Ego death

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Ego death is an experience of mentally 'dying' (or reaching the end of time/end of the world/going permanently insane, etc.) in an altered state of consciousness. This phenomenon (feeling as if one has died) is observed quite commonly in psychedelic trip reports.

The occultic practice of ego death as "mystical experience"[1][2][3][4][5][6] variously overlaps with, but is distinct from, traditions concerning Buddhist enlightenment and Nirvana (in Buddhism), or Moksha[note 1] (in Hinduism and Jainism). These latter concepts are understood as transcendence of the notion of non-illusory ego[note 2] with which to experience death.[note 3]

Characterizations and perceptions[edit]


Ego death is characterized[note 4] as the perceived loss of boundaries between self and environment,[7][8] a sense of the loss of control,[9] personal agency, and cognitive-associations.[10][11][12] This re-organization, reidentification, and reinterpretation of boundaries between self and environment is experienced through sensations[note 5] of wholeness[note 6] or by refutation of the "I".

According to Stanislav Grof, "Ego death means an irreversible end to one's philosophical identification with what Alan Watts called skin-encapsulated ego."

Methods and experiences[edit]

Various methods, practices, and experiences may affect[note 7] mental states (mental processes) including:[13][14][15][16][17]

Modern claims of ego death[edit]

Instances serving to illustrate the precept of experiential claims include those of the Indian spiritual teacher Ramana Maharshi and the philosopher U. G. Krishnamurti. Spiritual writer Eckhart Tolle claims that he underwent the experience in 1977 after having suffered from long periods of suicidal depression.[18] He says he woke up in the middle of that night and thought,

Tolle recalls going out for a walk in London the next morning, and finding that “everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful. Even the traffic".[18]

Users[note 9] of the Psychedelics psilocybin,[note 10] DMT, LSD, DXM, Ketamine, Methoxetamine, or 2C-P report experiences of ego death along with other mystical experiences common with psychedelic substances. Studies of psychedelics report subjective observations of dying and mortality, transcendence, and expansion of consciousness.[19][20]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  • Grof, Stanislav (1988), The Adventure of Self-Discovery: I : Dimensions of Consciousness : II : New Perspectives in Psychotherapy, SUNY Press 
  1. ^ Gleanings of a Mystic: A Series of Essays on Practical Mysticism. By Max Heindel.
  2. ^ Christianity as Mystical Fact: And the Mysteries of Antiquity. By Rudolf Steiner. p29
  3. ^ Concepts of Monism. By Arthington Worsley. p101, p233
  4. ^ "The Practical Mystic; Or, How to Make Perfection Appear - Primary Source Edition: Katharine Francis Pedrick: 9781287816898: Books". 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  5. ^ The Philosophy of Mysticism. By Edward Ingram Watkin.p129
  6. ^ The problem of knowledge. By Douglas Clyde Macintosh. p80
  7. ^ The Principles of Psychology, Volume 2. By William James. Macmillan, 1891.
  8. ^ Beyond the pleasure principle. By Sigmund Freud, C. J. M. Hubback. The International psycho-analytical press, 1922.
  9. ^ Moving Beyond Deliberative Control of Impulses. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02372.x Psychological Science July 2009 vol. 20 no. 7 799-804
  10. ^ Rick E. Ingram. Toward an information-processing analysis of depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research October 1984, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 443-477.
  11. ^ Francine Shapiro, Louise Maxfield. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  12. ^ "The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death". Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  13. ^ Altered States of Consciousness ARNOLD M. LUDWIG, MD Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(3):225-234. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730150001001.
  14. ^ Individual and Group Decision Making: Current Issues. Sherolyn Converse, "Shared mental models in expert team decision making". Edited by N. John Castellan. Psychology Press, Feb 1, 2013.
  15. ^ Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. By Antoine Lutz, Lawrence L. Greischar, Nancy B. Rawlings, Matthieu Ricard, and Richard J. Davidson
  16. ^ A Cyclopedia of Education, Volume 1. Edited by Paul Monroe. p614
  17. ^ Suggestion Instead of Medicine. By Charles Mason Barrows
  18. ^ a b 'Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers, by John W. Parker Sagewood Press, 2000.
  19. ^ "DMT, Moses, and the Quest for Transcendence". Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  20. ^ The Doors of Perception and Heaven & Hell. By Aldous Huxley. Chatto and Windus, 1968.
  1. ^ There is difference here in oneness of devotees, vaisnavas (in Krishna consciousness) and impersonality.
  2. ^ Or, false ego (fear, anxiety)
  3. ^ In spiritual world and associate with other devotees of Bhagavan Krishna (expanded as Paramatmas, Vishnus, Narayanas), ego death is the cessation of material desires and impersonal liberation.
  4. ^ See also: Mathematical characterizations
  5. ^ Not necessarily through the sensory system.
  6. ^ And, therefore, there is no differentiation of "I" and "universe" (cosmos).
  7. ^ See also: philosophical affections
  8. ^ Examination and self-analysis of motives, convictions, and attitudes
  9. ^ Including, but not exclusively, addicts (Reference of studies which show any form of addiction to psychedelic chemicals?)
  10. ^ See also: Mystical experiences of psilocybin

External links[edit]