"One way to think about suffering is as a failure of getting what we want." Bokin Kim PhD
I'm often reminded of stories (like W. Somerset Maugham's wonderful book, "The Razor's Edge") about the idle, independently wealthy, who regularly migrate from one opulent getaway to another, 'because things get terribly boring.' A particularly wacky aspect of human nature is our tendency to 'double down,' doing more & more of something that obviously doesn't work, until we 'hit rock bottom,' or worse. Suffering mostly arises from wanting people, things & experiences to provide lasting satisfaction ie wanting the impossible.
Many simply can't stop trying to control the world to make it provide permanent safety & happiness. Wanting to become a marathon runner is understandable. BUT if a fish has this desire, then even if it manages to get out of the water onto dry land, it just can't be happy. The whole idea of running a marathon simply goes against the fish's true nature.
A major gift of old age, for some of us, is having had ample opportunity to learn that we cannot get lasting satisfaction from anything - EXCEPT love - very specifically being the SOURCE of unconditional love.
So a wise, mature orientation will have us nurturing all those we love, so that we may thrive. And 'those we love' gradually expands to embrace everyone & everything. This way of being is probably more natural & essential to us than breathing, eating, sleeping & our heart beating. It is not something we should do in order to get something else, or go somewhere else, or become someone else. We are simply expressing our essential true nature - who we are, have always been & will be - we're just being natural.
Tony Parsons was a wealthy home builder when, at age 65, he underwent a dramatic liberation (awakening / enlightenment) experience, after which "there was no longer a ME, only absolute love." He expresses, imho, very similar understandings to other evolved mystics I've read about & listened to. However, Tony uses much more direct, uncompromising, even provocative language, that sometimes stimulates an energetic shift in the listener, evaporating their 'me' - their noisy ego.
Reading about Tony's perspective may cause your noisy ego angst - possibly even more :
all there is
is this. All there is is wholeness, oneness. I like to call it ‘boundless energy.’ Boundless energy is all there is, and it arises as everything there is and everything there isn’t. So this boundless energy is immeasurable, it can’t be tamed, it’s wild, it’s chaotic and it also appears to be ordered.
And one of the things that it appears to be is a separate energy, a contracted energy that seems to happen uniquely to human beings. Some way or another, that sense of being separate begins a clock. A clock starts ticking, and throughout the separate energies there, the ‘me’ story begins. And ‘the story’ and ‘me’ are both the same thing. ‘Me’ can’t exist without ‘the story,’ and ‘the story’ can’t exist without ‘me.’ And that all happens in a separate reality.
For the individual, it seems as though that reality is real. The whole idea that the person has free-will and choice and that their life has a purpose, and that story also includes cause & effect, all of those things arise, and all of those things seem real to the individual. And so the individual goes into what it thinks is it’s reality, but in some way or other that reality can at times seem dissatisfying, because of course the ‘me’ is living in a separate reality. So the ‘me’ never sees a tree naturally, never sees the sky naturally, never has feelings in the natural way they are, because all of those things are experienced through separation, as though those things arise as if through a filter. So the tree is somehow always an object out there, everything else is an object because already the ‘me’ has seemingly become a something. So the ‘me’ lives as though it is a real something, and it lives in a world of real somethings – everything 'real' out there is something else that’s happening to this 'real' something here.
And somewhere there’s a sense of dissatisfaction about that, it feels unfulfilling to somehow live in this separate world. And so some people start to try to find an answer for that sense of dissatisfaction and they go to teachers, but of course they have with them that belief of free-will and choice, and the way they can ‘learn’ how to find that fulfillment, would be through their own choice, and through their own action. And so they go to teachers who also speak within the dream story about personal enlightenment and the way that that can be attained.
But of course what’s happening all the time is that the ‘me’ is living in a circular world, in a separate world, and those things that it experiences come and go because they are happening in a world of time only, they are just time-oriented happenings or experiences. [Called by some, 'consensual reality' or 'relative reality'] So the things that people learn from teachers, like self-inquiry or meditation, bring up experiences that come & go. They are transient experiences and they never have any permanent or constant satisfaction about them.
So ‘the open secret’ basically is revealing the myth of ‘me’ and the myth of ‘the story,’ and it’s pointing to the possibility that all of that is an illusion; that that whole story and the me is living in an illusory world which is circular, just with experiences coming & going, coming & going. And the strange thing is, that what seems to be happening when that is revealed at meetings, is that the whole sense of ‘me,’ the whole idea that the ‘me’ is real, or the embodied sense that the ‘me’ is real, seems to crumble. And the other thing that happens in the meetings, and obviously this doesn’t have to be at meetings, this dropping away of the ‘me’ can happen anywhere and at any time, but in the meetings it seems that somehow the contracted energy of the separate ‘me’ seems to melt back into the boundless energy of what is, and there’s nothing that’s left in that. And that is what I would call liberation. It’s my term for liberation from the illusory imprisonment of being a ‘me’ in a story.”
Tony Parsons Feb 3, 2012 interview : https://batgap.com/tony-parsons/