In samsara we continually try to get away from pain by seeking pleasure, and in doing so, we just keep going around and around. I’m so hot I open all the windows, and then I’m so cold I put on a sweater. Then it itches, so I put cream on my arms, and then that’s sticky, so I go take a bath, and on and on. I’m lonely, so I get married, and then I’m always fighting with my husband or my wife, so I start another love affair, and then my wife or husband threatens to leave me and I’m caught in the confusion of what to do next.
We are always trying to get out of the boiling pot into some kind of coolness, always trying to escape and therefore never really fully settling down and appreciating. That’s called samsara. In other words, somehow we have this preference for occurrence, so we’re always working in that framework of trying to get comfortable through political beliefs and philosophies and religions and everything, trying to gain pleasure in all that occurs.
From The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chödrön, page 75