The following post will address the topic of ego death, which is when a person experiences a loss of identity and sense of self. Ego death can take place when you engage in meditation or psychedelic drug use, but it’s also possible to experience this phenomenon without taking any substances whatsoever!
What is ego death?
Ego death is a mystical experience in which you lose your sense of self. According to Jungian psychology, the ego is the part of your psyche that keeps track of what’s happening around you and makes decisions based on those observations. It’s like an internal narrator or “little voice” that sits inside your head, narrating what’s going on around you and guiding your actions.
Ego death occurs when this inner narrator stops talking, so that there is no longer any distinction between yourself and what is happening around you—you have become one with reality itself. The experience can be extremely liberating because it allows us to feel connected to others (and even nature) in a way that wasn’t possible before ego death took place; however, it can also be very scary because we suddenly feel lost without our normal sense of identity!
The philosophy of the ego
The ego is a concept in philosophy, psychology, and spirituality that refers to the idea of an individual mind or self. The term originates from the Latin word for “I” or “self” and it has been used to describe human consciousness as well as an independent entity. In psychology, the ego is considered one of several parts of the personality that work together to create one’s sense of being. In Buddhism and Hinduism (where it’s known as Atman), however, this concept is more closely linked with spiritual enlightenment—the idea of realizing our true selves on a metaphysical level by shedding false notions that keep us separate from others.
In general usage there are many definitions for ego death but they all share some common traits:
-An experience in which the ego is overwhelmed and dissolves -A state of being that is free from all distractions
-A feeling of oneness or unity with the universe
The nature of self
The self is a construct of the mind, which in turn is a construct of the brain.
The ego is an illusion that we create in order to feel safe, secure and in control. It helps us avoid pain by telling us stories about ourselves: “I am smart” or “I am successful” or “I am beautiful.” This can become a problem when these stories are not true, because then it becomes difficult for us to accept ourselves for who we really are instead of who we want to be (or think we should be).
Getting to know your ego
The ego is a part of the mind that helps you navigate the world. It’s your tool for survival, and it can be a hindrance or help depending on how you use it. The fact is, we all have egos because not having one would make us unable to function in society at all!
The ego is simply a defense mechanism; it protects us from getting hurt by others and gives us a sense of self-worth by allowing us to feel good about ourselves when we do something well (and feel bad when we don’t). Sometimes this works really well, but sometimes our egos take over and become destructive forces in our lives. We need our egos to survive in day-to-day life, but they often get in the way of doing what’s right for ourselves and others—especially if they make us feel like we’re better than others just because they’re different than us somehow (e.g., race/ethnicity).
Ego death and psychology
What is ego death?
Ego death is a state of mind in which the sense of self and other people fades away. It can be experienced as a profound sense of connectedness with the universe, often accompanied by euphoria and hallucinations. Ego death was once considered an essential aspect of spiritual enlightenment.
Ego death occurs when you realize that you are not your thoughts, feelings or experiences—you are separate from them. You begin to see yourself as just another human being on this planet trying to make sense out of life just like everybody else. You no longer feel separate from everything else around you; instead, it all seems part of some greater whole that includes every living thing on Earth (and perhaps beyond).
Altered states of consciousness and the dissolution of the ego
Altered states of consciousness (ASC) are a phenomenon known to occur with regularity in the lives of many spiritual practitioners. ASCs are ultimately understood to be an altered experience of reality, one which can be seen as being more “true” than consensus reality. The most common form of ASC is meditation, which involves focusing on one’s breath for extended periods of time.
A mystical experience is an altered state in which the ego dissolves, resulting in a sense that the individual has merged with something larger than themselves and become part of something greater than their personal identity. These experiences often result from psychoactive drugs or intense mental concentration; however, they can also be reached through transcendental meditation or any other method designed to induce them.
Ego death is a mystical experience where the sense of self disintegrates.
The ego is the sense of self, self identity or the “I”. Ego death is a mystical experience where the sense of self disintegrates. The experience is often described as a loss of the sense of self and an expansion into a space beyond human conception. The ego is dissolved, and you become one with all things.
This can be terrifying for some people; others may find it liberating. It’s important to remember that there are many different types of ego death (and not all are necessarily pleasant). Some are simply dissolutions into nothingness; others involve entering another world where there’s no perception at all—a state similar to dreaming while awake but without being able to move or talk (akin to catalepsy). Others still take place within worlds constructed entirely from your own perception, like lucid dreams.
Conversations trending in os.me community on ego death, ego and self respect
How can I have an experience of Ego death?
Is it the same consciousness in sleep and trance? After all, in both, you drop your ego. Not quite. In sleep, you have dormant awareness. You know you are not dead, you are only sleeping. If someone pours cold water on you, you will wake up immediately. In samadhi, you have dominating awareness. Your super-awareness is the single factor that allows you to maintain that transcendental meditative state. That is the primary difference: dormant versus dominating awareness. In sleep, it is your subconscious mind that dictates, whereas, in samadhi, it is the super-conscious state that prevails.
You can consciously choose to be a ‘nobody’, you can train yourself to go beyond labels. When others offer you negativity or criticism, you can remind yourself not to accept it.
Just like a drop of water that falls into the sea is a drop no more, it becomes the ocean. Similarly, while sleeping, there is no beginning, no end to you, your existence, your dreams. You are no longer restricted by the labels you use while awake. You go into this infinite space, your original nature, you see impossible dreams and experience them as real. As soon as you get up, your ego-consciousness rises to the surface and poof! your world of peace and dreams disappears like it never existed. Read further to understand samadhi or experience of ego death.
