Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used drugs

I just want to ask if there's anyone who has NEVER done psychedelics, who has achieved...I dont necessarily want to claim it as self realization but

Life now is like..there's no "me" seperate from anything else. Or if there is, I quicky, automatically, disengage with the illusion that there is. But it's no longer "not me" or nonduality it's more like "all me" or alldualities. It's not "this is not me" more like "everything is me". I'm struggling to explain that.

I experienced this for the first time around 2017 I literally dissolved into my environment, there was no difference between my body and the environment around me all the way to the Sun. And then it was over a few weeks later. Then over the next 4 years it came back but extremely gradually with some insane ego-moments which I feel like was my ego resisting. It's been a slow slog but lately it feels like I'm 5% ego 95% "non dual" with the equanimity that comes with that. To note, around 2017 I was in a big group of people doing all sorts of stuff and unlocking "attainments and siddhis" and self-identifying as a "spiritual person" all these things that seem extremely silly and childish now.

The 4 years wasn't a DNOTS, this occured in 2012 with my abrupt spiritual awakening. My awakening was very violent and DNOTS occured literally a day after my first meditation, which was accidental; every night I would feel like I was dying and going down into this hole when I shut my eyes for sleep. One night, I was so depressed with it I just thought "fuck it" and went with it. Hence my awakening! Literally the next day on I had severe anxiety as all my confidence was gone, and I struggled to cope in society and eventually dropped out completely.

So now I don't want to claim any attainments (SR) but it feels like peoples descriptions of SR. The problem is, 99% of these descriptions are peoples trip reports. Where they lose their ego and then it comes back, over a period of 6 hours. Mine doesn't seem to have come back... but this is where it gets hard to explain.

It seems like I have an ego just like I have this physical vehicle; the body, and that both are required to function in what we call "reality". Yet these are just vehicles, not me. Like my body is a car and the ego is the engine (except it is an engine that makes survival instinct choices) and I'm just the driver. The body part is easy to explain the ego part not so much.

There's a huge amount of equanimity going on too however there's something that I don't see talked about much; lack of empathy. To me it seems that everyone, and everything, are just individual pieces of one thing. Which we call God or Consciousness, but even labelling it this does it a disservice. Therefore I no longer really care about anyone. A relative died recently and I wasn't even sad...to me they didn't die, their vehicle perished and I believe they still exist, just somewhere else. Everyone around me is asking me why I'm not crying like they are or moping around and they don't understand when I explain. One said I should go and see a doctor! ha!

Whereas everyone I see in the spiritual world talks about empathy and caring for others 'cus they are you etc, for me it's the opposite, this One thing we all are is infinite so therefore nothing can "happen to it" as that would signifiy some kind of external-from-it-ness. Yeah, I can't find the words for this.

So I guess my question is where do I stand? Am I on the right track? Am I delusional? Does it even matter? I feel like its the ego thing to compare to others or to have a hierarchy, even the term enlightenment seems silly to me, it seems like a term people's "I"'s are chasing to feel better over people not enlightened. Surely there just is "isness" without any ego delusion on top to corrupt the "isness". Surely that is enlightenment? Surely a brick is truly enlightened because it is just a brick that's part of Consciousness, without thinking it's a Superbrick and more special than other bricks?

Anyway thank you for reading my essay!
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used d

Posts: 1636 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I went through a nondual period where I was engaging with a lot of neo-advaita and convincing myself that I didn’t exist and that everything was one. Looking back I can see that I was quite dissociated and depersonalized. If I had the inclination and no family responsibilities then I probably could have taken it much further. Fortunately some kind people on here did me the favor of knocking some sense into me. 

When one is in a nondual state then it’s very hard to see that it is indeed a state, because there is an absence of subjectivity. There’s nothing inherently wrong with enjoying hanging out in nondual states, but if you start fixating on them then it can become a problem. The red flags are the two things you mention. First, lack of empathy and connection with the people around you. (I’m not being moralistic here – everyone is free to do whatever they like and enjoy the consequences .) Second, that sticky 5% of residual duality. I know there are people who claim to be 100% nondual, but if you dig around a bit you can usually figure out what they are selling. It’s a very attractive proposition, because once you’ve had a taste of nondual experience then you naturally want as much of it as possible. This creates tension due to the craving for permanent nondual experience. This is hard to see in oneself when one is caught up in it, but it’s easy to see in others once one has realized that nonduality and consciousness are false refuges.

