But stop and think for a minute. What does getting agitated or offended by something accomplish. Clearly we personally get upset, sometimes very upset. But does it make things better when we get upset? No. Does anything change when we get upset? No.
Then why do we get upset? Do we feel good somehow when we get upset? Yes. We feel self-righteous, justified, better than others, etc. But this is at a terrible cost to our emotional energy. The negativity of these emotional reactions is very draining.
The reader may well ask, “If something isn’t right or just, shouldn’t one be offended and agitated?” The Buddhist answer is that if something harms another, one should be aware of that fact, not condone that fact, and if possible do something positive in whatever small way one can to change the fact. But there is absolutely no reason for taking offense and getting agitated. That just causes personal suffering and makes it impossible to exercise good judgment.
So when we say that things are the way they are because it’s just the way it is, that doesn’t mean we are resigned to or shrug off all the harm-doing in the world. It means that we don’t get agitated, we don’t take personal offense, but we are very aware of these things and, to the extent possible, do what we can to change these things.
If walking the Buddhist path changes the way that you interact with yourself and others, then you are in your own small way changing the dynamics of the world. That is no small thing. If in interacting with others and offering them joy, you can bring light where there was darkness, joy where there was sorrow, that is wonderful. If you can do more by working together with other like-minded people, that’s certainly good too … as long as you remain at peace and don’t become obsessed with bringing about change.
As the poem “Affirming Faith in Mind” says, “When the mind rests undisturbed, nothing in the world offends. And when no thing can give offense, all obstructions [i.e. doubt and confusion, fear and insecurity, anger and negativity, like and dislike] cease to be, for things are things because of mind.”