Ego Loss and the Higher Self Delusion

Sunday, October 22, 2017 K.Z. Freeman 2 Comments

For the purpose of this let me explain what I mean by Ego as to avoid any confusion. We as bodies are space, its tangible aspect. While what we label as Ego is more akin to time, a unit of measurement that cannot exist without space, but unlike space, is used to measure that in which it exists. An idea about a thing which reflects the thing in an attempt to portray it. An agreement of there being a way of measuring a person's personality and traits, whereas the end result is a set of guidelines and shouldn't be confused with all of what a person is. The term Ego exists as a way of measuring the psyche.

What we call an ego collapse or loss is the exact point where this psyche, the individual's inner workings and perceptional responses, no longer know how to deal with the situation at hand. 
The subsequent reaction produced is a temporary but often complete loss of self-identity.
It is something that happens daily, although the older and individual gets, the more he or she tends to notice only collapses which are extremely prominent in the psyche. For the most extreme ego deaths, a more readily used terminology exists in clinical psychology: mental breakdown.

Due to the term mental breakdown and the associated stigma, an ego collapse is taboo in most western social circles. You're not going to bring it up as an ice-breaker. 
For most remains a thing to be avoided at all costs, as it suggest a delirious self, an unstable mind, emotional fragility and mental instability, and in the event of an actual occurrence of a breakdown, the person in question is often considered, for a time, to be devoid of that which makes a mind able to exist in any intractable sense. However, a collapse can potentially underline something else.

In the instance of a collapse or loss, the part of mind which forms responses to stimuli based on previous experiences and ideas about experiences, usually does one of two things: it produces an attack which we often call an overreaction, or withdraws and produces a non-reaction. It may produce reactions that follow on any point of the spectrum between these extremes.

In both cases it adjusts and adapts. It does this by skewing what is and adjusts itself not to what is going on, but in most cases molds a situation to fit its own preconceptions and beliefs. In other words, in most cases it does not accept what is, but looks for ways to justify its own existent point of view and further deny what is in any way it knows how.

Let’s first examine why such a thing might occur.

The initial breakdown or collapse occurs due to the inability of the mind to accept what is. That which is becomes too out of bounds of the every-day perception upon which the ego has so far functioned. The conditioning patterns upon which the ego operates cannot produce a reaction. Non-acceptance of what is, in other words, not accepting things as they are, triggers a dissonance between the idea of self and the happening perceived to be outside of the self, where the ego needs to effectively shrink into a more basic self, and reset in order to adapt. It will attempt to attack, defend, hide, or a combo of any of these reactions (and more) in a very short span of time.

For a person to realize what is happening and what the event underlines, a collapse needs to happen again, and preferably again under proper guidence. However many times it takes.

At some point a subtle feeling can arise in anyone who has undergone a series of collapses.

It can portray the nature of the ego.

Or more precisely, it brings the awareness of the Self identifying wholly and completely with it.

The Ego is and will remain a telescope with a narrow view of assessment that feeds the rest of the organism whatever it needs to survive in any given situation.

When trying to go beyond the ego as a way to test yourself by doing something opposite of what you thought the ego might do, you may find yourself wondering if the reaction produced was in fact ego-driven in some subconscious way. This portrays the strength of the deception; but also presents a stronger problem which the ego will resolve in a very cunning way.

The Ego will, instead of recognizing itself and exposing itself to the scrutiny of perception, create what most call a Higher Self. The ego will develop the Higher Self through subtle means of self-deception and self-confirmation. It will actively seek out minds with the same attitudes and knowledge of the Higher Self to confirm itself in the individual psyche. The Ego will seek minds to shape itself and lean itself upon in order to give the concept of the Higher Self validity through acknowledgement. It will guide a person through levels of confirmation to make him or her believe in the Higher Self, while still being the same self, or ego in disguise.

Questions may be asked of others who have “realized the Higher Self”. The most readily asked being: “How can I differentiate between what is my Ego reaction, and what is the reaction of the Higher Self?”

The answer usually goes something like this: The Ego reaction comes after the initial gut reaction. The initial reaction of the Higher Self is the right and immediate reaction.

