Today I heard Sam Harris say something interesting, yet rather obvious, in a dialog with Loch Kelly on Harris' Waking Up app.
Basically, Harris said that no one should feel proud of having become selfless through their meditation, because they never had a self to begin with.
The self is a mirage. So teaches Buddhism, and so teaches modern neuroscience. It's akin to the illusion of seeing water ahead on a hot desert road. When you get closer, you realize there's no water there at all. It's a mirage.
I've written quite a bit about the illusion of a self. It's common in some religions, being manifested as the illusion of an enduring soul rather than the equal illusion of an enduring self.
Hinduism falls prey to this illusion. So does Christianity. By and large, Buddhism doesn't. Nor does Taoism. Here's some of my blog posts on this subject.
Self, no-self...what's the difference?
We humans have selfhood without a self
Not-self a teaching of Buddhism, not Hinduism
The self as illusion
Self/Soul is evolution's trick to make us think "I'm important!"
Spiritual illusions are as deceptive as worldly illusions
I also liked how Harris spoke about the importance of making everyday life the touchstone, or test, of whether you're gaining more equanimity through meditation or some other spiritual practice.
He said that back when he actually had to be someplace at a particular time, before the COVID era did away with a lot of traveling, at times he would get irritated when he was late. Then he'd do something unthinkingly, like break a glass while putting it in the sink. Having to clean the mess up would make him even later. And more irritated.
It's easy to have an inflated sense of spiritual progress when you feel all calm and one with the cosmos while sitting cross-legged on a cushion in the morning with no stressors acting on you.
If you can feel that way when things are going to shit in your life, that's a much stronger sign that your meditation is having some positive effects.