from Awareness by Anthony De Mello . . .
Notice, you’ve got “I” observing “me.” This is an interesting phenomenon that has never ceased to cause wonder to philosophers, mystics, scientists, psychologists, that the “I” can observe “me.” When you’re caught up in labels, you caught up with “me” not “I”. Consider, what value do these labels have, as far as the “I” is concerned? “I” is none of these things. “Me” is all of them. So when you step out of yourself and observe “me,” you no longer identify with “me.”
Now consider this: Suffering exists in “me,” so when you identify “I” with “me,” suffering begins.
Say that you are afraid or desirous or anxious. When “I” does not identify with money, or name, or nationality, or persons, or friends, or any quality, the “I” is never threatened. It can be very active, but it isn’t threatened.
Think of anything that caused or is causing you pain or worry or anxiety.
First, can you pick up the desire under that suffering, that there’s something you desire very keenly or else you wouldn’t be suffering. What is that desire?
Second, it isn’t simply a desire; there’s an identification there. You have somehow said to yourself, “The well-being of ‘I,’ almost the existence of
‘I,’ is tied up with this desire.”
All suffering is caused by my identifying myself with something, whether that something is within me or outside of me.