There is a thought that all of life is suffering, as the Buddhists would say, though even they will often say that a better word might be "struggling." There is pain and suffering in each of our lives. It is not constant. What is constant, what goes on and on; is struggle. There is a storm coming our way as I write this. There is nothing I can do to stop it. It will do to me, and my loved ones as it will, though this as all things is determined by cause and effect.
Add to this thought a second, that our soul purpose, the prime directive, if you will, is procreation, and as one reaches a certain age it is easy to imagine that yes, life is certainly frustrating, mysterious, and virtually unknowable.
I have reached a place in my life, yes, the checkmate; having done just about all one could do, having played with the "idea" of success, having fulfilled my prime directive (keep in mind I am simply expressing ideas, not beliefs...maybe) and found that the most difficult feeling to accept is that there really is no thought, feeling, memory or physical sensation that brings lasting "satisfactoriness." In fact, there is nothing that I can permanently grasp, no pendulum that I can pin in place, or as one monk said; "I have good news, and I have bad news. The bad news is that this is as good as it gets, the good news is that this is as good as it gets."
The cause of struggle is grasping, trying to hang on to what is good (in our opinion), and get rid of what is not. This is hopeless. What you think you grasp, what is satisfactory, quickly turns to dissatisfaction, and on and on. As a blunt example, take the momentary bliss of orgasm, which soon turns back to the very same need. At my age, seventy-two, you start to get tired of this "same old shit, different day, or maybe the same day after all, who knows. If we were really aware we might have noticed this long ago, and called it all quits. One cannot even set a goal of becoming enlightened, even for the benefit of all sentient beings for that constitutes grasping as well, and the effect of suffering/struggling.
I should note that I am not trying to speak only from a Buddhist perspective, and abandon my Western leaning psychological stance. I am finding it easier, however, to talk about these things from that direction. Buddhist, Christian or neither, simply trying to talk about the experience itself, there is no essence of "me" that will stand against the winds of time. Faced with this awareness, that life has become the flow of arising phenomena, I just sit. Nothing but the sitting.
As then I continue to breath, and live; what do I do with all of these remaining days, hours, minutes and even seconds, As far as I can tell, you might as well do something, perhaps you can do nothing else.
So I continue with the relationships that I have, continue to play a modern style of classical guitar, continue to ride my bike pretty much daily. I have now put in over 225,000 miles (give or take 1-5000), and even God does not know why (and yes, I hang on to the idea of a creator, probably for comfort).
So, on a recent ride, I decided to go for a Strava Segment (see previous blog for details and definitions), against my better judgement: "It's too hot idiot," and threw myself at it, thinking all I have to do is go as hard as I can with all of the resulting "suffering,"
So you just go on. Pursuing what?
And the result: same time as my previous best, 43 seconds. Checkmate!