Since the moment of our birth till the present, we set many goals. Some of those goals have been achieved, but we continue to pursue others despite the consequences they could bring. The pursuit of worldly accomplishment will never end, because what we want is really an inner state of peace of happiness that does not come from the outside. The world of duality does not work like a fairy tale in which the prince and princess live happily ever after.
Everlasting happiness comes from the realization of the truth about life.
Each moment, the thought that comes forth in your mind will be perceived as correct and accurate. This is the nature of our thought pattern. However, it does not mean the content of your thought–the ideas and concept–is right. You can believe in one thought and later question it, but your questioning, as a new thought, again becomes the belief you pursue. Thus, we live in the perpetual cycle in which we take each thought to be true and correct.
If we set aside religion, what is there for a human being to do? What is there to believe, and what will you believe? What is the purpose of your life? As living beings, we can have thoughts, and thoughts change constantly. The physical body changes constantly, too. The entire world changes continuously. It is all part of what we call impermanence, which is inevitable. Because everything is subject to constant change, you have two choices in each moment: to make yourself change for the better or allow yourself to become worse? However, you have just one purpose: to transform your life–including the situation you inhabit right now–for the better. This is the only thing a human being can do. No matter what religion or belief you have, the only path is to make yourself better and better in every single moment. It is an inescapable fact of life, called impermanence. No one, not even the Buddha, can escape it.
Everything we do in life should be for the purpose of improving ourselves. Why do we go to school to learn things? So we can then become better people. Why do you go to a monastery or a church? You do so in order to become a better person. I became a Buddhist because I studied and learned about Buddhism. What was my purpose in becoming a Buddhist? The purpose was not simply to become one. The real purpose was to become a better person.
Reality changes constantly, and every day the world is different. It is impossible to know whether a world war will break out tomorrow. As reality continues to change, we too must change. We can do this because the true nature of the mind is a hundred percent flexible. Look at yourself honestly, though. Right now, your personality and view of reality–the jail of the mind–are stubborn. We define people and things, just as we define everything. These definitions function like the walls of a jail cell, isolating us from what is true. This means the ever-changing reality is always in conflict with your mind’s habitual pattern, which is not flexible enough to accept reality as it is.
When we have anger, when we experience depression, that means we do not want to accept the reality. However, anger and depression—and any habitual thinking—cannot change reality from what it is. There is always a gap between reality and the habitual thought pattern that tries to redefine the reality. If we do not remove the habitual pattern, we will be trapped between those two opposing forces. The consequences of such an existence are pain and misery.