3P Random Reflections Blog

When my father died, I was 24 years old. He was out walking one day, and was accidentally hit by a teenager riding on a bicycle. The blunt force trauma from his head hitting the pavement, led to his death in the hospital a few hours later. It was all so sudden and unexpected, and in an instant he was gone.


I still vividly remember my feelings standing by the hospital bedside of what seemed only to be the shell of my father, covered with tubes and wires, and with the sound of a noisy machine pumping air into his lungs, before it was eventually shut down. I was looking at him, but I couldn’t see “him” there… no smile, no fussing with the dry skin and calluses on his fingers, no rubbing the day-end shadow of whiskers on his chin, no twinkle in his eye, no cheeky remark.


The grief was intense, and powerful, and all-consuming, and like a sucker punch to the stomach, and yet in the midst of it all, a funny and ridiculous thought popped into my head. I said out loud through streaming tears, “He can’t leave… I haven’t paid him back the money I borrowed yet.”


And for a few brief moments, there was an incredibly profound and powerful mix of both the horrific and the beautiful… of grief and loss and sorrow and regret… and of love and fondness and warmth and humour. At the time, I thought I was experiencing the loss of my father, but I see now how I was simply being given the incredible privilege of experiencing and feeling “life”… full out.


With my mother’s recent passing, 31 years after my Dad, it has been an opportunity once again to experience the loss of a parent. The feelings seem much the same, and sometimes just as powerful… getting hit with the little sucker punches of feeling to the gut, and the waves of grief and loss and sorrow and regret, and love and fondness and warmth and humour.


But this time, there’s a significant difference.


This time I have an awareness of how my feelings are being created through me and within me from the incomprehensible power of thought, brought to life by the surround-sound, technicolour, special effects department of consciousness. It’s not the passing of my mother that is creating my experience… it’s all somehow being created within and through ME!


And so besides just feeling, and having moments and periods of dwelling on my personal (and innocent) made up stories about the loss, about my Mom, and about myself... I also find myself often marveling at the incredible human capacity just for feeling.


After a gut punch of loss, or a rush of guilt, I’ve had many moments of sort of “waking up” right away, and marveling at the intensity of the feeling of it.


“Wow, that one was powerful.”

“Wow, that was pretty intense.”

“Wow, that was created through ME!”

“Wow, how amazing and miraculous is this human ability to feel.”

“Wow, how lucky am I to be able to see this. To experience it and to be able to watch it at the same time.”


And it’s not that I was feeling joyful in the experience of it. It certainly wasn’t what I would consider pleasant. But for the most part, there was no fear of it or concern about it, and there was an underlying foundation of peace. I could often feel the awful feelings while also being able to watch them as an outside neutral and fascinated observer. There was the “personal me” having the thoughts and feelings, and the “impersonal me” watching it all happen.


And that is just one of the marvelous side-effects of gaining insight into how experience is being created continually through me via Mind, Consciousness, and Thought, and gaining awareness of the “OK-ness” of life and “OK-ness” of me, under all the apparent chaos. With awareness of the “personal me” having the experience and awareness of the impersonal energy creating the experience, it somehow allows me to have all my “crazy” with a lot less craziness. I’ve got a ticket to ride the roller coaster of life… and now I also have the locked in, strapped down, safety-system of understanding the truth of how it all works so I can have all the emotions and still enjoy the ride.

In my late teens, I was held up at knife point.


At first when he asked for all the money in the cash register, I said "Oh yah, that's funny". I thought he was joking. He demanded again, and I laughed again, and I gave the same response. His third request however included showing me the 10" knife that he pulled out of his sleeve. I was not at all scared, I just thought "Oh, OK, I'm being held up. I should make note of what he looks like and what he's wearing, and take note of his height against the height markers as he walks out the door".


I gave him the money, and then he asked me to go into the back of the store. I simply said "No". He then walked toward the end of the counter that was between me and him. I thought he was going to try to grab me and force me into the back room, but he ended up just reaching out to cut the phone cord and then ran out the store. In every moment of this experience, I was completely calm, and even after, I had no fearful thinking about it, other than a brief thought that being taken into the back room would not have been a good thing.


