tiltbillings wrote:The issue with anxiety - what makes anxiety rather than fear is that its causes are not easily, if at all, apparent. What is more straightforward to paying attention, without comment, to what it is that is being felt in the very moment.
I've heard it suggested that all kinds of anxiety, including this kind of objectless anxiety, for which "its causes are not easily, if at all, apparent" are rooted in latent self-views. This makes sense to me. Rather than abandon attempts at finding the cause however and deferring to vedanapassana in order to improve the conative response to anxiety, I would be more inclined towards the utilisation of other techniques offered by the Satipatthana Sutta such as...
MN 10 wrote:"Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media? There is the case where he discerns the eye, he discerns forms, he discerns the fetter that arises dependent on both. He discerns how there is the arising of an unarisen fetter. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of a fetter once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of a fetter that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining sense media: ear, nose, tongue, body, & intellect.)
"In this way he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in & of themselves, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media.
In other words, discern the mind, discern the mind's forms, and discern the fetter that arises dependent on them both
And in response to the physical manifestations of anxiety, discern the body, discern the tactile sensations, and discern the fetter that arises dependent on them both
Vedanapassana, as defined in the Satipatthana Sutta, does not extend to discernment of the arisen fetter, but to fully understand anxiety, I believe such discernment to be an important element as it can help to deconstruct the latent self-views that underlie the experience of anxiety. A conative response involving equanimity might alleviate grosser forms of anxiety, but will not in itself raise awareness of the underlying tendencies which underlie the anxiety. Unless the anxiety is crippling and one cannot cope without relief, I'd recommend leveraging the experience of anxiety as a vehicle for insight - discerning the nature of the arising of dukkha, which respect to phassa
(i.e. contact between sensory experience and the notion of 'self'