Does your ego get in the way, displaying power and controlling nonsense? What if you could end its tricks for good?
Yes, you could.
It’s called ego death, one of the most transcendental experiences to pursue. Also known as ego dissolution, it can transform everything you’ve known to be you as a person. It can transform your entire life.
But what is it exactly?
To experience ego death intentionally (with no living beings harmed), here’s a list of things to have ego death explained by Mindvalley’s spirituality authors — Dr. Michael Beckwith, Jeffrey Allen, Sadhguru, Dawson Church, and Ken Wilber:
- What Is Ego Death?
- How to Experience Ego Death?
- How Long Does Ego Death Last?
- What Happens After Ego Death?
- Ego-Death Afterlife
After all, we have been living with ego for too long. And at this point of evolution, we need to transcend it so that it no longer serves as our primary guidance system.
What Is Ego Death?
Ego means your conscious mind, a.k.a. your ‘self.’ Therefore, ego death means dissolving your sense of identity.
Simply put, it implies that you no longer identify yourself with what you know to be you, including your beliefs, opinions, and ideologies, as you have them now.
You can also view it as ego transcendence or higher consciousness awakening, as you transcend your unique self and move towards the Universe (Source, Higher Power, Ground of Being).
But why would one want to pursue ego dissolution and lose their sense of identity?
It boils down to three polarizing approaches to an ego death:
- The spiritual approach postulates that you must eliminate your ego entirely to become free and fully experience unity consciousness.
- Western psychology views ego as one’s individual self. So you have to strengthen the ego to become fulfilled as a human being.
- Mystic traditions say you’re one with the entire Ground of Being. You need to rediscover this prior and true reality by finding the ultimate Oneness that unites your organism with all of the Universe.
According to Ken Wilber, American philosopher and trainer of Mindvalley’s The Integral Life Quest, each of these approaches represent a paradigm that can’t handle the reality of the other.
“Spiritual approach excludes the possibility of the illusion caused by the shadow aspect of your persona. And psychoanalysis denies the unity consciousness experience as something beyond individual perception,” he adds.
So should you pursue ego death or strengthen it?
It is entirely up to you as there is no one ultimately true answer to this question. And whatever you choose for yourself, you want to make room for everything else.
How to Experience Ego Death
There are a few ways to induce this experience. Essentially, whatever puts you into altered states of consciousness can help you dissolve your ego.
Perhaps, one of the most common ways you can experience ego death is during psychedelic trips. Studies show that psychedelics, indeed, strongly correlate with ego dissolution.
Here are a few other methods to consider:
- Astral projection
- Lucid dreaming
- Reading spiritual texts
All these techniques allow you to have a transcendental feeling of oneness with the Universe. This sense of unity can’t co-exist with your ego, limited to one individualized self.
In other words, your ego separates you from others. Its death entails not only your interconnectedness with all there is but also the inclusion of other people.
What does ego death feel like?
It feels like you are tiny in the grand scheme of things. You suddenly realize you are just a speck of dust in a mighty Universe with countless Galaxies.
As opposed to living from an ego space that feels like the world revolves around you, ego death demolishes that feeling.
Your ego wants to be important. And at the same time, it makes you play smaller than your true potential.— Jeffrey Allen, energy healer and trainer of Mindvalley’s Unlocking Transcendence Quest
When you transcend your ego, you feel small but significant enough to play as big as possible to unlock your transcendent potential.
This sense of smallness is very expansive as it expands your perception of self beyond your life, even the planet you dwell on. It’s as if the entire Universe is living and breathing through every cell of your being.
You no longer feel separated from the divine. On the contrary, you feel one with the Creator and all creations.
How to achieve ego death through meditation
Meditation is a spiritual practice of going within. It’s when you are still and present that you can experience elevated states of consciousness.
According to the research of Dawson Church, founder of the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare in the U.S. and trainer of Mindvalley’s Mystic Brain Quest, when you meditate, your ego shuts down.
