What do we typically do when feeling anxious, lacking, hungry, empty, fragile, needy, inadequate, etc?
It's very practical to deeply investigate this BECAUSE, whether it's obvious or eating away at us subconsciously, we very, very often DO feel like this. But why? This is an important question. And we all need to find answers AND solutions - if there are any.
From a Buddhist perspective, “we experience life as frustrating because our usual understanding of it is deluded. Buddhism holds out the possibility of an alternative to this, a liberation from delusion, but such liberation is not common and so cannot be derived from an analysis of everyday life.” Again, according to Buddhism, "we can end our sense of a lack and our flight from it into the future, by realizing that from the beginning nothing has ever been lacking."
According to Blaise Pascal, “ ‘We do not rest satisfied with the present, for the present is generally painful to us.’ … ten minutes’ meditation confirms it. If our root problem is not fear of death, which looms in the future, but an always gnawing sense of lack right now, the reason becomes obvious. Dwelling in the present is uncomfortable because it discloses our nothingness, our groundlessness, and time is the schema we construct to escape that sense of inadequacy. … the mentally ill invoke the past only as a substitute for the present, as a need to defend against the present, and that the past is realized only to the extent that it involves a de-realization of the present. In contrast, those usually considered well-adjusted use the future to defend against the present. Time allows us to flee into the future (when, we believe, our sense of lack will finally be resolved) or the past (when, as we recollect, there was little or no lack). … complete felicity [happiness] is discoverable only in our recollections or in our expectations. Each tends to feed on the other. Individually and collectively, we dream of the Golden Age to come, which will restore the dimly remembered Golden Age of the past (our childhood, Periclean Greece, the 1960s).
In sum, time is the canvas we erect before us to hide the sneering skull, the bottomless void. On that canvas we paint the dreams that fascinate us, because they distract us from our immediate situation and offer the hope of filling up our sense of lack. But if our experience of time is conditioned by our fear of death and our denial of groundlessness, true acceptance of them should reveal something hitherto unrealized about the nature of time and the things ‘in’ time.
He to whom time is the same as eternity
And eternity the same as time
Is free from all contention. Boehme”
Avoiding the contents of our present moment - our actual life - causes suffering. Awakening, or liberation from suffering, is: "intimacy with everything" - an open-heart-minded acceptance of everything, right here & now - our actual life.
The quotes above are from the highly-recommended, but challenging book:
David R. Loy. “Lack & Transcendence. The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism.” Wisdom Publications, 2018.