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How Often or How Rarely Does A Self-Transcending Experience Occur?

Syamala Hari


Almost always, the self is involved in our perception of the world, thinking, and actions, but it does momentarily step aside now and then. I describe below a few of my experiences of self-transcendence that seem quite ordinary with nothing mysterious about them and they are all of short duration. To explain how the self is present or not in an experience, I describe some properties characteristic of the self such as its sense of personal identity and ownership of action. Manifestation of these properties in an experience indicates the presence of the self and absence of these properties indicates its absence. In an act of observation, full attention paid to what is being observed seems to push every thought, including the self, out of the conscious mind and keep it fully occupied with the act of observation. A characteristic property of the self-transcendent state seems to be that one can only recognize such a state as being free from self, but one cannot prove that it is so because the outward effect of the state may be the same as that of an alternative state where the self is present.

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ISSN: 2153-8212