What is the self? Is there a higher self, a self free of egoism that called fully associated with a capital "S"? This article includes my thoughts on where the local self ends and where the Self may begin.
The self is commonly associated with the ego and reality as sensed through the five senses. There is also the concept of Self as something greater than this physical existence. Is there a connection between these two?
The Self is experienced as that part of ourselves that is transcendent from the mundane life experience (aka ego). It contributes to the ego experience but is not defined by the ego experience. A rough analogy would be the total sum of words available in the dictionary (the totality of Self) and the words you use everyday (ego). However, the Self extends beyond a single dictionary. In a larger analogy the Self would be an entire library of reference material outside of the day-to-day words and knowledge used. Can your mind grasp all of the knowledge present in even a small library? Do you deny that the knowledge present in the library does not exist because it is not present in your mind? If you cannot operate a machine, does this prove or disprove that a manual exists for the machine or that the machine can indeed be operated?
I string out this analogy because it approximates the relationship between the Self and ego. The Self is characterized as the all-knowing or other-knowing extension of ourselves. Self is NOT religious. Self is rarely seen directly. The most close we get to Self is in the spontaneous 'aha!'s that creativity produces. All of the personal history and randomness cannot account for the truly creative insights we have. The magic of 'seeing' beyond the five senses cannot be completely attributed to personal history and randomness. The creativity and other-knowing come from 'somewhere else'. Some people characterize this place as Self.
Some people only know of the Self because others have spoke of it. For others, the Self is directly experienced in those times of knowing and creativity outside of the realms of precursor experience and randomness. What is your own experience?