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Thread: The concept of "Ego Death"

  1. #1

    Default The concept of "Ego Death"

    Ego death is essentially the loss of your concept of self. It is a stage in meditation, where you essentially destroy your ego, the "I, me, myself" and normally opens a gateway to inner peace.

    I am curious as to how one experiences ego death. All I know it is an abstract concept and is usually achieved through a form of meditation.

    Is there anyone here who has experienced ego death or is curious about the process as well?

  2. #2

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    I used to meditate when in college and several years after. As I recall, I had to go to a place where I was no longer aware of myself. It was a somewhat euphoric high. It took a while to achieve. Nothing like that happens quickly. Sometimes I would have the Beethoven string quartets playing in the background. You kind of have to erase your consciousness, making a conscious effort to wipe everything away from your conscious awareness.

  3. #3
    acorn

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    Any time I ever tried that meditation malarkey, I was always awoken by the sound of my own snoring. In the end, I gave it up as a lost cause.

  4. #4

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    This happened to me once much by accident about a year and a half ago. It put me into a state of, let's say, observant amusement, for about a month straight.

    I wrote about when it happened in a blog post. I'll quote that.



    Quote Originally Posted by Frogsy
    The last time it happened I remember I was playing a video game. It was one of those MMO's where you can play with people from all over the world. Except in my case, I had trouble finding a guild, and whenever I typed a greeting or sent a group invitation to someone, I never got a response. So, turning into a ghost in this virtual world seemed to make neural fireworks go off in my brain. I felt something wash over me like a cold ocean wave, and I looked away from the monitor.

    Nothing in my house was familiar any longer. I saw everything in a new light, or maybe in a new darkness. The cup of tea beside me that I'd drunk from a thousand times looked like it was the first time I'd seen it. It wasn't my cup, anymore. The computer mouse felt awkward and too small under my hand. When I stepped outside, the mountains looked like cardboard cutouts like you'd see in the backdrops of plays. The trees looked like they were made of plastic.

    Then all at once everything became realer than real. I could sense every crag in the mountains, and I could feel the life pouring from the trees. It was like I could see the whole universe in a dance, from the tiny squiggling hypothetical strings to the biggest galaxies. Everything moved all together exactly the way it was always meant to be. And I was a part of it, too. It didn't make me feel either important or unimportant, but I knew I was a part of something.
    After this event, of which I'd experienced a few other times before but never so randomly, I experienced another event about two nights later. And maybe it was that time, the second time so soon after the first one, that made something just snap or... dissolve.

    I had been reading a book, I stepped away from it, and I had a sudden bout of existential crisis. Again, it seemed a bit random, although if it helps the book I had been reading destroyed my hypothesis that true quantum random indicated the possibility of human free will.

    Anyway, everything seemed pointless, I seemed pointless, all of life seemed pointless, and even the universe did. But something triggered again in my head (self-preservation?) that snapped it the complete other way around, where everything had meaning, everything had a point. From single-celled organisms on up, it was all special and beautiful. I had a point, but only as a part of something bigger.

    I didn't feel like me, like contained inside my flesh and bones. I didn't feel solid, anymore. I felt like I could sense all the space between the atoms that made me up. There no longer seemed like there was a boundary between what I consider me, and the universe as a whole. Then nothing else had boundaries either. I kept picturing closeups of things, blurred edges, electrons whizzing all over the place. And there weren't boundaries anymore. If you look close enough, it's just so hard to say where something starts and something ends.

    And then after this, my thoughts went blurry, too. I started to see beyond them. It was like another layer of metacognition. I understood a lot of my fallacious ways of thinking, I saw my thoughts as more of a congress of (often opposing and hypocritical) ideas, blended up with social beliefs and my life experiences - rather than a totally logical system worked out by one person. I saw my own ability to, strangely, disagree with myself. And I thought, you know, who is disagreeing with who? They are thoughts - they aren't me. My thoughts aren't me! And these cells that make up my body, they die, they regrow, they change all the time - so even the body isn't me. I have all different cells than when I was a baby. What... am I? I felt like someone erased the chalkboard that was me. It was gone. The concept I had of myself, the world, and my place in it, were all gone at once.

    Then, after this, came about one solid month of quiet amusement. And, let me tell you, everything seemed amusing. Not like you'd laugh out loud, but you'd smile a lot. I was pretty content. Not manic, not excited and giggling, but just very peaceful. Words and ideas that used to hurt my feelings, no longer had an impact on me. A lot of times, it just seemed nonsensical. All I could see, whenever negatives words were slung at me, was the quiet sadness behind the mask of the person hurting me. I could only see their pain, and felt no pain of my own. But often I would attempt to ease their suffering that caused their negativity towards me. Because I didn't exactly feel disconnected from humanity - I felt like I was right smack in the middle of it. I felt like everyone was. Life seemed like a big breathing mass, all together. I was in there, neck-deep in humanity, but also observing it like an outsider, at the same time.

