Challenges to Overcome—Unexamined Lives, Living an Image, and the Mind-Made World
Life has good things and problems. Problems can be made worse by how one mentally responds to them. This is often endless or repetitive cycles of mental reactions, replaying the same theme long after a specific incident is gone. The mental and subsequent physiological responses can be called “mind-made suffering”. This likely is the result of ignorance that these cycles exist so that when the skills are developed to detect, understand and modulate these cycles, one can have skillful actions rather than unskillful reactions and can reduce or even end these cycles. Examination of one’s life can be both stimulating and challenging as it may involve considering a number of approaches to living that are determined, to some extent, by one’s community and also by living a life of images or expectations often from societal pressure and marketing. The knowledge we each have ranges from learned knowledge as a child, to intellectual knowledge through education and to experiential knowledge from living. This chapter includes the first “Mind-Body” exercise that demonstrates that our body’s biochemistry and physiology react to thoughts as if they are actually happening. With mindfulness skills, this link between thoughts, sensations, and action can be purposely modified in that critical space between a thought and an action/reaction.