Outer and inner world ~ 17th Karmapa

Our interdependent lives are shaped not only by material conditions but also by our emotional states, by the strength of inner qualities like patience, love, or wisdom, and by the beliefs and perceptions that influence our decisions — in short the whole suite of cognitive and affective forces at work within us. When I speak of the inner world, I do not have in mind an inner world that is totally distinct from the outer world. However, between our outer and inner conditions, I would argue that these inner conditions have more influence in shaping our world than the outer. This is because our inner world is constantly shaping the way we perceive and respond to the circumstances we find ourselves in. How do external situations appear in your mind? Is your mind disturbed? Do you feel happy? Your inner world has a powerful role in determining how you experience your external conditions and respond to them. There are people whose external conditions appear to be fine or even great, yet they may be holding sadness and experiencing a great deal of darkness within. Conversely, some who live in seemingly abject circumstances may experience contentment and joy.

17th Karmapa

from the book Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society

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