The Truth About Ego Death – Buy Mushroom


What if all the ideas and opinions that you have about yourself — the building blocks of your identity — were never truly authored by you?

Try and visualize how everything in your life so far has come together to form what you see as your ‘self’. Where you were born, your gender, your family, your social circles, the bands you listen to, your favorite brand of soft drink, your understanding of history; all of these things you have received and absorbed over time. This information gets filed away in your conscious and subconsciousIt is then stylized by context, and remembered differently over time, as memories degrade and emotions change. We are, inescapably, the unreliable narrators of our own lives. 

Try to imagine you are a blank slate. You have forgotten your name, your life story, the people you know, the things you’ve learned, what you like, what you dislike, what you love. Without all this, what remains? 

Simply, your consciousness. What some might call the ‘soul’. It is life itself — eternal — and connected to all existence. 

This is called Ego Death, and for many psychonauts it’s the pinnacle of the psychedelic experience. 

What Is The ‘Ego’?

To understand ego death it is best to start by defining the ‘ego’ itself. Nowadays, we associate the ego with negative attributes such as ‘big-headedness’ or even narcissism. However, we all have an ego, and it is neither definitively ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

In Western culture, the general understanding of what the ego is is based on Sigmund Freud’s definition, with some Eastern philosophy mixed in for good measure. Freud, (AKA Father of Psychoanalysis, Austrian, 1856- 1939, etc.) defined the ‘Ego’ as a mediator between the ‘Id’ and reality. The Id represents the basic and instinctual desires inside all humans, such as hunger, aggression, libido. It seeks only pleasure and gratification.

Freud used the analogy of the Id as a horse, and the Ego as its rider. The Ego must hold the reins and steer the wild Id to a happy medium between what is desired, and what is possible — in relation to the society you inhabit, and the beliefs/morals you hold. In this way, the ego plays an incredibly important role in how societies and communities function. It helps the individual determine between what is right and wrong, based on the context of what they learn and experience in their lifetime.  

Why Do People ‘Want’ Ego Death?

On the flipside however, the ego’s influence can also be seen as a negative. Critics of the ego maintain that this ‘good or bad’, ‘right or wrong’, ‘love and hate’ binary is responsible for a lot of unhappiness. In always trying to categorize, and make divisions, the ego creates unnecessary problems, where instead there could be acceptance, and enjoyment, of the here-and-now. 

Ego death, then, is championed by those who feel the ego is an overly controlling force. By doing away with the ego we reconnect to the universe, released from the petty troubles and fears of our previous life. However, for some the dubbing of this process as a ‘death’ is not all that appealing. For this reason ego death is also known as ‘ego dissolution’ or ‘ego loss’.  

As the ego is a part of us, it cannot really ‘die’. And, it is an essential part of what makes us human. Many people panic when they draw the Death card when having their fortunes read. However, what it actually symbolizes is a rebirth — the ending of the old ways and starting of the new. Similarly, ego death is about the transcendence of the self and moving forwards. For many it is synonymous with the Eastern concept of Enlightenment.

Ego Death: Defined

The definition of ego death is tricky to express. From a philosophical perspective, it can be described as a transformation of the psyche, albeit temporarily, through which one shifts from being self-centered to being completely pure and unbiased. This can then nurture a new perspective, unclouded by the mediation of the ego. 

From a scientific perspective, researchers hypothesize that ego death is the result of reduced activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN). This temporary lull can ‘reset’ or ‘rewire’ thought patterns, which have been held in place by the ego. 

By presenting us with an unbiased reality, ego death can show us where our egos have ‘lied’ to us, in order to protect our self-esteem and our perceptions of our own identity. This brief ‘letting go’ causes a feeling of ‘oneness’ —that we are all connected — and can increase traits like openness and empathy. It also brings ‘spiritual awakenings’ and deep insights. This ‘oneness’ is actually among the scientific criteria that scientists use to quantify the ‘mystical experience’. The ‘mystical experience’ correlates with higher levels of recovery among those who use psychedelics as a healing tools for conditions like depression or addiction. 

Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash

Using Psychedelics to Reach Ego Death

Ego death can be achieved via a few different routes. Zen practices and transcendental meditation are said to be effective, but, of course, they take much time and self-discipline. Psychedelics (such as psilocybin) on the other hand, when taken in very high doses, are often used as a shortcut to achieve the same goal of ‘ego death’; a fast-tracked transcendence of the self. Within psychonaut communities online there is much discussion on the ways in which ‘ego death’ can be achieved using shrooms, LSD or other psychedelics. These discussions have been prevalent since the second wave of psychedelic research began in the 1950s. Advocates such as Aldous HuxleyTimothy Leary et al, were all discussing similar experiences as the forum-surfers today.

In 1964 psychedelic icon Leary described ego death as:

“…complete transcendence − beyond words, beyond space-time, beyond self. There are no visions, no sense of self, no thoughts. There are only pure awareness and ecstatic freedom.”

How Does Ego Death Feel?

However, just because psychedelics can act as a ‘shortcut’ to ego death, the decision to try and reach it should not be taken lightly. To leave behind your entire sense of self and identity can be incredibly traumatic for some. For others, it is beautiful. But, it is not ‘easy’ for anyone. There are many who describe it as the turning point of their lives. A magical moment when they realized the interconnectivity of the world, and managed to let go of unnecessary fears. However, for some it is a terrifying experience. They are forced to confront the meaningfulness/ meaninglessness of everything, find themselves torn from familiarity, and question everything they ever knew. 

How Does Ego Death ‘Work’?

You will not achieve ego death through a micro, low, or even medium dose. Sometimes even a high dose won’t cut it. A ‘heroic dose’ is usually what is called for, and it’s something that only the most experienced tripper should try. Scientists hypothesize that the way psychedelics cause ego death is by disrupting the flow of information from the hippocampus executive zones in the brain which are responsible for working memory. This causes our autobiographical memory to be temporarily wiped clean. This is sometimes referred to as ‘autobiographical amnesia’. 

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

How Long Does Ego Death Last?-Buy mushroom

The state of ego death can last from a few minutes to (in extreme cases!) a few hours. This will depend on your dosage and which type of psychedelic you took. Ego death is most often reported after taking a large dose of longer-lasting psychedelics like magic mushrooms (psilocybin) or LSD. Drugs like DMT, which have a much shorter duration, may cause an intense ego death lasting for a couple of minutes. Quite disorientating! 

Some say, when you start to ‘come down’ from ego death, your memories come pouring back into your mind. This is said to be not unlike your life ‘flashing before your eyes such as in a near death experience. This sensation of (metaphorically) dying and being reborn is one of the most profound and transforming components of the psychedelic experience. 

Ego death — it’s a Marathon Not a Sprint

Once you’ve experienced ego death, how you pick up and put back together the pieces is up to you. In this respect discussing ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of ego death is difficult because it is so subjective. It is important to remember however, that whatever the intensity of your experience, it is only the first step on the path to a new way of being; it is not an instant cure-all or solution. 

“Psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful. If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones.” — Alan Watts (1915-1973)

As Watts said, ego death should be viewed as a tool that you learn how to use, and become familiar with. It is not a destructive idea, but one of growth. How long the effects of ego death stay with you is down to how you view your experience in the aftermath. If you integrate the lessons your learnt, they are far more likely to stay with you, and thus so will your transcendence. 

Ego Death: The Takeaway

  • Ego death, or ego dissolution, is when a person temporarily transcends the ‘self’. They leave behind their conditioned biases, and becomes pure consciousness
  • Ego death can be reached through practices such as meditation. However, it is more commonly achieved through high doses of psychedelic drugs
  • Ego death happens when the Default Mode Network of the brain is quietened, which can reset our thought patterns. 
  • Ego death can reveal to us the ‘lies’ our ego has told to protect us in the context of our autobiographical lives. 
  • Ego death is not psychically painful, but it is emotionally and spiritually difficult. Therefore it should only be attempted by those who are experienced and prepared.
  • Ego death can last from a few minutes to a few hours. However, the lessons learnt and insights gained can last a lifetime.

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