The Buddha was very aware of this danger and warned about it explicitly, e.g. in the Ananda Sutta where he eschews the extremes of eternalism (the self exists) and annihilationism (the self does not exist). The middle way is more subtle, which is why people get stuck at the extremes. One’s ego does exist, just not in the stable permanent way that is conventionally thought. Everything is one, but within that nondual oneness there arise egos and the appearance of duality. If there was no duality then there wouldn’t be any experience of nonduality either. Said another way, emptiness is none other than form. Holding rigidly onto “ego is an illusion” usually entails some serious spiritual bypassing.
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David Matte, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used d

Posts: 75 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
Whenever there is a lack of empathy or compassion for other beings, that is good sign you have fallen into a trap. In this case, it's the trap of the ego fixating in the nondual view. Highly recommend reading Adyashanti's book "The End of your World", Chapter 6: Common delusions, traps, points of fixation.

"about this One thing we all are is infinite so therefore nothing can "happen to it""

​​​​​​​A related trap, one that I'll admit to have seriously fallen into in the past, is for the ego to extrapolate qualities of permanence (eternalism) and "infinity". With further investigation, one can see that these are just extrapolations. It's quite common along the path for the ego to initially become attached to these being some ultimate, absolute qualities of reality, and then further take refuge in them.
Tim Farrington, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used d

Posts: 2460 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
John R: So now I don't want to claim any attainments (SR) but it feels like peoples descriptions of SR. The problem is, 99% of these descriptions are peoples trip reports. Where they lose their ego and then it comes back, over a period of 6 hours. Mine doesn't seem to have come back... but this is where it gets hard to explain.

It seems like I have an ego just like I have this physical vehicle; the body, and that both are required to function in what we call "reality". Yet these are just vehicles, not me. Like my body is a car and the ego is the engine (except it is an engine that makes survival instinct choices) and I'm just the driver. The body part is easy to explain the ego part not so much.

There's a huge amount of equanimity going on too however there's something that I don't see talked about much; lack of empathy. To me it seems that everyone, and everything, are just individual pieces of one thing. Which we call God or Consciousness, but even labelling it this does it a disservice. Therefore I no longer really care about anyone. A relative died recently and I wasn't even sad...to me they didn't die, their vehicle perished and I believe they still exist, just somewhere else. Everyone around me is asking me why I'm not crying like they are or moping around and they don't understand when I explain. One said I should go and see a doctor! ha!

Whereas everyone I see in the spiritual world talks about empathy and caring for others 'cus they are you etc, for me it's the opposite, this One thing we all are is infinite so therefore nothing can "happen to it" as that would signifiy some kind of external-from-it-ness. Yeah, I can't find the words for this.

So I guess my question is where do I stand?

Hi John, and thanks for your post. I think the "without having used drugs" is sort of a red herring here, so I won't go there. It seems like the heart of your post is about saying where you're at, and asking for feedback. You main vocabulary seems to be a Self Realization language, a Unity Consciousness, the Oneness of all, I AM THAT. It's a sustained experience for you, and road-tested, and you seem happy with it. Maybe this post is more road-testing, in its way, you really want another angle. Clearly, mine will be only one limited take. 

So, where do I think you stand? I think you're in a lovely dream. It's all maya, in that lovely dream. It's all One, and nothing really happens, no harm, no foul. It's satchitananda, from here to the sun, and everything beyond. But it's a bubble. The red flag to me is that this cherished Self is heartless. You say you keep hearing about all this "spiritual" caring for others and empathy, and just don't see it that way. You take it far enough to be blithe at the funeral of a loved one, so patently Fine With It All that it drew attention and questions from the poor deluded souls there to grieve their loss. To me, that is not Self Realization, that's a human being in denial. Your position is that if everyone would just wake up to our Oneness in Consciousness, we'd all be as heartless as you, and as oblivious to omnipresent human suffering. My position is that you're still dreaming if you think you can pull that shit off. 

Am I on the right track?

Sort of, lol. You've got a huge running start at it, for sure, and you've done a lot of work. Good work. There are actualy a lot of people who buy the package you've got. If you think the right track is getting that lingering low percentage of ego to zero (you've got it down to 5%, I note; two years ago you still had 20% to go, so you're getting there, on that track), then no, i don't think you're on the right track. And you're enjoying the play of maya so much it's hard to imagine you really taking what I'm saying to heart. But your bubble's going to pop. Then you'll have eyes to see the right track. It will probably look pretty gnarly, after all this time as the Consciousness That Is All, Except For What Hurts.