At various points in my life I've had strange things happen where I found myself "somewhat separate from my personal thinking"... such as having time slow down and being completely calm in the middle of a car accident, or having a "heart stop" during dental surgery and then being kept awake during the procedure... watching spurting blood and hearing the cracking sounds in a state of fascinated interest and amusement, or waking up after emergency surgery, being able to see myself in the bed and my sister sitting at the bottom of the bed as if viewing it all from above, or suddenly realizing someone had died and finding out later that they died at the moment the thought came into my head.


In each case, the feeling was calm and clear and peaceful, with no personal emotion or personal attachment involved.


And then a few years ago, after hearing a description of the Three Principles, I had an experience where for the better part of 3 days, I lived in a state of what I can only refer to as impersonal, unconditional love... being completely detached from the personal "me" and my personal thinking, including moments where the separation between everything was blurred.


At that time, I realized the illusion of all thought, and I saw how heavily our personal thinking weighs on each us, and how we just can't see this because we have literally been living in the experience of our made up thinking since the moment we were born. And any brief moments we may have, free of personal thinking, are often not understood or not given any significance.


The interesting thing, is that when I talk to many people, whether friends, colleagues, relatives, clients, or many that I chat with at the local homeless shelter, most have one or two stories like this... being incredibly calm and clear in crisis, being in the zone, having time slow down, experiencing something incredibly strange or profound that was about something other than their "personal self".


Mara Gleason starts off her book "One Thought Changes Everything" with her own story of being held up (at gunpoint), and the significance she realized from that experience years later. It's a great story, and a compelling book to read if you're interested in getting some sense of what lays beyond the perceived limits of our personal thinking. Here's Mara's story shared by Michael Neill in his weekly blog...


In the moment that I heard “How can we take ourselves seriously in light of the fact that we’re making it up?”, I realized that EVERYTHING I had ever thought in my entire life was completely made up, and that I was living in the experience of the complete illusion of my thinking, as was everyone else. From that moment, I started living in the experience of an entirely new world because I now understood the “reason why” for every human behaviour in life.



Why do people sometimes hate?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes get angry?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes hurt other people?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes lie?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes get judgmental?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes drink, and take drugs, and harm themselves, or do anything to excess?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes love?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes show compassion?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes help other people?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes be honest?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes get grateful?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.

Why do people sometimes play, and laugh, and enjoy themselves, and just live in the moment?

  • Thinking appears in their head and they believe it.


It’s so incredibly simple.



Our uniquely personal experience of life and consequent actions are NOT at all driven by our circumstances or whatever is happening in the world around us or even who we are at the core of our being. Our personal experience of life and consequent actions are driven simply by the natural and innocent belief in whatever flow of thinking happens to appear in our head in each moment. We are designed to have a continual flow of up and down thought, and feel it, and believe it.



That’s it. That’s everything.



What’s interesting, is that if we somehow realize this as true, we begin to get some level of freedom from this naturally occurring up and down flow of secure and insecure thinking that appears in our head. We get some distance from it.



We begin to take our thinking less seriously, both the bad and the good. We begin catching ourselves feeling yucky, and begin noticing (getting insights) into how the yucky feeling is coming from a momentary flow of insecure thought, some of which may be aware of, and much of which we likely may not be aware of. We begin catching ourselves feeling wonderful, and begin appreciating the moments of being graced with a momentary flow of secure thought, some of which we may be aware of, and much of which we likely may not be aware of.



And in that growing freedom from whatever experience we happen to be having, continually being created from the up and down flow of thinking appearing in our head and being felt through our feelings, we begin realizing something more



We begin caring less what state of mind we happen to be in, knowing that whatever we’re feeling is just a consequence of the momentary and naturally changing flow of thought and not anything outside of us or inside of us that needs to be “fixed”.



We begin realizing that neither we nor anyone else is “broken”. Instead, we’re all just experiencing life and participating in life through the filter of our own innocently believed up and down thinking.



We begin realizing that whatever we are feeling, whether good or bad, has absolutely no connection to who we all are at the core of our soul… something that can’t really be explained, but can be felt, and something that we all are intimately familiar with, whether we realize it or not.



