In the context of modern psychology, the ego can be described through three components: self-image (a person’s view of themself), self-esteem (the value they place on themselves), and self-identity (all those things and events that you identify with). Through this filter, we evaluate our reality. This filter affects our thoughts in the present and our memories.
The ego can be viewed as a gatekeeper that determines which stimulus or thought activity to allow in. Many times, only those thoughts that conform to our self-image are allowed in.
During our formative years, we develop a DMN (Default Mode Network). The DMN acts as a sort of “reducing valve,” only letting in sensory input that fits with our self-image. Our self-esteem is at stake. This can result in cognitive bias. These cognitive boundaries can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. But how does one escape the ego?
There are several ways to achieve ego death, among them are deep meditation, childbirth, a near-death experience, or the use of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin. Of these, the use of a psychedelic drug is the quickest way to achieve the death of the ego, but it is important to dose carefully and accurately, and do the work required with the help of an experienced integration therapist.
Death of the Ego
Ego death can be described in two ways. One way to analyze it is psychological. From this perspective, ego death is a temporary transformation of the psyche as it shifts from a self-centred perspective to an unbiased perspective. This new outlook is unclouded by the lens of duality (perceiving two opposing forces or things). This disruption of boundaries results in the blurring between self-representation and object-representation. Another way to describe ego death is from a scientific standpoint. In this way, we see the death of the ego as the result of dampened activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN). This can act as a reset or rewiring of your brain’s network, affecting thought patterns. Doing things differently produces different results.
So, the unbiased reality of ego death results in openness and empathy. It reveals where our egos have lied to us because of biased reality. A new reality of oneness and selflessness can now emerge and thrive.
Awakening from the Ego
The death of the ego frequently results in oneness or connectedness with the world. For many this is like leaving their life behind and making new connections, enabling a new perspective on the world around them. Many times, this shift results in a greater appreciation of nature and other people. They go beyond the physical or material domain of existence.
The death of the ego also involves the death of dualistic perception. Instead of being the center of the universe, you are now only one small speck in the universe. This can be a peaceful perspective.
Instead of the concept of death, it is possible to see this transformation as a sort of rebirth. The continued awareness beyond the ego tracks back to concepts developed by ancient philosophers. When everything that we associate with our identity is gone, consciousness remains. A new perspective that transcends the fear of loss can be achieved.
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