Great! How do I experience that?
Well, it's incredibly difficult, but also really easy. And if you try to do it, you can't do it, so stop trying so hard, and then you might do it without realizing it.
Sigh... this is why I don't write about Zen.
As my friend, Rev. Bryan Clark (whom I've interviewed here in the past), told me when I asked him this question, stepping back into a place of no self would be incredibly easy if it wasn't for our immutable humanness. By our very nature, we think, plan, organize, try, analyze, muse, do, fail, build, and destroy. All of these are very self-oriented things, and it takes away from experiencing what we all yearn to experience: a place of no yearning.
Bryan paraphrased an old Alan Watts story for me. Watts asked someone why they got into meditation, and the person responded that they were seeking peace of mind. Watts asked them why and they responded "because I don’t have a peaceful mind."
Watts asked: "if you had peace of mind you’d stop seeking after it?"
The person responded: "Of course."
So Watts said: "If the key variable around peace of mind is that seeking after it goes along with not having it and not seeking after it goes along with having it then stop seeking after it."
This is what distinguishes Zen meditation for me. In most forms, we go in with a plan. Sure, the plan may be only to follow the breath or repeat a mantra, but it's still a plan. Something to do.
Zen tells us that there is no doing and no trying. There is only letting go and nothing to gain. We just sit and live within that paradox that we are trying to do something that involves not trying, seeking to be a way that resists all seekers. And so, knowing we are existing in that paradox, we just sit.