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What is Ego Death? How and Why Does It Happen?

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Humans associate death with darkness, sorrow, and pain. It is just something many people are scared of. However, ego death goes the opposite way. The death of your ego comes with enlightenment, self-exploration, and going beyond the glass ceiling.

In simpler terms, the ego is the sense of self typically developed in earlier ages. It is a biological tool that helps us understand ourselves as separate beings. The problem appears when the ego takes on a level of programming that begins to impede the quality of life we live. This is why many people believe it needs to die.

But first:

What is Ego Death?

Many people think that ego death happens when we strip ourselves of the ego and live without it. No, the ego cannot die. What happens is that it becomes submissive to the awareness and direction of our higher selves so that it no longer controls our lives. The experience temporarily and instantaneously goes beyond and above our identities. By shifting your awareness above the perspective of the ego, you begin to realize that you are not the things you have identified with before.

The death of your ego comes with much self-awakening and peace; you want to experience it. It is one of the most beautiful experiences you could have if you truly understand your spiritual path. Such an experience, however, may feel horrific for people who do not understand their spiritual path or people who resist the experience.

Why Seek It?

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People are now going out of their way to experience ego death. It has become part of the spiritual journey for many people.

Here are some reasons to seek an ego death experience:

#1: Improved self-control

People often think that ego death is just for people unsatisfied with their mental wellness. Even if you are confident with your state, its demise can change your perception, eventually leading you to much clarity and success.

#2: Easier time breaking even

Our perception and identification limit us from going to other levels. Our ego keeps us in a mindset that limits us. It may feel like we are living in an unknown shell. Detaching yourself from the ego or shrinking it will allow you to crush your current sense of self that limits your abilities.

#3: Acquire a new you

We often have a rigid way of identifying ourselves. You will easily break even if you realize you differ from the sum of the labels you previously put on yourself. You will be in a much more powerful position to question things you believe in and go out of your way to seek peace and clarity. It is an excellent tool for breaking world constructs such as race or religion, which are often deeply rooted in mind and consciousness.

Stages of Ego Death

The death of the ego is different for everyone. This all starts from the triggers of the first stages and later the intense stages before you fully settle into the awakening. The first triggers may differ, but as the experience progresses, the stages become identical.

 Here are the stages you will most likely go through:

Stage 1: Spiritual awakening

The ego is deeply rooted in your spiritual being. The first step is your awakening from the ego’s power over you.

Stage 2: Dark night of the soul

In this second stage, you seek to understand things. This is after you accept the awakening that comes with the first stage. This stage is characterized by questioning things that now appear different from what they did before. It can be a confusing stage as many things now start revealing themselves to you.

Stage 3: Exploration and curiosity

In the third stage, you explore more to fill the void in your soul and being. This stage allows you to live in a space of more peace and enlightenment.

Stage 4: Soul growth and enlightenment

This stage allows you to settle in your newly found peace and awakening. Here, you have explored yourself profoundly and now know more about your true self. You will realize that you have already let go of many of your old patterns and habits. This stage has no fighting and battling with your ego, as you already have your new true identity.

How to Achieve Ego Death?

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You need to understand some things before you seek to kill your ego. For instance, why do you want to experience it? Understand that a spiritual ego is not something casual. You want to go in entirely understanding why you want to do it and the consequences of taking the path.

Many people intentionally seek ego death. Deliberately seeking it can be dangerous; proceed with caution. Ensure you are ready for it before you dive right in. If you are sure of your intentions, you can take the paths that lead to the death of your ego.

With all this imperatively said and done, you can proceed and trigger an ego death. Here are some of the ways people do it:

  • Attending spiritual retreats and workshops that guide you through it;
  • Performing specific types of breathing exercises and meditation practices;
  • Following the teachings of spiritual teachers rooted in spiritual awakening;
  • Entering altered states of consciousness, which may involve meditation, dancing, chanting, and other mystical paths; 
  • Getting involved in mystical, spiritual traditions that offer pathways to ego death.      

