The Tibetan Buddhists say that the purpose of meditation is to 'be ourselves'. Self is a mystery. Be that as it may, the task is for me to arrive at the fullness of who I am.
As modern people we get a very small view of ourselves and proceed to live in our own self-imposed small world. The path of meditation leads me to a universe largely unknown to myself, where my personhood can be seen as vast, empty, and boundless. There is a depth of being and a brightness of mind that surpasses all boundaries. The discovery of that (experientially) doesn't make living in the world impossible but plausible. I do not have to cram life into my small thinking--of expectations and judgments.
With this kind of endless awareness and unconditional viewpoint, I have stumbled into the discovery of the 'joyful mind.' This precious human life becomes a revelation--The gift of myself arrives through meditation (both on and off the cushion). Mindfully being with the notion of an unlimited self allows me to see where I hold back. Where I do not want to open.
When I am willing to let go of 'who I thought I was', I find myself invited into the moment of letting go. When I am willing to die to self (letting go of all preconceived notions of me) something very different begins to unfold. As the process continues and deepens, my fabricated sense of self, can be seen as something I hold on to. I come face to face with my fears and concepts of myself (that are not working) and am, again, invited to let go.
There is a definite gritty nature to this journey; this journey no different from any of the ancient mystery schools and religions. For me, this meditative path is one of the places in the present culture where this journey of what I can be: is real. This journey, ever unfolding, is well worth the ride.