The intensity of an emotional reaction to a scenario played out by a mind depends on the content of that thought, AND on the intensity of the simulation itself. What do we mean by that?
If we compare a thought simulation to a movie that is displayed on a transparent screen placed very close to our eyes, the intensity of the simulation will be inversely proportional to the degree of transparency of the screen. Hence, if the screen is 90% transparent then the simulation has an intensity of 10%, if the screen is 40% transparent, then the simulation has an intensity of 60% etc.
If the screen is completely opaque (we can’t see anything other than the simulation) then the simulation has an intensity of 100%. This means that we are unable to distinguish mental projections from the real world. We deal with this type of simulation in dreams. During sleep we are completely immersed in a dream world (mental reality) and react to it as if it was our reality.
Thus, if the mind simulates a negative event that causes a defensive reaction in the body (stress), the degree of this reaction will depend on the intensity of the simulation (the transparency level of the mental screen). This transparency level of the screen can be compared to the degree of the mind’s belief that the simulation is real. If the mind believes in 100% that the generated projection is a real event, then the emotional response will be equivalent to the reaction to a real event. If the mind does not believe that the event is real, then there may not be any emotional reaction at all. This does not mean that the mind will cease the simulation, but merely that it is fully aware of the fact that the thought is merely a virtual event that cannot cause harm to the organism itself.
Note, however, that the degree to which the mind believes in the reality of thought is not an intellectual calculation. Belief in thought is not an intellectual construct, but rather a mental feeling (more on the difference between intellectual recognition and mental feeling in the article: “it’s not you but your Cells that believe in a thought“). As with an emotion that arises as a result of certain conditions, the feeling that a thought projection is real is a result of many factors.
To understand what these factors are, let’s imagine the following situation. We sit in a room and watch a movie. If the film has a captivating plot, we can easily sink into the film world, identify ourselves with the main character and in consequence experience a whole range of emotions. However, if we watch the movie with someone else who has an annoying habit of constantly commenting on different scenes, asking us questions and distracting us with other activities (like hitting a pause button in a middle of a captivating scene due to a sudden desire to get something out of the fridge), then it becomes more difficult for us to be emotionally involved in the plot. What is the difference between these two situations?
The difference is the degree to which our attention is focused on the film. If we are alone and nothing distracts us, we can fully engage in the film. On the other hand, if something or someone constantly distracts us from the screen, our attention is distracted – the degree of concentration is lower. Our emotional reaction to the events in the film will therefore be proportionally smaller. The mind will not have the right conditions to build faith that what is happening on the screen is really happening. The mind will stay being aware of the fact that the body is not in the virtual world created by the director of the film, but in a room on the couch, with someone distracting us all the time. The mind knows (or rather feels) all the time that despite the various terrible dangers that threaten the protagonist on the screen, our body stays completely safe.
The same is true of emotional involvement with mind-generated thought stories. Attention must be concentrated on thoughts to the extent that the mind forgets the actual conditions of the physical body.
As a result of increased concentration on thoughts of the imminent danger, the mind begins to believe that the body is in real danger. This triggers a series of defensive reactions aimed at bringing the body out of a dangerous situation (reactions that are perceived as a feeling of stress). The problem arises when the thought concerns a distant or completely abstract situation. The body is ready now to fight a threat that is present in the now. The heart beats faster, the jaws are clenched, the muscles are tense. However, the physical body cannot remove the virtual threats, just as a seasoned martial art adept cannot defeat an opponent who is only a hologram. As long as the story of a thought will not be changed (i.e. the mental danger is not removed) that long the physical body will stay in a state of combat readiness.
How do we convince a mind, that put its all resources into the fight with the holograms, to stop doing that?
Our previous reflections point to three possible solutions:
a/ we could try to beautify the hologram (mental history) by changing it to a more pleasant one,
b/ we could try to turn off the projector,
c/ or we could lower the degree of faith in the reality of the hologram.