Listen to Michael Neill read this Introduction from the new audiobook edition of The Inside-Out Revolution, in stores on June 30th!
What if everything you’d ever learned about how reality worked was just wrong?
In 2007, I thought I was at the top of my game. My coaching practice was thriving, I was well respected in my particular field of applied psychology, my first book had been a bestseller, and my second book was just about to come out in America. My wife, Nina, and I were in our twentieth year together and our three kids were everything we could have hoped for and more.
About the only difficulty I had in my life was that Nina and I were in the middle of an ongoing debate about whether or not we should move to a new house. It was certainly what might be called a ‘high-quality problem,’ but that didn’t stop me from complaining about it to anyone who would listen.
A friend of mine grew tired of my whining and sent me a copy of The Relationship Handbook by Dr. George Pransky, which I fully intended to ignore completely. I’m not a fan of relationship books at the best of times, as I find they’re generally filled with wonderful advice which works great if you happen to be the author. But I opened the book to read the first chapter and became fascinated by Dr. Pransky’s descriptions of ‘high mood therapy’ and ‘maintenance-free relationships.’
By the end of the day I’d read the whole book and resolved to be more open-minded the next time someone suggested I read something that might be good for me.
I thought no more about it until my friend asked how things were going with Nina.
I said, ‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, how are you getting on?’
‘Great. Why do you ask?’
It took him a half-dozen more questions before I remembered that less than a week earlier we’d been in the thick of one of the worst arguments we’d had in years. At that moment, I felt a cold shiver up the back of my spine. Something in that book had led to amnesia about the biggest problem I’d thought I had. To my surprise, even after I remembered it, I couldn’t get worked up about it anymore. Oddly, it seemed to stop being a big problem for Nina as well, without our even talking about it. The house situation wound up resolving itself in due course, and I was hooked. I needed to learn more.
Curiouser and Curiouser
When I went online to do some research about the basis for the book, I was amazed to find scattered artifacts of a field of psychology that was new to me. It had begun appearing in the literature in the late 1970s under an eclectic set of names, ranging from ‘Psychology of Mind’ to ‘Health Realization’ to ‘The Three Principles.’ Richard Carlson, author of the bestselling Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series, had been by far its most famous practitioner, but as far as I could tell he’d drifted away from the community around the time he’d started to become successful.
As I looked into it more deeply, I discovered that the primary influence behind the field was a Scottish welder named Syd Banks, who had had an enlightenment experience and been transformed from an uneducated worker in a Canadian pulp mill into a world-renowned guru and teacher. Everyone I spoke with in the field had a story about how meeting Syd or reading his books had been a transformative moment in their life, and I grew more and more intrigued by the fact that despite nearly 20 years of studying psychology and personal development, I’d never heard of him or the fields he’d inspired.
To make matters even more confusing, each person I spoke with confided that there was no ‘technique’ behind their transformation – you simply listened to Syd or one of the people trained in his work speak about three simple principles, and at some point a transformation happened and your life was never the same again.
The list of claims made by practitioners in the field beggared belief. Former gang members became positive role models within their communities. Alcoholics kicked their addiction without years of struggle or therapy. Two housing projects with the highest murder rates in America became crime free within three years of the residents being exposed to these principles.
I spoke with a CEO who had taken his company from millions to billions of dollars in revenue by teaching the inside-out understanding to his workforce and letting the numbers take care of themselves. And unlike the ‘experts’ in most other fields of psychology I’d come across, nearly everyone I met with was happily married, had good relationships with their children, and was still inspired by their work after more than 30 years in the field.
I decided that I needed to abandon objectivity and flew out to a small town near the Canadian border to explore this approach for myself.
What I experienced there turned my life inside out, my career upside-down, and changed the way I saw the world.
And it all came about not through a special technique or magic pill, but simply through participating in a very particular kind of conversation. That conversation is now the basis of all the work I do with my clients, and it’s the conversation that you and I will be having together over the course of this book.
A Preview of Coming Attractions
During our time together, I’ll be sharing a new understanding that turns most of psychology on its head. By recognizing three fundamental principles at play behind every human experience, it becomes possible to tap into a deeper intelligence behind life that informs our mental health, supplies us with ongoing wisdom and guidance, and allows us to unleash incredible creative power into the world. We’ll look at making a return to ‘original grace,’ and explore how the inside-out understanding allows us to handle life’s challenges with ease and power, play the game of life full out and fearless, and go beyond empowerment to find our place in the larger unfolding of the world.
Since stumbling across this revolutionary new understanding in my own life, I’ve introduced it to thousands of people around the world and personally coached hundreds to shift their foundations, learn how to thrive, and live from the inside out. My clients and students have made positive and sometimes dramatic changes in their relationships, finances, mental and physical health, and well-being. They’ve become happier, more secure in themselves, and more compassionate with others.
But many of them have also come face to face with challenging circumstances. Some of them have lost their jobs, gone bankrupt, become ill, and dealt with family crises that bring tears to my eyes just thinking about them. Almost without fail, they’ve found deep reserves of resilience and creativity that have allowed them to handle these difficult circumstances with a level of ease and grace they would previously never have imagined possible.
If you were to talk with them, you’d find them to be as different from one another as people can be – male and female, young and old, rich and poor. But from the time they had the inside-out understanding for themselves, chances are you’d notice two things they all had in common: a twinkle in their eye and a lovely feeling in their presence.
Some people describe this transformative shift as moving from riding a roller coaster to floating in a river; others as the gift of meeting themselves for the first time. ‘It’s as if I’ve been plugged back into the mains,’ one client said to me. By far the most common description is some variation on the feeling of coming home after a long time away. While your experience will be unique to you, the awakening of your inner spark and a feeling of reconnection with the energy of life are part of the promise and purpose of our time together.
While the nature of a book is that I’ll be doing most of the talking, your job is equally important – to listen with an open mind, do your best to look in the direction I’m pointing, and above all to stay in the conversation to the very end. In fact, the only way I know for someone not to get something of value from this conversation is to drop out of it before they’ve seen what there is to see on the other side of the rainbow.
There are no techniques anywhere in this book – there’s nothing for you to learn, remember, practice, or do. I’m simply going to point us toward some fundamental truths about life and we’ll see what we can see. Sometimes it may feel as though we’re getting nowhere, or even going backward. Other times new insights will be coming through you so quickly that you may struggle to keep up.
But if you keep reading with an open mind and a hopeful heart, I promise you that your life will not only change for the better, it will also begin to impact the lives of those around you in ways that you can only now imagine.
Here’s a letter I received from a young woman who participated in my Living from the Inside Out online program at a time when her life circumstances couldn’t have been much worse:
‘When I first learned about the principles behind the inside-out understanding, I was looking into ways of how I could go about ending my life. Within just a few short days, through your teaching, I had gained so much clarity and peace. Inspiration came to me and where I thought that I would never experience feelings of love ever again, my whole being became love, and vibrant.
I find myself living in a state of tranquility, despite some quite difficult circumstances. I face arguments with gentleness and give my replies directly from my inner sense of well-being. Because I am no longer trapped in my own thinking, I can look inside other people and see how they’re feeling. It’s almost as if this has opened up some kind of sixth sense. I see the world with renewed sight, not all day every day, but almost. And best of all, these simple ideas have allowed me to tap into who I really am, so that no matter what happens around me, I always have that security and sense of freedom. It may waver at times but it always comes back. And I am a person who no longer looks into ways of how I can end my life.’
What allowed her to experience that kind of clarity, peace, and freedom in the middle of her worst nightmare is what we’ll be exploring together in this book.
Are you ready to begin?