What Does the Death of Ego Feel Like? 

You might want to know what ego death feels like before you go for it. Your feelings will definitely be intense. It may feel horrific or exciting, or an alternation between the two. People often experience both extremes while undergoing this death.

What Next? 

After an ego death comes rebirth. A new you will be born with no barriers that limit your journey and abilities. Such death powerfully awakens the mind making your life change forever.

Ego death is not the end of spiritual awakening but rather a new beginning of deeper purpose and meaning.

Personal Development

Self-limiting Beliefs: How to Overcome Fear and Break Our Limitations

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Earlier in life, I was always afraid of senior career positions. I used to apply for junior and entry-level jobs even after many years of employment because I didn’t believe I could handle the senior ranks. Yet each time a senior position became vacant, I was the first person the boss would contact. They saw my potential, but I could never see it because of my self-limiting beliefs. 

Eventually, I would find a reason to decline the promotion. What are you struggling with?

Believe it or not, we all battle with self-limiting beliefs. Are you fearful of signing up for that mortgage because you’re so scared you might not pay it fully? Or is committing to a relationship an uphill task for you?

In this article, I will discuss this fear within us and share practical tips for overcoming these self-limiting beliefs. 

What are Self-limiting Beliefs?

Fact: There are no limits to what you can achieve except for the limits you set in your mind. And this is what sets humans apart. Some people become iconic leaders while others amass massive wealth, yet some still struggle in life. This is one way of looking at it. For you and me, think of the small challenges you encounter in life. Are you truly incapable of handling them, or are you just afraid of trying and failing? 

Self-limiting beliefs are self-developed thoughts, consciously or subconsciously, that we use to convince ourselves that we can’t do something because we are afraid of failing or getting hurt. Consequently, we don’t even allow ourselves to try. Such limiting thoughts are one of the biggest preventers of achieving our goals. And that’s why we need to learn to control and eventually overcome them. So how do we do that?

Practical Steps to Overcome Self-limiting Beliefs

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#1: Identify Your Limiting Belief(s)

What are you so afraid of and why? 

  • Are you scared of getting married because your father abused your mom? 
  • Are you afraid of getting kids because your parents abandoned you when you were little? 
  • Are you afraid of management positions at work because you feel voiceless?

Identifying your self-made limits is your first step to overcoming them. You will need to use your intelligence and accept vulnerability, more like healing your inner child.

#2: Work On Your Confidence

There are several ways to develop self-confidence. The easiest is the use of positive affirmations. The idea is to re-condition your mind into believing what you had otherwise categorized as impossible. You could also apply the law of attraction. Anything you focus your mind on without a shred of doubt eventually comes to be. If you constantly think about boldness, confidence, and assertion, you eventually become bolder, more confident, and more assertive.  

Self-confidence enables us to move out of our comfort zone. We are no longer afraid to try because we believe in our potential. And even if you fail, you believe you can win tomorrow. Besides, you become your own cheerleader and no longer seek approval from others. That’s how powerful we become when we are confident from the inside.  

#3: Set New Goals

Be realistic and set achievable targets. However, always have one clear goal at all times that you’re working towards. That goal should be the most significant on your list. Also, note that big goals are good, but they can demotivate you. Divide these goals into smaller tasks that you can easily achieve. 

For every achievement, your mind registers a win and naturally handles the next task with ease. This way, you find yourself accomplishing tasks you never imagined were possible and consequently become unstoppable in achieving your lifelong dreams. 

#4: Challenge Your Thoughts

Why do you give yourself bad labels such as “I am stupid, slow, worthless, ugly, useless,” etc.? Is it because someone in your past called you that? Did they really have a solid basis to give you that label? How well do they know you? Have they seen the woman or man you have become lately? 

