Death of Ego

“The main objective of psychedelic therapy is to create optimal conditions for the subject to experience the ego death and the subsequent transcendence into the so-called psychedelic peak experience. It is an ecstatic state, characterized by the loss of boundaries between the subject and the objective world, with ensuing feelings of unity with other people, nature, the entire Universe, and God. In most instances this experience is contentless and is accompanied by visions of brilliant white or golden light, rainbow spectra or elaborate designs resembling peacock feathers. It can, however, be associated with archetypal figurative visions of deities or divine personages from various cultural frameworks. LSD subjects give various descriptions of this condition, based on their educational background and intellectual orientation. They speak about cosmic unity, unio mystica, mysterium tremendum, cosmic consciousness, union with God, Atman-Brahman union, Samadhi, satori, moksha, or the harmony of the spheres.”

Quoted from Stan Grof, in History of LSD Therapy.

There are many other descriptions of ego death, in fact the term Ego Death is misleading, because nothing dies in this  process of enormous process of growth, instead it is a huge enlargement, a massive shift of our ideas and experience of who and what we are. The history of those who obviously have experienced this enlightened state, does not show that their experience of themselves has disappeared, it has been transformed.

Here is a description from the book Myself and I by Constance Newland – Real name Thelma Mossthe story of a woman courageously exploring her life problems.

“Once again I found myself submerging into the sparkling black which was no longer buzzing, nor frightening, but filled with pinpoints of light . . . and I was dissolving into those pinpoints of light… yes, I was dissolving out of the matter which was my body into the energy of those pinpoints of light which grew brighter and brighter, obliterating the blackness and becoming a light which was All Energy.

I dissolved into the Nothing which is Everything.

Transcendence.

In the transcendence, revelation:

There was no climactic moment of release. There was no shattering or explosion. There was only further expansion and further fulfillment. It was as if I had become the expanding universe, spreading further and further in every direction, and through the universe of Me there flowed a mighty force, the Life Force, which was like an inexhaustible fountain of fire or air or water, a fountain of eternal replenishment.”

Where was the death in that. She later returned to academia in the mid-1960s, studying at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and interning at the Wadsworth Veterans Hospital; she earned her Ph.D. in psychology from UCLA and became a professor at the same institution. For a time in the 1970s she led UCLA’s parapsychology laboratory (while it existed). She explored a wide range of specific subjects in parapsychology (hypnosis, ghosts, levitation, alternative medicine), though her research on Kirlian photography was the most significant theme in her work for the remainder of her career. She made several trips to the Soviet Union to explore Russian work in the field, and wrote two books on that and related subjects, plus lesser works.

Where was the death in all of that – not a death but a transformation.

Here are more peoples experiences:

Another person describes it by saying, ‘I was sitting opposite someone during an enlightenment intensive workshop. We had been posing the question for days – “Who are you?” Suddenly I realised that it was a silly question, because I was the answer. All thought stopped and I existed as the answer. My being had always been this. In this state there was an awareness of being connected with everything around me, in the beginning of creation. This was the first day.

While in the state of simple existence I was able to observe many things I am usually not aware of. For instance while I simply existed, my usual pattern of behaviour and thought went through contortions to be the centre of attention again. I could see them almost like habits, systems, that have life, like a body does, and they were dying and twitching in their death throes. Also I saw that I knew that all thought is like a mimic, so all our thinking is like photocopies, without any real life. Also as I saw this I had an image of a monkey that was actually my normal thinking self running alongside my every motion and trying to mimic it. It was almost as if as I as a person walked along, another mechanical person ran alongside trying to keep up and mimicking everything I did in an attempt to be alive and real. Yet thought can never be life.’

Another person says, ‘Unexpectedly everything changed and my fundamental self was something that existed throughout all time. It didn’t have a beginning or end. There was no goal to achieve. I am.

I am a wave on a shoreless sea.
From no beginning
I travel to no goal,
Making my movements stillness.
Constantly I am arriving
And departing,
Being born and dying.
I am always with you
And yet have never been.’

Slightly different but still the same enlightenment. ‘Everything seemed to slip away and I felt as if I melted back into the primal being of the universe. It didn’t seem as if my ego was gone, just melted into everything else. It was blissful.’

See Enlightenment

 

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