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Ego Death - The dissolution of the ego, and the resulting epiphany

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posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 12:56 AM
Trying to organize where I should start such a very difficult topic and thread is, well, challenging at the least, but lets start at Gestalt psychological theory.

Gestalt theory Attempts to understand why we have meaningful perceptions, why it is that instead of just seeing a mix of lines, shadows, patterns, and swirls, we see meaningful wholes and organization which helps us interact with reality. Gestalt theory has defined many laws of perception, however I want to quickly turn the attention to the law of closure -

Law of Closure—The law of closure states that individuals perceive objects such as shapes, letters, pictures, etc., as being whole when they are not complete. Specifically, when parts of a whole picture are missing, our perception fills in the visual gap. Research shows that the reason the mind completes a regular figure that is not perceived through sensation is to increase the regularity of surrounding stimuli. For example, the figure that depicts the law of closure portrays what we perceive as a circle on the left side of the image and a rectangle on the right side of the image. However, gaps are present in the shapes. If the law of closure did not exist, the image would depict an assortment of different lines with different lengths, rotations, and curvatures—but with the law of closure, we perceptually combine the lines into whole shapes

I present the law of closure because I believe the Ego is a delusive construct arising from this principal when applied to the mind and in the context of self perception, All this is important in understanding how the mind is organizing our reality and thus our ego, I argue that our ego is the sum of all our parts, that it is an illusionary but integral part of reality, and in certain states of mind this becomes uncomfortably obvious. I am going to relay an experience that I had many years ago as a teenager, this was obtained in an altered state of consciousness, though I do not believe it takes away from the profound nature of the experience.

I walked upstairs to my old bedroom in my parents house, so that I could avoid any unwanted attention, and to provide set and setting, immediately I knew I was in for the ride of my life. The most beautiful Instrumentals began playing in my head, I was so taken aback and enthralled with the sounds I just lay there in my own world, drifting slowly to the beautiful instruments, all crystal clear, and all perfect in harmony.

Suddenly, I realized that one part of my mind appeared to be controlling the logical rhythm of the instrumental ( 1. 2. 3. 4.) Just after, I realized another part of my mind appeared to be controlling the more abstract rhythms that flowed into the logical. As these entertaining idea's were coming to the surface, I suddenly lost any meaningful description of myself, "I" was becoming uncomfortable, and I was having waves of dsyphoria, my depth perception also was rapidly transitioning from 3d to 2d and back again, I was totally out of my mind.

Then it happened, I watched the whole of my personality (ego) split into every characteristic that makes me up, and each characteristic personified at the same time. (having no singular "I" essentially means you no longer functioning in reality) upon this mayhem, I was becoming detached, and having moments of eternity, then I became completely objective, morality did not exist, everything just was, and it was pure experiencing, and beautiful. I don't know how long I stayed like this, but I eventually regained my "sense of self" and subjectivity and returned to baseline.

I know this sounds like the ramblings of a broken mind, but what I just described to you was my experience of EGO DEATH this experience has been extensively written about over the ages, and is revered by Buddhist monks. It can be achieved through several methods, sensory deprivation, meditation, spontaneous occurrence, and of course psychedelic substances. its called enlightenment, it is the total dissolution of the ego and purely experiencing reality. It's very fascinating to me, especially the ego splitting that I experienced as a prior stage to complete ego death, it showed me that the ego truly is just an illisonary construct with many different working parts. I am an atheist, but I do take this experience quite seriously, it certainly makes me question the idea of a "life spark" or soul, because it appears that even when all is stripped that pure experience remains.

I was hoping to get some feedback, and wondering if any of you have experienced anything like this, and what your take is on such states of mind. Please keep the thread T&C friendly I look forward to your dialogue.

further reading about ego death

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:12 AM
a reply to: TechniXcality

Good stuff Tech. Do you have more to share on the law of Proximity? I am assuming there might be a law of proximity from the first picture you offer.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:19 AM
a reply to: TerryMcGuire

Yes the law of proximity essentially states, we will group things that are close to each other as a single unit or whole, so as an example.

we see 4 separate units instead of just 72 dots

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:24 AM
a reply to: TechniXcality

I see various spots seemingly jump around
It hurts.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:25 AM


posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:34 AM
a reply to: TechniXcality

So this ego death, is it something you would recommend, this dissolving of the self? Do you think that some people don't come back from it? Not put all the pieces back in place, or maybe leave some behind? Is the coming back into the ego, or rather the reassertion of the ego something you are glad about or would you rather be desolved and be eternally in an epiphany?

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:37 AM
You said, "it is called enlightenment", and I think you are wrong. Although, I think your personal experiance and ideas are heading in the right direction.

I am only saying this because i talked to an assumed "enlightend" person. It goes much further than experiancing something beyond "self". That is the first realization.

Supposedly, enlightenment is when kundalini traveles through one's spine and one realizes "enlightenment". It is a extremely energetic experiance and may result in dealth if it is forced. Which can be done through tantric methods.

