MENTAL CONSTRUCTS, MIND MADE-UPS, AND REALITY
THE EFFECTS OF NOT REALIZING THEY ARE NOT REAL
tba, due to be edited
This is major, major, major, major. Do not dismiss it as some ethereal concept, for it is the cause of all suffering. You absolutely, absolutely, absolutely must learn and understand this!
"Only a fool will believe that something strictly made up in the mind is real. Whoever does not learn that will remain a fool, scared of dark things in the night of our mind, things that do not exist. And, as fools, we will spend enormous amounts of energy for no good result and blow our happiness in fighting our made-up ghosts of our minds.
I suggest that you deal with this, asap, that you learn what it takes in order to no longer be fooled.
Cultural wisdom, which we've never really operated from, but might best:
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
Even the children were being taught this, but it seems adults don't fully believe it...
SOLELY IN THE MIND, NOT IN EXISTENCE IN REALITY
A mental construct is something solely born and existing only in the mind. It is mentally constructed from nothing. It is only conceptual, not real.
Examples are things that do not reflect what actually exists in the world "out there":
"Abstract Concepts" (Justice, fairness - where we convert them to "truth")
"Abstract images (i.e. don't correspond to what is concrete, merely a representation: scales represent justice.) - The idea of this is that there is not direct sense or experience of reality present before us. There is instead an interpretation or mental representation of it.
A view, a way of viewing, a viewpoint, or an association. For instance, one can have the concept that happiness will be caused by a new car, so that happiness is represented as being associated with a new car. But that is only a view point, and one that has little substance or truth to it.
A belief system -
I could believe that what I think is really important, but it ain't necessarily so.
An untrained person will:
1. have a view of "self" as some fixed thing, which also includes things it falsely identifies as "self" and thusthe person will be involved in defending what is not really oneself - and wasting alot of energy.
2. think their perception is reality, rather than knowing that it is simply an interpretation and a mental approximation...
3. Be blind to their lenses distorting reality or to what we don't see that is seeable (screen out or simply are not aware of)
4. Create (make-up) conditions for being unhappy or for suffering or for happiness - and then consider those to be true and fixed/permanent! The person fails to see that if he/she made it up in the first place through using his/her mind, he/she can alter it just by using the mind.
If something causes suffering, beyond an initial instinctual impulse, we can know that it is untrue, since all things are actually neutral in the physical world.
If we know that suffering is caused by something untrue, then when we see the suffering, we will know that it is untrue, and that we can then make up something new that is true or potentially true. If we make something up and it causes suffering, dont' we have the ability to make up something new?
If we speaking or act with a corrupted perspective, we are likely to suffer. (Our perspective is our map of the world. And it is what dictates which route we take.)
We make up that things have certain meanings and then also that we shall suffer from that meaning, whereas those things are actually simply neutral phenomena.
If something is not directly observable nor provable, but we somehow think of it as true, there is something wrong with our thinking.
We need to, as proven over and over, use the scientific method to decide what is true and what is not true. Remember also that "could be true" ("might be true") is different than that something being provably true. Yes, you could believe in some psychic phenomena or a religious belief that you hold dear, but you cannot say that it is actually true. On the other hand, unless there is something that is exactly opposite that is true, another person could not prove that your belief was false. Then it would be neither provably true or false - and if it does you no harm to belief that thing, then so be it - but I would consider that there might be consequences of believing something is true if it isn't.
As a part of your make up, i
If you believe that you are a failure, implying that that is some implicit part of you rather than a transient behavior, then you are asserting something that does not meet the test of validity. It is simply a non-truth, something you cannot prove - and therefore it is stupid to think it is (and if you're stupid that definitely says you are a failure... just teasing...I know how you feel is serious, but I want you to stop believing that which causes you to have the bad feeling for no legitimate purpose).
Are you unworthy? There is no legitimate answer to that, if you mean some permanent, innate quality of you that is unchangeable and a part of your being. Another way of looking at this is to say that the whole concept of worthiness is pure bullbleep, having no reality in the real world and therefore not in existence in the real world.
What is real is that you are able to feed yourself or not able to feed yourself. If you don't do the latter, it means you starve to death. But if you are able to somehow be able to get food to eat that is all that matters. No one can say, legitimately, that you are not worthy to live or eat or whatever. The world is black and white - you either "is or you ain't", and that's all.
However, we get caught up in some unrealistic expectations and evaluations: "I should never fail" or "I'm not worthy because I haven't met this expectation [of myself, of my parent, of ...). The expectation is just a mental construct and not something is real or provable - just something one is making up as a game in one's mind, existing nowhere outside of the mindl.
