Overcoming Anxiety

Our intent to live a life of benefit to other living beings is often hindered by the anxieties that accompany a mind still not fully settled. Swept along by circumstances, we generate endless thoughts of good and evil, gain and loss, love and hate. This is the nature of samsara - our ordinary existence marked by an unending flow of dualistic thoughts in a mind out of contact with its own essence. The swirl of thoughts pulls us one way and then another, exhausting both body and mind. With our attention constantly directed toward outside matters we’re left inwardly anxious and depleted.
The deep angst that results from this way of being can only be resolved through the “merit of the Buddha,” to use the words of the Vimalakirti Sutra. The Buddha referred to here is not something outside ourselves, but is the inner truth, the essence of wisdom,that is immanent in each of us. However,this opening cannot be attained through mere conceptual thinking, but must be fostered through the practice of zazen.
With the settling of the body, the breathing, and the mind comes a more fully open awareness. Continuing in this way, the inner energy gradually accumulates, just like a balloon slowly inflating. Finally the lower abdomen feels fully expanded, and the entire body, to the very pores of the skin, is infused with vital energy. 
This upwelling vitality steadily replaces any melancholy brought on by our various anxieties, and fills us with a sense of hope and possibility.This is the profound flavor of zazen. To taste it we must remain utterly simple and open—the moment we deliberately try to create it, it is gone. If, however, we carefully attend to each and every breath then our consciousness naturally ripens. Our innate desire to contribute to the well being of society is stimulated, and we’refilled with the energy to accomplish this. Our true aspiration is not for personal happiness but for the liberation of all humankind.

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