A UCLA alum friend of mine lives half-way across the world - we maintain a lengthy email back-and-forth, primarily filled with lofty philosophical musings. A good thing for the mind, I think.
He said in his latest email: "you've always struck me as someone who has a very firm and clear sense of self." I read this one evening, when the email came in. My groggy self thought "huh, I don't feel that way at all."
On further, more "sober" reflection, the statement has conjured some interesting thoughts about the nature and impression of "self". It's an interesting juxtaposition: I relish the idea of a fluid self, somehow embracing the idea that the lines drawn to define me are blurry and forever blending, permeating with my environment. With that ego-less flow (a feeling that I think is addressed by the wonder of traveling... a story that bears further explanation in another post) comes proximity to that thing/idea/space that sages have so long sought, that sparkling unknowable satori/nirvana/one-ness/nothingness... right?? And in such a way we become all things.
This permeability is a concept that I think is closer to the "truth" than any other perception of Ego that I've conjured.
So in this NO self space, comes the exterior semblance of solid self? Indeed this is the case - there is some sort of aura of self-confidence. Perhaps it's a lack of pre-occupation about what will or won't be.
Maybe my friend is right - perhaps a defining factor of "knowing who I am" is acceptance and excitement at that forever relative universal flow. Thus, creating this apparent paradox.
Let's step away from ME and talk more conceptually. Image an every-man observing the workings of a transcendent being. As he sees the clarity and calmness of the being, he sees what he seeks to become - as he still operates in the world of the Ego, this being must "have a very strong sense of self" to not let anything bother him in the slightest. The being wouldn't put it this way, but certainly the ultimate result is the same: a calm and clear meditative gaze.