When a person is experiencing mental or emotional anguish or strife, other people often try to console them by saying: “It’s all in the mind.” Of course, this is fundamentally true, but the statement is usually said in such a way that infers that the problem is not important for it is only in the mind. It implies that anything which has its source in the mind is inconsequential and perhaps a little unreal. If we forget, or if we close our eyes to an object it does not cease to exist; it is still there. Similarly, subconscious disturbances, childhood impressions, etc. do not disappear when a person is not aware of them. They remain in the mind and can cause havoc in an individual’s daily life. The parts of the subconscious mind that one is not aware of at present are every bit as real as internal or external things of which we are aware. So to console a person with mental conflict or physical ailments that it is only in the mind (and therefore not worth worrying about) is merely evading the most important issue at hand. It is these seemingly unreal inner mental problems, conscious and subconscious, that are the internal objects that cause unhappiness in the outer interaction with the world. We want to make this point clear.
Because some people don’t fully accept that the mind is the real reason behind their dissatisfaction, and perhaps that the contents of the mind are somehow imaginary, they usually attempt to combat unhappiness by striving to alter their outer interaction with life and other people. Although this may help, it merely treats the symptoms and not the cause. Adapting to the external environment is important, no doubt, but it must be supplemented by a more basic and lasting remedy. That is, it is necessary to explore and clean out the negative contents of the mind. The method that we will discuss in this topic is meditational practices.