Mind, the Breath of Life & You: Toward a Integral Mind-Body Understanding of the Three Principles

As a first-generation student of Sydney Banks I have enjoyed listening to his many recordings, especially those from the early days before he had developed the succinct “Three Principles” description. These early expressions give insight into the source and nature of Syd’s awakening, and not just what he realized. Truth begets truth. Therefore, Syd’s expression of what he realized was and remains powerful. Yet many of us first-generation students recall his stating that he had to bring his realization “way down” to share it the way he did.


Apparently many Three Principles students in the last couple decades have not heard about Syd’s actual experience – at least not in as depth as he originally described it. I understand Syd’s reluctance to not focus on his experience, because it can provide the personal mind fuel for discouraging us. The personal mind will compare our experience to Syd’s and then judge us – attempting to keep us from changing because it innocently believes “sameness equals safety”. More on that another time.

If you notice this kind of negative and self-defeating thinking as you read this, please dismiss it for the time being. Perhaps later you can pick it up and analyze it.

Given my recent education in integral theory (i.e. non-dual “oneness” to which Syd often referred) and training in a breakthrough neuroscience program, I have become particularly aware of and interested in the Mind-Body – or more specifically Mind-Brain – dimension of human existence and how the Three Principles can inform this new understanding.

In an early recording, Syd stated,

“When you hear the Truth it is what is called a realization.

And with this realization the breath of life goes into you.

It actually becomes alive! It becomes another reality!

And it takes itself and it sweeps negativity out of your life.”

aura man

This “breath of life” has been known since ancient times and described in scriptures and other writings. The word “spirit” has roots in the word “breath”. It makes sense that in addition to what we may experience as our “personal breath” there is a “holy breath” or “Holy Spirit” behind the personal breath and operates as the actual source of personal breathing – and therefore life! Yet “breath” clearly has physiological characteristics, does it not? Thus the “mind-body” dimension becomes evident and intriguing, at least to me. I know this intrigues many others as well.

Breath is at the core of many spiritual and higher consciousness systems such as yoga, meditation, kundalini, etc.


Notice here also that breath is inseparable from what has been called “life energy”. Other ancient systems have called it “chi”, qi”, prana, kundalini, “subtle energy”, etc. A whole new field of “energy psychology” has sprung up doing research and publishing into this and the importance of understanding the mind-body connection for complete understanding and effectiveness when serving human suffering and evolution.

“I am home. I am free. I have overcome the world

and we don’t have any problems.”

Back to Syd’s statement:

Above he describes his experience/realization as “The breath of life ‘actually becomes alive’…and it sweeps negativity out of your life!” In Syd’s personal description his experience of awakening, he stated that after feeling like he was “sucked down a tunnel” “energy” was “coming into” him.

He noticed that there was a “buzzing sound” and that his body was “shrouded in light”.

He said “university courses” were coming into this head and that it felt like “an orgasm of the heart”. This energy – this process –  was every evident to him for “three days and three nights”, during which time he was so energized he felt no need for sleep and time seemed to pass in a blink.

He described a classic “life review” in which his life passed before his consciousness. At its completion he said, “I died. But I didn’t die.” His self-image created from innocent misuse of his personal thinking and with which he identified (and there for felt as real) evaporated – leaving him awakened. He then said to his wife, “I am home. I am free. I have overcome the world and we don’t have any problems.”

How does this connect to the Three Principles as we have heard them over the past few decades?

I am interested in hearing from those who have insight into this. Here is some of what I see:

  • Syd’s articulation of the Three Principles was the result of a realization – a realization he received. He often said that he didn’t pick the Three Principles, they picked him. This realization “came out of the blue”. In other words, it came from formless Mind and became formulated in Syd’s personal consciousness.
  • At its essence, the process/experience of form manifesting from the formless IS like a vortex or “tunnel”. This can be corroborated by science. I like to refer to this vortex at times as a “gateway” or “portal”.

energy portal

  • If you pay attention, you will notice that when insight suddenly “rushes” into your consciousness there is a corresponding quick and uplifting spontaneous inhalation – a “quickening of the spirit” that occurs. What if this portal could be deliberately accessed? It can be. There honestly is an inner “goose that lays the golden eggs”.
  • This gateway is “right in front of us” – in front of our personal consciousness as a potential for unlocking more potential. Syd said, “What you are looking for is right in front of you.”
  • The good news is that the human brain has this “super optimization” function built in – especially connected to the pre-frontal cortex. When this part of the brain is activated (by insight and/or by the “breath of life”) people have been said to have their “third eye” of insight opened – or as Syd said, one gains “second sight”. This also correlates with Syd’s statement that “Mind energizes the brain.”

third eye1

  • When we listen to truth, we benefit best when we allow it to take our consciousness into the “Nothingness” – into the formless Isness-source whose pleasure it is to “give us the Kingdom”.

This look “behind” understandings and articulations of Three Principles is intriguing and holds great promise. I understand that it is quite mystical, but this is the true nature of life.

Take Away: As wonderful and helpful as current Three Principles services are, remember there is unlimited new insight, fulfillment and potential available. The very nature of the Principles are evidence of this. Keep open and exploring. I especially encourage Three Principles students who are attracted to the integral mind-body understanding and neuroscience to follow that curiosity and uncover what it opens for you and for others.

More to come….


Craig Polsfuss is a first generation student of the Three Principles, an integral psychologist and is published in peer-reviewed professional journals applying the Three Principles to leadership and high-performance.

Website: https://craigpolsfuss.wordpress.com


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