The only two things life promises are suffering and death…
Suffering is the default mode of human life. It is a motivation to act for our survival, and, indirectly, the survival of our species. If I do not act to ensure my survival, or someone does not act on my behalf, I can be assured that I will experience some suffering and die a physical death. On a social level, if one did not suffer the longing/need to mate, our species would die off.
Pleasure is something which must be sought after/attained…
When I do something which I perceive as supporting and furthering my survival, I am rewarded with pleasure. This is both reward and reinforcement by my unconscious for my behaviors which support my overall need to survive, and the survival of my species.
In my model of the human experience, I have been looking at reducing and shedding perceived needs. I have also been looking at economy and simplicity- stopping when I have enough. When left with just my basic needs, satisfaction becomes easier to attain, and my suffering is easier to end. This makes it easier to free my mind to achieve higher consciousness.
I have been reading some Buddhist blogs, and one gentleman referred to 4 Noble Truths, the point of which seem to be that suffering can be overcome by shedding attachments/mental associations. Overcoming suffering completely is an intriguing idea. He shared the Four Noble Truths, the fourth of which was:
There is a Way, the Eightfold Path, which leads us to overcome suffering forever.
Am I reading this right? There is a path which ultimately leads to the end of suffering, I just need to shed my attachments? So, changing my attitudes/attachments to even basic needs will end the suffering caused by their not being met?
It just seems counter-intuitive. Still, it is something worth exploring. I’ve noticed that although my thinking, and this model I’m working on, are largely based on Taoist principles, there are some parallels to Buddhism (from what I’ve glanced over so far). I tend to shy away from anything mystical nowadays, and anything not founded on reason (not referring to Buddhism), so I haven’t dived too much into Buddhist teachings. Maybe I should rethink that.
I have certainly discovered fountains of beauty, truth, and poetry in (apparently) Buddhist individuals I am reading. Maybe I will find one great waterfall of beauty and truth in the writings of Buddhism itself.