Bill, Mike, Mayka, JM and All, does this below look kosher to you?
"Q. Zen emphasizes a kind of selflessness, or self-transcendence. Why is
this desirable, and why so difficult to achieve?
Let's take your last question first. It is difficult to escape from the
lifelong habits of our many-sided self.
This is because some of our egocentricities are not only innate, but are
habit-patterns that have hardened ever since we were infants.
It is very difficult to reverse any conditioned behaviors that have had
such a long head start.
Zen and the Brain discusses a way to represent -- as a psychological
construct -- this complex we refer to as "self." For shorthand purposes
of description, one may think of this "self" in terms of its three
interactive components: I , Me, and Mine.
Unfortunately, it takes years to fully realize that this triad combines
liabilities with assets. True, this I-Me-Mine complex does confer
survival value on each person.
But many dark, unfruitful aspects also inhabit the triad. The I is
arrogant; the Me feels besieged; the Mine is captured by its greedy
impulses. The result generates much anguish and impairs our performance.
Before I started Zen training, I could never have imagined how it would
feel to lose the "self." Nor could I have then foreseen how much this
fact of experience implies for our scientific understanding of
Only after I underwent two different kinds of alternate state
experiences -- one more superficial and one at a deeper level -- would
it become obvious: each event had peeled off different layers of my
A term, internal absorption, describes the first, shallower category of
such experiences. It briefly dissolves the sense of the physical self.
In contrast, the later variety reflects a deeper penetration, an
"awakening" to insight-wisdom. It is also known as kensho-satori in the
Zen tradition. In this category of experiences, the sense of one's
psychic self dissolves.
A gardener might recognize this process as reminiscent of a kind of
"pruning." Why? Because during this particular "awakening," many
unfruitful aspects of the triad are seen to drop off.
Thereafter the person finally starts to become liberated from old,
maladaptive conditioned responses.
Source: James H. Austin, M.D. discusses Zen and the Brain )