The PAGL Principle, formally called the Principle of Existential Validation, is a principle that can guide and protect us when we’re making choices or decisions in our lives. The principle states: If there is PAGL (Peace, Assurance, Gratitude, Love) around a choice we are considering, we can say yes and proceed with assurance that we are going in the right direction. If there really is PAGL present in the choice, everything will turn out perfectly. In other words, the PAGL Principle will validate itself in our lives. Conversely, if PAGL is not present, it may not be a good idea to proceed, or we may need more information before making this choice. PAGL is the criterion by which we make choices. Hence we say, “Do not make a move without PAGL!”

The principle can be relied upon to lead us in the direction of what is good, beneficial, health-promoting, and happifying moment by moment. In addition, it will lead us away from what is harmful and what can create problems for us. It is perhaps one of the most important principles ever uncovered. When applied on a regular basis, it can transform our lives and the world. The purpose of this web site is to make this principle, along with other healing ideas from Metapsychiatry, available to anyone who is interested.

The Power of PAGL

Ruth Robins

This paper, on the issue of Protection, was presented at the New York City PAGL Associates meeting on April 3, 2005.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk about some of Metapsychiatry’s core ideas on a weekly cable television program called The Listening Place, with its host, Nancy Rosanoff. Later, a Metapsychiatry group in Old Lyme watched the first program together. Afterwards, a student remarked that what had impressed her most was to hear me say that the first time I came to know PAGL (an acronym for Peace, Assurance, Gratitude, and Love) was in 1978...some 27 years ago. Although she recognized that it had always been one of the cornerstones of my life and teaching, it meant a great deal to her to know that it still was, after so many years. The passage of time has only deepened my appreciation for the PAGL Principle which guides me daily in the right direction. It is a powerful and very helpful concept. In this essay, I emphasize the power and validity of this principle.

Midlife Crisis
The first time I came to know PAGL was in the midst of a mid-life crisis. My marriage had ended, our home had been sold, I had no job, no money, and had two children to care for. Anxious, afraid, depressed, and seeing no way out, the choices seemed either to be end my life or turn to God. As I had two beloved daughters, I entertained the suicidal thought only fleetingly. I then admitted that I couldn’t solve the problem,and, in desperation, asked God for help.

It took many days of continual prayer before my world was created anew, but when God finally came, it was not like what my Christian upbringing had envisioned. Instead, I was overwhelmed by a sense of peace, assurance, gratitude and love so powerful that I knew without any doubt that this was God. A voiceless voice spoke: “You are not to want anything. Everything everywhere is already all right”. Thus assured that this was so, I let go of wanting all that I had wanted. Embraced in PAGL--an acronym I had not yet heard--I was filled with energy and lifted up in a joyous state of consciousness, with a sense of freedom and harmony I had never known before.

Transformed by that experience and resurrected into a new life, I understood that when I was in a state of deep peace I could hear the divine voice. It worked just as it is written in the Book of Isaiah: “And thine ears shall hear a voice behind thee, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right, and when ye turn to the left’” (Is. 30:21). Well-meaning friends urged me to look for a place to live, but I was learning a whole new way of being, namely, to wait for God to bring the right ideas to me. And so I came to rely on PAGL every day. And everything that was needed came to me: a perfect new home, the perfect work situation, a perfect income. It was truly amazing. I could never have imagined how perfect life could be until I learned to follow God’s ideas. As Dr. Hora often said, “God’s ideas are constantly flooding the universe but there is very little receptivity to them. Hence, blessings seem to be scarce”.

My Introduction to Metapsychiatry
One month later, I was introduced to Dialogues in Metapsychiatry, wherein I came across the acronym “PAGL.” Amazed at how perfectly it described my spiritual awakening, I called Dr. Hora for an appointment. Lest anyone misunderstand, I hasten to say that PAGL is not an all-at-once, once-and-for-all event. It is something that grows in us as we grow more interested in it. The more interested we are, the more we realize that this state of consciousness is what protects us. Inseparable from God, we are always under the protection of All-Seeing, All-Knowing Mind. But what seems to make all the difference is the degree to which we are aware of this.

