Almost everything in modern culture conspires to make me believe what I, metaphysically speaking, am not and cannot be.
I am not the solid, objectified body, the physical body that I mistakenly take myself to be.
When a cut runs across the arm, I mistakenly believe and feel that it is I that is injured. But that is incorrect. The skin of the body is injured. I abide as I am.
More corrosive in this respect is modern Western medicine. The “mechanical philosophy” brought in train by the new science of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries created the new understanding of the body as matter and motion. Therefore, even or especially today when one goes to see a Western doctor, one may feel that it is not the body that is undergoing X or Y. No, it is I that is undergoing X or Y.
Neuroticism is a natural attitude of someone who takes oneself to be a body. For the body is born, faces threats to its integrity each day, and undoubtedly shall perish. The body is finite and, to a degree, fragile. If I am the body, then my destiny is that of the body’s. I am finite and fragile. Ergo, mustn’t I be vigilant? Mustn’t I fear injury and death? Mustn’t I be cautious in all things? Mustn’t I keep looking after my health? Mustn’t I have all my health insurance current?
Oh, no no no. Consider right now the possibility that I am not the body but rather that the body is a vehicle, function, or instrument for me. If I am not the body nor am I in the body, then consider the further possibility that the body is in me.
Why does any of this matter? Because fear of death, which cannot be denied by the I-am-the-body thought and feeling, can only dissolve once it’s understood that I cannot be what the modern world presumes I must be. If I come to this felt understanding, then in time I cease to act out its dramas and my miseries.