It is here in this space between feeling and craving that the battle will be fought which will determine whether bondage will continue indefinitely into the future or whether it will be replaced by enlightenment and liberation. For if instead of yielding to craving, to the driving thirst for pleasure, if a person contemplates with mindfulness and awareness the nature of feelings and understands these feelings as they are, then that person can prevent craving from crystallising and solidifying.
The liberation [of Nirvana is] a liberation from perpetual rebirth, a liberation that will fully kick in at the end of this life cycle. But it is also liberation in the here and now, liberation from the suffering that tanha brings – liberation from the craving to capture pleasant feelings and to escape unpleasant feelings, liberation from the persistent desire for things to be different than they are.
Mindfulness involves, among other things, cultivating an awareness of your feelings that fundamentally changes your relationship to them. It can, if practised rigorously, let you experience feelings with a kind of dispassion or ‘non-attachment’ – neither struggling uncomfortably to escape the ‘bad’ feelings nor trying, desperately and futilely, to hang on to the ‘good’ feelings.
— Read more from Robert Wright at Aeon.co