This is a letter from Dr Jack Pransky to the three principles community. We wanted to share this with you as Jack was one of the first great supports and advocates of the then www.threeprinciplesmovies.com site (now hosted HERE). You can view our original video interview of him, and the very first interview we filmed for the 3pmovies site! HERE
An Open Letter to the Three Principles Community
from Jack Pransky
Upon his Retirement
Dear Beautiful Souls in the Three Principles Community,
If you haven’t heard by now I am retiring as of December 31, 2019. A few thoughts (more than a few, actually) came to me as I ponder riding off into the sunset. I want to preface this by stating that the views expressed here are only my own. I share them for whatever they’re worth.
As I retire, first I need to thank three main people from the bottom of my heart.
George Pransky: When I was confused about what this understanding really meant George took me under his wing. When I had no idea how to integrate what I’d heard way beyond my intellect from Sydney Banks into practical application in day-to-day life George was always there for me so generously. I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned from this second cousin of mine and how much I appreciate it. I will never forget it.
Roger Mills: When I first came upon this understanding I wasn’t interested in personal development; I cared only about results for others in communities. Roger was the original inspiration for how this understanding could be applied in prevention and community work. Without what Roger accomplished in Modello (and subsequently in many other areas such as Coliseum Gardens) I wouldn’t have paid much attention. When I saw people’s lives turned around whom just about everyone else had written off—people with severe addictions, women being severely beaten by their boyfriends on crack, mothers beating their kids, drug dealers running the community, horrendous housing projects’ conditions—all totally turned around permanently, this is what grabbed me. I saw hope for humanity. Every Three Principles community effort, including everything accomplished in prisons and drug rehabilitation centers as a result of this understanding and all the lives changed, can be traced back to Roger Mills. I truly hope this community, as it expands and ripples out into the future, never forgets him. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that since his passing the number of community projects and percentage of low-income people and people of color involved in this understanding has diminished considerably. Yet there are practitioners still out there being of service carrying on this crucial work, and they are to be commended.
Sydney Banks: Without question, mostly I thank Syd. Does everyone truly grasp that this entire Three Principles movement began with one ordinary man; with the enlightenment experience of only one man?! And only because he decided not to keep it for himself and instead wanted to give it away to humanity to help people end their suffering. After his extraordinary experience Syd didn’t say to himself, “Wow, I could make a lot of money sharing this.” Instead he said, “I can be of service to others.” Let us never forget that without Syd this community wouldn’t even exist; we wouldn’t be part of it. I feel truly honored and blessed to have been at the right place at the right time to have had Syd personally blow my mind apart so I was never the same. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for this man.
The other people I need to thank from the bottom of my heart are those with whom I’ve worked closely and to the great and wonderful friends I have met and made through this understanding. This community is filled with such beautiful people; it is a very, very special group of souls, and I believe it happens because everyone is looking in the same, uncommon, inside-out direction and going deeper together within it. It’s not that other people aren’t special; it’s that this understanding seems to bring out the beauty and specialness in people. I will never forget you, especially the wonderful, lasting friendships I have made. I would love to list all of you here but there are too many of you and I’m afraid I’d leave someone out. You know who you are to me.
All of us are part of Syd’s ripple out into the world. Syd touched others who touched others who touched others and now you all keep touching others, affecting one person at a time, one life at a time. It looks as if it can never end and I hope it doesn’t. To me, that is almost too incredible to express with words. And those people who particularly helped it accelerate into the world also need to be commended, because it continues to improve lives.
With its growth, however, come a few cautions. Some question whether the Three Principles are only important or whether Syd Banks, himself, is also important. To answer this we could all look at what Syd stood for. To me, it was absolute integrity; absolute adherence to the purity of the Principles, insisting the message be shared in as pure a way as possible; insistence that the feeling with which the understanding is communicated (meaning, a feeling of love) is more important than the words; insistence on simplicity; insistence that the message be put out without ego (which he defined as “an image of self-importance”); insistence that this is a spiritual understanding. Syd was relentless in attempting to keep the Principles and its community on track and heading in the right direction. Who is there to do this now? No one has the same kind of power or authority. A few have taken it upon themselves to become the “powers that be” and with wonderful intentions do their best to try to keep things on track. In some circles they are sometimes now referred to as “the Principles police.” We would do well to consider that the further this understanding spreads into the world generation after generation the easier it is for it to get watered down or side-tracked from its pure message. The “powers-that-be,” whoever they are, do their best to not let the wrong idea get promulgated. In my view, their efforts toward this end need to be appreciated because it is no easy task.
