Until recently, I seldom felt satisfied. Even during those rare periods when life was going smoothly, without uproar or mood disorder, it always seemed lacking. No career, relationship, home, hobby, or vacation escaped this critique.
I knew mine was not a healthy attitude and harbored no doubt that my personality was flawed. But I could not fix the problem.
Although I don’t call myself a Buddhist, there is little doubt that the Buddha saw our human situation clearly. One of his “Four Noble Truths” states that life is inherently unsatisfying. This comforts me, because it situates the root problem in the world rather than my character.
Not that I don’t need to change, but the issue isn’t one of learning to feel fulfilled in the common sense of the word. Adjusting my personality won’t alter the fact that life disappoints.
According to Buddhist nosology, afflictions of the human spirit derive from three delusions about reality. We habitually seek permanence, satisfaction, and individuality, but impermanence is the rule, dissatisfaction is unavoidable, and individuality is an illusion.
A recent series of posts on my primary site, WillSpirit.com, attempted to tackle the last of these three, which I believe to be the most challenging. Today’s essay deals mainly with the second and a little with the first, both of which are easier to accept.