Am I delusional?

Yes. 

Does it even matter?

Yes, it's the only thing that matters.
Thank you all for the replies.

I think on reflection the source of this stuckness is the "neo avidata" path I was introduced to. And it makes sense because I often use the "headless way" proposed by Douglas Harding which is quite dismissive of human expression. Spiritual bypassing seems to be my issue. I've been supressing human emotion (not just the bad but the good too) and sad or fun experiences as "phenomena" because neo teachers teach that everything is nondual therefore non existant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Advaita#Spiritual_bypassing

Specifically.

And of course without the "training" that Advaita teaches before getting to this point there's no point of reference after the experience. Which I think is what I was getting at with the title of my thread. People who have experienced nonduality, ego death etc on Psychedelics, they all speak of "Universal Love" or similar concepts whereas I'm not necessarily experiencing this and I think my ego grasps on to what it desires (enlightenment) which is not necessarily what I am experiencing, whereas psychedelics are like a sledgehammer; you're getting all the experiences whether you want them or not.
Tim Farrington, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used d

Posts: 2460 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Wow, John, beautiful. That's as gracefully and cleanly as I can imagine that kind of insight being welcomed. Your humility and truth-sense and openness to feedback and hunger for The Real Deal clearly survived the dreaded Advaita Bypass! Good for you. Now, on to the mud work, lol.

It happens to a lot of us. Daniel Ingram wrote a gorgeous post specifically about this phenomenon of taking a really good plateau to be more ultimate than it turns out to be. It's a good thing for all of us to consider.

Daniel said, it part:

As one who has gone through lots of cycles over the years that led to lots of plateaus, many of which were quite impressive for some period of time but later faded or reality-tested at a lower level than first impressions seemed to indicate, I can totally sympathize, as I have been there and done that and very well may do it again. It can be very painful and disorienting.

It should be realized that this sort of thing is not only going to happen, it is actually very normal in this open-disclosure world of states, stages, names of levels, and achievement-oriented culture. If we recognize this as a community and can talk about it, then when it happens, which it has and will again, perhaps often, then the members of the community, who are then dealing with all the complexities that these strange phases can cause, won't have to deal so much with the additional stigma of feeling like people think they are freaks, losers, or unwilling or willing charlatans when they face the expected outcome of sometimes totally blowing it and making some claim that didn't turn out to hold up over time.

Thus, I urge each of you, should you run into someone who has this happening to them, to have similar sympathy, to wish that person well, to realize that, if you are in this rarified business long enough, it will likely happen to you also, and, when it does, think about how you would want to be treated and pass that on ahead of time.


the entire post and thread can be found at: 
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4462226

​​​​​​​What is your current practice? I can imagine it's about to get even more interesting, lol. Please keep us in the loop if you would. I love interesting.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used d

Posts: 5375 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Yeah, I have never done psychedelics (oops, I first misspelled that as pschodelics, which I guess says a lot about the prejudice about them that I had for a long time, lol).
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used d

Posts: 1636 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Good stuff John. It's not easy to come down off that cloud, as I know only too well. emoticon You show honesty, bravery and flexibility in being able to put your experience out there for feedback, and take it on board.  And it's not like nonduality is total bullshit, it's just half the story! emoticon Please keep us updated about how you're getting on.
Best wishes,
George
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Ni Nurta, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: Has anyone achieved ego death / self realization, without having used d

Posts: 659 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Human being nervous system is complicated device which can operate in many different ways. When you start meditating and have no idea what actions lead to what results you can get to many invalid states. Especially when you do it and drugs, especially at the same time.

But it's no longer "not me" or nonduality it's more like "all me" or alldualities. It's not "this is not me" more like "everything is me". I'm struggling to explain that.
I do not think there is much need to explain that.
The best thing to do is to investigate what you experience, how you can control that, what parts of this experience are pleasant, what are unpleasant, what things lead to what outcomes, etc.

I do not think from descriptions you are very happy from your current state. It is just some change, perhaps some things improved, some not so much and that is that. The good news is that it is possible to take best elements from these mind states, best from what you had before, best from these which will come in the future and construct something better, much better.

BTW. Any change in perception of colors, tempo, presentation of sounds, size of vision, touch?

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