Who is this person speaking to you right now? Is it David, the “I”, the ego, the self?
I think the answer lies in letting go of this affliction to quantify and label our own existence and importance.
Just examine how this “self” idea is the root of all suffering. You might conclude that there is in fact no option, or escape (nissarana) from this. But I disagree that we are stuck with this attachment and suffering (dukkha).
In this mornings meditation, I was feeling very peaceful and relaxed. As my mind created stories, I let them go. Once again realizing that without a story, there is no suffering.
Then after about 20 minutes, for no apparent reason, I was overwhelmed with anxiety. Oppressive, physical, mental dread was unbelievably powerful. There was no story attached, simply dread and despair. I could feel my physical body react in several ways. My breathing became labored to the point I had to open my mouth and gasp for more air. Then returning to my breath through the nostrils, I once again struggled to settle and relax my breathing. What in the World was going on here, I wondered.
But I fell back on my training, and simply observed the body and accepted what was happening.
Then, with no understanding of this arising, this feeling of anxiety and dread passed. Gently the breath returned and peace was present. Ah, the beauty of impermanence (anicca)!
My point in sharing this experience is to point out that none of us are in control of what we view as the self. There is a natural ebb and flow to our existence just like the ocean. And do we ever stop and wonder why a wave crests in the ocean? Of course not. And just like a large wave coming ashore may be frightening to witness, we cannot control or change that.
No amount of fear or anxiety will prevent nature from exerting its forces anymore than we can control the nature of this existence we see as “self”.
Becoming aware of this reality, finding the acceptance and wisdom in our dependent origination, is to gain true sympathetic joy (mudita).
That’s all for now from this little grain of sand.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.