In the West many of us can live in physical comfort, yet because we are continually being presented with more refined commodities or changing standards by which to measure ourselves, there’s not much contentment. And there are social and group pressures. A person might very well feel that if they’re not wearing the ‘right’ clothes their job is at risk, so they have to bear this in mind. People can become depressed, even neurotic, if their bodies don’t match up to the current standards of beauty, or if their personality is not smart enough, cynical enough, seedy enough – whatever the fashion is. We want to avoid losing out on good opportunities, and we fear the loneliness of not having any friends. So there can be a nervous feeling of inadequacy and insecurity which deprives us of a sense of trust in our innate worth as a human being.
So because of just this, it’s important that we sense and define ourselves as ‘being’ apart from those currents, if only to get onto some firmer ground. And what really helps is to be able to calm and collect the mind, and to develop oneself in what gives greater benefit. How you attend creates the dwelling place of the mind. So if we can begin to experience clarity and empathy for ourselves and others, we find ourselves living in a more appreciative and balanced way that encourages goodness to develop.
Ajahn Sucitto, Kamma and the End of Kamma