The Neuroscience of Ego Dissolution and Transcendence

(This is the continuation of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

“To me, mystical or spiritual experience is what happens when your ego is put aside. Spiritual experience is about a sense of merging with something larger than you. And it’s your ego that stands in the way. To the extent that you can subdue it, or just put it off to the side for a few hours, amazing things happen, and you realize that you are part of a larger energy…”

—Michael Pollan, bestselling author and journalist, from a 2-hour long interview with Tim Ferriss

Continue reading “The Neuroscience of Ego Dissolution and Transcendence”

Ego Transcendence in Secular Science

(This is the continuation of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

In modern times the nature of the human ego has also been recognized by many in scientific disciplines, in psychology and other fields. I described some of this in an earlier post, in the psychological study of cognitive development in children. But what about losing the sense of “self,” the sense of an “I”? Continue reading “Ego Transcendence in Secular Science”

The Passing Away of Ego-Self in Islam

(This is the continuation of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

In Sufism, which is the mystical approach to God within Islam, an “inward dimension of Islam,” there are many teachings about the path of sacrificing and transcending the “self.” There is a purification of the “inner self” that must occur in order to enter into Divinity, into unity with Allah. Sufis believe that they can enter into this “divine presence” during this life. This is done through a combination of repentance of sins, removing evil traits from one’s character, and developing virtues. Continue reading “The Passing Away of Ego-Self in Islam”

Sacrificing Ego-Self in Judaism and Christianity

(This is the continuation of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

In this post I’ll explore the sacrifice of ego or “self” in the traditions of Judaism and Christianity, and how the transcendence of this “self” led one back to God.

Judaism has a lengthy tradition of sacrifice, of sacrificial offerings made to God, called korban. This traces back to the Israelites and Moses, particularly as outlined in the Book of Leviticus. The most common forms of sacrifice were of animals. It is said that God commanded the Israelites to make sacrifices or “offerings,” on altars designated for that purpose, usually in a sacred place such as the Tabernacle, or Temple. Continue reading “Sacrificing Ego-Self in Judaism and Christianity”

The Evolution of Ego in the Allegory of Adam & Eve

(This is the continuation of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

I think the nature of the development of the ego-self in our consciousness, both in the evolution of humanity at large, and within each of us in our childhood, is what is being symbolized in the mythology of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic story of the Garden of Eden and Adam & Eve. Continue reading “The Evolution of Ego in the Allegory of Adam & Eve”

Sacrificing Ego Consciousness In the World’s Religions & Science

One element that I think is shared among all the religions, which has become quite conspicuous to me in recent times, is their history and beliefs about the nature of the human ego, and that this ego is a major obstacle to the flourishing of life and love in ourself and the world, and that transcending the ego is a major goal, if not the goal, of human life. This ego transcendence may be the central feature in all religions, the underlying core message and purpose of all spirituality. And science is beginning to discover this too. Continue reading “Sacrificing Ego Consciousness In the World’s Religions & Science”