Ego dissolution, or ego death, is the complete loss of subjective self-identity. Some see this as a symbolic transition of oneself dying so that a new version of the self can be ushered in—a transformation of identity—while others see it as a temporary phase or experience of connecting with a form of universal energy or consciousness. This “death” can often come from working with psychedelic medicines, but it is not exclusive to this experience: it is often described as a stage of enlightenment in several spiritual traditions, achieved through ritual, meditation, or trance.
Most of us involved in consciousness research and exploration have had both personal and/or professional episodes that resemble or emulate a temporary ego death (loss of the separate self) or, in the affirmative, have experienced a deep and profound merging with the transcendent other.
Doing yoga and dropping acid used to be countercultural pastimes, but now the medical Establishment has taken a turn toward mind expansion: It seems like every month there’s a new study coming out about how hallucinogens deflate anxiety and depression.