The Four Noble Truths

Buddhism addresses the human condition with the concept of the Four Noble Truths:
1) Human suffering: People suffer because happiness is fleeting – it is constantly passing away as we try to hold onto it.
2) The cause of suffering: Ignorance, attachment, and aversion are the causes of our suffering.
3) Reduce suffering: If we attend to the root of suffering, suffering will ease.
4) The path: in order to achieve serenity and peace, we must follow a path of enlightenment.
Humans are ignorant. As we keep this in mind we further understanding and reduce ignorance. It can take a while to awaken to wisdom and even longer to integrate insights in such a way that our life reflects insights. Initially, we are unaware that our attitude, rather than real life circumstances, causes suffering. Driven by attachments and desires (wanting something) as well as aversion and fear (not wanting something) we are motivated for action, but we also experience frustrations, resistance, and defensiveness, experienced as anger. But we find that anger and happiness are mutually exclusive. Happy people are not angry. Angry people are not happy (at least not at the same time).
Suffering is linked to the human condition – it is a by-product of consciousness, which enables us to remember the past and imagine things that don’t exist (while animals only respond to real events). Indulging in imaginary mental constructs we may regret the past or fear the future. We may desire to have something or to not have something – and we come to resist and twist fate. When that doesn’t work we maintain resistance and pursue desires – while foregoing serenity and peace. And so we suffer. We insist on acting out in anger, we confront others, and we compete for dominance - as if that’s what matters. We fight for our convictions as if we ever really know things with absolute certainty... We over-identify with the physical body as if that’s all we are. We cannot help the human condition, where we get confused and lead astray. It does help, though, to practice mindfulness and direct our consciousness to a higher plane - where we live in acceptance and gratitude. Mindfulness is the way to cultivate equanimity and contentment.