The essential ingredient in all delusion is inappropriate attention. This is when we exaggerate in some way the situation, then we relate to that exaggeration as if it were true. Because of this, we act in all sorts of goofy and self-destructive ways that just make everything worse.
For example, it is quite common for adolescents/pre-teens to fall into the trip of thinking “nobody likes me” or “I don’t have any friends” or “everyone is ignoring me.” This is obviously not true, but one of the functions of delusions is to literally transform what appears to our mind where this is indeed what is vividly appearing to our mind – it appears to us, objectively, that nobody likes us, etc. Because of that, we then think we are bothering people when we are around or we misinterpret everything they do. We then get upset about the fact that they are not liking us the way we would want them to, this then becomes us being upset at them, becoming jealous when they interact with other people instead of us. But because we are getting upset, jealous, or are generally acting ackward, other people then naturally don’t want to interact with us because we are acting wierd or are being high maintenance. Then what we imagined to be true – namely that nobody likes us – become actually true. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We likewise do this with people who bother us. Somebody does some minor thing. We exaggerate how important it is what the other person did and we exaggerate the harm we experience and we exaggerate the importance of ourselves “why do things like this always happen to me!?” We then get upset at the other person, usually making some snarky remarks, and then the other people get upset at us and strike back in some way. They become the very bad guy we constructed them to be.
The way to cut this cycle is to stop exaggerating! We need to stop being a drama queen that makes a big deal out of everything. Nothing is a big deal unless we make a big deal out of it. But when we make a big deal out of things, we transform ourselves into emotional yo-yos and we become generally annoying to those around us. There is nothing less attractive than being overly sensitive, moody and irritable. Instead, we just need to remind ourselves that everything that happens is just the play of karmic appearance. Nothing is a big deal because nothing is really happening – it is all karmic phantasamagoa, mere appearances dancing within the emptiness of our mind. Why get sucked in, bogged down or bothered by a karmic light show? When we keep things light, we keep things “cool” and “chillaxed” and we become more friendly, playful, light-hearted and a delight to be around. We laugh instead of become upset when things go in a way other than what we planned.
Fortunately, this self-fulfilling dynamic also works in a positive sense. If you believe that everyone is an emanation of your spiritual guide sent to give you an opportunity to train your mind, cut the drama, be light, be positive, be happy, then you start interpreting everything others do in this light. You then learn all sorts of spiritual lessons about yourself and about life. You make effort to train your mind to respond differently and create new “no Drama” habits. Eventually you reach the point where you are so spacious within that nothing ever disturbs the joyful stillness of your inner peace. You become a traveller, somebody who voyages through this world from one karmic adventure to another.