And it is a mental construct to say "I'll be unhappy if the expectation is not met because..". There is no real reason to be unhappy. You made that up, and then you suffered the consequences of feeling unhappy. But someone else could have been happy, or at least not suffering, about the same thing. Who has a lock on the truth?
If one do not have a realistic view of how the world works, one will not be able to represent reality accurately. A "highly sane" person will ask "does this represent reality?" and then find out if it does and then add it to his/her view of the world. In other words,the person is trying to determine if this is reality and actually true?
Does disapproval itself harm me? Why do I believe it harms me, if there is evidence that it doesn't harm others? Doesn't that mean that I am making something up, interpreting something as being real that is not real?
WHY DO WE MAKE UP SUCH THINGS?
We make up things in our minds in an attempt to protect ourselves or do better in life. The brain has evolved to do this - to gather all possibly relevant information it can use to help us survive in the dangerous world of the caveman. (Read Evolution.) At first, they are made up in order to do better "out there" in the real, physical world, where reality exists. ["Reality" here is in the world of what actually exists physically. You have an "internal reality" which cannot be disputed - it is what you are feeling physically as a result of the chemicals and sensations that come from your thought, whether consciously or not, Those physical sensations are happening in the physical world, in your body - that is real. What is not "real" is the idea that the cause was an event in the physical world. My thoughts are actual electrochemical events, it is just that the content of my thoughts, of my representation of the world and the meaning of things is not at all real, though they do cause the bad feelings. This is the model that must be accepted for people to think very sanely, that it is the thoughts that cause the emotions and the behavior, not the events or some believed rationale about what is occurring. (Remember that Byron Katie stopped, forever, her years of depression simply by learning to ask "Is it true? Is it provably true. Read The Truth Test.)
If I think there is a monster in the closet, then the monster exists only in my head. [And the purpose of that action is to protect my physical existence, i.e. survival or non-damage to my body.] If the thought comes up and it is a possibility that it is identifying something that could create real harm to my body, then I need to check it out. In checking it out, I go from my mental world into the real world, from the unquestioned, non-thinking primitive brain over to the thinking brain.
At some point, people tend to hold the mental made-up in their mind as if it is a true representation of what is real - i.e. as if it is something that will hurt us. They continue the non-thinking that we make our own selves the victim of, as covered indepth in the article, and the book, The Believing Brain.
So, we have to question that belief (that it will hurt us), simply by asking does this have an actual effect on my survival or harm to my physical body/mind?
For instance, as a child we connected, appropriately actually, the idea that we needed to be loved (cared about) in order to be fed because we were powerless to do so and were therefore dependent on the caretakers (and their loving us enough to feed us).
But surely there is no actual harm occurring if someone doesn't approve of us or even rejects us. Right?
But now many, many, many people are still stuck in this idea to some extent.
THE TRUE INDICATOR OF STUCKNESS IN A NON-TRUE BELIEF
How can one tell if somebody is stuck in believing a nontrue belief?
By the level of reaction (fear, discomfort) to the supposed threat. If the reaction is strong, the threat is somehow related in the mind vaguely to a threat to survival or for bodily harm.
But, in truth, having a stranger (or even a friend) disapprove of you does not cause you to not be fed, as you are entirely able to feed yourself as an adult. You are no longer dependent or powerless. You might not prefer the disapproval, but it is certainly no big threat. It is truly "no big thing."
And until one learns this, one will create lots of believed big threats that are in truth "small stuff" of no, minimum, or slight true impact in the real world. One must learn this basic skill or be stuck forever in the equivalent of believing there are ghosts in the closet (threats that aren't real) - and then suffering, foolishly and unnecessarily. Read Threats And "Fear" - Differentiating As To What Is A Real Threat, And What Isn't! A mature person who has life in perspective and has decided to be a responsible adult even recognizes that undesired outcomes are not real threats, and that they are just "not preferred" - and just a part of the package of life. Life is still ok and we'll still do fine even if there are undesired outcomes - only child thinking might say otherwise. (Read: This Is What You're Given In Life. Will You Accept The Whole Package?, which is a part of one of the happiness requirements, namely Accepting Reality.)
Byron Katie suddenly was jostled out of a life of depression when she suddenly stumbled on the concept that her thoughts might not really be real, when she started asking the question "Is this true?" and now she also adds, presumably for after we thoughtlessly believe and answer it that it is true, "Is this absolutely true?" And the latter, all of a sudden, we may realize: well, no, it isn't absolutely true, which, I would logically conclude would mean that it can't be true if it is only partially true or has some untrueness in it.
Simple, but brilliant!
You should adopt the practice of always screening the unthoughtout thoughts of the mechanical mind by using The Truth Test - so that you can disregard that which is untrue and doesn't really exist in fact.