Being Mentally Healthy – 15. Why Mental Illness Is So Common

Mental illness is ubiquitous because people gullibly believe the foolery that their nattermind promotes. American political scientist Robert Jervis: “Once you have a belief, it influences how you perceive all other relevant information.”

Monkey-mind is the wellspring of mental illness. Foremost, nattermind brings you fear – an imaginative projection of a future based upon failures and pains in the past. Without a sense of jeopardy, you’d have no fear.

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You may be wondering why nattermind even exists. Why aren’t we naturally enlightened, living contentedly with full awareness? The answer lies in what constitutes entertainment and sense of accomplishment.

Living is a continuing exercise in desire fulfillment. Those desires which yield a sense of satisfaction are the ones that require some skill to achieve.

The tune that skill dances to is chance. Without sense of loss there would be no sense of gain. English writer Jeanette Winterson: “There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value.”

Nobody plays poker without betting something. The jeopardy of loss is essential to making the experience engaging.

If there were no consequences to actions, life would be a video game that you would quickly tire of. Instead, you feel invested with a gambler’s stake: the prospect of winning is thrilling, whatever “winning” means. And losing… well, you know what that feels like.

Emotion is the medium of jeopardy, with hope and fear the compass points. Fear invokes jeopardy. Hope keeps you going despite trepidation.

Winning may be exciting, but your mind is more concerned about losing. The mind has a built-in bias against loss. For instance, people often value their own personal possessions over new items of better quality. Monkey-mind imposes an emotional aura about ownership.

The poles of behavior are attraction and avoidance, respectively driven by want and fear. Fear is the most pungent primal emotion. Fear is of an imagined future, forged by the past.

You feel jeopardy because you want something that appears at the risk of loss. Jeopardy stems from attachment and is fostered by fear.

The ultimate loss is of one’s life. People live in fear of death. The idea of mortality is the originating generator of jeopardy.

The urge to survive is most keenly felt when life seems most at risk, when mortality becomes concrete. On the contrary, chronic suffering can wear you down to the point that you want to give up, having had enough. The value one puts on life is a matter of perspective and prospect.

It is not that death gives life its meaning. It is instead that a sense of jeopardy underscores the preciousness of joy.

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Pain is physical discomfort. By contrast, stress and suffering are the fruits of nattermind – what is harvested by the imaginings which sprout worry and fear.

Therein lies the deepest irony. Nattermind sows the seeds of its own subjugation. If your monkey-mind did not prey on you, you would have no incentive to cure yourself of inner torment.

Those in the Collective do not know the nature of reality, and so do not know how to enlighten themselves. You cannot solve the maze of ignorance without knowing the map.

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Next, a practical lesson on attaining transcendence. This is a key skill in becoming mentally healthy, which is where this discourse concludes.