About Ego Death
“Can you dissolve your ego? Can you abandon the idea of self and other? Can you relinquish the notions of male and female, short and long, life and death? Can you let go of all these dualities and embrace the Tao without skepticism or panic? If so, you can reach the heart of the Integral Oneness.”
~ Lao Tzu
Thank you for reading my long story about meditation. Although it doesn’t bring us any closer to the understanding of how to achieve spiritual enlightenment, I believe that reaching the cessation of the thought is a good start for everyone. Once you grasp the depth of your misperception about the true nature of your mind, your life turns into a continuous quest to destroy your ignorance.
Fortunately, meditation is not the only method of obtaining spiritual insights. There is another way to experience ego death. In order to glimpse what a state of the full ego death might feel like one may consider resorting to the use of psychedelic substances.
I know what you might be thinking right now: “Oh boy… A junkie is lecturing me on spirituality!” That reaction is understandable. Denial is a natural response of the thinking mind whose natural inclination is to criticize and repel potentially hostile ideas. It’s ok. Considering the existing preconceptions about drugs and people who take them, I don’t mind being judged as long as my message has a chance to get through.
We all have to rely on thinking to process new information analytically and critically. However, what I write here is meant not only for the “I” that thinks but also for the “I” that is witnessing that the thinking occurs at this very moment. I understand that the methods I bring to your attention here may seem eccentric, but nonetheless in good hands they still can be put to good use.
What follows next is my humble attempt to explain what happens when you experience an ego death. This section comes with a disclaimer: I disadvise the use of psychedelic substances for recreational purposes and suggest seeing them only as an instrument of spiritual development. Psychedelics are not for all people, and not everyone will be able to derive benefit from them.
Also, keep in mind that what I write here is solely my perspective and won’t be true for everyone reading this. Without your own experience everything you are about to read, no matter how relatable it might feel, will make little or no sense to you.
To start, let’s look through some terminology.
The psychedelic experience is what is called “a trip”. If you never had a trip, the first and the most important thing to know about the trip is that if you think that you are not ready for it, you are not ready. You should try it only when you feel fearless toward what your subconsciousness might reveal.
I am aware that after reading this section there will be plenty of enthusiasts willing to experiment, so please remember that it is you who will deal with the consequences of your choice. I am not accepting any responsibility for anyone’s decision to take psychedelics.
If you made up your mind, there are two things you should know prior to the trip: set and setting.
Set is your mental attitude before you enter the trip. I repeat, do not approach psychedelic experience as a form of recreation. Although a trip can be a very fun experience, its purpose is not to have fun. You should approach the trip with a mindset of a truth seeker.
You embark on a trip to resolve the unresolved and untangle the tangled inside your soul. Psych yourself up for diving into the deep of your subconsciousness with a purpose to gain insights into the nature of your mind and acquire knowledge that will help you to become a better, happier, and a more fulfilled human being. Those who enter the trip just for laughs, indeed laugh but come back to this reality empty-handed. However, those who enter the trip searching for wisdom, return transformed.
The second thing you need to take care of while planning your trip is your Setting: the environment of the place where you trip. The first aspect of the setting is people. If you decided to trip with friends choose those whom you trust wholeheartedly. Bear in mind that any emotion you’ll feel during the trip will be amplified ten-fold. If someone triggers a negative emotion in you, it may grow into a full-sized panic attack, a so-called “bad trip”.
The second aspect of the setting is your surroundings. Do it on nature — confined spaces will limit the intensity of the trip. Your perception will be dialed to 11 so make sure all the external conditions are taken care of as they will very much define the level of your spiritual comfort.
I have experiences taking LSD, DOB, psilocybin mushrooms, and some other synthetic analogs of psilocybin. The experiences were somewhat different but fundamentally similar in effect. The experience will depend on the substance and the dosage, but it will also heavily depend on the set and the setting.
I am not including any trip reports here. Trip reports won’t be of help to you. If you are interested, you can find plenty of them on the Internet. I can only say that I never had bad trips and that my every trip was intense. Every session my understanding of the world and myself was expanding with an explosion of consciousness and each and every time I returned transformed. The driving force behind that transformation was a very unique experience — that what people call the ego-death.
I understand that grasping the notion of the ego-death is impossible without experiencing it partially or completely yourself. Nonetheless, I will make an attempt to explain it.
Partial ego-death is a state in which your ego — your perception of self as a person starts to dissolve. Memories of the past and mental projections of the future begin to fade away becoming less and less relatable. The awareness of your identity is still there but it is greatly weakened so that you almost forget who you are — you forget about your plans, duties, and worries. It’s a state of an exquisite presence in the moment.
As the trip reaches the plateau you enter a stable state of extreme sensitivity. In a normal state, your brain filters off a huge part of incoming information discarding the irrelevant. In a “tripping” state, however, this filter shuts down turning your brain into an absorbing machine — your mind is flooded by the flow of incoming information from the outer world.