In this scenario, an ego reaction is the reaction which is not immediate - a response which goes through a filter in the mind for a particular social condition. However, even the most basic gut reaction will always arise from the mind, and so always be conditioned. (If you think when you are by yourself your reactions are not socially driven it will be a mistake.*) (*A human being is never separate from his social environment, no matter the level of isolation. If the Self perceives that the Self intends to isolate itself from its environment it can do something the mind does on a regular basis. It will project itself as far into the future as it must to justify what it is doing now. In other words, it will do things now for future acknowledgement and confirmation.)

In still other words, the Self has the potential to access the meta-mind and react instantly based on emotional responses that have not yet formed into complex thoughts about a situation, while an ego processes the emotional response and runs it through the meta-mind's thinking patterns overlaying the emotional patterns, and so is influenced by the created patterns of thinking, as well as the created patterns of emotional response.

This perceived layer or conscious decision may trick anyone that in fact these two responses are separate, or even performed by two separate entities, one more true to the idea of self than the other.

However, this distinction between ego and self is again a product of pattern, as the meta-mind or what we call self cannot experience anything without knowledge. Be it genetic knowledge or learned knowledge. Without this knowledge, no experience arises, as every and all experience can arise from mind and its ideas.
Even the meta-mind operates according to pattern and cannot produce a reaction without a mental pattern according to which it can produce it. 
A trans-personal experience is not a trans-personal experience if you never heard of a trans-personal experience and what it might be. At the point of not-knowing about this experience, the happening is that of a living organism and perception.
Without knowledge you cannot experience anything, and once experienced, that experience fortifies the knowledge, this them becomes a circle wherein you are unable to see the circle as happening and so instead you produce more versions of the self, claiming each to be more self-aware than the last in order to create new experience of self-awareness, while still being in the same circle.

We may end up thinking the initial gut reaction is more valuable than the second, Ego reaction, as our skewed belief and propensity to repeat the same patterns and think through the same system of knowledge. It may even happen that we devalue the response produced by thinking and value that produced by feeling as we operate on the basis that the self is real, as much as we believe the ego is real and not a set of ideas about itself.

In this sense, the higher self in maintained, thinking and believing it exists in much the same way we believe the ego does: as an entity with its own will and drive separate from the perceived meta-self.

To give two basic examples why the Higher Self and the Ego are the same thing, we can use two examples. (Here the word illusion is meant as a division created by mind where there is none or a fantasy to explain reality)

  1. the clouds and their separation from the sky is illusory. The clouds are an aspect of the sky and not a thing in the sky. They draw a pattern of the sky, not a pattern in the sky.

You can argue the distinction is semantic, and that indeed the clouds are a measurable phenomena happening in what we call sky. But this way of explaining what a cloud is, uses the same modes of thinking as any separation between any object and subject. In the same way, we shift in different social environments depending on what group you find yourself in and separate the perceived subject and the perceived object. We sense that we become a pattern in that social process and re-imagine the self in most social situations. As the separating mechanism becomes us and so fades from immediate perception, we fail to be aware of this event of becoming an active or passive participant as becoming the happening itself, instead, we view the self as being an event inside the happening.

In all social situations, the only separating mechanism which informs the self that it is an event inside a happening and not the happening itself, remains our self-awareness.
We started doing this when we were kids.
We had a Self for our family, for our friends, our pet, our other group of friends, etc. In school we were placed into a program and expected to create a Self that will be able to function out there. A failure to be that program brought with it a perceivable threat of being able to fit into a system that requires the inception of specific programs to work.

Can therefore any benefit be found in watching your own thinking and doing? Or should a person always react in a knee-jerk motion?

At first you may notice that when the mind is on stage, it will not produce a thought-reaction as long as you can maintain focus and intensely watch. If you attempted it you may notice how difficult this is to maintain for any impressive length of time. Meaning that, as long as you watch the next thought that will come, it will not.

When thoughts come and you remain focused and watch, you will find that in these situations, your reactions to your own thinking and responses to this thinking tend to shift to a different spectrum.

There comes an acceptance of things as they are and as they come and go, while keeping nothing. The life of such an individual can be more akin to playing. Almost in the same manner as playing any instrument. The Self is that which strums the strings or hits the drum, but the strumming is not the guitar, only an expression of it. The guitar itself keeps no notes, they come, then they go.

