From The Four Agreements:
Imagine that the human mind is the same as your skin. You can touch healthy skin and it feels wonderful. Your skin is ma de for perception and the sensation of touch is wonderful. Now imagine you have an injury and the skin gets cut and infected. If you t ouch the infected skin, it is going to hurt, so you try to cover and protect the skin. You will not enjoy being touched because it hurts.
Now imagine that all humans have this skin disease. Nobody can touch each other because it is going to hurt. Everyone has wounds on their skin, so the infection is seen as normal, the pain is also considered normal; we believe we are supposed to be that way.
Can you imagine how we would behave with each other if all the humans in the world had this skin disease? Of course we would hardly ever hug each other because it would be too painful. So we would need to create a lot of distance between us.
The human mind is exactly like this description of infected skin. Every human has an emotional body completely covered with infected wounds. Each wound is infected with emotional poison — the poison of all the emotions that makes us suffer, such as hate, anger, envy, and sadness. An action of injustice opens a wound in the mind and we react with emotional poison because of the concepts and beliefs we have about injustice and what is fair. The mind is so wounded and full of poison by the process of domestication, that everyone describes the wounded mind as normal. This is considered normal, but I can tell you it is not normal.
We have a dysfunctional dream of the planet, and humans are mentally sick with a disease called fear. The symptoms of the disease are all the emotions that make humans suffer: anger, h ate, sadness, envy, and betrayal. When the fear is too great, the reasoning mind begins to fail, and we call this mental illness. Psychotic behavior occurs when the mind is so frightened and the wounds so painful, that it seems better to break contact with the outside world.
If we can see our state of mind as a disease, we fin d there is a cure. We don't have to suffer any longer. First we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely. How do we do this? We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven , but because we love our-self so much we don't want to keep paying for the injustice.
Forgiveness is the only way to heal. We can choose to forgive because we feel compassion for ourselves. We can let go of the resentment and declare, "That's enough! I will no longer be the big Judge that goes against myself. I will no longer beat myself up and abuse myself. I will no longer be the Victim." First, we need to forgive our parents, our brothers, our sisters, our friends, and God. Once you forgive God, you can finally forgive yourself. Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over. S elf-acceptance begins, and the self-love will grow so strong that you will finally accept yourself just the way you are. That's the beginning of the free human. Forgiveness is the key.
You will know you have forgiven someone when you see them and you no longer have an emotional reaction. You will h ear the name of the person and you will have no emotional reaction. When someone can touch what used to be a wound and it no longer hurts you, then you know you have truly forgiven.
The truth is like a scalpel. The truth is painful, because it opens all of the wounds which are covered by lies so that we can be healed. These lies are what we call the denial system. It's a good thing we have the denial system, because it allows us to cover our wounds and still function. But once we no longer have any wounds or any poison, we don't need to lie anymore. We don't need the denial system, because a healthy mind, like healthy skin, can be touched without hurting. It's pleasurable for the mind to be touched when it is clean.
From The Mastery of Love:
I want you to imagine that you live on a planet where everyone has a skin disease. For two or three thousand years, the people on your planet have suffered the same disease: Their entire bodies are covered by wounds that are infected, and those wounds really hurt when you touch them. Of course, they believe this is a normal physiology of the skin. Even the medical books describe this disease as a normal condition.
When the people are born, their skin is healthy, but around three or four years of age, the first wounds start to appear. By the time they are teenagers, there are wounds all over their bodies.
Can you imagine how these people are going to treat each other? In order to relate with one another, they have to protect their wounds. They hardly ever touch each other's skin because it is too painful. If by accident you touch someone's skin, it is so painful that right away she gets angry and touches your skin, just to get even. Still, the instinct to love is so strong that you pay a high price to have relationships with others.
Well, imagine that a miracle occurs one day. You awake and your skin is completely healed. There are no wounds anymore, and it doesn't hurt to be touched. Healthy skin you can touch feels wonderful because the skin is made for perception. Can you imagine yourself with healthy skin in a world where everyone has a skin disease? You cannot touch others because it hurts them, and no one touches you because they make the assumption that it will hurt you.
If you can imagine this, perhaps you can understand that someone from another planet who came to visit us would have a similar experience with humans. But it isn't our skin that is full of wounds. What the visitor would discover is that the human mind is sick with a disease called fear. Just like the description of the infected skin, the emotional body is full of wounds, and these wounds are infected with emotional poison. The manifestation of the disease of fear is anger, hate, sadness, envy, and hypocrisy; the result of the disease is all the emotions that make humans suffer.
All humans are mentally sick with the same disease. We can even say that this world is a mental hospital. But this mental disease has been in this world for thousands of years, and the medical books, the psychiatric books, and the psychology books describe the disease as normal. They consider it normal, but I can tell you it is not normal.
When the fear becomes too great, the reasoning mind starts to fail and can no longer take all those wounds with all the poison. In the psychology books we call this a mental illness. We call it schizophrenia, paranoia, psychosis, but these diseases are created when the reasoning mind is so frightened and the wounds so painful, that it becomes better to break contact with the outside world.