(2-minute read) – It is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. That feeling of ego disappearing. Do you know what I mean? I mean the liberating experience when you realise none of the identities are you.
We all attach to a whole lot of identities. Things like possessions, positions, appearances, achievements and personality traits. We need these to feel we are who we are. We hold onto them tightly. And we’re anxious because they’re constantly under threat. We have to be on guard. We have to defend and build on our identities.
That’s the norm… identity anxiety. Ego disappearing frees you from this.
I’m not talking about reading that this is so, and kind of thinking, ‘that might be true.’ I’m talking about the shattering experience that it is absolutely true.
More so, none of the identities mean much at all actually because they disappear in a few short years when you do. Identity is transient by nature. So, experiencing freedom from them is an epiphany of immortality.
What lies beneath the identities is an awareness. You experience a watchfulness beyond the ego identities that impinges upon you as bigger by far than anything you thought defined you. More accurately, the awareness is not bigger, you are smaller. So small, in fact, that you disappear. That’s because the awareness doesn’t define you. You’re gone. You become nothing. You are dead to yourself.
But that’s not a nihilistic, depressing thing. Because although you’re gone, you’re not ‘gone’ like we have come to understand the word. Although you’re nothing… it’s not the nothingness we think it is. Words like ‘gone’ and ‘nothing’ are poor attempts to describe the feeling of ego disappearing.
But they don’t capture the positive – the sense of awareness that replaces it.
There’ve been a lot of attempts to describe this awareness: oneness, mystical union, connectedness, self-transcendence, the now and all-inclusive compassion come to mind. I experience benevolence. I could call it love, but not in the superficial sense of the word our culture reduces it to. It’s more like a consciousness of a loving reality that underpins everything.
Ultimately, I don’t think it’s possible to explain what this new consciousness is. All I can tell you is:
- its’ not ‘me’… and
- it’s not ‘not-me’.
Ego disappearing – totally disappearing in an epiphany moment – is a precognition of death. It is a signpost to our mortality and our immortality. It is non-dualistic yet profoundly paradoxical. The awareness that replaces the identities, shouts out one clear knowing:
Death, as we know it, is an illusion.
For ‘death’ is another word that only poorly attempts to symbolise a reality that is so much more. The reality is a transition from energy-in-matter, to energy-in-energy… to a state of being before matter… and enduring after matter.
So what is before and after? Well to answer that, we have to talk about time. Another word that cannot describe the mystery of things happening against some linear measurement we’ve put in place to organise and remember. Time itself is not knowable. What was before and after is irrelevant without knowing time.
All one can say is that the experience of benevolent awareness has a flavour of timelessness. It seems eternal.
It is an experience that leaves you asking: what is reality, what is death, and what is time? There are no answers, except one: what our minds tell us, and what they have been telling us since we started to form our egos in our mothers’ wombs, is illusory.
We are more than the discrete ensemble of matter called ‘me’ and its lifelong identities. What that more is, we cannot truly know… not yet.