There is only one thing that all twelve stages [of the Four Noble Truths] have in common — they all present a highly subjective experience without mention of self. They are all expressed as: “There is; it is to be; it has been.”
The unenlightened perspective surely is: “I am; I should; I have…” If I was a mathematician, I could probably draw up an equation based upon these data which concludes: “I am” = “unenlightenment.”
The description of the practice of the Four Noble Truths does not suggest a process of becoming enlightened. It seems that a particular viewpoint is sustained, and understanding arises through it. The viewpoint is a focus upon dukkha [suffering/ stress] in an objective, dispassionate way. …This leads to a most powerful insight because it reveals that dukkha is structured, created and not absolute, and therefore possible to be dismantled or not created.
Ajahn Sucitto, The Dawn of the Dhamma