Although, like i have said, this is all from talking to a friend who claimed to be enlightend. Ive never had that pure experiance that you have talked about yet. Ive read about it and heard my friend speak of it. It seems that perhaps you experianced the first step towards realization.

The experiance of, "who/what am i"?

I'm not downplaying your experiance in anyway, but rather saying that (from my reading/hearings) you have not experianced enlightenment, but rather just a realization.

I'm only going off what another has told me. My personal experiance has only gone as far as deep meditation. Nothing to your extent. I'd suggest trying to find a master. Tantra if possible. Just because a teacher or master may actually beable to help you understand your experiances.

I'm no new-age fanatic. I'm just an average dude, but what i have experianced from talking to supposed "spiritual people" has really changed my perception. Only because because I experianced through feeling.

I think keeping a logical mind is always good, but sometimes we have to let the heart or intuition in. Never give up on science, but never pretend that the logical mind is the only connection to truth.

Anyway, that is my rant.... good luck mate..
edit on 5-7-2016 by blueman12 because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-7-2016 by blueman12 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:45 AM

originally posted by: TerryMcGuire
a reply to: TechniXcality

So this ego death, is it something you would recommend, this dissolving of the self?

It's a one of a kind experience and state of consciousness, there are certain spiritual implications and for those inclined to pursue a spiritual path yes ego death may be something they wish to achieve.

Do you think that some people don't come back from it? Not put all the pieces back in place, or maybe leave some behind?

I think such a profound experience, will change your perception of reality, and that can be a double edged sword. Also, the method of achieving this experience is important in answering your question, as psychedelics can trigger latent psychological disorders in people who otherwise would not of had one if they were not genetically predisposed and also taking psychedelics

Is the coming back into the ego, or rather the reassertion of the ego something you are glad about or would you rather be desolved and be eternally in an epiphany?

Well returning and leaving are the hardest parts, but I suppose either state of consciousness would suffice, however in the interest of living, and a fulfilling, and interactive life, being grounded in my Ego is where I wish to remain.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 01:47 AM
a reply to: blueman12

no, no, if you read the links the Buddhist refer to the experience of ego death as enlightenment. I'm not suggesting I am spiritually enlightened nor would I want to be lol

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:07 AM
a reply to: TechniXcality

What an absolutely grand set of answers Tech. So how about another. You suggest that for some who might be interested in pursuing a spiritual path, that this might be helpful. Yet you also say that you are an atheist. Why do you suppose that some might move in that direction while you do not?

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:11 AM
a reply to: TechniXcality

Teck, on the subject of "EGO", maybe if you could it would be a good idea to explain why some people have "A Big Ego", and why they are too full of themselves........

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:23 AM

originally posted by: TerryMcGuire
a reply to: TechniXcality

What an absolutely grand set of answers Tech.

Thank you

So how about another. You suggest that for some who might be interested in pursuing a spiritual path, that this might be helpful. Yet you also say that you are an atheist. Why do you suppose that some might move in that direction while you do not?

I grew up in a fundamentalist christian home, for me this experience (along with a few other things) induced an existential crisis, where I questioned everything that I had been told, or ever known to be true, including the notion of an all powerful God.

I do not fully discount that there may be some greater reality, I do however discount all dogmas and zealous doctrines, the truth is I don't know, but the scientific evidence increasingly points to the universe being in no need of a creator or a greater reality of any kind.

With that said, I fully believe humans can experience altered states of consciousness, and even deep and spiritual experiences, and that they in of themselves are not bad things, but that when they turn into a prescribed morality I will raise objection.

So I say all that to say this, mileage may vary not everyone comes from my background, and upbringing, and the conclusions they may come to from such an experience very well could be spiritual, and I would say more power to them.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:27 AM
a reply to: tommo39

lol, the Ego that i'm referring to is the, "I-ness" or that which you refer to as me, not esteem or self worth. Which is why this subject can be confusing, and is confusing. Some people are assholes tommo, certainly at times I am myself, there's my best shot

edit on 5-7-2016 by TechniXcality because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:57 AM
a reply to: TechniXcality

Some people are assholes tommo
Ha Ha, so right my friend, totally up themselves, and are too blind to realize it. Oh well.....

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:51 AM
a reply to: TechniXcality

nice description of your experience you have a good sense for writing!

i would say that your beliefs are not important ... experience is what it is and in meditation there are all kinds of experiences possible. Yours being one of many, but in itself unique and not repeatable.
We all have the potential for different types of conscious states.
and with meditation we can explore those states and what our mind is about in reality, normal waking state is just a small part of the whole of our being.

Spirituality and meditation is not about believing ... there are as many experiences as there are people. Each different and unique so it is best not to become attached to experiance as for instance i was a long time...when weirdness happened first to me during practice.

if you want to learn more about your mind and the truth of being, than practice. just sit, relax, breath, observer and don't bother about beliefs or expectations, and enjoy the ride, each moment being unique, perfect in its own way.

