Insight Principles

This page:

  • Provides a framework and context within which to explain insight principles
  • Explains the principles in simple, ordinary terms
  • Discusses the implications of understanding insight principles.

A Framework

Insight principles are the fundamental dynamics operating in everyone's mind at all times, regardless of age, background, biological makeup, personality or personal history. They are the deepest processes working behind the scenes of peoples' moment-by-moment experiences. In short, they are responsible for the way we experience life.

Understanding these principles has great value for anyone in business, or anywhere else. Just as it is valuable to know how a car works when driving, it is very powerful to know how to be in a human mind with the best understanding available. This allows us to use our mind in the most effective, safe and enjoyable way. For business, this is crucial knowledge. It enables people to work at their best, individually and together. This knowledge accelerates progress and enables innovation in ways that are responsive to an ever-changing world. This allows us to access the best of our humanity, and enables surprising human achievements.

These principles are similar to the forces of gravity or magnetism. Like gravity and magnetism, they are “formless” in that we cannot see or measure them but we can observe the impact they have on forms in physical matter. This explains why they are not observed until they have been pointed out and described.

When principles are talked about in the human dimension, most people are referring to those deeply held thoughts or beliefs that guide one's ethics and actions. Over millennia, much attention has been paid to people's principles at this level, in philosophy, politics, psychology and religion, in the hopes of promoting desired behavior, character development, and leadership in cultures and organizations.

The principles we are pointing to are at a different level. We are pointing to fundamental mechanics that lie beneath someone's deeply held thoughts and beliefs, regardless of individual or cultural uniqueness. They are the universal and generic operations producing our experience of reality in each moment of our lives. They are constant, predictive, and explanatory. They originate from the raw energy in life. They are ever present behind the scenes in all we experience. We refer to these principles as:

  • Thought
  • Consciousness
  • Mind

The Principles

Thought - At every moment, we are all thinking. Even at our quietest times (mentally), thought still flows through the human mind. We all know we think, and at times we realize, at a deeper level, that our thinking is more than the conversations we are having in our head - it is creating our individual perceptions and views of the people and circumstances in our lives. If we look deeply enough, we can see that thought is crafting our experiences from within all the time. It determines how and when we use our senses, and what we are experiencing in our senses. We would say that Thought is that which generates all the mental activity determining what we are experiencing at every moment.

Consciousness - We are born aware. Consciousness is simply that ability to be aware. Without consciousness, we wouldn't see life, we wouldn't be able to experience the world through our senses or dream and imagine. Consciousness is a constant, bringing our thoughts and senses together generating a sense of “realness” within our mind. As our thinking changes, so does our sense of reality. Consciousness simply illuminates and brings to life whatever we are thinking. Since we all have different thoughts, our individual experiences of reality are therefore quite different. Consciousness makes this possible.

Mind - This is the source from which consciousness and thought arise every moment. It is deeply intelligent and an unfathomable mystery to contemplate. It is the life force within us all. At a basic biological level, you might say that it is the power source that enlivens our bodies and enables the brain to do its miracles. At a psychological level, you might say that it is the source of insight, instinct, universal wisdom, and common sense. It is the source of our deepest feelings of love, connection and enthusiasm. It is also the dynamic principle that enables us to be intelligent and to have a flow of creative, responsive and meaningful thinking occurring from within.

These principles were first articulated this way by our dear friend, colleague and teacher, the late Sydney Banks. Syd had a deep, spiritual epiphany during which he saw these principles in a simple and matter of fact way. His teaching of these principles over the last few decades has begun to transform tens of thousands of peoples' lives, countless organizations and communities. It is having a powerful impact on professionals in all walks of life. Understanding these principles has had a profound positive impact on our lives and work, and in the success of all the businesses where we have had the privilege to share our understanding of these principles.

For thousands of years, these principles have been referred to by many different names and described in many different ways. We find learning these principles to be very pragmatic. They can help anyone interested in learning about his/her own mind with a desire to be peaceful, grounded and empowered for success in any area of life.

Implications of insight principles

Understanding these principles is enlightening, empowering and a great relief for most who come to understand them. They highlight that the power behind our own sense of reality is the creative process of our own thinking and consciousness. They also point to the fact that we have a never-ending source of helpful and intelligent new thinking from within, available at any time.

To say this in another way:

  • Everything we are experiencing is being crafted by our thinking from the inside-out.
  • We are always feeling our thinking.
  • We can have new thinking at any time.

It is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are experiencing our thinking every moment of our lives. We rarely look within and wonder about how our experiences are generated and/or, what is our part in the process. We take for granted that we have a relatively objective view of the world and react/respond to what we are experiencing without considering the deeper dynamics at play. Often it seems like other people, external circumstances, or certain situations are the cause of our feelings, actions or reactions. This is simply not the case. One moment we can be upset with someone for their actions, the next we can have compassion for the feeling and the state of mind they are caught up in that is generating their behavior. The difference is our thinking. Sometimes we realize this, sometimes we don't. In either case, it is still our own thinking creating our experience of the moment.

When we realize how these principles work within us, we see the inside-out nature of experience. We are experiencing thought, brought to life through our senses, inside our mind. In other words, we see that circumstances and other people do not have the power to create experience within us, even though it sometimes seems that way. For instance, we might be having a good day at work with things running smoothly when we get a phone call that a shipment is delayed, a proposal has been denied or a team member has not followed through on a critical action item. Our mood instantly drops and we feel annoyed, disappointed or frustrated. How easily it can appear that the event or behavior of another caused our change of feeling. When we examine it more closely, however, the actual cause starts to emerge. We cannot think one thing and feel another. Only when our thinking changes, can our experience change.

Delayed shipments do not cause annoyance, thinking does. The rejection of a proposal does not cause disappointment, thinking does. Lack of follow through does not create frustration, thinking does. Lurking behind the scenes in every experience in life is thinking. Without thought, there can be no experience. Blaming the external world for our experience is like blaming our shadow for being overweight. A shadow is merely a reflection. It has no existence independent of the light and the object the light is shining upon.

When people see this for themselves, misunderstanding about what is really going on disappears. Excuses, rationales, and explanations for reactive feelings and behaviors are no longer valid. People's minds clear and they tend to become calm, peaceful and reflective. These qualities are part of our natural way of being. Why this happens is quite logical. Since we can only experience life according to our own thinking, we see that our disturbing feelings and reactions are being created in our own mind. When we see this, we intuitively know that feeling disturbed is undesirable and we look for new thinking that might generate a better feeling. We see that we are reacting to perceptions of reality created by our own thoughts and we begin to have insights about how we might see things differently. If we step back and reflect on how this process is always going on, it can generate an even deeper humility about what we think is “true” at any moment. This opens us to our own insights and wisdom and the insights and wisdom of others.

One of the great beauties of the human mind is its ability to generate new thinking at any time. From this comes insight, innovation and creativity in all its forms. With new thinking we see a world in constant change and evolution, and we are able to respond intelligently. It helps us understand each other, connect, and generate synergy in teams and organizations to produce excellent results.

Though new thinking is always available, our busy minds and reactive thinking interfere with the flow of this graceful intelligence from within. With insight about these principles our mind clears. We then become more aware of the flow of insight and creative thought in us and feel inspired and empowered with renewed confidence in our own ability to innovate. With this comes resilience to challenges of all kinds. Innovation and resilience are the hallmarks of a balanced, productive life. They are also the foundations of good leadership.


© 2011