Starving the Ego with the Help of Ayahuasca

For the past several weeks I have been focusing on ego.  In fact it may turn out that I may be focused on ego and learning to controlling it and starving it for the rest of my life.  Based on comments by Alex Good, reading several books like the Upanishads, books by David Hawkins and personal reflection I have come to the conclusion that ego is the source of all of our problems-spiritual and otherwise.  If we first become aware of the ego, control it and finally kill it we become more and more happy/free until we reach enlightenment (ego death and thus full liberation).

Ego is all about “me”, “us vs. them” and separation.  The funny thing is that ego is actually a huge energetic being as we are all actually one.  We are like cells in a giant organism and the ego is a large parasite feeding off of that organism.  We just view the ego as an individual phenomenon.

In most cases ego, via the mind, controls us.  We are often oblivious about when the ego is in action.  It is a tricky little bugger because it uses the mind very effectively.  We are absolutely awesome at rationalizing our ego and egoic actions.

Ego is the reason that we are afraid of death which is really the reason we have fear in our lives.  The ego dies when the body dies.  The ego wants to live and feed into the larger energetic organism.  For our spirit or soul there really is no such thing as death as the spirit lives forever.  Sure the body can die, but not our spirit.  This is why enlightened masters don’t give a rats ass about death, they know that there is no such thing as death.  The body is not important.  One of two things happens when we die:  1) we still have work to do as it relates to karma- we come back to pay our karmic debts, or 2) we have burned through all of our karma and we can return home/become one with the divine (heaven or nirvana).

The ego can also die before our physical body does.  Thus the term “killing the ego”.  This is an odd term because the word “killing” can lead to the misunderstanding that one day we can wake up knowing how to kill it like we would a spider.  This is not the case.  We kill the ego in our physical lifetimes by slowly starving it to death.

Starving the ego to death is a looong process.  First we have to become aware of what it really is.  We often have the misperception that ego just manifests as boastfulness or selfishness.  It is true that those types of actions are ego based.  However, the ego is much more subtle than that.  Some examples of subtle egoic actions are:

  • When we talk or think negatively about someone or something.  No matter how subtly or softly we do this, we are trying to put ourselves above someone else.
  • When we are focused on money. Money is an extension of ego.  We use money as a way to separate ourselves from others either through socioeconomic class differences or simply accumulation of material items i.e. this is mine, not yours.
  • When we are competitive with others.  This is total ego as we are trying to prove that we are better than the other, we are right and they are wrong.  The ego loves competition- very yummy, highly charged food for the ego.
  • When we talk down to someone else or tell them they should do this/that.  Again, this is putting yourself above someone else i.e. I know what “is” and you don’t.
  • When we talk about ourselves (both positively and negatively) or ask people to tell us about ourselves i.e. it is all about me.
  • Facebook and blogs are all about ego.  It is a forum to talk about ourselves.
  • In relationships we often become dependent on our partners to validate us, make us feel “loved”, etc…  This is all ego.
  • Etc… Etc…

If we are not vigilant and do not work on starving the ego through awareness/consciousness we end up capping our spiritual growth. Our narcissistic egoic minds hold us back from realizing what is true and false.  In fact approximately 85% of the world population currently does not have the consciousness to determine what is true or false at all (Hawkins).

We can experience spiritual growth only to backslide into the ego based pitfalls of sex, money and power.  In fact there are several examples currently and in history where spiritual leaders advance to high levels of consciousness only to fall due to ego i.e. power corrupts.  The lack of awareness around ego is a (if not “the”) major spiritual pitfall.  Unfortunately the followers of such spiritual leaders often do not have the consciousness to recognize the spiritual fall of their leader (see above- 85% of the world population does not have the consciousness to discern true from false).

How does this post relate to ayahuasca and shamanism??

In my previous posts I have been talking about ayahuasca, shamanism and consciousness.  This post adds to that theme.

As I have stated before, here in the Amazon there does not seem to be much focus on raising consciousness through ayahuasca shamanism.  The focus is on healing.  Of course when one person helps another (healing in this case) their consciousness is raised i.e. Karma Yoga. This is awesome and valid work.

From what I can tell, the attitude in the ayahuasca community is that as long as the ego is at socially acceptable levels, it is ok.  There just is no concept of enlightenment nor killing the ego.  In some cases I have heard shamans say that the ego is good and that they have a comfortable/controlled relationship with their ego- a perfect example of the mind rationalizing the ego.

Unfortunately, many westerners come to Peru in search of an “Ayahuasca Guru”.  There seems to be a subtle myth that shamans are enlightened masters.  Yes, there are masters of medicine, but masters of ego…???

To be clear, I am not saying that I have control of my ego.  I have just started working on it.  The first step to removing the ego is to recognize what it is.  Then a vigilant practice of observing/watching the ego rear it’s ugly head is required.  Eventually we can stop the ego from gaining control before it happens- this is starving the bugger.  This gets easier and easier as the practice continues.

