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