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Home » Blog » The Core of Transcending Ego

According to (Maslow, 1971, p. 269) “Transcendence ascribes the most inclusive and the highest or the holistic level of human consciousness that is behaving and relating to, as ends rather than means. This directly connotes to oneself and to a significant other that might include humans, nature, other species, and the cosmos.”

When Abraham Maslow gave the pyramid of needs, he placed self-actualization at the top and concluded that this is the highest goal for humans to achieve. He said that when humans have fulfilled all their basic needs of Food, Water, Shelter, Safety, Family, Friendship, Self-esteem then they move to Self- actualization, where they fulfill all the needs of luxury. But later on, he contradicted himself and said that self-transcendence in altruism and spirituality is the ultimate infinite or the “peak experiences.” These experiences frequently induce strong positive emotions such as happiness, peace, and a well-developed sense of awareness. 

Transcendence is thus our existence beyond the normal or physical level. In a philosophical sense, Transcendence is going beyond the bounds, albeit with varying connotations in its different stages. Now that we know what transcendence is, let us discover the various stages of transcendence. There are three kinds of transcendence. 

(1) Ego transcendence (self: beyond ego)- The ability to transcend and overcome the barrier between the two functional systems known as implicit and explicit self-regulation is referred to as ego transcendence. It basically is the transition from the “I” to “You”. This means that when humans let go and move beyond the ego of I, ego transcends.

(2) Self-transcendence (beyond the self: the other)- Self-transcendence is the transcendence between the I and You, in the sense of being able to engage with another person. This basically is the point where we stop our I’s and start to focus on the needs and aspirations of other people beyond ourselves.  

 (3) Spiritual transcendence (beyond space and time)- Transcendence into a world beyond the spatiotemporal world that surrounds us is referred to as spiritual transcendence. This is beyond the energies of time and space.

How to transcend the ego?

Human Civilization began with the phase of collective development with the direct experience from the earth and all its life forms around us. And then in our next stage of development, we developed the sense of separate self. We stepped into ourselves and became aware of “This is me” and “This is the world around me”. And that’s when psychology stepped in and called it ego. This would have been a healthy development if we would have moved from one stage to another with the view of the previous stages. But what actually happened was that we transcended but we repressed the precognitive phases. Thus came the need to move out of and transcend this ego. Here are a few methods that can help you transcend ego.

1. Self Enquiry-  

The true meaning of self-enquiry lies in the translation of this word in Hindi- which is Atma vichara. Atma means the innermost self or the divinity and vichara means to study or to contemplate. Self-enquiry is a very complex path that came into existence before 400 A.D. which ultimately traces back from the oral teaching of wise men. This method is long known to man as an advanced yogic discipline. Give yourself into the ocean of self enquiry to walk out of the ego path.

2. Bird-eye view- 

Move out of the illusion of “I” and try to live up to the bird-eye view. Like the bird, when they fly overhead they view the whole world as one, and to them, everything constitutes as one. Try to have a similar vision. View others as a counter representative of yourself and treat them the way you treat yourself with equal importance and the same ego level.

3. The question- 

“Who am I?” is the starting point for self-enquiry. Turn your awareness inwardly as you silently ask this question. Concentrate on the most fundamental experience of being alive, of “simply being” or existing. This sensation is subtle and difficult to identify precisely because it is always present — like background noise that you eventually learn to tune out. It is the essential essence of consciousness, rather than a bodily sense.

4. Meditate- 

Give yourself a moment to pause. Take a breath or two and just sit back. Meditate. Bring your focus to your breathing. Feel the air flowing in and out of your nose, as well as your chest rising and falling. If you feel any stress, pain, or discomfort, modify your posture. Release any tension or stress you are experiencing with each breath. Remember your purpose. Entertain each pause- the rise and the fall and let go of all.

5. Silence- 

The subjective self can never be a knowledge object. It is impossible to understand the Knower. The source of your awareness, your genuine essence, is completely beyond the reach of thought. So don’t believe any “answers” that come up. Silent not only your body but also your thoughts and your spirits. Remember the key is not the answer but the silence. 

6. Surrender- 

Surrender to the thirst of attaining what the ego wants instead transcend the ego spiritually. Transcending the ego spiritually necessitates mutilating a perverted ego that prioritizes itself above all entities and will lie, cheat, harm, or even kill to maintain its status quo or quest for power and dominance.

7. Self-importance- 

Let go of self-importance. Let go of all the moments where you put yourself above others to feed your ego. If you allow yourself to be influenced by flattery, even in a minor way, you will be adding another iron bar to your ego’s prison. And the more you allow yourself to accept even the tiniest amount of energy in your ego, the more bondage you will create for yourself. Instead, try to expand your energy and consciousness away from yourself in whatever manner you can. No matter how carefree you appear to others, be very strict with yourself in this practice.

“Who am I?” you might wonder. 

It may appear to be a simple inquiry, but it is truly a call to spiritual awakening and an inner road that leads to a radical new way of being. Carry this question in your heart and move out of ego. Even though this might seem hard, the true essence lies in the path of transcendence.