Have you experienced it? When, and how? How often do you think you experience it?
My ego has led me astray & dragged me down and I thought for a time I needed to kill it, but found you cant half kill yourself.
However it has also shown me heaven. I wouldn’t have met half the amazing people I now call friends or lived the blessed life I have without it.
Now I’m more aware of it I embrace my ego as a part of who I am and really enjoy the moments I catch it trying to lead me astray, or egging me on to be just that little bit more daring.
I experienced something i’d feel comfortable calling ego death.
It started out with an afternoon of recreational psychedelics (Cannabis and nitrous oxide). Basically there was a feeling of contraction and layers of my identity began burning off. One after another mental constructs of how i viewed myself, how i wanted others to view me, how i suspected (but denied) others really did view me lifted away. It wasn’t physically painful, but the sense of “I am” dissolved too fast to adapt. It was scary. I thought i was dying. Technically “i” was dying.
What remained can’t be put into words. I’m sure the description i’d give is nothing different than what you could find in the writings of Huxley and Stan Grof. A poet or a mystic is better suited to convey the state of awareness that remained. Carl Sagan once said we are a way for the cosmos to know itself. That feels like an appropriate way to describe it all. Everything was light and “i” was pure awareness and love.
It was unexpected and i’ve dedicated the last 4 years to figuring out if it’s possible to get back there (without chemicals).
i don`t think that it is possible to live in our current society without having an identity, so i would not eliminate the ego, i would rather get to know it and steer it towards a free, sincere and altogether more virtuous conduct.
,,People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates,, ~Thomas Szasz
I killed my ego twice. By leaving the life I was living. Sounds weird but totally true.
I lived in new brunswick canada and started building a life and when I felt like something was missing, I took a risky chance and gave away and sold alot of my stuff, Went out west. Started living, felt lost, so left. Now I’m nova scotia and 3rd times the charm I tell yah!
EGO- The illusion I have of myself right now I could not have made a better man, Though I’ll always wonder what ALL my opitions are I’ll just continue to act with the new heart that I have shaped. That’s my ego shift
Well maybe its a matter of belief or just plain opinion but my definition of killing something means its dead, gone, buried, finished, finito, fucked, fried and just plain not here anymore.
You purport to have ‘killed’ your ego yet you still live illusory lives no matter what you’ve done in the past or sacrificed to get to where you are now. You have an idea about your own future, even an opinion of another’s future, then your ego has NOT been killed. Changed, reshaped, buried for a time, hidden then found, forgotten about, whatever…this is not ‘killing’ anything.
Sure, ‘ego’ in the modern sense of the word obviously seems to have negative connotations but that is consistent with other such terms as ‘discrimination’, also only derogatory in it’s use in our modern, paranoid and politically correct world. ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ being the latest victim. Your ego even tells you what food you’re prepared to eat (same as discrimination).
Even using the phrase ‘killing your ego’ shows you need to prove something but in fact really only proves most ego’s are self-conditioned personalities driven by fear of the unknown. Reaching the stage of ‘no ego’ is reaching enlightenment and if you’ve done that then why the hell are you still here? What more do you have to prove to yourself? Are you not simply ‘ego-less’ enough to move on? Ego is an intrinsic part of the human state, without your ego you are simply not a human at all.
@elton It is death/killing, it is eradicated. But you get a new one. Well, it’s more like you’re killing what’s in your ego and not the ego itself. Whatever, it’s just semantics.
And what do you think wanting to prove yourself has to do with anything? You think enlightenment makes one ego-less or somehow different? It doesn’t, enlightenment is simply insight, knowledge. It doesn’t change anything.
@elton I think that the ego can be killed, it just grows back. Some egos can be bigger than others; I think that your ego is smaller if you live purposefully.
“Without your ego you are simply not a human at all”
Hmm…. I disagree; I think that all humans have an ego (or is it only the ones who have a sense of self?) but I don’t think that ego is what makes us human. Maybe the struggle with the ego is what makes us human.
You can certainly kill your ego, I have felt it happen once. I wish I could make it happen more often; I think it’s really healthy. Every single time it has happened I have been the better for it.
I think the problem is that even in this conversation there are ego’s at play. Its like a wolf in sheeps clothing. Sometimes our thoughts, arguments, ideas, and motivations stem from what “it” wants, rather than what is true.
I recently moved here to Korea to teach english and it has launched me into a place where ego no longer matters. Being one of the only foreigners everywhere I go, I am often stared at. Not in a negative way, but in a curious or sometimes envious way. Many of my students make comments about my appearance (virtually everyday) and yet when I show them pictures of virtually any white person they cannot tell if it is me or not. So what my ego used to crave (positive attention/ social value/ etc.) has become inflated to the point that it no longer matters. Thus I am now able to watch my ego as if it is an entity of its own, and everyday I see ways that I am sometimes fooled by it. But, I feel that identifying it is the first step to controlling it.