With a temporarily compromised filter you experience a perceptual phenomenon that is similar to synesthesia. You close your eyes, and you are able to “see” the sounds. Every acoustic wave resonates in your head causing a cascade of exploding visuals. At the peak state, the music of the world teleports you through the magnificent sceneries in a vast multiverse. You get so overwhelmed by the feeling of indescribable beauty that you want to cry and to laugh but not being able to do both you remain speechless trying to cling on to the last traces of your self-identity and not entirely sink in bliss.
The first experience of the ego dissolution may be confusing. Many first-timers feel anxious — they worry that an ability to think straight may not return. However, the weakened ego should be telling you that the state of hyper-perception is impermanent, and that you will fall back to your “normal” full-ego state. Those who go through repetitive psychedelic experiences learn how to block fear and embrace the distorted state of consciousness.
Full ego death is a state when you completely lose the sense of identity. You forget who you are, the judgment filter disappears, there is no room for contemplation — you transform into a pure perception. In a sense, you begin to see the world like a newborn child. To think about it in a more philosophical way, the moment you are born is precisely the moment of a full ego death: a moment of no ego, a complete absence of self-identity. Your innate egoless state subsists until your mind is mature enough to associate your first memory with the concept of self.
The term “ego” doesn’t necessarily have to take on a negative connotation. It is merely a mental construction comprised of thoughts, memories, and feelings about self. By all means, ego is nothing but an illusion, but even illusions serve their purpose. In a way, ego is like a reflection in the mirror: you need to stare at it and examine it long enough to eventually recognize the fact that there is an entity that observes the reflection in the first place. The detection of the unchangeable within wouldn’t be possible without a fluid changeable subject of observation. That is where the psychedelics come in.
Psychedelic substances remove the subject. They induce that partial or full dissolution of the ego. It is only when all notions of self die away that we may gain an insight into what remains behind, and that is the true purpose of the trip. To put it otherwise:
A psychedelic experience is a crash course on what it feels like to be an awakened egoless being.
Taking the expressway is not exactly a breeze so this route may seem too extreme for most people. I believe that as the French say, à la guerre comme à la guerre — all is fair in war, especially when that war is the war for your soul. However, it is a choice everyone must make himself.
I risked turning the habitual order of things in my mind upside down knowing that there is no way back to the established mode of thinking and I’ve never regretted that decision. The experience of the nonego state gave me more than I could have expected — it served as a confirmation that indeed through the right path the ego can be destroyed.
It is crucial to understand what the right path is. Once a man acquires the taste for the freedom from all ideas of self, he must not fall into a deep sleep of an addict who grows in his dependence on substances in desire to relive the awakening experience. On the contrary, he must opt for the life of abstinence and spiritual work that would gradually bring him closer to becoming that egoless entity he once had a chance to witness. He must strive to be that entity on a permanent basis: unconditionally and irreversibly. A man who dares to dive into the ocean of his subconsciousness to satisfy his curiosity must be ready to take on the responsibility to implement the answers he longs for.
The spiritual purpose of a man is to become a fearless being that can stare in the face of death unshakeable and unflinching. This can only be achieved by reaching a new level of consciousness: by becoming a “naked” being — a being that has nothing to lose, a soul with no attachments — an ego executioner.
Consider meditation to be your assassination weapon. Consistent practice drags the illusory nature of the ego into the light and by doing that slowly erodes it. As you progress on the path your ability to detect the voice of the “I-thought” will become stronger — it will change the way you act and react to people and external events. You will notice that the power to renounce the illusion of the false ego grows stronger as well.
Meditation is a long and hard way to ego-death for those who chose to live guided by the principles of self-control and spiritual growth. It is like pushing a rock up on a steep hill knowing that the top exists but without claiming to reach it any time soon. Psychedelics are the cheat code. It is a portal to instant ego death. The effect is impermanent and contingent.
Do not mistake psychedelic substances for a shortcut to enlightenment as there is no such thing. Using them as a tool of spiritual education is possible but it will do more harm than good to a shallow, unstable mind. Psychedelics can reveal the path but the path can be recognized only by those who look for it in the first place. To put it otherwise in the words of Ayn Rand:
“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.”
With that being said, I believe that every person on the planet must experience the state of ego death one way or another. The sooner it happens the better it is for both individual and collective good.
The day of the ego death is the day of your true birthday — that is the day when you realize who you truly are and that is the day you finally start living.
May we all succeed in the disassociation from ego and find the inner peace that will bring us all closer to the planetary awakening. That is the ultimate purpose we shall strive for, all as one.
Our freedom is in our own hands.
Thank you for reading my book “Meditations of the Millennial”.
If you want to support me on my mission, please, share this book with someone you love. Maybe they will find what they seek on its pages.