The Most Important Understanding that You’ve Never Heard Of

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

Chapter One: What the Heck are the Three Principles?

Imagine it's 1973. There is a man from Scotland in his 40’s who works as a welder in Canada. He has a thin frame and kind eyes. He has a 9th grade education. He clocks into the factory every day, does his job and goes home to his wife. He's an average guy, not particularly a spiritual seeker, but curious. His name is Sydney Banks.

One day, while attending a marriage seminar with his wife, a therapist he was chatting with says an innocent comment to him, something to the effect of, “Syd, you’re not insecure you just think you are.” Something sparked inside of Syd, and he experienced what many now call his Enlightenment Experience.

Through this experience, an understanding of how the human spirit and thought and the universal intelligence of life are all interconnected was revealed to him. He later named this understanding the Three Principles. Less than a year later, he left his job at the factory and spent the rest of his life speaking and teaching this understanding to all who would listen. He passed away in 2009 from cancer, and you can read his fascinating obituary here.

According to Banks, the three "formless" principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought explain the entire range of human behavior and feeling states. They are responsible for the creation of all human experience. Roughly 40 years later, Syd Banks' "insight" has been introduced in hospitals and hospital systems, correctional institutions, social services, juvenile justice programming, community housing, drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs, schools, and multi-national corporations {Wikipedia}.

The Three Principles is now an understanding shared by a passionate and growing community of teachers, speakers, coaches, and counselors. It is helping thousands of people understand where their thoughts of insecurity, doubt, worry, anxiety, and sadness come from. Through realizing this understanding, more and more people are finding greater contentment, ease, and joy.

In many ways, the Three Principles is not “new”. It is pointing to the same things that many religions and philosophies have pointed to for thousands of years. It is just said in a new way, perhaps more modern, so that people are understanding and grasping it in a new way. The Three Principles is not invented or created, it merely describes how human beings have operated since the beginning of time. It points to Truth.

There are people who have been teaching and speaking about the Three Principles since they first heard Syd speak about them in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I am by no means an expert. I’ve only come to this understanding a short time ago, and my grounding has a long way to go. I am a Three Principles newb. There are many people out there who have been sharing this for longer and at the end of this post, I give resources of the books and blogs that have helped me along the way. However, I am fascinated by the topic and I have received countless insights that just keep being revealed to me that are helping me to live a happier more productive life.

I am a writer. I write to understand. So I’ve been writing about the Three Principles in order to help me understand it a little better. Now I want to share my writing to help you. I am well aware that my grounding will only deepen over time, and that whatever I write now will probably look pedestrian or juvenile to my future self. But I’m coming from where I am now. Where I am now is someone who sees this understanding as being extremely beneficial to many people, including those suffering from anxiety, depression, overachieving, over-doing, and over-thinking. Basically, everyone. Through this understanding I find it possible to navigate life by joy.

Three Principles Resources:



  • The Inside-Out Revolution: The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever by Michael Neill (Author)

  • The Space Within: Finding Your Way Back Home by Michael Neill

  • The Missing Link: Reflections on Philosophy and Spirit by Sydney Banks

  • The Relationship Handbook: A Simple Guide to Satisfying Relationships by Dr. George Pransky

  • Coming Home: Uncovering the Foundations of Psychological Well-being by Dr. Dicken Bettinger

  • A Little Peace of Mind: The Revolutionary Solution for Freedom from Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Stress by Nicola Bird

See more books by Three Principles practitioners, including Elsie Spittle, George Pransky, Roger Mills, Joseph Bailey, Jack Pransky, Richard Carlson, Ami Chen Mills-Naim, and Robert Kausen.

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