We would like to become so aware of PAGL that we know when it is not present; this is a warning to pay attention and to wake up, as we could be in danger. Recently, a scientist was quoted in a highly respected scientific journal: “Everybody knows,” he said, “that there is no security and nothing to rely on.” To which I say, while it may be true that there is nothing in the world that can keep us safe, there is something much better: a divine principle, the PAGL Principle.

The PAGL Principle
One often hears the question, “How can I know for certain that the guidance I am receiving is from God?” I know of no clearer way to discern whether or not an idea is coming from God than the PAGL Principle. This is where our own personal stories come in. They are contemporary gifts of the spirit, our modern-day examples of how PAGL can keep us safe.

The following story was told by a student in our Old Lyme PAGL group: A few years ago, she called the airline to make a reservation for a flight to Switzerland, her homeland, a trip she made every summer to visit her grown children. This time, however, she was unable to complete the call. There was no PAGL around it. Every day she picked up the phone, and every day she hung it up. Still no PAGL. She continued to call from time to time for the next two months before she finally stopped. There was just no PAGL around it. She didn’t have to understand. She relied solely on PAGL.

The plane on which she had tried to book her flight went down over Nova Scotia. But this is not the end of the story. It happens that on this flight were the parents of one of my daughter’s closest friends, also on their way to an annual vacation. In the weeks leading up to the flight, the wife had told her children and grandchildren of her anxiety about making the trip. Her husband had sought to dispel her fears, reminding her of the good times they had always had. Ignoring the messages she was receiving, she had followed his wishes.

These two stories demonstrate the value of knowing the PAGL Principle. The presence of uneasiness or anxiety is as important to pay attention to as the presence of PAGL. Both of these messages are gifts our bodies give us that help us to live more safely and securely in the world.

On the TV program Frontline, there was an interview with the gatekeeper at the Portland, ME, airport through whose gate passed two of the terrorists who crashed the planes into the World Trade Center on 9/11. The gatekeeper said he had intuited that something was wrong, and he described looking into the eyes of the most deadly killer he had ever seen, which he later recognized to have been Mohammed Atta’s. But, he said, he hadn’t trusted his intuition and had rationalized that impression away. He had told himself that these were just two Arabs and that thousands had passed through this gate without incident. If he had known about PAGL and relied on the message he was receiving, he could have responded differently. This story is a reminder that the real “gatekeeper” is the truth.

Many stories have emerged from the 2004 tsunami event that seem to indicate the value of the presence or absence of PAGL: the zookeeper who noticed the animals’ behavior, released them, and followed them to higher ground; the fishermen who observed the dolphins heading farther out to sea and followed them to safety; the entire village led to safety by the elder who knew the ancient story of the water’s receding before the big wave; the poignant story of the younger of two teenage sisters, who told the older one to stay calm and not to panic—she survived, while the older one, who panicked, did not.

The question arises: “What interferes with our ability to protect ourselves, others, nd even nature?” Some answers are: 1) our not having yet realized the power of the PAGL Principle; 2) the unwillingness to give up our wants or to face our fears; 3) the tendency to ignore the messages our bodies, feelings, and minds give us; 4) the tendency to deny, doubt, and rationalize our problems; 5) pretending that everything is all right when we know it is not. Some good questions to ask ourselves are, “What do I deceive myself about?” and “What secrets do I keep hidden?”

Our personal stories need to be told and retold, and I am grateful for this opportunity to tell mine. Telling our stories helps us come to know that there is a way to be protected from the dangers of the world. A Native American saying is, “If we lose our legends, we die.” The PAGL Principle may not yet have reached legendary status, but is worthy of it. As the idea has continued to grow in me, over the course of many years, that PAGL is my real self, my essential nature, I have become more peaceful, assured, grateful, and loving. PAGL is what I am, what we all are. PAGL is that quality of consciousness that keeps us safe. Protection, therefore, is our birthright.