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Some Implications of Ego Death

June 29, 2007

There is a common misunderstanding concerning the implications of ego death. Many people assume that once the ego dies in the process of spiritual transcendence that the individual will have no further will to live. This is incorrect. The will to live will actually become more powerful than ever. But now it will be a holocentric will, not that of a body-identified subject, that functions through the mind and employs the organism for higher purposes.

 

After the death of the ego there is a rebirth. This is why the process has been referred to with such metaphors as that of the snake shedding its skin, the moon shedding its shadow, and the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Rather than bringing about a lack of will to live, which is often how the ego feels—indeed many egos have a wish not to live, if not an active suicidal drive—the reborn Self will be filled with joyous energy, fully empowered, liberated from the weight of negative emotions, flying in the upper reaches of angelic intelligence, engaged in creative projects for the well-being and salvation of our besieged planet.

 

Those who imagine that ego death means sitting around aimlessly do not grasp the reality of the Supreme Being. Once the ego surrenders to the Absolute Intelligence of the Self, life really begins. What dies is the bundle of egoic attributes that usually include confusion, apathy, aggressivity, anxiety, misery, and other forms of selfish pettiness. After the ego surrenders to God, one accepts life on its own terms and acts from genuine joy, love, hope, faith, and a boundless appetite for being an instrument of salvation for all beings. In the Buddhist tradition, this is known as functioning as a bodhisattva.

 

There is no feeling of deadness in one who has passed through the sacred process of ego death and rebirth, but an exquisite aliveness that the ego cannot understand. This is because the ego is a fictional tissue of identifications designed and installed with the purpose of adapting to others, getting approval, manipulating people and situations, gaining power over others, and wallowing in such pathological