There are many moments during the day when this “I” miraculously disappears. When we focus on work so rigorously that we lose track of ourselves or are so compelled by the beauty of nature that our humanness ceases to matter for a time, or when we consider the well-being of our child so thoroughly that our own needs disappear, we glimpse reality without the intervention of the “I” filter. Every night when we fall into a deep sleep, the “I” reference point vanishes as surely as the Earth turns away from the sun. Upon waking, we sometimes have to work to put the self back in place.
The self is neither solid nor fixed. Further, we see that when awareness is focused on something larger than the small self—a goal, beauty, or a desire to help others—our mood is happier and our energy freer. We feel less demanding, emotionally cramped, and frustrated. Indeed, all spiritual traditions remind us in their own way to seek a life beyond the self-centered perspective, to serve others, and to recognize all of reality as our True Self.
From Everything Is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Musho Hamilton, page 72