This was to the point of becoming almost unbearable.
One night I woke up in the middle of the night, as I had many times before, in a state of even more intense dread and fear.
The mind had lots of reasons why I was feeling fearful, and yet that state was continuous no matter what my external situation was. It became so unbearable that suddenly the thought occurred to me, "I cannot live with myself any longer." That thought was the trigger for a transformation.
The thought kept repeating itself many times in my head and then suddenly there was a stepping back from the thought and a looking at the thought. I asked, "Who is the 'I' and who is the self that I cannot live with?"
In Zen they have koans and it's almost as if a koan spontaneously appeared in my mind. A koan's purpose is to destroy conceptual thinking because it has no answer on a conceptual level. So, I asked, "Who is the self that I cannot live with? Are there one or two? If I cannot live with my self, who is that self?"
And then, beyond thought, there was a recognition of the "unhappy me," as I later called it, as being something completely non-substantial and fictional. Then consciousness withdrew completely from identification with that "unhappy me." At that moment the whole structure of the "unhappy me" and its pain collapsed because the withdrawal of identification was so complete.
What was left was simply beingness or presence. There was still a moment of fear. It felt like being drawn into a hole within myself, a vast whirlpool, and a realization arose in my chest, "Resist nothing." That was the key. Then resistance was relinquished and I don't know what happened after that.
All I do know is that the next morning I woke up and even before opening my eyes I heard the sounds of birds and it was so precious; everything was so precious. Then I opened my eyes and everything was alive and new and fresh as if I had never seen it before. And I walked around and picked up things and looked at them.
I was amazed at everything. There was no understanding of it. I was not even trying to understand anything. It was just so beautiful. Then I walked around the city in the same state, even in the midst of traffic. I was in a state of amazement and it was all so beautiful.