Asking your inner self such questions helps you to look at the other side of the coin. For example, just because my skin has acne doesn’t mean I’m ugly. It’s just one of the many stages in life. And just because I have mobility challenges doesn’t mean I am useless. I still have the brain and hands to write my next bestseller. Challenge your thoughts, whether good or bad, and you will realize that not every gospel you hear is factual. 

#5: Develop an Alternative Plan

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We don’t have control over our limiting beliefs because they provide a soft fallback. We don’t take risks because we fear getting hurt or hurting others. Say, for example, you’re afraid of getting kids because you’re scared you’ll never be a good mom. Instead of dwelling on being single for the rest of your life, how about you start accommodating other kids in your home and see how well you nurture them? 

You can request your siblings or friends to drop off their toddlers over the weekend and dedicate your energy to looking after them just as if they were your own. After a few months, your natural motherly instincts will start to kick in, and who knows, you might start looking at kids differently. 

If you’re afraid of public speaking because you feel invisible or you’re afraid your voice is not good enough, how about you start by recording podcasts?

Or, if you constantly feel worthless, how about starting a small project that gives you a sense of belonging? Like donating your coffee to a homeless person every morning. Or helping an elderly neighbor water their flowers every weekend. 

The Bottom Line

It’s very easy to develop self-limiting beliefs, especially with a rough childhood or a traumatic past. Our mind is constantly working to protect our fragile ego from getting hurt again. However, the sooner you realize how much you have been missing in your quest to play safe, the sooner you need to break these limiting thoughts and redefine yourself. Your potential starts and ends in your mind. Dare to dream again and develop unshakable confidence because only you can do it. 

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Personal Development

8 Signs You Are a Free Spirit Who Can Never Be Tamed

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If you are a free spirit, chances are you struggle to fit in your family or friend’s circles. That is normal. See, as a true spirit, you value your freedom over complacency. You would rather dictate the terms of your life than conform to societal norms.

Well, this nonconformist attitude to life is never free of cost. You may have to get out of your comfort zone, let go of your societal security, look different, and even suffer harm. But, how do you know if you are a free spirit and not just a rebellious person?

This article will discuss the 8 common signs to guide you.

But first:

Understanding the Free Spirit

A free spirit starts from the mind. You live free of domination from any oppressive thoughts, ideas, or notions imposed on you by others. Unlike rebellion, true freedom is about respectfully liberating your mind and body, to coexist with others at peace.

Likewise, a free spirit will not replace one oppressive thought with another. Instead, this person seeks the truth and lives by it. For example, many celebrities that claim to be free spirits are doing so superficially. They may still ascribe to certain notions that are oppressive to their audience. Like the idea of going organic but allowing the use of plastics from a certain brand.

The Signs

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If you are a true free spirit, then you can relate to most of the signs below: –

#1: Strong Desire for Freedom

Did you ever quit a well-paying job to pursue a digital nomad lifestyle that pays less than half of your salary? Your strong desire to be free and set your lifestyle standards indicates a truly free-spirited person. See, free-spirited people make lifestyle decisions that prioritize their freedoms.

#2: Abhor Restrictions

In line with a desire for freedom, free spirits despise any restrictions imposed by others in their lives. If you are one, you could be struggling with committing to a deadline, target, or relationship.

And for the career persons, free spirits hop from one organization to another, dreading to be confined at one company for too long. Here, the free spirit struggles to commit to another person or purpose but looks forward to waking up to new challenges or surprises.  

#3: Welcome Challenges

A free spirit encounters problems like any other person. However, they see the problems as new challenges, not threats. Consequently, a free spirit gets excited, not worried when facing challenges.

#4: Spontaneous

A free spirit comes up with rushed decisions that change the course of their lifestyles forever. For example, they may wake up and decide to shift to a new neighborhood, enroll in the gym, or make a swift financial investment. Or, they may change their minds about getting married, having kids, or setting up their businesses. 

These persons hold no attachment to anyone or anything, hence appearing as unserious. As a result, others find it hard to understand why this person can’t stay consistent. 

