The Ego Dissolution Inventory is a way to put an Ego Death experience on a scale so that we can measure and compare our own psychedelic trip vs others peoples generally with an index rating.
Table of Contents:
- Psychedelic drugs and Ego Dissolution experience
- What is the Ego Dissolution Inventory?
- Why is an inventory and factory analysis necessary?
- Ego Dissolution Examples
- Ego-dissolution psychology
- Ego dissolution meditation
- Ego disintegration schizophrenia
- What are the stages of a psychedelic Ego Death?
Psychedelic drugs and Ego Dissolution experience
Psychedelic drug experiences like those from Psilocybin mushrooms or Ayahuasca cause consciousness or Ego dissolving experiences and Ego Death as it is known. It is thought that under the influence of psychedelics the Default Mode Network of the brain, where the Ego or sense of self lives, is reduced in activity leading to Ego Dissolving experiences for a period of a several hours. Between 4 and 6 hours for an Ayahuasca trip.
What is the Ego Dissolution Inventory?
An Ego Dissolution Inventory is a questionnaire which asks you several questions about the symptoms that you experienced during your psychedelic trip. Each question, for example ‘did you feel at one with the universe?’ receives a rating from you on a scale from 0 – 100.
There are 8 questions in total and for each one you take the given score out of 100 and add them all up to get a number out of 800 which represents the strength of your Ego Dissolution. 800 being ‘you felt no physical body’ and ‘felt at one with the universe’.
You can find ego-dissolution pdf here if you want to use it yourself.
Why is an inventory and factor analysis necessary?
A Ego Dissolution Inventory is useful as a comparison for a psychedelic trip. It gives a common set of questions that different people can answer to create a way to compare an Ego Dissolution experience in strength and effectiveness between you and other people or perhaps between yourself over several different trips.
Factor analysis is simply the questions with which they ask you in the inventory questionnaire like,
- I felt at one with the universe or
- I felt a sense of union with others
Ego Dissolution Examples
In addition to the Ego Dissolution experiences mentioned in the Inventory above, examples of Ego Dissolution could be,
TIP: These are high level examples you may have very specific realizations based on your own intentions in ceremony.
- New Perspectives
- Healing from day to day difficulties with consciousness, eg anxiety and depression
- Feeling very close to people
- Becoming The Observer
- Having a mystical / psychedelic experience
- Ego Death and depersonalization
- Feelings and hallucinations of ‘one-ness’
- Mild out of body experience and hallucinations
- Simulation experience
- Synchronicity Events
- Complete out of body experience aka Ego Death
- Spiritual progression and development
Ego Dissolution psychology
From a psychological perspective we can understand The Ego or our waking consciousness through the psychological work of Freud. Freud described that your mind has The Ego, a Super-Ego and an Id.
For the purposes of understanding Ego dissolution we can say that in day to day task orientated life when we are conscious we are almost always seeing and navigating the world through The Ego. When we take psychedelics we can start to ‘become the observer’ and ‘step out’ of our day to day consciousness for a period of several hours.
At first this sounds scary but in reality it is over blown in terms of it danger. Stepping out of our consciousness in fact does not make us mad but actually is like taking a nap or a rest during a long hike. It’s like maintenance on a courier van – it’s mandatory least car break down.
To discontinue my analogies, your brain develops neurological patterns and some of these are very valuable while others are negative causing anxiety, depression and addictions to various substances like alcohol. Ego Dissolution allows our brain to undergo Neurogenesis and start to create new neural pathways which bypass these old pathways that we experience during our day to day life.
Ego Dissolution meditation
I often think that meditation is simply a a less intense version of the psychedelic trip that once mastered can allow us to reduce the activity in the Default Mode Network to relieve our consciousness of its negative patterns.
But meditation is slower and takes months if not years to see the benefits. For those that can keep up the continuous effort in the face of the power of their Ego then so be it perhaps this is a better method to heal consciousness but for those who are not so lucky psychedelics are available.
Ego dissolution schizophrenia
For those with psychosis like schizophrenia psychedelics can be a dangerous pursuit these people already have ‘problems’ so to speak with day to day consciousness. By problem I mean that is how they are perceived by the wester mental health community.
It is true however that generally speaking psychedelic drugs are not recommended for those with schizophrenia or other psychoses like bi-polar.
What are the stages of a psychedelic Ego Death?
Ego Death is really an experience which exists in stages or degrees with Ego Death being one of the more extreme points along a spectrum of ego dissolution experiences you can access. Often these experiences are induced by a psychedelic substance such as Ayahuasca or other psychedelics like Psilocybin or LSD.
Here are some of the stages I have experienced along the way in my psychedelic trips.
Stage 1 – Feelings or experience of empathy with others in your life or directly around you. A Psychedelic trip will often lower your sense of self and hence focus on your self. In this psychedelic state, after binding of the psychedelic compound has taken place in the brain, you experience less focus on yourself and are more focussed on others. An example, from my own experience is that I started to feel as if I should connect with certain people in my life more which I had not had a lot of dealings with recently but that I cared for.
TIP: This isn’t always something to practically take up as sometimes a person which you try to increase connection with is toxic of your efforts would not be taken as you expect. So, beware when yu action these thoughts of empathy if this is the case for you.
Stage 2 – Becoming the Observer: Under the influence of a psychedelic experience your Default Mode Network, where your Ego aka Self Identity is in a human, is reduced in activity and when it is you become aware of this part of your psyche as being ‘adjacent’ to you as opposed to being ‘in’ it. When something is adjacent you can observe it from a distance and when you are in something you must peer out of it.
This kind of experience is what is called being the observer and is characterized by being able to observe the thoughts that this Default Mode Network has. At this point you can experience these thoughts without them impacting you emotionally as much as they used to. Another way to say this is that you experience a detachment from some of your thoughts.
Often, in a traumatic life that some of us have, the thoughts we now have an objective distance from are negative and now we have a chance to offer an alternative perspective on these thoughts by ourselves without an outside person. This experience is similar to that of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that psychologists use to do something similar.
Stage 3 – Being visited by entities: A psychedelic experience can often involve visions of entities which you are in communication with. My theory on this is that this ability and interaction is actually around you in day to day life however, your Default Mode Network (DMN) filters out this kind of sensorial information because it is not necessary for you to navigate the world. The DMN is responsible for you navigating the material world in a day to day task management fashion and mystical or spiritual information is not relevant to this or in fact is probably counter-productive.
Stage 4 – Out of body experiences: It’s also possible to ‘float’ above or ‘leave’ your physical body. If this happens to you it can be very easy transition and you simply feel as if you are 20-30 m above yourself, looking down upon your physical body as it goes about doing whatever you were doing.