have percolated in my mind for days since I received them. I am going to try to offer spare, bare-bones answers and keep it simple. (Yes, I got my colleague’s permission to use his questions in a Blog.)

Why do I need a spiritual paradigm to understand “Mind”? Mind means the infinite, formless energy of all things. It means the entire universe is energy itself, taking infinite forms. We are Mind in our form and in the breath of life that informs our evolving existence. Mind is the spirit in “spiritual”. The first definition of spiritual is “of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”. A spiritual paradigm is not “religious” in nature: all religions point to the spiritual and are organized to show reverence for the spiritual. “Spiritual” is deeper than any religion, or religions generally. The ever-changing, ever-moving, dynamic nature of all things is the spiritual. Principles are in the spiritual realm.

Can an atheist believe in the 3P’s?  This question is predicated on the idea that the Principles are a religious belief, or part of a religious system. There are two false assumptions behind this question.

  • One false assumption is that the Principles are not applicable to a person who does not “believe” in them. In the realm of all principles, which are fundamental universal truths that explain, the 3P’s are no different from gravity, or mathematics, or thermodynamics. They just are, operative whether anyone “believes” them or not. They are before beliefs and beyond beliefs. If someone pushes a carton of eggs off a counter, it really doesn’t matter if he believes in gravity or if he has ever even heard of gravity. The eggs will fall because that gravity is a principle of how the universe operates, without exception.
  • The other false assumption is that atheists are different from people who have other kinds of thought systems. The principles describe the human experience. Atheists and religious people are all human beings, and all human beings share the same “operating system.” The Principles explain that all human beings create their own thoughts and see them as real. Individual thoughts are arbitrary and personal and easily changed; the Principles describe the immutable constants that make that possible. We don’t inquire whether someone who does not believe in medicine has a circulatory system.


Can’t we just say that thoughts emanate from the depths of our brain…and we don’t need to take them seriously. I take the “we” here to mean people who are trying to talk about the Principles to others. Anyone can say whatever comes to mind, but this statement avoids the fact that the Principles are not about the brain, which is part of the world of form, but about the mind, which is formless energy. So if we tell people that thoughts emanate from the depths of our brain, we are offering a statement that has nothing, zero, to do with the power the Principles describe. All the “healing” in seeing the Principles arises from that power, so without it, we aren’t truly helping anyone to realize their own resilience and capacity to change. Without the principles, we’re just offering them cognitive advice.

People have always known that “we don’t have to take them [thoughts] seriously.”  But without the understanding that we are using the energy of life to create our thoughts, moment-to-moment, we don’t know how to stop taking thoughts seriously. The unspoken suggestion in this question is that we should look at the content of our thoughts and decide which ones to take seriously and which ones to disregard. It sidesteps the fact that the more we examine the content of our thinking, the more entangled we become in it. Implicit in fighting thoughts, or trying to get them out of our minds is taking them seriously. 

This statement offers no direction to understanding the very nature of thought. The nature of thought is that it is energy in motion and it will pass;  we are always on the verge of creating entirely new thought. Once we understand the Principles at work, the nature of thought, and why it appears real to us, the content doesn’t matter. We can think anything and know it is a transitory image that will pass as new thoughts come to mind. Rather than doing anything with or about the content of our thinking, we navigate via our feeling state, moment-to-moment. We leave our thinking alone when our mood starts to drop or our tension starts to rise because that tells us it’s not a good time to be paying attention to the stuff coming to mind. We pay more or less attention according to how we feel.

I can offer an example here. I saw a client recently who had been on serious doses of a very powerful antidepressant. Because of a string of misfortunes, she could no longer afford her medication. She started cutting her pills in half, then she ran out of medicine and there was nothing she could do but go without it.

This is what she described to me — not her exact words, my notes on her words. While she was on the high dose, she lived in a kind of gray fog. She was not suicidal; she was not happy. She really didn’t feel anything. She just went about her days, functional but disengaged from life. When she cut her pills in half, she started feeling things. Once, when she passed by a pool party where a certain song was playing on the radio, she was knocked for a loop because that very song was playing at the time a man had abused her, and it brought the whole horrible experience back to her mind in a flash. She started to tremble and her spirits plummeted. She was close to her home and there was nothing to do but keep walking home. As the music faded, she came upon a beautiful flowering bush. She is a photographer, so she was drawn to the way it looked in the fading light and the detail of the flowers and leaves. She stopped to take a picture. She forgot about the dreadful feelings that had been so painfully intense only seconds before. When she got home, she realized what had happened. Her whole experience changed in the moment her attention turned to the flowers. She didn’t understand why that happened, but she was grateful.

At that point, she kept taking the half pills because she had them and she was hoping to see a doctor before they ran out. She continued having episodes of intense feelings that passed as she just kept moving on with what she was doing. As she got close to the end of her medicine, she started coming to me, and I pointed her in the direction of the Principles to see for herself what was changing for her. Gradually, the incidents of strong negative feelings stopped frightening her. When she ran out of medicine, nothing changed. She felt fine. She said, “I feel like I’m human again. I have feelings, good and bad, and they always come and go. I feel alive again.”

I never once suggested she should do anything. I simply pointed her towards the spiritual Principles that explain how life works, how our thinking is a powerful gift that allows us to continually create and re-create our reality. Her insights took care of the rest.


E-G for Blog

  • Wonderfully done! So beautifully simple and yet so profoundly clear! Thank you again and I’m so excited about finally getting the opportunity to sit and talk with you in June.

    January 14, 2015 at 1:38 pm
  • Jay

    Very good explanation. I still have not “got it” and so I am just trying to quiet my mind and hoping it will happen. With cognitive thinking we are creating our experiences, but when you understand the 3 principles, we are creating thought. Does that even sound close. Just trying to get it. aaaaarrrgh!

    February 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm
    • Judy Sedgeman

      Overthinking… The Principles just describe the spiritual nature of life, explaining that life isn’t happening TO us, life is happening THROUGH us. We see life through our own ability to think. There’s no “it” — you already ARE the Principles in action, and as you recognize that more and more deeply, you realize that you see life according to the thinking you bring to mind moment-to-moment. Life ISPs not making you think/feel it; you are the thinker imagining your way through life. Once you are aware of that power to think and see your thinking as real, you live less and less at the mercy of your own thinking.

      February 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm

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