Also in my opinion Buddhism is a very great philosophy .. for me it is not a religion but like a guide for our actions in mind, speech and body and with it we can develop to our full potential.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:56 AM
I have experienced something similar to a certain extent. Your experience was very detailed and seems thorough, like you went through more than one stage. You first perceived the 'disassembly' of your ego, that must be amazing. Seeing everything compartmentalized, everything as it is, and all the variables that make your ego yours.

My experience was initiated by psilocybin but I have no doubt that it's attainable through a sober state of mind as well.

I was sitting on the beach early in the morning tripping with some friends (about 3 years ago). I observed the ocean waves crashing down, crushing small rocks into the warm sand beneath my feet. I realised that this process has been going on long before the dawn of humanity and will continue long after we are gone. It's a process free from human intervention, clean.. I've always known humans are nothing in the eyes of he universe, but this time it hit me like a brick and stuck to me. I had an overwhelmingly comforting feeling knowing that the human race will one day be extinguished and that our lives truly only having meaning to us and those around us.

It sunk in that all is relative, that my ego, deconstructed or whole will always only be mine and should not determine the path that I walk, I left it behind that day, I did not care for the cages constructed in my mind, nor the fiters that usually cloud my perception.

I was free.. if only for a day... I'll never forget that feeling, I still have the small pebble i was rubbing in my hand when it all dawned on me, when it all truly sank in, that we are nothing.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 05:15 AM
a reply to: blueman12

You said, "it is called enlightenment"

The problem with enlightenment is that it a to wide unspecific term.

Some examples:
1. Energetic body awareness and even that can be experienced on different levels. Amagydala fear overload can be involved to change how the body works/operates.
2. Psychic/Telepathic/Synchronistic Abilities that can manifest on different levels.
3. Empathetic abilities where the body feels other peoples feelings.
4. The conscious mind creates an objective observer who questions the subjective view of the conscious mind using self doubt to always verify higher degree of objectivity and question the validity of the view.
edit on 5-7-2016 by LittleByLittle because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 05:50 AM
The neurons in our brains are very good at pattern recognition. They fill in the gaps if parts of the image are missing but I really don't see how that relates to our ego.

There are many conflicting point of views concerning our ego, even in Buddhism, so I tend to heed the bhuddas own warning....

"In the Pali canon, the earliest extant record of the Buddha's teachings, you won't find the ego addressed at all. In fact, the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to hold either that there is a self or that there is no self is to fall into extreme forms of wrong view that make the path of Buddhist practice impossible."

Perhaps the practice of selfishness over the centuries has been misunderstood into believing that we need to dissolve our self identity to achieve an awakening. If that was true then it would be one of the the bhuddas four noble truths.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 06:30 AM
Astounding OP, Tech.

You're a thinker, and I'd missed that aspect of you in some of our previous interactions. My mistake that I won't make again.

The effects of many chemical (and non-chemical methods that reproduce some of those effects, a long practice of meditation and breath control, for example) is to change the way we perceive ourselves ... in the perceptual moment which can be expanded. The normal reflexive nature of our consciousnesses changes either temporally or spatially and we see the actual "mechanical actions" of our psyche when generally, most of us just experience the results.

A very simple experience (perhaps a bit similar to yours) put me on the road to questioning reality ... in high school, I was taking a nap one afternoon. I woke up and went to the door of my room reached for the doorknob ... and woke up again (back in bed) ... thought "wow, that's odd," got up, went to the door, reached ... woke up again in bed. Etc. etc.

This happened several times in succession. When I finally actually "woke up" I was terrified, then ... ecstatic ... because I felt as though I had broken through something ... which puts me in mind of the famous Flammarion engraving (I prefer a "colorized" version) :

At any rate ... thanks for the post and the thread. I'll be reading along.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 07:24 AM
a reply to: Gryphon66

I've once again had a similar experience.. It was a lucid dream and I would wake up in my bed, with my door closed to the rest of the flat, I would open the door and some adventure was waiting behind it. It being a lucid dream it was easy to say to myself "wake up, it's a dream" but everytime I awoke it was the same story..

I would wake up in my bed, door closed with yet something new waiting behind it. It was still the same flat, but everytime new people and a new experience.

By the 7th time I couldn't wake up I decided I'll have some fun since it's a dream. My girlfriend at that stage was sitting on the couch when I opened my door again, I grabbed her, opened the shower and figured "let's have some fun"...

But when I looked into her eyes I entered her mind, I know that sounds strange, but that's exactly what happened. As I was experiencing this I realised that I've tried to wake up 7 times but my dream just reset itself each time.

I became very worried and started questioning if I had taken any substances before bed, but I realised there's only one way out.

I started pinching my arm in the dream and woke up with my nails dug into my arm. I had to call someone to make sure I was really awake.

Cool, but really frightening.
edit on 5-7-2016 by GreenGunther because: Phone typing.. Not so good

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