What is the difference between 'Ego' and 'Self Respect'?
Is Self Respect can be termed as “essential ego” in the society we live in? Ego is when you expect others to respect you…and you feel that you are more special than the others. Self respect is feeling good about yourself, not bothering about how others treat you. “Self respect” is very important to be happy and contented… If you don’t like and respect who you are, how can you be happy? Share your answer.
Relationship between dropping/reducing your ego and getting detached?
I have been reading on detachment, and thinking about it, and had a question for OS.me fellow travelers.
If one is working on reducing or dropping the Ego, in which way does it impact one becoming detached. Does it impact in a big way, small way?
One point I could think was – If I drop/reduce my Ego, I am not at the center of the world, and attachment needs a center. If there is nothing in the center, who will have attached, what will it attach to? Love to hear more thoughts. Share your answer.
How to balance ego and self esteem?
As with most things in life, there are also two sides to the ‘Ego coin’.
Most of the time, either ego raises its hood (e.g. we become arrogant or feel a sense of entitlement) or if ego gets crushed, it’s very easy to then switch to having a low self-esteem (e.g. believing one is good enough or doesn’t deserve certain things).
This change in ego spectrum may happen within a matter of minutes, days, months or years.
In my opinion, not listening to the mind and dropping thoughts as they come, are powerful methods. And so is tge attitude of humility.
Om Swami’s post titled “Are you important?” is very apt for this topic.
So, in a nutshell, what’s your trick to maintain this balance?
The balance between not having too much ego without allowing your self-esteem to drop so much that you lose confidence? Share your answer.
How to dissolve one's ego completely?
To dissolve one’s ego completely is a pursuit that foremost among seekers also struggle to achieve.
I do not know the answer but here is something that i can suggest which is a very slow but doable and incrementally rewarding process.
Everyday make a habit of sitting in front of the deity you love. It can also be your Guru or even some relative who you love most and who loves you despite all mistakes and never judges you. You decide one who is very dear to you and to whom you are also very dear. Close your eyes and start conversing with him/her as an update of what happened yesterday. You need not be loud. You can do this within, mentally.
Each day as you will rewind previous day, you will share the good, the bad as well as ugly. Just share it, no need to give explanations or think too much. Each time you share any egotistically driven act, you will be toning down your ego. At the end, just seek blessings saying that bless me so that i can be more sincere, more open, more humble and devoid of my ego and keep loving me. That’s all. Continuous practice of this exercise for a year should help you get more at peace with yourself. Then, the Lord will guide you. Share your answer
Do you have an experience of ego spell?
If you observe carefully, when you’re in ego, your gestures lose the humility; there’s a sense of assertion or resistance in your gestures; your hands or feet are propelled by energy of anger or pride that you’re a special being or the boss and can pounce on others.
Observe your face, feel its muscles, there’s no longer that childlike smile, that softness, that shyness and instead, a stiffness, a tightening of the muscles or a dead-like dryness has taken over, likely with wrinkles or contractions of anger or pride.
Observe your speech, it no longer has the politeness; the tenderness that cares. Rather, it’s either full of self-aggrandizing or scornful toward others. Read more
how do you see the world with the lens of spiritual ego?
Priti, a spiritual seeker, slightly sullen in the moment said, “they have Spiritual ego. They think they know it all and are spiritually superior to the rest of us. They only slap dictums and advice but are not ready to receive or value our inputs. Their behaviour oozes this ego.”
That was the first time I had heard of the term ‘Spiritual ego.’
“The world is not the same as yesterday, nor are the terminologies,” I said, and laughed to lighten up Priti, although instantly, I could understand her predicament.
The Smouldering pile of Spiritual ego
I am not adept at expounding on the subject of ‘ego’ or ‘spirituality’ leave aside ‘spiritual ego’ as it’s only for the spiritual masters to elaborate on, but here’s its crusty surface:
When one may think of themselves to be better, higher or superior to others in their spiritual journey, wisdom, knowledge of spiritual texts, practices, connections, experience and so on, they may be riding on ego. One may not even conspicuously know that they carry and demonstrate pre-eminence over others, and well may have a blind spot there, but it’s evident to the receiver of their disposition. Read more
My attempt to experience ego death
There are a few posts where I lean on scriptural evidence from Advaitha Vedanta or Buddhism to make my points. This post is not one of them. This post is based on pure experience and my learnings over this lifetime.
The source for this post is a beautiful question about the relationship between Ego and Detachment by my spiritual brother Ravi Trivedi. There comes a time in every Sadhak’s life when you are at the cusp of transformation. You can call it the Tipping point for a Sadhak.
You have two key indicators to identify a tipping point.
- A question or an idea comes to you, and you cannot get it out of your head.
You stay with an idea and refuse to accept an answer for it till you feel fully satisfied and your inner voice tells you that you have reached a conclusive answer.
- When you work on both these points, you gradually see a fundamental shift in your nature. Today my story could have been about my journey with lust or ego since these are the two main obstacles I had to deal with in my spiritual journey. Since Ravi asked a question on ego, I will focus on that today and leave lust for another day.
My First Brush With Ego
I clearly remember the first time someone called out my ego. In 2008, my boss, a wonderful lady, gave me some feedback. We were in a meeting room in my company’s corporate headquarters in Houston — Texas. Read this story.
Ego death is one of the most important mystical experiences. It can be frightening and confusing, but it also offers an opportunity for deep self-exploration. By understanding your ego and its relationship with reality, you can gain a deeper sense of what it means to be human.