EGO Death : Beyond Separation and the Self
Ego Death is the complete loss of subjective self-identity, where we begin to transition into surrendering the seperation from others. The concept is used in contemporary spirituality and in modern understanding of eastern religions to explain a permanent loss of attachment to a separate sense of self and self centeredness. Also referred to psychic death by Jungian psychology.
This weekend I entered a new stage of my Ego Death. I've never felt so connected with so many people in one split moment, following with another moment, intensified. I participated in something I can't even put into words, which left a significant impression on me that has grounded me. It was a retreat in the jungles of Ubud, orchestrated by Kate and Henarae O'Brien, with 70 others from all over the world. The 5 day experience was a roller coaster of emotions and intriguing knowledge and ideas. This experience nurtured my path in releasing my ego and clearing the misty fog I felt like I was walking aimlessly through.
What is Ego?
Let's start by defining what the Ego is to have a better understanding of what the death of Ego means. Ego is basically our sense of self or identity. The ego is a basic biological and spiritual tool that was created by and defends the belief that we are all separate "individual" entities. And as a result, through separation and isolation, we suffer immensely.
Eckhart Tolle's teaching, where the Ego is presented as an accumulation of thoughts and emotions. and only by de-identifying one's consciousness from it can one truly be free from suffering in Buddhist meaning.
Ego Death is the experience transcending past the ego, self, your assumed identity. It's the most awakening, inspiring, freeing, mind-bending, confusing, unconditionally loving experience you could ever have.
7 STAGES OF EGO DEATH
Stage 1 - "Spiritual" Awakening
This stage is usually triggered by a crisis, tragedy, natural maturity of the soul, or an illness. It is accompanied by feelings of anxiety, depression, or being incomplete, that something is missing. Followed by questions like "what is my purpose", "what happens after death", or "What is the overall meaning of life."
I entered this stage two years ago. I lost my purpose, while in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, followed by ending a relationship I wasn't happy in. I was smoking marijuana, locking myself in my room watching consciousness documentaries that isolated myself from human contact. Then it happened, my tragedy that brought me down to my knees, crippling me. I lived in an apartment in Venice that I shared with my cousin, Cassie. I flew home to Hawaii for Christmas to visit family and on Christmas Eve I got a life altering phone call. "Cassie is dead." I don't know what it feels like to be electrocuted, but the shock of those 3 words felt emotionally something like that. She was found dead in our apartment, it was unexpected with no signs and no explanation. Experiencing physical death, not having to be your own, is a life changing experience, that one day will happen to all of us. The truth is, we are all dying. I realized I wanted to live life on purpose.
Stage 2 - The Darkness
In this stage everything is dark, a sense of being completely lost and alone is all you feel. This is a critical and essential part of ego death. Deep down we know something must change, but we don't know what or where to look.
I was wandering around blindly and looking for a hint or answer. I engulfed myself in research and books. I released anything that didn't serve me purpose or joy. I pushed away family and friends and would only go outside to hit the bag at my local boxing gym. I was still living in my apartment, not entering her room, where she was found.
Stage 3 - Seeking Spirituality
Here we begin to experiment. We become obsessed with alternative fields of healing like yoga, energy work, astrology, and becoming more open to not so normalized ideas or techniques.
From all the researching, I was broadening my consciousness and awareness to some pretty "weird" experiences and practices. I would go to random workshops, for example I convinced a friend of mine to join me in finding this sound therapy and meditation group. We needed up in some part of Los Angeles I've never ventured to, where we entered a smoke shop, which lead us into a back room with cushions and a man with a dreaded beard and a sound bowl. It was awesome. I researched about psychedelics, because this is another method for Ego Death, it's almost a guarantee you will experience some ego death with shamanic plants such as ayahuasca, DMT, and psilocybin mushrooms. I have yet to dabble in that field, and I am open to the experience in the future... far future.
Stage 4 - Satori
This Zen Buddhist word means "momentary enlightenment" It's a small glimpse of who you truly are, your Nature Self, your consciousness detached from the 3D. This is the point when the ego begins to shed, it can be painful and scary because it is the ultimate threat to the Ego. As a defense mechanism, the ego creates intense fear. And that fear does not go away, to continue the path, we can be mindful and aware of the fear, understand the role it plays in our mind, and not let it permit to limit us.
I moved out my apartment and stopped caring about things I used to put a lot of mental energy in. I started to really get a sense of my purpose, still very confused. This is where I spontaneously booked a ticket to Bali to stay for a month, with no expectations or really any "direction." Just to see what would pan out. With in that month I was challenged with fear, presented with new opportunities, and more hints to where I was headed.
Stage 5 - The Old Soul
This is where we learn methods to promote healing and how to move pass the cycle of fear, pain, and separation. Opening of the heart and sitting in the backseat of our consciousness. Our soul begins to remember and mature inheriting virtues like self-discpline, patience, and focus.
I got back to Los Angeles from Bali and called my agent to tell her I was moving to Bali, no longer going to further my career as an actress or model. She already knew this was going to happen. I called my family with the news, which took a minute for them to digest and they are still chewing on it. I began to meditate and was challenged by others that I've changed. I released relationships and friendships that no longer served me.
Stage 6 - Dissolution and Deconstruction
The stage where we begin to surrender what we are not, where we identify all our limiting beliefs and behavior patterns. Feelings like grace, trust, love, courage and non-attatchment are experienced. We begin to let go and let the light in.
I identified my darkness, embraced it, all of me, not just the parts I liked. I moved into a phase of a relationship I've never experienced because in the past I wouldn't allow myself to go there with someone, never getting too close.
Stage 7 - The End of the Search
It stops. The realization that what we were searching for has always been where we are, inside of us. The searching and looking for what is missing disappears. We see through the illusion for looking for truth, love, peace, and freedom in any place outside of us. The ego still exists, when we say death, it never goes away, we become aware of how to use it as a tool to our advantage. Acceptance and unconditonal love develops for us and for others. We aren't separate and realize we are all connected to everything and everyone.
And, this is where I stand, my current state. I get it now. And I'm free.
Ego Death is a profound experience, mind altering and shattering that changes the way we see everything.
Ego says, "Once everything falls into place, I'll feel peace." Spirit says, "Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place."