“Normally, although our experience is dominated by what we are taking in through our senses, we give ourselves little time for all this sense experience to settle within us; sense experience is piled upon sense experience,” Paramananda wrote in A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. “Often this feels unsatisfactory, but instead of trying to simplify our experience we continue to seek out new sensations that we hope will do the trick.
“We want to believe that the world, in the sense of what is outside of us, can supply us with all the essential components for our contentment and happiness and assemble them, too. We want to believe it is a matter of finding just the right job or the right sexual relationship for everything to fall into place.
“Of course these things are important — we need to be nourished by friendship and satisfying external experiences, we need to feel that we are doing something of worth with our lives. Yet our ability to be nourished by the external world, to find enjoyment and fulfillment in the things we do, is largely dependent on our inner mental states.
“Our addiction to external experience is based in a sense of internal impoverishment, a kind of hunger and restlessness. If we don’t see this, our experience becomes increasingly shallow, and the only way forward seems to be to seek out bigger experiences. Either that, or we give up.”