    I stopped worrying about things. Worrying was for the future, anyway. And I stopped getting depressed about stuff - because depression is a thing of the past. I lived very much in the present moment. When I cleaned, it was to make my present moment nicer. It had little to do with the future. When I showered, it was because in the present moment, I felt dirty and wanted to fix that up. I slept when I was tired, I ate when I was hungry. I spent a weird amount of time just staring at pretty things, like sunsets, or water droplets. I hardly ever felt bored. I felt glad to be alive, witnessing life, being inside it. At the same time, though grateful for life, I had little fear of death.

    I'm not sure what brought me out of the ego death state. I think it was just my brain that did it - with all the chemicals and mechanisms that makes people have an ego in the first place - it recreated mine. I feel like I disintegrated in that time, and that I am a better person now because of it. But I have to admit, the ego death state was a better place, and if I could flick that switch again, I'd do it. Just typing it all out halfway flicked that switch. I have a feeling I'll be staring at the sunset tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Ryanboo

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    As a Buddhist I have studied and experienced (to some degree) ego death through meditation. Ego death begins when you decide look beyond yourself and come to the realization that we are all just small pieces one greater existence. There is no way it can be explained well in words. From my limited knowledge and experience with it I can tell you it comes with an overwhelming sense of well being(no worries). If you want to come to this realization I would recommend some basic meditation. All you need to do it just sit still and observe your thought processes, try quieting them without fighting them off. Awareness of the way you think is the first step towards any sort of realization that would bring you to 'ego death'.

  6. #6

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    one by one, to rid your self of all the thoughts, feelings, emotions, worries, pleasures, needs of the flesh you live in.... every distraction that comes between you and being able to hear your own inner-mind/spirit speck to you.

    not that these distractions don't exist for you any more, but that you no longer need to control them as you have/had before. and not just these, but the people around you as well. your body will still go on existing in the world and you will do the things that you did before... well, most of them. but with each new passing day, rather than adding complexity to your life's connectivity with the world; you would simplify your connectivity to it to a point where your motivations in everyday life started to become clear, simple, and more easily understood by yourself. to where you were no longer being controlled by your life, but simply lived in some harmony with life.....

    from that point, a person might be ready to choose a life-style of contemplation, meditation and or prayer.... through which with much effort one might become at peace with their ego. something not easily achieved, let-alone maintained....

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyTak View Post
    Is there anyone here who has experienced ego death or is curious about the process as well?
    I can't address your questions about what it's like because I haven't experienced this yet, but I'm definitely intriqued by it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Frogsy View Post
    This happened to me once much by accident about a year and a half ago. It put me into a state of, let's say, observant amusement, for about a month straight.
    ...

    I didn't feel like me, like contained inside my flesh and bones. I didn't feel solid, anymore. I felt like I could sense all the space between the atoms that made me up. There no longer seemed like there was a boundary between what I consider me, and the universe as a whole. Then nothing else had boundaries either. I kept picturing closeups of things, blurred edges, electrons whizzing all over the place. And there weren't boundaries anymore. If you look close enough, it's just so hard to say where something starts and something ends.
    Sounds like you are describing the classic enlightenment experience I've read about. You mention an interest in quantum theory and in your description of your experience you sometimes talk in terms of atomic structure. I'm curious if you think your previous interests flavored your experience, or is it just in attempting to describe it that you rely on concepts you are familiar with?

  8. #8
    Ryanboo

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    If you come to the realization that we as individuals are all subject to constant change, that is if you realize that there is no constant you or self, ego death becomes foreseeable. You are no different than the other constantly changing energies that manifest existence as a whole. In fact you are one with them.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Sounds like you are describing the classic enlightenment experience I've read about. You mention an interest in quantum theory and in your description of your experience you sometimes talk in terms of atomic structure. I'm curious if you think your previous interests flavored your experience, or is it just in attempting to describe it that you rely on concepts you are familiar with?
    It might be possible that my interest in quantum theory propelled a lot of this. I had just recently finished A Brief History of Time, and other books more specific on quantum theory. It probably helped in that it made me see that things are not what they appear, even on a more physical tangible level. That could have opened the door for this, absolutely.

  10. #10

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    I've been interested in Buddhism and reading about it since 2007 when I read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse but only in the last 3/4 months have I started to really delve deep into it. Having said that I haven't got even slightly near into what Frogsy mentioned which sounds pretty close to what enlightnment is supposed to be and seems amazing the way he spoke about it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Frogsy View Post
    It might be possible that my interest in quantum theory propelled a lot of this. I had just recently finished A Brief History of Time, and other books more specific on quantum theory. It probably helped in that it made me see that things are not what they appear, even on a more physical tangible level. That could have opened the door for this, absolutely.
    I'm curious besides the interest in quantum theory have you ever meditate before it happen?

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