So we can ask now, what is attachment itself? First of all, you’ll need to see that all of your suffering, especially emotional suffering, is because of these attachments. If you’re attached to anything there is suffering for fear of loss of it. If you have something, you’re afraid of losing it; if you don’t have it you are frustrated... and suffering the absence. There is no rest or peace because something always has to be done to keep the desired object there. This frustration, this attachment is the essence of suffering. Directly feeling this attachment itself reveals it for the suffering and hell it is. It even feels like fire and brimstone—hot and irritating, caustic. It is the source of suffering because it is pure frustration, pure pain, pure dissatisfaction, pure nongratification, pure anguish. We have called this state negative merging because though what you want is true merging, what you get is negative merging.
Negative merging is not really merging; rather, it is two trying to be one while still maintaining twoness. Since this can never happen, there is always frustration. When I say that the negative merging, or the attachment, is hell, it doesn’t mean that freedom from it is heaven. We think of heaven as pure nonsuffering, peace, rest, comfort, gratification, fulfillment. All of these things are what we call essence. However, if you are attached to essence, what do you increase? Not heaven—you accumulate hell. We cannot try to free ourselves from hell in order to go to heaven. What we need is to objectively understand the root of this vicious cycle of attachment. We need to see the basis of all this suffering for what it is. When attachment itself is experienced without the object of attachment, without attention to what you want to have and want to hold on to, when the sensation itself is felt, it is experienced as deep anguish, totally intolerable. We normally avoid this experience by not focusing on it; whenever you are attached you are in this suffering but you don’t know it. So the obvious question arises: what can we do about it? But where is this question coming from? From our attachment to pleasure, our wanting to avoid pain and frustration. But this is the very nature of attachment, the very source of all desires, the Ouroboros eating its tail.
AH Almaas Diamond Heart Book 2