@ Manimal, semantics indeed, but you are what you say!!! :P
Also, I will not allow my ego to stop me from admitting my OCD’s! ;) lol
@bird, I never meant to determine ‘ego’ as what made us human, simply part of what it is to be human. Struggling (or whatever) with your ego is what I refer to in my first post. I enjoy the process more now than ever before because I see it so much clearer now, mostly from learning through so many mistakes I often laugh out loud at my ego. I’m laughing now at how ego-driven that last sentence is, so hopefully you get my point!
@jeremy, I don’t see ego as being a problem in this conversation, if it wasn’t for ego’s no-one would even be conversing here, it is great that you are able to stand back and observe your ego at play without feeling the egos’ need to “kill” itself.
I consider ‘ego’ to be a driving force behind one’s determinations and rarely do people do what they deem to be wrong. We mostly do what we think is right, sometimes against our better judgement, often against the judgement of others. Dahmer did what he thought was right or he wouldn’t have done those things. Suicide bombers do what they determine to be ‘right’ even though they consider blowing up a bunch of people ‘bad’.
Not to be confused with a sense of self – which is one method we may use to control our egos.
The action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened.
The attainment of spiritual knowledge or insight, esp. (in Buddhism) that which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth.
Imho ego is a tool for working through our karma. Once that’s done we do become enlightened and no longer need ego for particular processes, we can simply observe. When we have no more karma we have no more need for ego.
Hmm, perhaps in respect to the OP “killing” may be construed rather as “reborn”? or to paraphrase kirk willy “thats my ego shift”? My ego would be happy with that ;D
I think that ego death does lead to rebirth – that’s kind of what I meant when I spoke of the ego “growing back”. I think that ego death is the encapsulation of the life/death cycle in human life, and is one of the best ways of realizing that death is an illusion – you can experience death and yet still be alive, making you realize that “you” are not just the ego you feel with.
“We mostly do what we think is right, sometimes against our better judgement, often against the judgement of others. Dahmer did what he thought was right or he wouldn’t have done those things.”
I do not think that most people (or even close to most people) consistently do what they think is right. That’s why most people get so confused when you ask them about what they believe and then ask them to point out how their lives reinforce or express those beliefs.
@jeremy – Would you say that Koreans have a different approach to ego even amongst themselves? I’ve always thought that Eastern traditions tend to downplay individual ego as much as possible.
@elton I see your point and agree. To some extent, we need the motivation to share our own thoughts, otherwise we will all become hermits.
@Birds Koreans and most eastern cultures I believe, have a very collectivist mindset. Even in their language, they don’t use words like “your, my, his, hers.” They just say things like, “bathroom is there?” and the who and where are inferred by context. I was told that I cannot say, “MY house.” That Koreans just dont say that, even if I live alone. I should still say “our house.” Same with referring to other people. You don’t call them by their name, you call them brother, mother, father, sister, etc. It is as if they are one family. So I think this makes the ego a very supressed part of their personalities. It is still there (I see it in my students desire to stand out and be creative) but its suppression by the culture makes for some strange conflicts and, overall, a very unhappy country (one of the unhappiest in the world I’ve heard).
I certainly talk about the ego like I know what I’m saying so I’ll try to put it into words. aaaah man I hate this part of thinking and discussing with people, it makes me realize how much I don’t know! :P
I think of the ego as the self-aware operating system of the body. It is what we would consider personality, self. It is the memories of your self that you choose to carry. Whatever “traits” you consider yourself having are part of your ego. Your ego is what makes you think that you are separate from others; and it is what separates you from others.
I think that most egos demand a reason for their own existence – they are naturally curious. Some egos come up with the answer that the ego itself is its own reason for existence. Basically, that the body the ego is inhabiting exists specifically to keep the ego alive.
Some egos decide that a bigger cause is the reason for existence; like patriotism, or spreading a certain religion.
How do you feel about my attempt at putting down my conception of the ego? What are my blind spots?
You experience a feeling that is “you” dying.
Like, even the parts of yourself that you used to think you “knew” with, those die. Every instinct tells you you are dying. But then you are miraculously still alive.
Jack Garrett described his experience with it earlier in the thread.
“I am perfect, except I’m a dick-head” my favourite me quote at the moment. But I think the self is comprised of two key halves, the ego and the conscience. Thought and consciousness are a factor of ego and emotion is a factor of the conscience. It is said that spirituality is a liberation from ego, but to me this is not true, ego is forever a part of us. Perhaps it can die, but like the phoenix, is born again from the ashes, because we cannot exist without it, as we cannot think without it.
Spirituality, to me, is not so much the discipline of ego, though that may be a factor in spirituality, but rather it is the harmony of the ego and the conscience. The two existing without irreconcilable conflict within us.
@ray “Spirituality, to me, is not so much the discipline of ego, though that may be a factor in spirituality, but rather it is the harmony of the ego and the conscience. The two existing without irreconcilable conflict within us.”
Well said, and why my favorite me quote right now (thanks to Zig Ziglar) is “I’m great! but I’m improving.” :)