spend enough time research psychedelicsand you will no doubt come across the term ‘ego death’.
What exactly does this mean, and is it as scary as it sounds?
Psychedelics allow the mind to open up to new ideas, new ways of thinking and seeing the world or oneself.
For those who want to experience an overwhelming and upsetting psychedelic journey, ego death is often the end goal.
Ego death is typically characterized by a loss of boundaries between the subjective and objective worlds, where a person experiences a sense of oneness with the universe and a realization that the self cannot (and should not ) be the main objective in order to achieve peace.
Ego death can be a powerful and incredibly introspective experience, and it all depends on your state of mind.
While some see ego death as a state of ecstasy and aim to achieve it every time they indulge in a full dose of hallucinogens, others see it as an overwhelming journey, even creepy. Meanwhile, some experience ego death once, feel all the better for it, and never need to use psychedelics again.
Theorized by the polarizing Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (and borrowed from the Latin word for “I”), “ego” is the sense of self.
According to his three-pronged theory, the ego is the part of the personality that mediates between the id (primitive and impulsive instinct) and the superego (ethics and moral standards). The ego establishes this balance, intended to prevent us from acting on our basic needs 100% of the time.
Ideally, a person’s ego will strive to soothe identity in a realistic and appropriate way while honoring moralistic superego beliefs – like keeping you from chasing after someone who cut you off on the highway, while insulting him in your head.
Once you realize what the concept of ego is, you realize how easy it is for inflation to occur: for someone to believe that their perspective and measure of balance are the only valid ones. . This is where psychedelics come in and why the experience of ego death can be so life changing.
The concept of ego death was first explored by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the early 20th century. His collection of psychoanalytic theories, known as Jungian therapy, is built on the idea that the unconscious mind is a well of wisdom and guidance that encourages psychological growth – if used correctly.
The term “ego death” refers specifically to the dissolution of this balancing act. Instead of working to find the middle ground between id and superego, you are able to look outside of yourself for the first time in your life and tap deeply into the collective pulse of the world around us.
It’s a beautiful and humbling journey that holds the power to be a pillar and a tool for transformation, but only if you’re willing to take it on.
Your relationship with ego death has a lot to do with your state of mind, and if you’re not in a place where you can handle an esoteric, reality-unraveling journey through consciousness, this sudden shift in perspective can get really scary.
The death of the ego is much easier to experience than to explain. Each journey can also be very different, allowing you to constantly take new information and values with you. But in general, there are a few common themes that most regular psychedelic users report in reference to ego death.
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