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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Ego-death, Mindfulness, and Meditation (1mar23)


“Ego-death” is a popular term in the literature extoling the benefits of DMT, but what does it mean? Like many compound metaphors it is vague, ungainly, imprecise, and generates more confusion then it dispels.


Both the Sutta on the Failings of the World and contemporary neuroscience agree that all primates have evolved to DREAD: scarcity, pain, scorn, and anonymity as well as DESIRE: abundance, pleasure, praise, and fame. Although this set of primal drives aids the physical pleasures of survival, more often than not it cock-blocks the emotional pleasures of fulfillment. This is the paradox that the Buddha alluded to in his first and second noble truths. It is also the mixed bag of nuts that that many spiritual folks label “Ego” and psychoanalytical professionals called “Id.”


Contrary to the ravings of the rigid, who are virtually incapable of delineating the metaphoric from the literal, the role of the spiritual seeker is not to actually kill his drives but simply to kill their tyranny over one’s choices, utterances, and deeds. Sadly, all too often, what many experience as the literal death of their primal drives is, in the stark light of day, merely the suppression of their own faculty of mindfulness (and capacity for meditation). How could this do more harm than good? Psychiatrically, it could pave the path to dissociative disorders. Spiritually, mindfulness is the first of seven enlightenment factors, without which there can be no enlightenment, no less peace. _/\_


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