Transcendence and the Intact Self

It is not necessarily selfhood we wish to transcend, but negative self-consciousness—the neuroses, the anxieties, the mundane. One can be transcendent and self at the same time. It is the focus that must be broadened or shifted for release.

When I took opium for the first time, the pleasure, (oh the exquisite pleasure!), was not in being out of my self, but that my corporeal self had been relieved of every pain, every slightest ache. Because of this, I was more my self than I ever had been, though, in the case of opium, for me, the transcendence of it was entirely in the body, in the feeling, in the physical sensation.

I remember standing naked in my dark basement bedroom listening to “Comfortably Numb” as sung by Van Morrison. I swayed and arched my back. I raised my arms to feel the many heavens. I let my fingers glide through them like they would glide through the silky mane of my gilded god. It was the orgasm in the air. It was my mortal body, uncoiled. And still, I was my self and more my self—and more and more.

I see the goal of the mystic as an experience like that which is not only transcendent of the body, but also the perception, while yet keeping self intact.


In response to: 

“The urge to transcend self-conscious selfhood is, as I have said, a principal appetite of the soul.” -Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

About M. Ashley

Essayist and poet, my work has been rejected by some of the finest journals in America. Fortunately, it also gets accepted from time to time and has appeared in equally fine journals such as Word Riot, Inlandia, Brew City Magazine, and SageWoman among others.. In 2002, I was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize for Vanderbilt University. For no good reason, I possess an unnecessarily dark humor which is why being third generation California Inland Empirian delights me so. My gods are weird. I once received $350 for writing a smartassed essay on “why the wise use of water is important in my daily life”. I am undoubtedly the Greek god Hermes’ special snowflake. I’m pretty sure I got into college via a series of fortuitous clerical errors. When I had to grow up and get a real job, I decided against it and stayed a writer. I have worked many odd—and I mean odd—jobs to support my habit: Commercial writer for country music hopefuls, resume massager, WalMart fitting room attendant and switchboard operator, telephone psychic.
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