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Transcending the Ego: Following the Path to Individuation

Oftentimes, when we speak of the Ego, there seems to be a negative connotation to the word. Associated with one’s unwavering pride, the term Ego is used to refer to one’s imposition of their will on an issue.  For instance, in a misunderstanding between couples, we often hear the word Ego being thrown as the […]

Oftentimes, when we speak of the Ego, there seems to be a negative connotation to the word. Associated with one’s unwavering pride, the term Ego is used to refer to one’s imposition of their will on an issue. 

For instance, in a misunderstanding between couples, we often hear the word Ego being thrown as the arguments flare-up.

And so, we say something like, “Oh, with an Ego that big, you’ll never really learn how to accept your mistakes.” 

But does this truly reflect the meaning of the term? 

Looking into Jungian psychology, the term Ego refers to one’s conscious mind. Comprising of the thoughts, emotions, and even memories that we’re aware of, the Ego represents our basic personality.

As such, the Ego represents the conscious perception of ourselves.

As one seeks to remain constant with their Ego, they uphold their values in and out. Thus, when you think of yourself as righteous, having an altercation like the one mentioned above usually results in your failure to understand your shortcomings. 

While it is true that such is indeed part of the Ego, limiting our interpretation to this can be quite insolent against this primordial part of the psyche.

Positively put, the Ego is also responsible for ensuring that our conscious sense of self is intact. 

For instance, a loss of Ego can lead to unexpected problems such as anxiety and depression. Because we are not in control, thoughts and emotions can take over. 

Thus, the Ego indeed both has its good and bad sides, to say the least. 

Understanding Ego Transcendence

Ego Transcendence allows ourselves to be integrated with the unconscious and the unbounded. Instead of being limited to our own Ego, its own death will open up a path for us to grow spiritually. 

For instance, someone whose Ego is in command usually fails to see the interconnectedness of life. Valuing only their own benefit, this lack leads to the disregard of others. 

In comparison, someone who has achieved individuation through Ego transcendence knows that everything in life is connected.

Instead of seeing it as a fragmented reality, their integration with the unconscious unlocks a spiritual dimension to their existence. 

Thus, if you want to become more in life, it is necessary for you to access the things that transcend beyond you.

But is Ego transcendence safe?  

Without proper guidance, Ego transcendence can be risky. Because you are systematically destroying your conscious self, you may lose grip on who you are before you know it. 

For instance, individuals who seek to do Ego death through psychedelics. Although such is not necessarily harmful, and unregulated use of it can lead to things like dependency and addiction.

Thus, instead of using psychedelics as a tool to achieve Ego death, they become dependent on it. 

In the same way, and unintentionally induced Ego death can also cause problems on its own. For instance, when someone betrays you, the core values of your existence are necessarily shaken. Without your wilful consent, Ego death happens. 

In both cases, Ego death can lead to anxiety and depression. Without an anchor from which you can hinge your own beliefs and values in life, Ego death unveils an overwhelming sense of uncertainty.

To do this, one must undergo the seven stages of Ego death as follows

  1. Spiritual Awakening – unlocking your higher self
  2. The Dark Night of the Soul – confronting your fears
  3. The Spiritual Seeker – assessing your beliefs
  4. Satori – a glimpse of enlightenment
  5. The Elder Soul – state of spiritual discernment
  6. Deconstruction of the Ego – the release of control
  7. The End and the Awareness – integrating ourselves to the collective unconscious

Thus, the key to this is to have a guided Ego death experience.

Instead of creatively finding your own ways and methods of doing Ego transcendence, paying attention to proven and tested theories can definitely help.

Individuation: The Path to Ego Transcendence

Ultimately, Ego transcendence leads us to the process of individuation. Assuming that we were able to go through the 7 stages of ego death safely, it all leads to the recognition of the archetypes that exist before us.

By giving lesser control to the Ego, we are not anymore caught-up with ourselves. Instead, we now understand that certain primordial structures of thought exist before us. As we bring the elements of the collective unconscious closer to the conscious mind, we realize how it operates within us. 

As such, these elements of the collective unconscious are referred to as archetypes

Understood to be some sort of shared universal responses that are embedded in the psyche even before one’s birth, these archetypes precede us. According to Jung, such a priori mental structures are found within as they are coupled with progress and evolution. 

And as we move further in life, we resonate with these 12 archetypes. In doing so, we are integrating the primordial characters into our personality.

With that, here are the 12 archetypes and their respective qualities: 

  1. Caregiver – altruistic and universally loving, they prioritize others before themselves.
  2. Creator – authentic and perfectionist, they seek to leave a mark in the world through their creations.
  3. Explorer – adventurous and daring, they see the value of life in exploring the world. 
  4. Hero – courageous and persevering, they will conquer all challenges in order to fulfill their duty. 
  5. Innocent – pure and wishful, they bring hope and love to the darkest moments in life.
  6. Jester – witty and playful, they understand the underlying paradoxes of our existence. 
  7. Lover – romantic and self-loving, they seek to become the best version of themselves for another person. 
  8. Magician – transformative and otherworldly, their power can change the status quo. 
  9. Member – loyal and honest, they will dedicate themselves to a shared goal with others. 
  10. Outlaw – rebellious and radical, they will destroy systems in order to improve them. 
  11. Ruler – authoritative and powerful, they seek to govern others.
  12. Sage – wise and knowledgeable, they cherish the search for truth. 

Final Word

As we transcend the Ego, we are finally letting go of being self-absorbed. In doing so, we allow ourselves to incorporate our archetypes into our personal growth, leading us to the improvement we desire!

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