What’s not inside out?

“How can I not blame him, when he is really responsible for this mess? It is because of him that I am suffering! I don’t have to change. You don’t see the point perhaps but it is he who must change”, blurted my uninitiated friend. She was still feeling helpless and was very sure that her partner was the source of her unhappy state. It was true that she became unhappy because of the disharmony of her relationship and unfulfilled expectations! But what could she do?  Poor girl!

Does this sound familiar? Don’t we often feel/react similar to the way my friend here was saying. Blaming others, and genuinely so! We are confident that the problem is external. That we are perfect or at least not-at-fault!

I get similar reactions from most of my friends when I tell them about the concept of ‘Oneness of Self and Environment’ that is explained in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I know why because even I learnt it the hard way!

Earlier, I would assume that it is the situation that I am in that really makes me say or feel the way I do. But then I came across the following words from Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda, “At the most fundamental level of life itself, there is no separation between ourself and the environment. According to Buddhism, everything around us, including work and family relationships, is the reflection of our inner lives. Everything is perceived through the self and alters according to the individual’s inner state of life. Thus, if we change ourselves, our circumstances will inevitably change also.”

It took me a while to understand that what I feel inside is what is bang on reflected in my environment. So, for example it can’t be that I hate my boss and he feels otherwise. Even if I keep smiling to his face, my internal feelings are projected to him. It is as simple as that. We are connected, for we share the same environment. What I see outside is a mere reflection of what I feel inside. For instance, someone who is depressed is likely to neglect his home and personal appearance. On the other hand, someone who is secure and generous creates a warm and attractive environment around them. In this sense depending on what I am feeling my environment is subject to change.

Being a Gandhi fan, I also found out that Gandhi’s philosophy totally resonates with Buddhism. And when I understood that all I need to change is ‘me’, I also understood deeply Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you want to see”. If I am one with my environment, can anything external be really responsible for my unhappiness? Oh-no!
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