Thirty years ago, I met a man named Sydney Banks and became the co-founder of a new paradigm in psychology that has since quietly spread throughout the world. Up to now this approach, as life-changing as it has been, has been an extremely well-kept secret. In this new book, Michael Neill brings the principles behind this field into the mainstream so that people can learn to take advantage of this radical new understanding in their own lives. His target audience: anybody, no matter what their walk in life and no matter how happy or troubled they are right now. It’s simply a ‘good-for-what-ails-you’ book in terms of internal well-being and effective performance.
Everyone feels limited and constricted by negative feeling states more than they would like to be. We all visit, and at times seem to live in, unwanted feelings of stress and distress that cast the die regarding our enjoyment of life, our performance on the job, and the quality of our relationships. Any good sales manager will tell you that the number one obstacle to sales performance is an ongoing feeling of discouragement; any experienced therapist will point out that feelings of hopelessness sap people’s energy, undermine their judgment, and lead to the downward spiral of depression. It should resonate as self-evident that chronic negative feeling states restrict the human potential.
But the opposite is also true. Everyone experiences times of mental clarity and well-being, even moments of out and out genius. Even in the extremes of mental illness, every single patient has moments of ‘normalcy’ independent of the severity of their disorder. At a more personal level, we have all come up with inspirations and solutions that seem to have shown up out of nowhere to save the day. At times, our children’s wisdom goes way beyond their level of education and life experience. And we consistently see high levels of well-being, grace, and hopefulness emerge in times of crisis such as floods and earthquakes, and even with people informed of terminal illnesses. So it should be equally obvious that the human potential for life enjoyment, mental clarity, creativity, and relationship satisfaction is considerably higher than we are manifesting in our everyday lives. What that potential is, where it comes from, and how to tap into it are the questions Michael Neill answers in this book.
The current thinking offers a laundry list of explanations for why people feel and behave the way they do, ranging from genetics and family of origin conditioning to childhood trauma, challenging life circumstances, and even the weather. Each of these explanations is plagued by exceptions and anomalies, and, perhaps more importantly, none of them significantly help people to improve their habitual personal feeling state, or lead to consistent improvements in behavior.
By way of contrast, the principles Michael presents in this book provide an explanation of the human experience and feeling states that is comprehensive, has no exceptions, and is extremely useful to nearly everyone who learns about them. You won’t find the principles he teaches here anywhere else in psychology, the media, or the self-help world. In fact, the only people who are sharing the understanding that he presents here got it from the same source. It is simply a new and enlightened understanding of where human experience comes from and how it can be changed for the better without any techniques, strategies, or prescribed behaviors.
This alone would make this book worth reading, no matter how it was expressed, but fortunately Michael is a very gifted writer. He writes in a very conversational, personable tone, as if you were sitting in his living room and listening to him share some ideas and stories. And I encourage you to read this book in that way. Don’t try too hard to understand everything first time around. Listen to his message the way you might listen to a piece of music, enjoying the theme and letting it wash over you.
I know first-hand that anybody who grasps the teachings in this book will experience an immediate improvement in their level of well-being, no matter how well they’re feeling at present. They will perform better in their lives and appreciate the fruits of their labor more than they ever have before.
No matter where you’re starting out, all boats rise with the tide, and a deeper understanding of the principles in this book will improve your life across the board. You will think with more clarity, be more resilient (get over yourself faster when you’re troubled), be significantly more creative, and be immune from burnout on a go forward basis.
I realize that these claims might seem like hyperbole, but in over 30 years of teaching what Michael is sharing here, I have seen these results so consistently that I am no longer surprised or even impressed. In short, this book is the real deal.
George Pransky, Ph.D.
La Conner, Washington