Anyone who has ever fed a baby in a high chair will have seen the testing of a principle in action.
All of it tested by being flung off the tray.
All of it shown to respond reliably to some force that makes things move downwards 100% percent of the time.
(There also seems to be a force that picks things up and puts them back although after a while that force makes some sort of sighing sound and everything gets taken away.)
So we learn at an early age about the principle of gravity. And once we’ve got it, we’ve got it.
Once when I was in Thailand someone handed me a fruit. I had never seen that type of fruit before. I remember thinking how great at the age of 40 to see something I didn’t even know existed before. As I held it, looking at its strange shape and colour, I wondered what it tasted it like, what colour it would be inside, what texture. It did not occur to me for one second to wonder whether it would also obey the principle of gravity if I dropped it.
I didn’t wonder because gravity is a principle, because it has a 100% reliability to it. And this is brilliant because this allows me to live my life far more fully and enjoyably than if I spent my every waking moment terrified of floating off the face of the earth.
It doesn’t matter if I do worry I’m going to float off into space because the reality is that, regardless of my concern, I am here safe and sound on the ground. Gravity has nothing to do with vagaries of thought and fear and everything to do with constancy and permanence.
If one day gravity disappeared everything would (literally) be up in the air. But as it is, when I wake up, I’m not on the ceiling and I don’t give gravity a thought until I watch Apollo 13 for the 100th time.
So because I am using the principle of gravity instead of testing it I get to do all sorts of great stuff. I have time with my family and friends. I coach. I speak. I write and eat sushi. I sleep, I drink tea, I teach yoga, I go for walks. I travel. I watch Apollo 13. I would rather be doing all of these than testing gravity. Thinking about gravity is unnecessary for any of this and, at the same time, gravity is one of the principles that makes it all possible.
What I am discovering is that there are other principles that underpin my life which I also don’t need to prove or test and, in this not having to test, is the wonderful freedom to simply do what I want to do.
Along with gravity, the other things I don’t need to concern myself with are:
1. The principle of Intelligence
It is clear that there is some sort of intelligence behind life, that there is a force that enables the world to turn, the tide to go in and out, the sun to warm the earth, the rain to fall and living things to flourish.
It is always present and, just as the principle of gravity shows up in an object, so the principle of Universal Intelligence shows up in me.
If I think I’d like some more coaching clients, I could say to myself, ‘Well, that is a job for Universal Intelligence! I’ll see what it comes up with. I will stay out of this and wait for it to show what it can do.’ And I test it. I sit there in my study and I wait to see who appears asking for my coaching.
Two months later…
‘How’s the coaching business going, Clare?’
‘A bit slow to be honest…’
Taking myself out of the equation to test this Intelligence is the equivalent of inventing an anti-gravity device and then using it to test every object I can find for gravity. Gravity won’t work in my anti-gravity device. The intelligence won’t work without me. I am vital in this whole thing.
The single only way Intelligence can only show up in the world, for me, is through me, through what occurs for me to do, say, write or think, though ideas and insight and connection, through what I notice. I am Universal Intelligence.
I am it. It is me. ‘What about the things outside you though, Clare?’ You might say. ‘It’s not all about you, you know.’
It actually is all about me.
I can notice the Intelligence that is out there in the world – the sunset, the stars, the perfect systems, the works of art and literature, the sporting marvels, the brilliant things that other people do and say, but all of this is experienced through me.
It can’t be any other way.
The fact that I am alive and experiencing, thinking, noticing, creating and realising is all the evidence of this Intelligence I ever need.
And I can see that it is exactly the same for you and for everyone else. You are also alive, experiencing, thinking, noticing, creating and realising. You are Intelligence incarnate. And I can only experience you because I am too.
In other words, the fact that I am alive and thinking and conscious, means that the Intelligence is working through me. I can rely on it. And even if I forget that I can rely on it, it is still there, still working through me.
Just as I use gravity all the time to live my life, without thinking about it, so understanding the principle of Intelligence frees me up. It allows me to live my life fully. I neither need to spend time testing it nor worrying about it being there.
The fact that I am not on the ceiling means yet another day that gravity is active.
The fact that I am alive means yet another day that Universal Intelligence is showing up through me.
2. I experience everything through Thought.
Before I realised that everything was experienced through Thought, I used to think that there were certain thoughts that we needed to examine and prove to be false in order that we could be free of them.
I could understand the sorts of personal development exercises that had people walking down the street wearing a chicken costume so that they would realise that embarrassment about doing this is just a thought and be free of that illusion.
The problem with this logic is that it is the equivalent of testing whether previously unseen fruits also obey the laws of gravity. Because once I have clucked my way down the high street, there is then an infinite queue of other thoughts to test. I might be able to cluck like a chicken in Marlborough High Street but how about on Abbey Road or outside Buckingham Palace? Or how about mooing like a cow? That’s a whole udder matter. (Sorry.)
And once I’ve done all the animals and all the streets, how about the need to then test the thought that he doesn’t like me or she finds me fun or that I did that talk well or that the talk was a disaster or that I have enough money or that I don’t or that they are happy or they are annoyed or that it is too cold or too hot and so on and so on and so on and so on.
It would be never-ending and we don’t need to do it because, like gravity, Thought is a permanent, unchanging principle of our experience. It is constant. Gravity keeps every object on the surface of the earth. Thought provides every aspect of my experience.
And this, again, allows me to live my life without having to continually test it out or to see what it applies to and what it doesn’t. I know it’s all Thought. All of it. So when I am stressed or bothered or thinking I don’t have any options, I can notice that I’m stuck momentarily in my thoughts, nothing else.
I return to the principle behind my experience and I’m back in business, living my life.
3. I have innate psychological well-being
The principle of our well-being is like the IT support manager of an organisation.
She is totally ignored when everything is going smoothly to the point that no one knows her name or at best calls her by the name of the previous IT manager who left three years ago.
Then something seems to go wrong. Everyone starts panicking because they realise without email and the internet and the customer details they are completely stuffed.
There is shouting. There is the pulling out of wires. There is the pressing of control/alt/delete hundreds of times until the buttons fall off the key board. There is the picking up the computer and shaking it.
The boss is on the phone questioning the ability of the IT manager. Someone in a Guns and Roses t-shirt from the IT team is despatched from the dark underbelly of the building. He turns something off, turns it on again. All fine. Everyone gets back on with their work. No one apologises for doubting the infallibility of the system or the expertise of the IT people. The IT person disappears downstairs again to be ignored until the next apparent crisis.
This is like our innate well-being. Twenty four hours a day seven days a week it is looking after the system. Then all of a sudden we doubt it. We start questioning it. In the questioning it looks like it is not actually the most expert, reliable, world class system that has previously kept everything working smoothly.
It might seem that there is something wrong with us, that our innate mental well-being has left us or isn’t working. One insight later, we realise that everything is OK. That well-being is in fact, like gravity, a principle after all. And we move on so quickly with our lives and with all the great things that this well-being enables us to do that we might even forget to apologise for doubting it.
Even when we are panicking about it not being there, it is still there. Constantly and permanently providing us with what we need. Consistently offering the potential to see something differently when we are stuck.
In summary then:
If we are alive, it means Gravity is operational.
If we are alive, it means Intelligence is showing up in the world through us.
If we are alive, it means we are experiencing Thought.
If we are alive, it means we have innate wellbeing.
Nothing to test or question or worry about.
Just the miracle of a life to enjoy.