#5: Unconventionality

Free spirits do things their way. They question any societal expectations and are the last persons to adopt them. Likewise, they are never intimidated by those around them. Instead, they stick to their decisions regardless of how foreign they sound to the masses. 

#6: Insatiable

A free spirit is insatiable. Your goals are different, settling for a better or unique lifestyle from the one your peers are content with. For example, your dream when clearing college was never a well-paying job, the latest car, and a home with kids. Instead, you think of opportunities that will allow you to try new things.

For example, you could be a die-hard globetrotter even though you may not have the means to travel at the moment. You are the kind of person who is content with living from a suitcase for years as you travel around the world.

#7: Great Achievers, Innovators, Dreamers

Now, a free spirit may appear spontaneous and unserious with life, but they have a clear perspective of what they want to achieve. This person comes up with fresh ideas that promise to solve world challenges. And it is the excitement of this new challenge that fuels their desire to achieve the set goals.

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#8: Relentless

Free spirits always seek ways of how to make the impossibilities in their lives possible. For example, they will question why it takes three days and not a day for an online shopping order to arrive at their doorstep. And, they will use the latest facts to question current theories.

In turn, these persons never quit. They appear stubborn, holding on to their ideas until they get the solution they were hoping for.

Living a Fulfilling Life as a Free Spirit

Note that, a free spirit is the best candidate for achieving spiritual awakening. This person is intent on soul searching and questions their existence. Still, the life of a free-spirited person can be a lonely one. If you suspect that you are a free spirit, here are a few tips to live a fulfilling lifestyle:

  • Spend more time outdoors. For example, taking part in dance competitions in the open gives you a chance to free your mind and release any stress buildup.
  • Reconnect with your inner child by working with children. They have great imaginations and love exploring and testing their boundaries. Plus, they enjoy doing role plays.
  • Explore a creative career path like preparing exotic dishes and painting on a canvas.
  • Most free-spirited persons are empathetic, considerate, kind, and loving. In turn, they can be victims of emotional abuse. Protect your emotional wellbeing by setting boundaries on who you interact with or what you explore beyond your comfort zone.

Conclusion

Anyone with a free spirit has the untamable spirit of a wolf. You always want to run free beyond the confines of family or society. You also have a tendency to oppose the normal social rule, being overly independent, and never subscribing to others’ rules. That’s why most free spirits are seen as rebellious.

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Personal Development

The Collective Shadow: Overcoming Our Biggest Blindspot

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Everywhere you go people maintain strong beliefs that shape their cultural and social interactions. General opinions about a certain culture, race, sex, political ideals, or spiritual views have a great impact on society as a whole. Yet, not everyone has the same view about such matters as interracial marriages, LGBT, abortion, or even how you should raise your child. That’s why, when you are on the receiving end of these beliefs, you can accumulate collective shadows from as early as childhood. These shadows define who you are today, robbing you of a fulfilled life. If you want to understand the concept of the collective shadow and how you can de-clutter from your current pile of collective shadows to live a meaningful life, this article is for you!

What Is a Collective Shadow?                                          

A collective shadow refers to those lingering memories relating to unpleasant events that took place at different stages of our lives. These events are due to a deviation of beliefs stemming from your immediate family, immediate culture and society, or the global community. Think of all those childhood wounds or intergenerational traumas you may have gone through when you were a victim of racism, homophobia, or stereotyping in your school, workplace, or overall community.

How you manage these wounds dictates whether you will live a fulfilled life or become a restless soul. More so, you may turn from being a victim to a perpetrator, projecting your perceived inferiority on those you see as morally deficient because, naturally, your mind will refer to these layers of psychological junk in all your decision-making.

The Sources of Collective Shadow

Below are some ideologies that plant toxic memories making up an individual’s collective shadow:

  • Homophobia
  • Apartheid
  • Sexism
  • Slavery
  • Human trafficking
  • Racism
  • Ableism
  • Speciesism
  • Religious discrimination

Ideally, the source of a collective shadow is any ideology that looks down or rejects a certain group or individuals. And, some people deal with two or more sources at the same time. For example, a child who is a victim of human trafficking may end up in a region where racism is rampant.

