Prologue: Bertrand Russell used the term “unselfing:” to describe the practice of going outside of yourself, your needs, and your present situation to connect with others and with things greater than oneself, in Russell’s case, the wonders of science, mathematics, and the universe. This led to a meditation on “unselfing.” For Christians, it seems particularly appropriate during Lent. I also believe that it fits the Ramadan fast for Muslims.
My “SELF” is me.
Imagine my “self” as a hot air balloon,
With many heavy rocks attached to it by ropes,
Anchoring it firmly to the ground.
The balloon is my spirit.
The rocks are my own concerns, needs, wishes, worries, desires, preoccupations,
Preconceived notions, prejudices, fears, and worries about things that will never happen.
If I am in this balloon and look down
That is all that I see,
If I look up, however,
I see the infinite sky.
And I know that if I cut the ropes to the rocks weighing me down
The balloon will soar and I will see new panoramas.
I will see others.
I will see the place I had been from a loftier height,
And see how small it is.
Cut the ropes to your own petty concerns,
Moving higher, toward visions beyond myself,
Toward things greater than the “self” where I am,
My spirit will rise beyond the self that weighs me down.
And as I rise and soar,
What was once large becomes small,
My heart expands beyond me to embrace others,
And what was small in my spirit,
Becomes greater as it rises.