But it’s tricky! Any of us is capable of letting our egos take over and run the show. We all could pay more attention to the feeling in our hearts as we put this out to the world or try to keep it on track. “The feeling” is what tells us if our egos are at play. What feeling are people getting who hear this understanding or direction from us? Let that be our most important guide for our teaching. What feeling do we get when we listen to others? Let that be our guide about who to listen to. How well do we deeply listen to others? Let that be our guide for how we share.
A number of spiritual teachers exist in the world; some have had enlightenment experiences. What sets Sydney Banks apart? To me, it’s the simplicity of delineating the Three Principles as natural laws and proclaiming there is no “practice” to attaining what people already are and have within. I don’t know if people who were not around before Syd specified “Three Principles” can fully grasp and appreciate how utterly baffling it was to get a handle on what he was trying to point to. Defining the Three Principles is what brought it all together and made it simple. Before then, to most of us it was unfathomable-but-wonderful spiritual talk. Now we hear everything through the Three Principles so it all makes sense. Hearing Syd’s old tapes now we fit into the Three Principles so what used to sound incomprehensible no longer does. This was Syd’s brilliance and genius. The Three Principles make everything else make sense.
Here I believe it is exceptionally helpful and important to make the distinction between the “what” of the Three Principles and the “how” of the Three Principles. The “what” of the Principles—the way everyone’s experience of life is created moment to moment via the interplay of Universal Mind, Consciousness and Thought—is irrefutable. The “how” of the Principles is the realm of how we help other people understand it; plus, questions such as “How can I get peace of mind?”; “How do I drop my thinking?”; “How can I see deeper?”; etc. I’d be amazed if anyone ever changed as a result of seeing the “how,” yet those are the questions most often asked. A deeper understanding of the “what” is what changes people’s lives.
“How” we can best help others gain this understanding is made up by using the “what.” The “how” is people’s best guess, after many years of stumbling, trial and error and finding our way. There is nothing sacred about the “how” of teaching the Principles. How one shares the Principles best through teaching, coaching, intensives, working with businesses, working in communities, prisons and schools, etc. is made up. It is wise to learn from others’ experiences and mistakes, but ultimately everyone has to find their own way. There is room for innovation.
Caution is in order, though. While innovating it can be tempting to mix the Principles with outside-in practices and techniques. After running so many trainings of Three Principles teachers and coaches I’ve observed when people do this it is most often due to fear; i.e., lack of confidence that a deep understanding of the Principles (the “what”) is enough on its own to change people. So coaches, counselors, teachers, if they are not getting through to clients or participants, sometimes fall back on their old bag of tricks or what they already know or to prior techniques to try to get through, rather than listening more deeply and taking the client deeper into the “what.” Resorting to such practices likely indicates one’s own understanding is not deep enough or one is treading beyond one’s own understanding into the intellect. The fact is many, many people have been helped solely through a deep understanding of the Principles; pointing solely in this direction was and is enough. [Note: Practitioners can only see as deeply as they do at the time, and not seeing deeper is never a problem if we stick to what we really see for ourselves, maintain a beautiful feeling, ask questions, deeply listen and explore together.]
This does not mean we can’t be creative if a client, trainee or participant is stuck or can’t see it. But this will come from deep listening. If out of listening wisdom tells the coach or teacher to try a different direction or approach, it will likely make sense and work. But without wisdom driving the ship it makes little sense to combine the inside-out with anything outside-in because they are opposites and work against each other. [Note: Don’t get me wrong. We can still creatively bring the Principles into other untapped fields or traditions, which could be very fruitful.]