Scientifically speaking, the ego is the part of your brain that ruminates over negative thoughts and fears. It’s called the Default Mode Network.
Studies of Tibetan monks showed that meditation induces gamma brainwaves which feel like bliss, creativity, inspiration, integration, and oneness.
One of the most powerful meditations to achieve spiritual ego death is Isha Kriya, a spiritual practice taught by Sadhguru, Indian yogi guru and trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
‘Isha’ means the source of creation and ‘Kriya,’ internal action.
The meditation is very simple: you repeat in your mind, “I am not the body. I am not even the mind,” following your breathing for 12 minutes.
How to do it:
- Sit in a cross-legged posture, with your spine comfortable erect. If needed, use a backrest, but no headrest.
- Doing the kriya facing east offers extra benefits.
- Keep your hands upon your thighs, with your palms facing upwards.
- With your face slightly upturned, eyes closed, keep a soft focus between your eyebrows.
- Inhale and exhale gently, slowly.
- With each inhalation, mentally say to yourself: “I am not the body.” The inhalation should last for the whole duration of that thought.
- With each exhalation, mentally say to yourself: “I am not even the mind.” The exhalation should last for the whole duration of that thought
- Repeat this for 7-11 minutes.
- Utter the sound ‘Ah’ seven times with mouth wide open, exhaling fully into each sound. Do it loud enough to feel the vibration of the sound. The sound should come from below the navel.
- Sit for 5-6 minutes with a slightly upturned face, and keep a soft focus between your eyebrows.
The total time of this practice is between 12-18 minutes. You can sit longer if you wish.
Try this Isha Kriya Meditation guided by Sadguru:
How Long Does Ego Death Last?
It depends on the ego. But jokes aside, it varies from person to person, depending on the ego-death-inducing tool or practice.
In ego death, one realizes that their ego, and its ideals, do not define the self. Objective awareness is born, and removal of the self from the ego becomes something attainable.
Let’s clear this: ego death is a complete loss of subjective self-identity.
It’s absolutely imperative to note that although ego death insinuates a killing of the ego, what happens here is simply a loss of being subjected to its ‘power’ over you.
It means that it’s not an instant experience. It’s a part of spiritual awakening and a process in itself of diluting the ego’s power over you.
What Happens After Ego Death?
According to Dr. Michael Beckwith, internationally renowned spiritual teacher and trainer of Mindvalley’s Life Visioning Mastery Quest, when you transcend your ego, you desire for everyone to have success, joy, happiness, health, and abundance.
This desire feels like a burning aspiration to serve others more than yourself.
He explains that when the ego dominates our perception and actions, the emphasis is on ‘me,’ ‘my,’ and ‘mine.’ Living from the ego place is also known as narcissism, greed, and stinginess.
On the contrary, living without ego is based on unity, love, and generosity, and these divine qualities begin to govern your perception and actions.
It sounds counterintuitive, but ego death implies less fear. It doesn’t mean you get rid of fear once and forever. Instead, you transmute it into excitement, awe, and enthusiasm.
So if you lost your zest for life, chances are, your ego is to blame. And paradoxically, ego death can bring you back to life.
Is there life after ego death? Sure, there is, and it’s brighter than it was before. As Michael Beckwith puts it, you begin to see life as it is — eternal and unaltered by your experiences and perceptions of it.
He calls this life ‘channeler consciousness,’ a stage when you aren’t using your ego to manifest what you want. Instead, you surrender to the divine to express itself fully and completely.
As mentioned before, ego death is a process. And you can start this process by joining Michael on his Life Envisioning Mastery Quest.
There are a plethora of other spiritual quests available on Mindvalley to assist your spiritual growth and evolution, from Unlocking Transcendence with Jeffrey Allen to A Yogi’s Guide To Joy with Sadhguru.
Ready to be born again and live from the higher consciousness?