Perhaps my post was less clear than it could have been.
I don't know what you mean by this. External circumstances are largely random. You can effect the Probable Future database depending upon the probabilities. Yes, you can make lots of free will decisions. But making those decisions on external circumstances, and thinking that they will change internal problems, is a fallacy. It just doesn't work that way.
I agree. I think this is pretty clear to anyone familiar with Tom's work.
My point is: choices that affect the (virtual) external world must be made. As we grow, we improve our intents AND ostensibly perform more skillful external actions. A better intent may lead to a different decision. In some cases that might mean leaving a relationship, in others it might mean staying and working on it. Either way, an action must be taken.
The things we do are less important than why we do them. But again, better intents usual entail better actions. Actions must be taken.
There is nothing wrong with having a place to live, plenty to eat, etc. But if you measure your happiness by what you can acquire, you will have a hard time evolving the quality of your consciousness. Because it is the wrong place to focus your Intent. Rather look at the Intents behind the decisions you make. Are they all ego based? That is the place to start.
This is closely related with the above point.
Good intents (compassion, growth, etc) deter us from focusing on material possessions or ego gratification.
That being said, external circumstances matter. If they didn't, there would be no point to having a virtual learning lab (because it wouldn't matter).
While we can learn from all situations, being in jail or being tortured is far less pleasant than, say, having dinner with good friends.
Similarly, leaving an abusive relationship can certainly make us happier, even if internal change is what prompts us to make than decision.
I just happened to load up the second half of this right after finishing my post. Super relevant.