Zen teaches that outside the Mind there is no world; the world is as the Mind is.
No matter what happens, one’s mind frame always creates certain interpretation and desire regarding the situation. If that desire is not met yet the mind frame that created the desire cannot be released, then you are stuck in the middle – you feel as if it is the external environment that is oppressing you. Your suffering comes from the fact that you cannot use your mind with flexibility or have the understanding that all external phenomena are trigger from inner mindset.
So the first step in handling any problem is to identify the underlying mindset. Your present mindset and action already determine the situation created since this is your reality. When you have certain thought, it already determines the position of the observer and how the observed phenomena manifest.
Take politics as an example. Initially you are not interested in politics, so your mind is as indifferent as a dry sponge. The instant you generate an initial favorable opinion about a political party, that thought immediately develops a track in your mindscape. Based on this track, you will likely form the same favorable opinion regarding that party again and again. This pattern continues and repeats itself until you become so hypnotized in the correctness of your opinion that you become a supporter of that party.
A sponge soaked in water naturally smells like water; only after the water is squeezed out can the sponge absorb another liquid and smell.
Spiritual growth comes to those whose mind is free from fixed thinking and flexible. So to liberate from suffering, one must change one’s mind.