Effects are at the FAMILIAR end of the chain of cause and effect. Strictly speaking, effects are not CAUSES, but rather HAPPENINGS. They are the end results of prior causes.
The universal human urge to understand and control the actual causes in our lives -- not just the effects, but the CAUSES of those effects -- is most wise. It comes from our intuitive recognition that any attempt to manipulate effects without changing the cause is fruitless. A chronic overeater won't stop gaining weight unless he starts eating less -- or exercising more. Just so, a chronic liar won't gain the trust of others until she improves her track record of honesty. Neither individual can succeed without obeying this simple principle: If you want to change your effects on yourself and others, you must change what's CAUSING those effects.
Granted, in many cases circumstances in our lives are the effects of causes outside of ourselves -- and therefore outside of our control. But since every effect is limited in duration and extent, our suffering of those effects is generally brief. On the other hand, our RESPONSES to those effects (that is, our ACTIONS or REACTIONS in response to those effects) are themselves new CAUSES. And, those new CAUSES may perpetuate or worsen the circumstances visited upon us by others. Thus, we all possess -- and exercise -- the primary causative power in our own lives. Whether we USE our power for better or for worse, each and every one of us has FAR more power in our own lives than external factors -- other people and outside circumstances -- could possibly have.
Stages of Growth | Cause and Effect | Levels of Practice
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