What is our guide to help us know whether our approach to sharing the Principles is on the right track? As always, it’s 1) Is “the feeling” right? 2) Are we getting results; meaning, are people having insights about the “what” of the Principles to the extent that their lives improve? At the same time, what works with one person may not work with another, so again it is critical to deeply listen. Years into this understanding I realized there was little correlation between a teacher’s eloquence in articulating the Principles and whether participants have insights and change; a higher correlation seems to exist between being in “the feeling” of the spirit of the Principles (along with deep listening) and whether people have insights and change. It would be wise to ask ourselves the two questions above whenever we teach or coach.
I believe we can all learn a great deal from listening to people who have backed away from the Three Principles and from this community. For some reason a number of people have confided in me over the years. Here are a few reasons I’ve heard about why they backed away:
- “I was tired of having to be a certain way.”
This is puzzling. If the Three Principles are simply a description of the way things work, not a prescription, what does “having to be a certain way” have to do with it? Who says anyone has to be a certain way? The Principles themselves don’t say this, so anyone implying this is making up something that isn’t true. It’s important to be sure people aren’t picking up this message from us.
- “I thought I knew something and had a lot to say. No one was listening to me. People were challenging me. People weren’t changing as a result. Therefore, I got disillusioned.”
Whenever we think we know something it’s a signal that we’ve got a lot more to learn. What if people challenging us means we are not conveying the Principles simply or deeply enough or with the right feeling, or that we’re talking out of our intellect? People not changing usually means we’re not listening deeply enough.
- “I felt like I was being blamed for not getting it. I was told, ‘It’s just your thinking.’ I was told, ‘Not that!’ ‘Don’t look over there; look here.’ I didn’t get the feeling s/he was meeting me where I was at. I didn’t feel like I was being listened to.”
This is akin to blaming the victim—blaming the learner for not getting it. It’s never the learner’s fault! The responsibility always lies with the teacher. Usually it means the teacher is not listening deeply enough (a recurring theme), which is what these learners picked up. Again, there are no instructions in the Three Principles; the Principles simply tell us our experience is being created in a certain way given where we’re looking. Furthermore, telling someone, “It’s just your thinking,” or “That’s your thinking,” is very dismissive. Ego is often involved.
- “He told me I was ‘addicted to misery.’ I believe he laid out false expectations. Then when I called him on it he said, ‘I never said that.’”
What is the difference when we say something like “You’re addicted to misery,” compared with asking someone (out of a feeling of love) to reflect on whether they might be thinking a certain way, such as, “Do you think you might be addicted to misery?” The former gets people’s backs up, allowing them easily to go into fear, run for cover or feel insulted; therefore, insights are blocked. The latter invites personal reflection, may open people to seeing something new and allows people to come to their own conclusions about themselves. Again, it’s about the feeling and the results. This also raises the issue of what we say in marketing to solicit clients. If our marketing makes promises that contradict or exaggerate what the Principles say or can easily be interpreted differently than what is actually delivered, it is not unreasonable for participants to questions this. Rather than turn it against them, would it not be wise to explore with them further by listening more deeply to what they saw or heard or what they mean? Further, when marketing appears to overstate what is delivered, ethical questions may be raised.
- “I had to take out a second mortgage on my home to pay for [learning the Principles].”
What are we doing when some people have to use almost their life savings to pay for what Syd Banks wanted to give away to be of service to humanity? If people have a thought, “I can make a lot of money teaching the 3Ps,” ego can easily take over. I’m not at all suggesting we shouldn’t make a living, but when it becomes the main agenda priorities can get messed up. Some believe money is just thought and they tell that to people with money issues. Even if true, the Principles don’t tell people how they should think. A “being of service” mindset often prevents such issues.
- “3P people are not talking nonduality!” “They’re not saying, ‘There is no I!”
When some people almost angrily or in frustration rail that we’re not talking nonduality or saying “There is no I,” their tone suggests they are speaking through the very I they say doesn’t exist; that their own I has an agenda. Some of us don’t use this language because it is an easy way to send people into their intellect. If people see deeply into Mind and Consciousness they may come to those conclusions themselves. If people want to explore this on their own, great.
