Mysticism in all the spiritual traditions including the now well researched Buddhist psychology, argue that the apex of human potential, known by many terms such as enlightenment, union with God, nondual awareness, involves the deconstruction of the conventional sense of self.
Seen as the endpoint of training, the Tibetan Buddhist term for such an accomplished practitioner is “bodhisattva” (byang chub sems dpa), translated as “hero of the enlightened mind”. This “self-less” or nondual way of experiencing and relating to the world, leads to the perception of oneness or connectedness to people and surroundings.
This experience goes well beyond the conventional goals of clinical mindfulness and the common parameters of subjective well-being. Along with an experience of a non-defined sense of self (space, awareness or no self), the higher-order goal or operating principle of all activity is not for one’s own benefit alone, but for the benefit of all sentient beings.
There is increasing evidence in the fields of mindfulness and neuroscience that training in this nondual awareness, results in an individual who is both fully functional, selflessly altruistic and experiences an unshakable well-being, independent of the status of life domains. Furthermore, it is proposed that this type of training over time can radically increase mental and physical abilities typically reserved for superheroes.
If so, this expands our understanding of the upper limits of human potential for well-being, self-lessness, and special abilities, beyond the expected norms of human behaviour. If such practices are specifically designed to create selfless individuals with superhero abilities, this has particular relevance to the scientific study of heroism. As such the researchers of heroism science may indeed be ideally positioned to identify and teach the skills needed to create an enlightened society.