That is the function of the Self, to look at itself, while the Ego’s function might seem to be to sense things outside and produce instant reactions. It can do this the most efficiently by making you think the world inside you is separate from outside. But also to have you believe that even your inner world is seperate into a watcher and that which is being watched. A doer and a thinker. A reactionist and a being who can perceive the reactions as happening. And yet the Ego cannot exist without the Self and Other just as a cloud cannot exist without the environment we perceive it to be inside of. Just as the Self cannot exist without Other and Other cannot be without Self.

Somewhere in our evolutionary path we became self-aware. 

Which immediately served to conceptually separate us from our environment. Without self-awareness an awareness of there being an Other as well as a Self cannot exist. Without this self-awareness you would be hard pressed to ever feel separate from anything. As we perceive animals as not being self-aware conceptually, we never say an animal has en Ego, only a Self that is that animal right down to the marrow.

The next of the two ways of seeing why the initial separation into a Higher Self is illusory, and why this creates only further separation from the meta-self and creates another identity based on ideas about what the self is, is this:

  1. You could do it ad infinitum and never reach “The Real You” or “Highest Self”, because you will always be under the illusion that you have reached it. As the Self, you can watch the Ego, then as the Higher Self  you can watch the Self watching the Ego, then watch the Higher Self watching the Self who watches the Ego, then watch the watcher who watches the Higher Self who watches the Self who watches the Ego and so on... You can do this until however long you like and only create more illusion and separateness. Or you can recognize that the basic problem was illusory.
The Self needs no further label of Higher or Lower, and the Self has a social structure, which we call the Ego – but which is not separate from the Self, but remains that which reflects whatever it receives. You can express a certain nature, but it is an expression of the same Self as the Self that is the Ego.

The only way to break this cycle is to realize that the I and the Ego are the same thing. You may watch what you are doing and not like it, then say, “Aha! That is the Ego, not the real me,”  but instead of seeing the Ego as a thing to be fought and defeated, see it as a tool. By watching the Ego, what you are doing is watching the construct in your mind made by the imprints of your existence in the physical dimension. It is not a presence, but a concept, an abstract, a possibility. You may not like this construct, and that is fine, but that does not mean the one watching is different than the thing being watched.

So by looking at the Ego in this sense, by creating the illusion of duality, you can see the ego as a creation of the basic functioning of the Self, a program you can understand by observing it. The main purpose of the Ego will remain survival. To separate You from Environment and to help You be safe from Environment. And for that it is perfect, as it creates the perfectly crafted illusion of there being a separate existence between Self and Other. It is best at activating patterns to fit a role, but the role is not the nature of that which plays the role. The nature of that which plays the role is empty. Not empty in any real sense of the word, but empty of separate existence.
Knowing this, you can start producing reactions that take into account this inseparability from anything else. 

You can watch the ego and have feelings produced by what you call the ego which may lead you to believe the ego is real, and that would be a completely fair assumption. However, thinking that the emotions were produced by the ego is the same as thinking what you thought of right now is something Mary has thought of across the street and that it didn't come from you. Do not think of it as watching the Ego, but of “stepping back and allowing the I to look at Itself.”

There is a Zen Koan that asks: “When many are reduced to one, what is one reduced to?”

Just like this problem of the Ego, your immediate reaction will be to examine the Koan as a problem to be solved. You may think, "If Many can be reduced, then One must also be reduced – because the question implies it." 
Or if you think in a manner of “all is one”, you might say, "If Many is reduced to One, then one cannot be further reduced, as all is one."

And yet the problem is illusory. As one is reduced from many, so can one be reduced to many. One and Many are both man-made measurement and have no meaning besides in the mind. Many already contains one and in fact implies it, so one is always many as the concept of one cannot be perceived without the concept of many. In this manner the question is a trick, much like the idea of separation from your ego is a trick.

No matter the effort, you will never become separate from the ego. Instead you can see it as a play that you can either go along with, or do differently. In trying to separate from it, you are attempting to do the same thing as if a finger were trying to touch its own tip. 
The attempt can only create more illusion. 
Recognize that touching the tip itself with the tip is impossible, not because of some mechanical problem of the human body, but because it is already done, as the very separateness of the tip from the finger is not there. The mind created a tip where there is just a finger, pointing at itself.


  1. Anonymous05 June, 2015

    Excellent. I like to look at the self with the analogy of "playing" as well. I enjoyed this very much, thank you.

    1. I am glad you like it, that is one of my favourite analogies as well!