Three Principles Living

Judith A. Sedgeman, EdD

“What’s wrong with me?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

Since I have begun seeing clients one-on-one as a Mental Health Mentor, the most frequent questions they ask in the first session are: “What’s wrong with me? How did  this happen? Why can’t  anyone explain to me what happened to my mind?”

For the most part, they’ve had a lot of therapy. And they’ve been given diagnoses. But  diagnoses do not explain. Diagnoses describe and label symptom sets. What’s eating at people are the WHY? questions. Why can’t I just be OK again? How did I go wrong? How do people get chemical  imbalances? How come I have it and my siblings don’t?

What is so humbling and thrilling to me is that I can answer their questions with a clear,  simple,  logical explanation that puts their minds to rest. I remember when I was struggling  with depression and I had those same questions. I had everything a person could ever want in  life, except peace of  mind, and that’s the only thing that ultimately mattered to me. Until I  stumbled upon the Three  Principles, it seemed to me that I was somehow flawed, and that I could never be at peace. Then I saw for myself that I was simply tangled up in a web of insecure thinking. I didn’t even need to try to  stop thinking those thoughts. I just had to see them for what they were — the places my mind goes  and stays when I start getting insecure. My own thinking taken seriously. The illusions of low moods. Images that would simply pass if I didn’t take them to heart.

Everything changed for me with that insight. Absolutely everything. The misery was meaningless to me. It started looking like a bad movie I didn’t have to sit through. I could simply turn away from it and allow my thinking to move elsewhere. There was nothing wrong with me. I was just a regular human being experiencing the ups and downs of my variable thinking about life. I didn’t realize I was taking the “downs” to heart so much that I was holding off the “ups”. I didn’t realize that I was creating all my experiences, good and bad, via my own power to think and see my thinking as reality. When I did realize that, it all cleared up. I was fine.

Now, I can share that with others, and point them to their own insights. The simple truth of it — we are the thinkers of our own thoughts and we “see” what we think as real only as long as it’s in our thinking — just resonates with people. The most frequent comment I get when the first insights start to pop for them is, “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this before?”

The answer is that the mental health field doesn’t know, either. No one told them before because they had not stumbled into a mental health educator who is not a traditionally trained therapist. Therapy assumes there is something wrong and does all it can to treat it. It often helps a lot. Three Principles practitioners assume there is nothing wrong and do all they can to point clients towards seeing that for themselves. It’s just a whole different paradigm. It offers the possibility of sustained change, what we call “cure”.

The fact that it works, time and again, is the evidence of its validity. Not proof. Evidence. People see their thinking for what it is, and see the power of the Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought at work and then they drop their negative thought habits, come into the present moment, and find peace of mind.

The answers are readily understood:

What’s wrong with me?  Nothing is fundamentally wrong with you.

How did this happen?  Over time, without realizing it, you started taking your most negative or upsetting thinking seriously and became even more frightened or distressed by it.

Why can’t anyone explain to me what happened to my mind?  Without realizing it themselves, people have been describing to you how unintentional misuse of your thinking creates the experiences we call mental illness. But since it is all an illusion created by your own ability to think, it’s impossible for someone who doesn’t see that for themselves to take the explanation any deeper than that. When you focus on what you have made up with your own thinking to try to “fix” it, you are caught in an endless loop. You have to keep thinking it to deal with it. As long as you’re thinking it with no understanding of how thinking works, it looks real.

How do people get chemical imbalances?  Upsetting thinking changes the chemistry of your brain, and ultimately your body. It all starts with thinking. There is a huge body of research describing the relationship between stress and chemical changes within us. When you stop entertaining stressful thinking and taking it seriously, your chemistry returns to normal.

Oh, yes. It is simple. And life-changing. As Sydney Banks put it in The Missing Link,

“All human psyches are rooted in universal truth and no person’s psyche is better than any other’s. Only to the degree of the individual’s psychological and spiritual understanding does it appear to vary.” 

  • I so love your clarity Judy 🙂

    September 10, 2014 at 7:48 am
  • Andy

    Just wanted to thank you for your writings, they are much appreciated!

    Did you ever consider putting them in book form?

    September 11, 2014 at 10:50 am
  • Judy,
    Thanks so much for writing this. Your article is wonderfully relevant, clear and compassionate. I’ve forwarded it to a client trained for decades in the “what-if” thinking of an attorney to see if it resonates. A safe mind is a gentle, wise, creative mind and it’s so tempting to think with old thinking habits when the world gets scary. When I encountered Syd in the 1970’s, my thinking slowed to a crawl and something deep and True within me opened up – my whole body went “ah, yes!!” Thanks again.

    September 14, 2014 at 11:35 am
  • Cam

    I love the idea of the 3 Principles… I even took a 6 month Principles-based training, but never found it helpful. I never had the insights that 3-Principles proponents speak of. Many of my classmates did, but I did not. When I asked for help, the instruction was always frustratingly vague: just keep looking in the right direction and things will change for you. Well I never really understood what that meant, and things did not really change.

    I wish I could have these insights that I keep hearing about, but no one seems to be able to help with this.

    Does anyone have suggestions on how I can benefit from the 3 Principles teachings? Or is it possible the 3 Principles just isn’t for everyone?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    October 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm
    • Judy Sedgeman

      The 3P explain how thinking works universally. So there is no sense in which they aren’t for everyone because they are about our common humanity. But everyone is different, and everyone has the free will to use their thinking in their own way. So, in that sense, sometimes people who are trying to figure it all out, or apply it, or “use” the learning, get confused by how much thinking they are doing about the Principles. You have insights every day, just like all people do. A lot of them may be small, just a “good idea” about a direction to go in, or a choice. Sometimes they are much bigger, like an “Aha!” about life. People who are in the habit of trying to reason things out often override or bypass their insights because as soon as they have one, they start applying a lot of thinking to it. Really, the route to seeing the 3P for yourself is to do your best to quiet your thinking and just allow yourself to reflect and then leave your thinking alone. It’s a matter of turning away from the habit of figuring everything out by trying to use what you already know to sort out what you are just realizing.

      October 9, 2014 at 5:07 pm

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