Unexpected ego death

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    I guess I should start with saying that I am not a Buddhist. I have very little knowledge of Buddhism but I feel this might be the best place to post about this. Second I do not believe for a moment that having an ego death sets me above anyone else. If anything it has taught me that to think that way is to go right back into ego.

    Since I was very young I have had a fascination with spirituality and what is there that we can not see. I’ve read many books and visited hundreds of websites over the years dealing with everything from near death experiences to ESP to philosophy. I just wanted to know the answers and if I didn’t get them then at least the journey would be interesting.

    A few weeks ago I came across an article by a Buddhist who said that the sense of self was an illusion and that we should all work toward moving away from a sense of self. My first reaction was to get angry at this man because I was sure he was wrong and he was telling “me” I didn’t exist. However a few days later I began to mull what he had said over in my head. It went something like this…

    “Who am I? I guess I should start out by finding out who or what I am not. I am not my beliefs they are separate from me. I am not my hobbies, I am not my job, I am not my political affiliations” etc. etc. This went on for some time. When it was over I was still left with the question “Who am I?” I had the answer “I am no one.” With that something changed. I came to certain realizations for which I have no explanation. Everything and everyone was part of a whole. Your sense of self is not who you are, the world is fine just the way it is and the one that scared me the most I was no longer attached to my ego. My ego is still very much there but unless I let it pull me in I can operate separate from it.

    I wish I could say that this suddenly made me full of joy and wonder but it didn’t. I spent two days feeling that I was lied to and that life was pointless. I spent several more days getting used to being “no one” and then realizing that every aspect of my life had suddenly changed. My emotions worked differently, I didn’t spend hours at night worried about my job the next day and I was now very aware of just how many times people or ads mention the self. “I want to…” “It’s all about you!” “What do YOU want?” This took some getting used to.

    So here I am three weeks later wondering where to go from here. I feel almost like I died three weeks ago and am now a new person or a new “non-person” for lack of a better term. I’ve seen a mental health therapist albeit one who believes in a higher power. He told me I don’t meet the criteria to be labeled mentally ill so what now? How does “no one” live a life?








    It sounds like you are on the path of self-discovery. Woohoo! It is filled with endless insight, deepening love, and higher joy (which takes hard work to get to). Yes, letting go of attachments can bring up emotions like fear. We have to ask ourselves, do I want to live in light or in illusion (ego)? Even if you don’t understand why or where it’s coming from or what it is – some deeper part of you is reaching for truth; what an awesome thing!

    You said you have read many books, but if you haven’t heard of him, Ramana Maharshi has some simple teachings that have helped me get clear. I haven’t read these ones, I have only started reading The Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, but I have heard great things about them, and feel he truly “knows.”



    Hi Christy,

    It seems you reached very profound insights by questioning your ideas and seeing that they were false. This signifies a big change and your mind has a difficult time adjusting to it. I would say that it is very normal to feel confused and it will take time to get used to it.

    With time it will also become clear what this means for you and what direction things will go for you.

    There are people who have had similar experiences and have written about it such as Eckhart Tolle and Sadhguru. You could look at their stories to get an idea, but I think this would just be a way to ease your mind and in itself it is not needed to do anything, it will become clear for you at some point.

    Best wishes.



    * the two replies didn’t reflect under Topics…



    Thank you all for the replies. I looked up the people you recommended. While I’m sure these people are enlightened I hesitate to use that term for “myself.” I still have a million flaws. Eckhart Tolle’s experience does seem similar to mine though. He was very depressed and found that the self wasn’t real. I wasn’t depressed but I still found that the self isn’t real.

    For the time being I think I’ll look more into this website as well as others and some books too. So far other than the therapist I mentioned I have only told my girlfriend about this. She didn’t seem happy about it. At the same time people in my life have begun to notice that I’ve changed somehow. Sitting and pretending nothing has happened isn’t going to work much longer. I never saw any of this coming. I am slowly getting used to it though and the sense of calm is nice. Anyway thanks for everything. 🙂



    Hi Christy,

    I think it is not relevant if a person is enlightened or not, in the end this just a label and labels rarely fit to people. I can understand your hesitation to consider yourself enlightened.

    Life is changing all the time and it looks to me as if you are finding your way in it.


    Bryan Wagner


    Coming to a place where we realize that we are part of everything, and nothing is separate, is part of a spiritual search. And, I think it might feel like that translates into No-self. But for me there is an agency that reflects. I just had a conversation about that and here is my experience. On a 90 day retreat the guide started it out planting a seed. For thirty days we meditated every morning just watching. No discussion or mention of what we were doing. The guide explained later that we are like the plant that grew. Part of everything, changing everyday, and yet still plant. Even though the word plant is not sufficient to explain what plant is.

    She also explained that Being Selfless is so different from being No-self. I can be selfless. I know what that means. We let go of conditioned ego and act from presence.

    I love that you are a seeker. Have lots of compassion for yourself. Keep going!




    Contrary to what some people might think, the ego can’t die or be killed, it can only be diminished. It will always be there. Your task is to recognise it when it rears it’s ugly, destructive head. Unfortunately, the more you recognise and step out of ego, the more you will notice just how firmly the human world around you is stuck in it. This is why many ‘awakened people’, myself included, gravitate more towards nature, animals and solitary pursuits. Where I not on a heady cocktail of medication for my various ailments, I would probably disappear into the wilderness, for I had to cope alone anyway, even surrounded by family.

    Best wishes,


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