A strong case can be made that an 'unselfish' act is not an act where the self is not selfish, but the self is simply not present, so un-self-ish. That is, we can have moments, at least, where doing is manifesting without doing arising from a sense of self. The same case can be made regarding 'selfless' acts: so, self-less, less than a self, which is, ironically, so much more than anything the self claims to be able to do.
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She looked at me, and her beloved looked, too, "We liked you from the first day we met you," with a smile and husband affirming her confession. I stood, not knowing what to say, so simply said, "Thanks," returning the smile. This was blessing.
Reflecting on this expression of appreciation, there was recollection of a contrast from two days before. I recalled a deluge of fifteen text messages, while I was on the phone with a dear, long-time friend out-of-state. Apparently, the sender had come to conclusions that led to what appeared an emotional outbreak, a raging, that seemed to judge both my spiritual practice of quietness and me, including sarcasm and finding the tirade quite funny. I simply responded with a kind reply, before deleting the messages and the reply. I can only assume this person was trying to hurt me, in some sense, due to him or her being hurt inside, in a way I do not know. This tirade of messages was cursing, regardless of justifications that always come with such emotional outrage. That is, even if I had hurt this person in some way - and if it were so, it was not intentional-, the response was still a cursing of person and spiritual way.
Rather than analyze what happened on these two different occasions, as to the others involved, after providing the context, it is more helpful to avoid such, and move to response. With both, blessing and cursing, there was no sense of attachment arising in reply - that is, there was only observation - or seeing, knowing - and conscious response, after reflection: so, no reaction, only response. Why? For without experience of self, or person, or individual, when being blessed or cursed, there is no room for a personal response, for person is not there to respond. The response simply is a Doing of unnameable Grace, or Spirit. Self is absent, but as long as self is present to reply, there will always be reaction, even if to a positive, or something liked: that is, a positive response is always a reaction, when arising from self. Self pulls everything to itself, regardless of self rejecting or accepting. This keeps self in an illusory control; literally, convinces the self the self is. Self even pulls "God" to it, but always contorted somewhat into the image of self.
After over twenty-five years of contemplative practice, and now that dropping in the last years - that is, I can no longer call what is done in a so-called spiritual 'practice' as contemplative, spiritual, practice, or anything really -, I find more and more has happened 'inside me' or 'with me' that there is no understanding of. It seems the 'self' is simply another creation of mind. That is, if we tried to prove a self, we could only speak of a process, not a substantive reality. - We know the self is in and out of existence, or process, during sleep. We all have moments out of sleep, likewise, when no sense of self is present, such as when we psychologically blank out for a short time. And, then, most of us have undergone anesthesia. Where does the self go in these times? No-where, for if the self were a substantive reality inside us or the mind, we could not lose what persons call self-consciousness, for a substantive reality is a stable, consistent reality, or reality cannot become un-reality (i.e., un-real). - Then, ironically and surprisingly, the crucifixion, or transcendence, or transformation of self awakens the native knowing - not knowing about, knowing - that self is not a self, at all. Yes, there is presence, as well as experience in the spaciousness of presence, but presence and experience in themselves do not necessarily equal a self, or person (i.e. personality). There is no longer even a sense of True Self or Higher Self. What IS is indicated in the great religions, and in the religion I am associated with, Christianity, but largely overlooked or pulled back down into the understanding of self being a self. But there comes losing of the 'self-focus' that wills to speak of such things freely, and this may be why so few have spoken in-depth about this. We could say "God," at some point, calls attention to "God," as so many persons of more conservative religion like to do. The attachment to "God" may itself evidence the strength of self, however, rather than absence of self or even absence of centrality of self. Anyway, in the above happenings, there was a sense arising of blessing and cursing having no where to stick, so to speak; there was only hearing, or seeing, and response, but not personal response. Any response devoid of personal is devoid of self. Possibly, later, I could talk about this more clearly, but for now, there is a restful content that does not even arise from what some call "Union with God," for even there self, or person, claims union with God: that is, 'with' remains, so self claims the Union. The same is true of saying "I am One with you" or "We are One"; 'with' remains, so self objectifies the other or others.
Does this mean I claim living without a self? No. Yet, I am claiming I am not a self, though self, or self-as-process, I do not deny comes and goes. I am not sure we are meant to live without a sense of self in this life. Some claim a 'no-self' state of being, but I surmise, after readings for decades from over time and world cultures, this is reliant on assignment of meaning to 'self' by a culture or by a person - such as different meaning assigned 'self' by Buddhists and Hindus, where semantics appear the difference in "no-self" (Buddhist) and "Self" (Hindu) teachings. Anyway, potentially, the self is simply an aspect of experience that can be transformed from centrality where all, even "God," is taken consciously or not to serve it, into service to another Center, the Center, so to speak. Possibly, and this I conclude, Spirit is beyond both self and no-self, and as Spirit manifests more through us, we become until growing beyond the duality of self and no-self, even as "God" becomes for us That-That-Is beyond "God" and "no-God." Could this innate call to nonduality be a reason great sages teach as so important Silence?
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The Sacred in Me bows to the Sacred in You