The mind is a kind of a dream machine that makes every believe come true.
In the middle-ages people believed in the devil and really saw him.
They where not mad, thats just how our mind works, in projecting our beliefs.
The mind dreams at night and our experiences are totally real as it seems.
But also in the daytime the mind goes on dreaming. That's called 'mind wandering'. Like memory's about yesterday and anticipating whats coming up tomorrow. Watching a movie and 'let the mind disappear into it'. Watching whats going on in our head and reflecting on it (the internal dialogue), thinking about possible scenario' s that might happen to us. The mind is a world of mental images and refections. As research show we are 50% of the day busy with mind wandering. During that time in fact we are reacting upon a fictional reality. Does that make us happy? No, as it seems the more mindwandering the less happy people are. Maybe Buddhist are right if they tell us that happiness is 'the art of coming back to reality' ?
At your Service!
The mind is a fine instrument when it comes to solving mathematical riddles and constructing new machines. To do that we also have to create a imaginairy reality and play with it. But the mind is very tricky when it comes to personal believes. If we are convinced of something or are afraid of someting the mind simply says " at your service!" The mind will make shure that you are right and it will color and filter reality in a way that fits our believe. Believes about people, about society, and about ourselve. And as fears are a kind of believe it works the same way. If we are afraid of bugs we might see a lot of them. So 'what you believe is what you get'. And this virtual reality is stored into our brain patterns. For example an old trauma may go on and on as long the chain of beliefs is not broken.
The same with fysical trauma. I read a story about a native indian who - during battle - got a sprear right thru his feet. After 3 month the wound was healed but the pain remained. When visiting a medicine man the answer is: " your mind still can not forget the wound" .
You may have heard of 'phantom pain' after a leg or arm has been removed. People still feel heavy pain in the amputated part of their body like there fingers. A neurologist discovered a way to trick the mind into a 'new believe' using a mirror. After some weeks the pain definitely disappeares. His method is now used in many pain clinics. So healing trauma is about helping the mind coming back to reality!
In a psychlogical sense, our convictions and believes are the deep (subconcious) currents that shape our personal mind. They first come from the society we where born into, the ideas about wrong, right and true that comes with it. As we grow up we meet suffering and have to find answers and ways to behave in order to avoid those pains. These childhood decisions may turn into beliefs about others and ourself. Sometimes they have a life of there own. And the mind will ring a bell and send negative feelings if the old danger seems to appear again. In order to protect us. That's wat trauma is, fysical and psychological alarm bells that keep ringing while the thread is long gone. While the mind still believes.
The mind as a dream machine is quite powerfull. The show presented at night is very real to us including its joy, fears and suffering. Is it only at night that we have these hallucinations or are they going on during the day because the mind is still at work? Are we still fooled by its images while the mind sticks to its task of making real what we believe. For example the way we perceive others is drenched by what psychologist call " projection" . The attribution of quality's to another person wich in fact are our own. Our own beliefs meeting itself in others.
Gods and Demons
And the mind just does not take " no " for an answer. That becomes clear if we try to shut it down like the desert fathers in ancient Egypt who where praying in solitude keeping there attention only on God. Or Yogi's practising meditationg. They all tell the same story about the mind resisting heavely and trying to convince us of its reality, by presented the most lovely gods and evil demons it can find in its store and make them as real as it can get.
But just that is what makes us human. The ability to imagine a world that does not yet exist. Thats where our creativity and inventions come from. Maybe the only thing that went wrong is that we created an image of ourself? And at the same time started to fight that image, like the Spanish novel of Don Quigotte fighting windmills.
If much of what the mind is presenting to us is not real, reality may not be found in the mindshow but in the one perceiving it? In the conciousness that is witness to it.