Perceptions create our version of reality

The root cause of all illnesses might as well be placed in the mind since that’s where our perceptions form which shape our world and give meaning to life. In a very real sense though our mind plays a major role in our health and what we consider suffering.

This idea of our mental perceptions ultimately causing human suffering isn’t based on “it’s all in your head” mindset that medical doctors may adopt to issues they can’t relate. Our values and perceptions indeed hold the key to the world we create for ourselves. They are the backdrop on which we paint our life’s picture. Distorted perceptions that are not based in reality, as is often the case, result in a misconstrued image of people, events, and circumstances in our lives.

Examining our values

Look around the value system our modernized society is built upon and you get a clue on what might cause a mangled picture of our world to bring so much human suffering. Everything seems to be driven by commercialization – from food, entertainment, education to justice, healthcare, and politics.

To maintain status quo, we have created cultural instruments to push our people to be constantly productive. We’ve used religious and sociopolitical models to instill fear, guilt, and shame and keep folks in a viscous circle. No wonder we’re seeing ever increasing number of mental problems, divorces, and suicides.

We have been trained to impulsively accept anything that appeals to our senses and reject which doesn’t. There’s an instantly gratifying solution readily available in the market for each of our problems – from boredom to hunger to lust. Marriage isn’t working, get a divorce! Feeling tired, get a caffeine shot! Got sick, here’s a pill!

Dealing with emotional turmoil

The fundamental issue though is that we are never taught how to deal with our emotions. In fact, in the guise of freedom of choice, we are groomed to steer clear of unpleasant feelings. With so many solutions at our disposal, we no longer need to settle for less.

The problem with this approach is that we develop an emotional dependency on external objects. And do these external things really solve our problems in the long run? We may be able to distract ourselves by engaging in extraneous stimuli be it food, entertainment, alcohol, or sex, but subconsciously we keep our emotions simmering.

These unresolved emotions that distort our picture of life can cause us to react in adverse ways to unfamiliar situations. You are more likely to yell at your spouse or child if you’ve had a bad day at work, for example, if you couldn’t resolve it or leave it behind.

More importantly though, experiences that haven’t found a closure can put your body in stress mode. With stress-hormones like cortisol circulating in your bloodstream, you’re more likely to be edgy with decreased emotional tolerance since your stress-baseline is already elevated.

Spiritual impoverishment

Perhaps the root cause of our emotional troubles and why we succumb to the demands of society is the spiritual deprivation we all are subject to. Spirituality is the state of being able to perceive reality for what it is – without a twisted image superimposed by our perceptions. It’s about removing the disconnect we develop between our conscious and subconscious mindscapes so we can better handle poor relationships, adverse events, and trialing situations.

Just like our bodies, our mind when spiritually impoverished, develops toxicity. And the disconnect between our conscious and subconscious minds gives us the distorted picture of the world around us. This warped image along with social pressure makes us emotionally vulnerable pushing us toward both psychological and physiological suffering.