Ayahuasca helps this process by increasing awareness in general.  You can also set an intention with ayahuasca to help with starving the ego by asking for help right before drinking your cup.  Personally I have asked ayahuasca several times to help me starve the ego.  It seems to be working.  Ego still pops up in my daily life and I am able to notice it as it pops up.  Sometimes I am able to catch it before I say or do something egoic.  Sometimes I catch it after the fact.  Both are steps to starve the tricky bugger.

Recently I had a vision regarding ego.  I was sitting in the bathroom during ceremony and was in full mariacion with visions etc…   I noticed a little spirit that had a sharp spear hanging around.  I tried to brush it away (it was really small), but it was not going anywhere.  So I looked closer….”is that…..the ego??”  Immediately I knew it was.  It was a small skinny devilish looking guy with a pissed off look on his face.  I laughed because I got the feeling and the visual confirmation that he was not eating very well.

For obvious reasons meditation practices are extremely helpful as well (see my previous two posts).  I have been good about my practice and I feel that it has been key in starving the little guy.

La Familia Medicina is totally embracing the focus on increasing consciousness and starving the ego.  Our site and model will be changing significantly over the next two weeks.  Stay tuned!

7 Responses to “Starving the Ego with the Help of Ayahuasca”

  1. JackOctober 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    You might like to try:

    The Myth, The Hero, And The Lie
    http://www.spiritofmaat.com/sep11/myth_hero_lie.html

    where the author (a psychoanalyst and psychic channeler) claims that “a strong egoic identity” is necessary, both to keep one’s sanity, and to prevent one”self” from going overboard by identfying with some mythical heaven-like realm.

    Further, he claims that, “As a psychotherapist, I find it highly destructive and downright dangerous to involve oneself in ego-bashing in the name of spirituality. I see this kind of thing all the time, and in every case there is a compromise of one’s psychological health. [...T]he ego is a mechanism of consciousness (or Mind) that has one sole purpose-to navigate with a sense of personal identity through the myriad experiences of life.”

    “The goal is not to remain in the mythic realm although it is highly seductive to do so. Rather it is to bring back into the human realm those insights and energies that are of benefit to us and to our sangha (spiritual community). Then we are balanced. One foot in heaven, one foot on the ground [...].”

    peace,

    Jack

  2. Matthew P.October 24, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    Some months ago Lisa was really getting into her meditation and said that if the ego was going to go, then she was going to throw a party for it. Some hours later, apparently upon reflection, she came into the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth and said, with a straight face, “I’m not sure who is throwing the party.”

  3. jeronimo m.m.October 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Yes, many times ayahuasca can also feed the ego

    http://ayadoc.blogspot.com/2008/10/ayahuasca-shapeshifting-or-egotripping.html

    • adminNovember 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Yes, ayahuasca can also feed the ego. Without vigilance the ego will take anything it experiences and convinces us that it is our own, this includes spiritual experiences. At the same time any spiritual practice can feed the ego or in this case the spiritual ego. The ego is a tricky little guy. Awareness of these pitfalls and vigilance are absolutely KEY in any spiritual pursuit. There have been many teachers who have risen in consciousness only to fall back down due to the ego via money, power and sex.

  4. DavidJanuary 3, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    It is fashionable in spiritual circles to demonize the ego, and say it is the cause of all our problems. I would simply ask this: Why does it exist in the first place? It has it’s function in the world of duality. It helps keep us alive. There is self, and there is other (than self). My goal is not to transcend this life, or get out of it, and go to the next plane. My goal is simply to be smoother and more skillful at balancing the needs of self and other in this life, such that there is more good feeling and less conflict. This life is a gift, not a curse. I feel it’s about balance. Let’s not seek to “kill the ego”. Who is killing what, anyhow? Putting it on a diet appeals. In order to do that we need to appreciate a “different source of nourishment.” The ego slims as we focus more from ma differnt place. Can we do this with awareness but not struggle? Must we have an adversary? I think not.

    DD

  5. ChristopherJanuary 18, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    I am always trying to catch myself when I am thinking negative thooughts about someone or something to feel better about myself. I am committed to practicing healthier habits of unconditional love and humility because of the sadness I experience when I act negatively. I look forward to visiting your camp and raising my consciousness to higher levels to maintain a happier, healthier life. Thank you for the e-book.

  6. Julio EJune 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Aya is a magnificent tool to open your awareness to the tricks of the ego. Starving is a good concept to “fight” it, killing it is more a trap than a solution as most likely the ego will beat you to death if killing it is your main purpose. Killing carries the seed of the ego in itself, it almost a self-defeating goal. You have better chances by starving it. What happens is that if you go deeper most egos act as entities that you have attached to your aura and make you believe they are part of you, and take control of your human machine and you thing is you. When you effectively starve them by not allowing it to take over your machine, then most of them (the less powerful) tend to abandon your vehicle and you feel released or free from some tendencies. Others however, will never leave you until the very end, lust for example. Lust has the powerful ally of your genetically programmed impulse to reproduce and uses it to make you do the most terrible things outside or to live a darkish inner live in your mind. The problem is too complex but i congratulate the author to bring the subject out to public discussion. Blessings.

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