And so in the moment that I heard “How can we take ourselves seriously in light of the fact

that we’re making it up?”, and I realized the truth of it, and I realized the truth of who we all are at the core of our soul, it didn’t stop me from being human.



First of all, it just made me laugh because how funny and ridiculous it was that “we’re all completely crazy and we just have no idea”.



And second of all, it allowed me to go back into life, still thinking and feeling both good and crappy, and sometimes really really crappy… but with complete understanding of WHY, and no more need to figure it out, even though my thinking, for some reason, still seems to love coming up with other WHYs.

I remember being in a team meeting once with a group of individuals who were all high performers in the fields of human resources and organizational development (basically, the fields of how to be a better personWink). We were going around the room, each sharing something that we were grateful for, and each person had some beautifully inspiring story, or they shared a moment of touching appreciation for someone else on the team.



I was relatively new to the team, and when it got to me, I can’t remember what I said that I was grateful for, but I do remember sharing how I mostly saw life as “the cup half empty” rather than “the cup half full”. And although I was just stating it as “simply a fact for me” without really too much on it, I remember their initial silent or confused reaction. I didn’t mean it to be that big of a deal, and it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal to me, but in a room full of high achievers, always overcoming obstacles, always finding the positive, always in the “get’r-done-and-move on-to-the-next” mode, I see now in reflection, that I might as well have announced that I was a pedophile. Big Grin LOL!



As a funny side-note, another thought that had occurred to me was that the potential problem was that I was Canadian. In a room full of Amercans, I had the thought that their American sense of "ra ra ra" probably didn't quite mesh with my Canadian sense of "ha ha ha".



And so I had some sense then, that although I was very much enjoying the work I was doing, that I was clearly in the wrong room… I was not at all speaking their language.



At the time, I thought the reason I was in the wrong room was because of something wrong with me. I thought I should be less of “me” and more of “them”, because clearly, they were what success was all about. I should be a striver, a motivator, an achiever, an overcomer, a rising star, an emerging leader, a "high-potential", a mover and a shaker. However, there was something deep in my bones that was also telling me that this thinking was wrong for me in some way… I could feel it, but I couldn’t hear it. My heart was telling me something profound, but my head wasn’t listening at all.



And then I gained insight into the Three Principles… And so what I didn’t know then, that I know now, is hilariously, that they were all just as messed up as I thought I was. Their proclamations of “YES I CAN” and perceptions of being in control, were often just as unhelpful as my proclamations of “NO I CAN’T” and perceptions of not being in control because of some inherent brokenness. Their very human and very compelling and mostly invisible-to-them insecure needs, just came out in a different way than mine did.



They were in a continual mode of effortful striving because each time they got to the next level, although it was rewarding and they were often recognized, it was eventually somehow not enough. And I was in a continual mode of “I’ll never be enough” because I continually dismissed anything that I did that seemed effortless, and I gave incredible amounts of attention and significance to my apparent inability to be proactive at “overcoming”.



That’s the incredibly compelling nature of the power of thought. Until we somehow discover the fundamental illusory nature of ALL thought, and the deeper spiritual truth that all of us are always already enough and perfectly fine just as we are, we will keep looking to make change in whatever crazy stories we've made up in our head, and we will never be able to see what has always been right there, right in front of us all along.



Today, I still have lots of thoughts about not being enough, easily dismissing any of my achievements, and I’m guessing they still have lots of thoughts about needing to be an achiever, giving great significance to what they have already achieved or what they need yet to achieve.



But how nice to know that I (and they) don’t have to pay attention to any of it, and that even in those frequent moments whenever we do happen to get caught up in our compelling and completely ridiculous made up thinking, we’ll all still be perfectly fine.

Whenever I facilitate the 2-hour Stinking Thinking Hangouts at the homeless shelter, the individuals that come in are often not sure why they’re there, or what it’s going to be about. A few have come in because they’ve read something on the flyer that has piqued their interest, a few have been encouraged to attend by the staff at the shelter, and others have come in for a variety of other reasons, including that it’s something different to do, rather than hanging out at the drop-in centre.