As Syd said repeatedly, ego and fear (or insecurity) are what get in our way most. The ego, even if it is just a bunch of thoughts about ourselves, can be invested in power or fame or gain and come out in subtle and insidious ways. Three Principles teachers are not immune. If there are turf battles in an area, the ego and fear are likely at play. If someone wants to control what happens in a particular geographic area, the ego and fear are likely at play. If a teacher attempts to dismiss or put down another teacher, the ego is likely at play. If there is a perceived in-crowd and out-crowd, ego is likely at play. If anyone is shunned, ego and fear are at play. If a leader wants followers, the ego is likely at play. Syd never wanted followers.
It is easy to get caught in a blind spot around ego because the ego creates its own agenda, becomes invested in it and goes out of its way to protect it—all of which looks very real so we are easily seduced. Blind spots are where we don’t see the Principles in action and instead see “reality” and are unaware of it. It can happen in even the most subtle ways. For example, we might unknowingly have an innocent thought such as, “When I learn the Principles I should live at a high level of consciousness.” A number of people who understand the Principles do live at fairly high levels, but the idea of “living at a high level of consciousness” might be grabbed by ego and make us think this is where we should be. So when we drop to a lower level we might say, “I shouldn’t feel this way! This is not how 3P people are supposed to feel. I especially can’t let others know I feel this way. I should have positive thoughts. La-di-dah.” In other words, the ego wants to stay where it thinks it should be and may send us into denial—that hidden thoughts are dragging us down that would be helpful to bring into the light to then see for the illusion they are. In human form there is almost no way to not experience the illusion of separation from formless energy to varying degrees (levels). We all get caught from time to time; it’s the most natural thing to drop sometimes. It is nothing to be afraid of. If we don’t take it seriously or get freaked out about it we’re fine, but sometimes we’re too close to be able to see it. Can we be of help to each other when we do? Can we take responsibility to be of gentle and loving assistance when we see our colleagues caught? It would take stepping away from comparison and judgment and into being of service to each other, thereby elevating the entire community.
For a long time I was blind to seeing that I sought my happiness and well-being from the outside world. So long as things were going (what I interpreted to be) well in my life I was fine. But if they weren’t I became disgruntled. Being blind to it, my ego kept trying to make more things work out well in the outside world. This created the erroneous illusion that I didn’t need to find peace of mind within. When the goal of learning the Three Principles becomes living a happy life or living in well-being or living at a high level of consciousness* it’s very easy for the ego to put itself in charge of creating it. The purpose of understanding the Three Principles is only to realize how it all really works within us. [*Note: This does not mean we shouldn’t teach levels of consciousness, which is central to Syd’s teaching; we need only ensure that people aren’t thinking some levels are better than others or that they aren’t trying to get to higher levels.]
But all that is fine tuning. I stand by what I said when I began this letter, that this community of people all looking in the direction of the Three Principles is bursting with many of the finest people I’ve ever met, doing such wonderful work for the world, improving the world. These people comprise the vast majority of this community. You all are hope for humanity, just as Sydney Banks envisioned. I am very happy to have been part of it.
Do we all have a role in keeping the understanding of the Principles as pure and simple and deep as possible? I think so. Do we all have a role in ensuring that those teaching or coaching with the Principles are putting it out ethically and with a feeling of love? I think so. If we each take the responsibility, this community and the world will be far better for it. Keep up the wonderful work and sharing.
I realize that some may take issue with or dismiss some of what I say here. Some may think I am being moralistic based on my own narrow views. Others may resonate or align with it. It’s all okay. Separate realities. My only intention here, really, is to aid in reflection and encourage community dialogue to the end of elevating how the Principles are heard by the world so they will spread far and wide and be as helpful to humanity as possible. Take it for whatever it’s worth.
With Love and so many blessings to you, and I hope you have very Happy Holidays,
P.S. Although I am retiring I remain open to some teaching in exotic places still on my bucket list. So don’t be afraid to ask.