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We often direct our attention externally to find the root cause of our stress and suffering. Many of the common phrases people use include, “I can’t believe he or she did this to me,” or “his actions are driving me nuts and I’m getting so stressed out and angry because of him.” Often, it’s easier to assign responsibility for the disruption of one’s inner peace to outside circumstances. Yet, despite countless attempts to place blame on the external world for our suffering, nothing changes. There is still no inner peace, and the suffering continues. Additionally, oftentimes either the conflict with the external world escalates when we act reactively or our internal, unexpressed anger accumulates to extreme stress and sometimes even depression. Yet, we continuously place our hopes and energy on the external world changing to accommodate us: for the boss to become nicer, for the friend to be more understanding, for the partner to change his or her annoying habits. We tend to believe the falsehood that the external world will and should change for us to be happy. Unfortunately, regardless of whether or not the other person is trying to do us harm, other people’s behavior is outside of our control and people do not change unless they want to themselves. It is only through accepting this reality and looking within can we escape from the continued suffering and achieve inner peace. When we are able to look at the outside world, and understand and accept that everything is as is will we be liberated from suffering we falsely believe to be caused by external circumstances.

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