The Implications

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A collective shadow results in an unpleasant character-forming in a person involuntarily. More so, many victims hardly recognize the shadow as the root cause of their prejudices towards minority groups. In turn, you may have an interpersonal conflict or even a fully-fledged war as witnessed in many countries across the globe.

Hence, deal with any shadow elements you have as early as possible. Expect a layered process that may start with you but not necessarily end with you.  For example, Nelson Mandela’s contribution towards ending apartheid in South Africa took more than his effort to accomplish. And, the movement against apartheid goes on now even in the absence of this former president. 

The Shadow Work

Shadow work entails confronting all the past atrocities, horrors, and tragedies that have created a blind spot in our unconscious mind. If you are under the guidance of a spiritual leader, a teacher, or a mentor, chances are that they have brought up the need for shadow work in your life. For these leaders encourage their followers, students, or mentees to reflect on what is lurking in their lives.

Spirituality Denying Shadow Work

There is a growing tendency for spirituality to cover up the need for shadow work. For, the layered process may evoke feelings of disgust, shame, anger, or getting defensive. Hence, many spiritual leaders use such phrases as:

  • Collective shadows are the victim’s karma
  • The shadow elements are the victim’s reality
  • Their spiritual work focuses only on the positives
  • They want to encourage the “good vibes”
  • The victim of collective shadows brought it on themselves in the first place
  • We live in an illusion whereby everything is love and society is inherently evil

The above opinions are far from true. For example, attributing the shadow elements to karma dismisses the victim’s pain. And, focusing on the positive aspects of life is an avoidance approach that hinders conflict resolution. More so, these notions can create more collective shadows in the victims that seek guidance from the said spiritual leaders. Yet, when done with compassion, shadow work is achievable.

3 Ways to Unravel the Collective Shadow

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#1: Be Receptive to Others

Did you grow up exposed to stereotypes on sexuality, spirituality, or certain medical practices? Seek knowledge on these ideologies. Accommodate those you view as not fitting in your circle. Do this by spending more time with them to hear their perceptions. Chances are, the effects of a long-overdue misunderstanding or unresolved conflict are being passed on from one generation to the next. Therefore, be the one to break this chain.

#2: Examine Your Role in Perpetuating the Beliefs

Once you identify your collective shadow, ask yourself how your actions are sustaining these false beliefs. For example, who are you following on social media? Take a closer look at the people you listen to, the friends you have, the activities and people you financially support, the feelings you have toward certain groups. Think about the ways you could be perpetuating old and unhealthy ideas and beliefs. By questioning your actions, you become able to see how even you could become a source of the shadow elements for future generations.

#3: Acknowledge Your Responsibility

One way or another, each of us unconsciously internalized parts of the Collective Shadow. When you drop your ego, you’ll be able to clearly see your participation in the Collective Shadow.

Whatever you did, own up to your mistakes by recognizing them as lessons. Approach the person you hurt and seek their forgiveness and forgive yourself for not being your best self in particular situations. It’s okay to be imperfect and say the wrong thing. What matters is what you do after you learn that you’ve made a mistake. Only a few of us are able to take the responsibility to correct the impact of our utterances. Finally, learn to be humble, apologize, and take sincere steps to open your heart and mind.

Conclusion

Collective shadows pile up over time, becoming a disruptive thick layer that impacts the rest of our lives. They define who you are today, and how you view anyone that is of a differing opinion or belief. So, if you realize that you are holding on to dysfunctional beliefs from your traumatic past, engage in shadow work to remove these layers of lies. Start by listening to those of a contrary opinion to yours. Check how your collective shadows are provoking biased decision-making against minority groups. And, in humility, acknowledge those you hurt.

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