When I was a teenager, I had a party at my house. We had been drinking, then everyone went to bed. Feeling serene (and not a little drunk), I decided it was a good idea to go out on the roof and watch the sunrise. It was around dawn, so there was a lot of dew on the roof, but my drunken judgment said I would be fine if I held on to the window.
Less than one step out the window, I slipped and lost my grip on the window. The next moment I was sliding down the steep slanted roof towards the edge, and there was nothing to be done. Off the edge I flew, and into the garden below (it was about 14 feet?). I landed just a few feet from a tree on one side, the porch on the other side, and a soapstone patio in front. I landed on my front, with my neck sideways.
Never mind the fact that I might have hurt my neck (and might still be suffering the consequences), I was basically fine after a brief blacked-out period.
But I might as well have died, I came pretty close. I went on to do some more stupid stuff, and came close to dying a few more times in my teenage years. Somehow I escaped, nearly unscathed. Then I went to work and took it too seriously, until I decided I'd die if I kept that up. But I managed to escape that one too, I think.
So maybe I'm living on borrowed time anyhow. How can I take my life so damn seriously when I'm already dead? When I was in the gym the other day, the thought occurred to me that the obvious way out of the mess I'm in right now is to quit focusing on myself. Thoughts about myself, and how my life is supposed to be, and what I want or think I need, these are from my ego and they're what cause the pain.
If I let go of my ego, love is there. That's not actually painful, just intense and crying out to be expressed. The path is then: (1) stop selfing, (2) let love out. Piece of cake?