…So one way of training ourselves and being a student of dukkha is to become very sensitive to that dissonance that arises in the heart, that sense that feels somehow incomplete or problematic. Do the counterintuitive thing and stop. Create some clarity so that you can feel that in a way that’s appropriate. Ask yourself, “Why? What’s wrong? What do I really want here? What do I expect here?”
When we study the Second Noble Truth, the Buddha says that lack, that sense of incompleteness, that sense of dissonance–if we use that to talk about dukkha–has its root in thirsting, has its root in desire. An ignorant, unskilled, unenlightened way of thirsting in the world is the source of that. So there is something you want. I like this word thirst because it’s so physical. Think about when you’re thirsty. It’s not just like you want to drink when you’re thirsty. Your whole body wants it. That’s the feeling of desire. It creates that sense that life is incomplete without the object that it’s foolishly desiring or longing for.
This reflection by Ajahn Sudanto is adapted from the talk, Skillful Adjustments.