IDENTIFICATION WITH FORM
At any given point in our lives, we succumb to a craving or desire. And when we don't fulfill that desire, we are left with a negative feeling. Even when we do meet the desire, it never ends; we'll always want more.
Buddhists call this feeling of dissatisfaction with life Dukkha, and it is one of the primary realizations any meditator must eventually come to understand about existence.
As challenging as this may sound, there exists a pretty simple fix for this dilemma. Stop identifying.
Many people experience hardships in life, yet what truly makes a person suffer lies within their tendency to identify with an experience.
To help explain this better, we must first explain two more Buddhist tenets, Anatta and Anicca.
Anicca means impermanence and states that everything in our reality constantly changes form; nothing can be permanent, and nothing can stay the same.
Then Anatta, which means no-self, takes the concept of impermanence and concludes that we are also impermanent. Therefore, our essence is non-existent or possibly lies within an unknowable realm that is neither physical nor mental!
Coming back to the idea of identification, we can see how the belief that we exist as minds and bodies is an illusion caused by the physical realm.
Once we stop identifying with negative feelings or unwanted experiences, there is a chance for them to stop affecting us. We will become unattached to what hurts us and liberated from a false sense of self.
Through non-identification, forest dwellers and spiritual masters are capable of experiencing difficulty while living in nature. Enduring harsh weather, avoiding dangerous animals, dealing with uncomfortable living situations, all of these experiences belong to the mind and body, not the self.
The life of a mystic may sound a little unrelatable to the everyday meditator. So instead of just hearing examples, try non-identification in your life.
When confronted with an unwanted feeling of any kind, try and see it for what it truly is; an experience of mind and body. Then, bring it to your awareness, you may find that the negative feeling disappears altogether.