Some modern philosophers (Heidegger, Kierkegaard) have argued that existential anxiety proceeds from being unconscious of, or inadequately conscious of, death. True, I think, but I wonder if the emphasis might be placed differently, shifted from unconscious reaction to unrealized action: that is, our anxiety is less the mind shielding itself from death than the spirit’s need to be. It is as if each of us were always hearing some strange, complicated music in the background of our lives, music that, so long as it remains in the background, is not simply distracting but manifestly unpleasant , because it demands the attention we are giving to other things . It is not hard to hear this music , but it is very difficult to learn to hear it as music.
Wiman, Christian (2013-04-02). My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (p. 90). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.