I think the term ego death is so unfortunate. I have had people who are going through awakening express such anxiety about it because it simply sounds so scary. I have an article HERE about ego death and the importance of ego within the self. Frankly, language can be tricky, so don’t make up your mind about something in awakening until you yourself have gone through it.
I went through this “death” at a time when my kundalini was accelerating to warp speed. I had already experienced a rising of kundalini and it had been very active for a about two years when I began corresponding with someone whose ideas meshed with mine who was also kundalini awakened. It is said that kundalini can be transmitted. My observation is that it is more nuanced than this. Rather, I think that we attract based on where we are. I was already asking questions about how this experience was “supposed” to go because some of it didn’t make sense. Like the issue of soul connections. Some call them Twin Rays and Twin Souls and I bought into this belief for a time, but the edifice surrounding it began to crumble when I noticed that a Twin is supposed to love unconditionally, was supposed to be just like you, etc. I observed that this just was not so and that this person I was connected to was actually quite harsh, hard, and punishing. Vindictive, actually. And this was a pattern in my life, I would discover later, a gift that kundalini gave to me to open my eyes. By learning to develop good healthy boundaries and to heal the old karmic scars, I found that my experience went into hyper-drive. The only thing that was different was that I was beginning to possess a different outlook and I was beginning a dialog with someone whose ideas were much more aligned with my own. In fact, there were aspects of the experience this person helped me to bring to light that I had not been entirely aware of. She helped me to shed light on this and to shine a bright light on my own experience in a way that was at once difficult, but liberating.
Something in me began mirroring a very different side to the energy. Giant waves of kundalini began to move into my life and for the first time I felt an overwhelming feeling of getting knocked over by giant waves from this force. Everything inside of me sought to hold on for dear life, for what I knew was familiar. What I did not realize was that kundalini was now moving in a different way, a broader way, and it was hard to keep up with. But I did hold on. For dear life. That wound up being just the problem. I had to let go. My precious ego, though, feared for its life, feared for its sanity. As this force began to move in me so strong, I had an experience where as I walked through the woods at night I could feel myself leaking out into the surrounding environment. All of my carefully laid boundaries were being erased. When I heard the water rushing by in a swift mountain stream, I could feel myself connected to it. I felt connected to the mist hanging in the meadow. I felt the pulse of moonlight. Instead of feeling peace, I felt like I was about to lose my mind. In a way, I was. I was beginning to lose those boundaries that had been erected around ego and self. The difference between this experience and my first experiences with the force was that I was unable to embrace it.
Over the next year I went through a flurry of experiences that all involved letting go of old patterns. This involved a gradual letting go of ego as the central agent in my awareness. This was like wrestling with an 800 pound gorilla. In time, this gorilla became an ally, not an enemy. Its presence as a threat dissolved completely. All of the tension, all of the hardness melted away. Ego was now much more mobile and would come forward and go back into the self as needed. This was much better, much easier! Now the energy flowed through me without hindrance. It was a saving grace.
As I think about those days and how hard they were, I am considering how what we call ego death can also just be a willingness to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. The curious thing with ego is it identifies with ourselves as being US. Individual. This tends to set up a kind of border land within the self. If we aren’t careful, we erect all kinds of borders around us that block out all manner of things. We become like a castle whose walls have become hardened. Little gets in or out. We defend our territory and karma remains in place, the very guards of this very tight little castle of the mind. But concurrent with ego “death” was a softening of the self, a willingness and ability to be vulnerable. There was less of a need to win, to be right, to prove anything to anyone. The race, the battle, the journey…..the “I” became a differently defined “I” that did not need to define itself in relationship to others. More and more, I can just let people be who they are. By letting go, by being more vulnerable, I saw as the need to keep ego in place became kind of silly. unnecessary. Kundalini was making it hard to keep this part of me planted as it was, so it was easier to just go with the flow.
Being vulnerable has its benefits. It leads to being able to look reasonably at things as they are instead of always trying to make things as we want them to be. We are more forgiving of ourselves, and this is key in order to reach a place where we can say “I AM imperfect, but I am worthy of love!” I think that a willingness to be vulnerable is an important step in softening the ego and opening the self up to a greater flow for this energy of the self.