The contrast to samsara, or confused existence, is nirvana, or peace. At this point, however, we don't have anything but samsara and little points of light that arise from the midst of darkness. Our first alternative to samsara is the practice of awareness or mindfulness, which brings us through the journey of the four noble truths. The practice of meditation seems to be the only way. We have to come back to becoming the Buddha. The third noble truth is very simple: nirvana is possible. Before you have complete cessation, you have to have a message that it is possible to have complete cessation. That message is like seeing a star in the middle of the sky on a new-moon night. Eventually, you are inspired by the crescent moon, the full moon, and then by the dawn—and finally you are inspired by the whole thing.
From "Awakening and Blossoming," in The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation, Page 67.