There are several ways of improving quality of life. The obvious is to change our external environment. For example, we can look for a better job; we can move to a different area or country. In terms of people, perhaps we feel exasperated and angry with their behaviour, and so try to change them through argument, rather than reasoned, discussion. Success, at any of these things, involves a certain degree of energy, forward planning, life-skills and resources. Without these things our plans can go horribly awry. Without the correct resources we might become stuck in a low paid job; trapped in poverty. Without sufficient energy and forward planning we might die trying to cross a river. Without any kind of useful thinking skills at all, a heated exchange, could even cause us to lose our life, or indeed, become the murderer.
It’s our belief that one of the most powerful ways to instigate any change is to deal with our internal environment first
Once we have control over ourselves several things begin to happen. For instance, learning and regularly practising meditation awards us greater control over many other aspects of our lives. There are many byproducts to meditation. We can become less impulsive and more calculating in our plans. We can come to realise that the motivation, required to seek change to our external environment, often involves the pursuit of illusions.
Often, once we reach our destination, these illusions become shattered. Our lives haven’t changed, and the only thing we’ve succeeded at doing, is moving the same set of problems, from one place to another.
The alternative, of changing our internal environment, is much like the migrant who decides to stay in his home country. Remaining there, he can then set about finding ways in which to make improvements internally and externally. Initially he might need to build a wall around himself; it could protect him from harm. When the wall is built he can begin the process of finding the calm at the centre of the storm. In this place wonderful things can happen. We can gain a clearer perspective of what it is that really matters; ensuring we preserve them. When well and calm within ourselves we stand a far greater chance of making the right choices.