Outgrowing the problems created in the way we think begins with realizing the need to not only understand the nature of these invisible building blocks known as our thoughts, but to be able to peer into the structure of the invisible world these same thoughts create.
Since most of us know very little about the machinations of our own hidden mental realm, we're mostly unaware of how its unseen conclusions keep us serving expectations that can never be fulfilled. Which further explains why our lives are spent -- not in naturally outgrowing our problems -- but in groveling before them.
Thoughts, regardless of how they may be elaborately grouped together, are still individual elements. Even when our mental attention is completely captivated by what appears to be a horde of horrible things about to run us over, that mindless mob in our mind's eye is still just one thought calling itself many miseries.
When individual thoughts of a similar nature are collected together into groups, this collection of single thoughts can convey a broader reflection that we call an idea. All of our unhappiness lies hidden in our ideas about who we are and how life should treat us. Each of these ideas, as they either enter into, or are created within the mind, are then sorted into appropriately conforming groups which help the mind to form concepts. These concepts, our mental pictures, actually have no reality other than to the level of consciousness that creates them.
The inner glue -- the energies that meld these concepts together and that blend their often diverse, individual meanings into a more holistic one -- comes from our emotional center. It's this emotional quality that gives these mental constructs their vivid coloring and vitality, which seems to endow these psychological pictures with a life of their own.
These marvelous but largely mechanical workings of the mind present no problems in and of themselves. In fact, if our mind were to just play its assigned role, all would be well for us. Order and its attending freedom -- which is the heart of intelligence -- would prevail. But it doesn't, and we're obviously not well. What has happened?
Somehow (and it's really of little or no difference as to when or why), the mind began to look upon its own subjective constructs of thought -- which are merely mental representations of reality -- as being the actual reality they only serve to represent. From being a wondrous creation, the mind began to think of itself as the creator. It moved from being an expression of words into believing that it was the speaker, and it fell in love with the sound of its own voice!
While you and I may not stand beneath a photo of a waterfall to get cool and wet, we do try to stand on self-created images, and no image is permanent or real. Our pain in life is fashioned for us from uninvestigated beliefs that what we're given to believe about ourselves (and about others) is reality. And it is not. Here's further proof.
We've all known those trying times when our own loving thoughts suddenly turn into their oppressive opposite of resentment or rage. This regretful shift in our nature occurs when we're confronted with pushy people, or events that manage to overpower our current image of what it means to be loving. Our instant transformation, from being caring to outright caustic, only makes sense to us as long as we continue to listen to our thoughts explain why this behavior is rational or necessary.
When the images we have of ourselves as being loving collide with the facts that show our pleasing self-pictures to be only touched-up phonies, these shocking experiences are not the proof that love, or its wondrous healing powers, doesn't exist. Love is real. And we're never closer to it than when given the chance to see what is unreal about ourselves. Learning to welcome these healing moments -- of seeing what is false within us as being false -- is the same as welcoming what is true.