I see other people’s Facebook posts where they’ve posted something like:
“Your life is AWESOME right now – you just don’t realise it because of your own THOUGHTS!”
And then I see their friends are upset by the suggestion that serious issues like depression, grief and addiction can be just swept away with the ridiculously simple realisation that it’s all just down to thought.
And that’s totally understandable, this stuff IS ridiculous in its simplicity.
I remember when I first came across the 3Ps and it was pure slapping-of-the-head levels of duh! How had I missed something so basic? I’d wasted years of my life bitching and angsting (and seriously, I took angsting to a world-class standard, as my story of fifteen years of chronic pain shows) about nothing other than my own made-up thoughts.
The science bit
These conversations often result in debates about the cause and effect relationship between addictive personalities, the brain, depression, hormones, the amygdala, neurons and drugs but as much as we all adore playing amateur psychologist, it’s not getting us any closer to anything that feels like truth or to anything that makes a damn difference to our own lives.
For what it’s worth, I know a long-standing principles teacher, a doctor, who has talked to a large group of ‘brain experts’ (surgeons, scientists and the like) about the principles and they were getting the logic of it, no problem. They had no issues with the whole ‘feelings come from thoughts’ thing. Likewise, the psychiatrist and psychologists who talk about the 3Ps in their work.
If you want to find out the truth for yourself, maybe the most illuminating path would be to look to yourself for the answers. Don’t fall back on half-remembered A-level psychology, don’t hang on to the words of evangelists (except mine, obviously), don’t defer to the ‘experts’, don’t grasp onto the hand-me-down ideas that you’ve spent your life accepting as facts, instead look to your own experience of life as honestly and openly as you can and then see what that tells you.
Yeah but what if something really annoying happens, like.. uh… getting a parking ticket?
So today I got a parking ticket (the things I do for the 3Ps Blog, right?) and knowing that any anger about it would be coming from my own thoughts, meant I could smile at the parking warden and say “No worries, you’re just doing your job.” when he apologised very sweetly. We drove off (me and the children, not me and the parking warden, he wasn’t that sweet) with the children taking in turns to clutch the ticket like a trophy.
It’s not just the parking tickets of life that this thought-feeling connection holds true for. I’ve experienced bereavement, physical pain and all manner of other ups and downs in life, and my own experiences convince me over and over again that this is true – I can honestly say that I’ve never been aware of a time when my feelings haven’t been coming from my thoughts. Knowing that has settled me down, it no longer makes sense to angst about stuff when I know the only stuff that exists is my own thoughts.