Ego death

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Ego death[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] is an experience[8][9][10][11][12] that makes known the illusory aspect[note 1] of the ego[note 2] (Ahamkara[note 3]), which can be experienced by individuals.

The occultic practice of ego death as "mystical experience"[13][14][6][15][16][17] variously overlaps with, but is distinct from, traditions concerning Buddhist enlightenment and Nirvana (in Buddhism), or Moksha[note 4] (in Hinduism and Jainism). These latter concepts are understood as transcendence of the notion of non-illusory ego[note 5] with which to experience death.[note 6]

Characterizations and perceptions[edit]


Ego death is characterized[note 7] as the perceived loss of boundaries between self and environment,[18][19] a sense of the loss of control,[20] personal agents, and cognitive-associations.[21][22][23] This re-organization, reidentification, and reinterpretation of boundaries between self and environment is experienced through sensations[note 8] of wholeness[note 9] 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 10] mental states (mental processes) including:[24][25][26][27][28]

Modern claims of ego death[edit]

Instances serving to illustrate the precept of experiential claims include those of Ramana Maharshi and U. G. Krishnamurti. Eckhart Tolle claims that he underwent the experience in 1977 after having suffered from long periods of suicidal depression.[29] He says he woke up in the middle of that night and thought,

I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void. I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved.

Tolle recalls going out for a walk in London the next morning, and finding that “everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful. Even the traffic".[29]

Psychedelic users[note 12] of psilocybin,[note 13] DMT, LSD, DXM, Ketamine 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.[30][31]

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. ^ Death--and after? By Annie Wood Besant
  2. ^ Death. By Maurice Maeterlimck
  3. ^ The Greatest Good of Mankind: Physical Or Spiritual Life. By William Wenzlick. p86
  4. ^ Lucifer, Volume 11. George Redway, 1893. p99
  5. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Death and Life in the Spirit-world, Volume 3. By John Reynolds Francis
  6. ^ a b Concepts of Monism. By A. Worsley. p101, p233
  7. ^ That Is That: Essays about True Nature. By Nirmal
  8. ^ The Adventure of Self-Discovery. By Stanislav Grof
  9. ^ Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research. By Stanislav Grof. p92
  10. ^ An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, Volume One: A-M, Volume 1. By Christina Pratt. p156
  11. ^ The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. By Timothy Leary, Ram Dass.
  12. ^ Synchronicity and Hitting-bottom. By Kaye Rossi. p96
  13. ^ Gleanings of a Mystic: A Series of Essays on Practical Mysticism. By Max Heindel.
  14. ^ Christianity as Mystical Fact: And the Mysteries of Antiquity. By Rudolf Steiner. p29
  15. ^ How to Make Perfection Appear. By Katharine Francis Pedrick. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company, 1919.
  16. ^ The Philosophy of Mysticism. By Edward Ingram Watkin.p129
  17. ^ The problem of knowledge. By Douglas Clyde Macintosh. p80
  18. ^ The Principles of Psychology, Volume 2. By William James. Macmillan, 1891.
  19. ^ Beyond the pleasure principle. By Sigmund Freud, C. J. M. Hubback. The International psycho-analytical press, 1922.
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ Rick E. Ingram. Toward an information-processing analysis of depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research October 1984, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 443-477.
  22. ^ Francine Shapiro, Louise Maxfield. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  23. ^ The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death
  24. ^ Altered States of Consciousness ARNOLD M. LUDWIG, MD Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(3):225-234. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730150001001.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ A Cyclopedia of Education, Volume 1. Edited by Paul Monroe. p614
  28. ^ Suggestion Instead of Medicine. By Charles Mason Barrows
  29. ^ a b 'Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers, by John W. Parker Sagewood Press, 2000.
  30. ^ DMT, Moses, and the Quest for Transcendence.
  31. ^ The Doors of Perception and Heaven & Hell. By Aldous Huxley. Chatto and Windus, 1968.
  1. ^ See also: Nondualism, Illusory conjunctions
  2. ^ "Ego" is a Latin and Greek (ἑγώ) word meaning "I", often used in English to mean the "self", "identity" or other related concepts.
  3. ^ In this concern the difference between dissolution of ahamkara, false ego which keeps soul conditioned in material world kapla after kalpa, life after life, birth after birth.
  4. ^ There is difference here in oneness of devotees, vaisnavas (in Krishna consciousness) and impersonality.
  5. ^ Or, false ego (fear, anxiety)
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ See also: Mathematical characterizations
  8. ^ Not necessarily through the sensory system.
  9. ^ And, therefore, there is no differentiation of "I" and "universe" (cosmos).
  10. ^ See also: philosophical affections
  11. ^ Examination and self-analysis of motives, convictions, and attitudes
  12. ^ Including, but not exclusively of, addicts
  13. ^ See also: Mystical experiences of psilocybin

External links[edit]