And although every person brings with them something completely different in their circumstances, their thinking, and their state of mind in the moment, it’s almost guaranteed that most are experiencing some level of suffering, often both physical and mental. As well, since it is a “non-intoxication” shelter, many are managing some withdrawal from drugs, and bumping into the painful busyness of their thinking that tends to be more loud and affecting when not numbed by the drugs. It’s not uncommon for them to be a bit confused, and fidgety and restless. And it’s not uncommon for some to want to leave before the two hours are over.


And so I never know how any hangout is going to go. In some hangouts we’re able to make a human connection and have some interesting conversation, with an opportunity for me to learn a bit about them, and sometimes an opportunity for me to share a little bit of what has been helpful for me, and sometimes I get to hear some incredible wisdom. And in some other hangouts, not so much. Today was more in the “not so much” category, but still interesting and appreciated and amusing, just the same.


I had 3 people drop in today.


One was a woman who was a bit unsteady on her feet, a bit limited in her attention, a bit quiet and garbled with her speaking, but with some quick smiles glancing across her face and some life behind her eyes as we greeted and chatted.


The second was a man who appeared more clear headed and articulate, but was a bit more hidden in his posture and behind his eyes.


The third was a man who walked in all loud and imposing, wanting to know what was going on, then starting a conversation with me which led to him sharing how he’d killed several people, and how not everyone believes it, but how everyone always gets hairs raised up on the back of their neck when they hear of it. He went on to tell me a few more things about thinking and about God. He wasn’t too interested in hanging out with us, but he had a chance to say his piece, grab a few items from my basket of treats, and then left, saying “Thanks and have a nice day”. That happened at about 2 MINUTES in.


With my two participants left, I began to share a bit about what the hangout is about, and what they could expect, and asked if they had any initial questions or thoughts before we started. The response from both of them was limited and reluctant, so it seemed to make sense to me to share a bit of my own story. Shortly after starting, the man advised he had to go. That was about 5 MINUTES in.


Then with the woman still left, I continued on with my story. At several points she mentioned that what I was sharing is what happens to her. I didn’t quite understand what she said at first, but eventually got some sense of it. Not sure yet what to ask, I continued on for a few more minutes sharing my story, after which she said something again. I didn’t understand it again, so I asked her to repeat it. She spoke again, and this time I think I got the words, but it didn’t immediately make sense to me, and then after a moment, the penny dropped. I realized she was asking me if I was reading her mind.


I was telling her the story of how my thinking had affected me (how it worked), and since it is universal, and therefore what also happens with her own thinking, she thought I was reading her mind. I smiled and laughed a bit, and said, “Oh, no, no. I can’t read your mind. What I’m sharing is just how everyone thinks.” We talked for just a bit after that, then she looked up at the clock, and said she had to go. That was 10 MINUTES in.


She got up on her feet, slowly gathered up her bags of belongings, and grabbed a few more treats to go. I asked her if she likes to read, and when she said yes, I gave her a copy of the Enlightened Gardener. She put it in one of her bags and left.


After that, I just sat down and chuckled a bit to myself. I thought wow, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes… that’s gotta be a record for people wanting to leave once I start talking. LOL!


As I mentioned before, I never know how any hangout is going to go… who will appear and what will happen. But I quite often remember that I never have to worry, because I know I’m not in charge of any of that. I just get to show up, try not to be an idiot, show a little kindness, and see what happens. The rest is up to the universe.


Fortunately, on this beautiful, sunny, temperate day today, I got to leave a little early and enjoy the drive home with the windows open and the music playing. I wonder what next week’s hangout will bring?

Latest comments

10.06 | 11:27

You're so welcome Karen! My first 3P insight was that because we're all living in the illusion of our made up thinking, we're all crazy and don't know it!

10.06 | 11:11

You are so darn funny!!! I was pointed to this site when I googled 3P school and it addressed if you should wear a 3P's suit! Thanks for sharing so much humour!

12.04 | 22:44

Catch up... sounds good. Would love to hear how things are going. 😊

12.04 | 22:34

Hey there, welcome back! Let's touch base soon. I had a virtual ticket to the conference. Have only just been able to start watching the clips. Way, way cool! Reminds me of our walk over to the chicken place. LOL