What is the Ego? Should it Be Destroyed?
By Mateo Sol
If you’ve ever explored the transcendental field of spirituality, you would have discovered that the ego is often spoken about with contempt.
Many people carry the belief that the ego needs to be destroyed, muzzled or even killed.
But do we need to destroy the ego? What is the ego, really? And furthermore, what can you learn about your own ego? What is the Ego?
The ego is basically your identity, or who you think you are.
Your ego is usually constructed of a name, a personality, and a story. Within this personal story is a collection of memories, beliefs, impressions and sensations about who “you are,” where “you came from,” what “you’re good and bad at,” what “you’ve experienced,” and on, and on, and on, ad infinitum.
The Ego and Duality
The ego is a veil between what you think you are and what you actually are. You live under the illusion of the mind, totally unaware that you are directed by a great big load of stories! — Isira Sananda
Your ego was created, and is currently maintained, by the belief that you are “separate” from others and life itself. In other words, your ego believes that you are firmly HERE, and other people are firmly THERE. You have a body, life, and personality that is distinctly different from others. Therefore, according to the ego, you are not like other people. You are different. Or that’s what your thoughts tell you anyway.
As a result of being taught (or conditioned) to believe that you are a separate individual, you experience fear and suffering. Instead of simply experiencing life in its purity and wholeness, you filter life through your mind. You are taught to live life in duality. Duality is essentially the state of separation — it is the opposite of reality. It is the product of the mind. In duality, we essentially “split” or divide life.
Examples of duality include filtering life through the lenses of “right/wrong,” “good/bad,” “pretty/ugly,” “holy/sinful,” “love/hate” etc. As a product of living in duality, we create untold amounts of suffering for ourselves because we are no longer open to life. Instead, our lives become centered around judgment, condemnation, and fear. As a result, we alienate and destroy others who we perceive of as being “bad,” “wrong,” and “sinful” to protect our ideas of what is “right” and “holy.”
The more deeply we are entrenched in duality, the more we experience problems such as hatred, anger, depression, paranoia, anxiety, and perversion. Not only do we sever ourselves from others, but we are cut off from ourselves as well. Anything within us that we perceive as being “evil/bad/wrong/sinful” we suppress, repress and deny the existence of.
As a result of this repressed energy, our Shadow Selves grow more and more twisted, destructive and depraved. Finally, this intense suffering is expressed in our relationships and the world at large.
Our physical world is an expression of our collective internal torment.
Our lives are an expression of our inner emptiness. Simply looking at the violence, murder, poverty, greed, bigotry, mental illness and environmental degradation shows us how profoundly lost we are as a race. We are lost because we have lost touch with the truth of who we are.
The Folly of Demonizing the Ego
In light of this discovery, it is very easy to start believing that the ego is bad. In fact, some spiritual teachers teach that the ego needs to be “destroyed.” But here’s the thing: this is just another trick of the mind! I’ve heard so many people in the spiritual community condemn the ego and speak of it with such great resentment. However, the belief that our egos are “evil” or need to be “killed/destroyed” is just a reflection of the mind stuck in duality!
The ego isn’t “good” or “bad,” it simply IS. We need to realize that the ego is simply a tool. The ego exists as a biological survival mechanism. The ego also exists as a vehicle for our spiritual growth; for us to become conscious of our own strength, love, and oneness. The ego is a doorway through which we can return to our True Nature.
Why the Ego Isn’t YouYou may have heard before the expression: “the ego is an illusion.” What does this mean?
The ego is an illusion, and therefore isn’t really “you,” because it is always changing. In other words, how can anything within you that is subject to birth, change, and decay really be you?
Let’s try an experiment. Write down on a notepad or word document who “you” think you are. You can always stop reading and return back to reading this article after you’ve finished.
Take a break. Really. Do the experiment now.
Now that you’ve done the experiment, read over your words. Likely, you would have written something along the lines of, “I am Jane Doe. I’m a wife, mother, and friend. I’m a fighter, a dreamer, and a spiritual seeker. I am 38 years old, have three children and am a skilled artist.”
See this description of you? This is your main personal story; the backdrop of your life, of what you think you are.
The ego is an illusion because it is simply that: a story — a story created in the mind.
Let’s use some self-inquiry and apply these questions to your statement:
As we can see, everything that we unquestionably believe we are isn’t really us. So what really is us? What has been there all along?
What is That Presence?What has been there to witness everything that has happened in your life? What never changes? What is the most fundamental core of who we are?
Explore this question for a few moments and you’ll realize that it’s:
Consciousness is the fabric of all things. In fact, even science has shown that everything at its core is energy vibrating at different levels. In our human experience, Presence, Consciousness or Spirit manifests itself as the energy that composes every form.
It is hard to really put a word to this experience, as language is so limited. The easiest way to experience this Presence that is you, and always has been you, is through meditation. Meditation, or quieting the mind, helps you to become simply aware of your thoughts, and the space beneath those thoughts. That space is You.
Another common way humankind since the dawn of time has used to experience this Truth of Being is through psychedelic shamanic plants and brews, such as Ayahuasca, Psilocybin Mushrooms, and Peyote. Although it is helpful to take such herbs, it isn’t compulsory. These plants are simply doorways into the Universal Experience or Spirit that we are.
How to Untangle Yourself From the Web of Illusion
It can take a while to truly realize that you are not the Ego, and sometimes much more to integrate this discovery on a deep level. Discovering that everything you believed you were is false can be hard to accept. In fact, don’t be surprised if you experience a lot of resistance to this article. It’s normal.
The ego’s job is to protect itself and the belief that you are separate from other people and life itself. Experiencing the state of no-ego, or no-self, that is “enlightenment” can appear to be extremely depressing or disturbing at first. How can having no “me” or “you” really be something desirable? This is a common question.
The answer is that in order to understand, you must experience Consciousness itself. Without experiencing the Truth that you are, the spiritual search becomes purely intellectual and prone to sabotaging fears.
However, once you do experience even a single moment of Consciousness, you will discover for yourself that it is the most liberating, pure, peaceful, compassionate, expansive and loving state possible. In fact, Consciousness itself is the very embodiment of love, peace, and freedom. You are this embodiment. You are the Truth that you have been seeking for.
Untangling yourself from the web of illusion is a process that requires patience, self-discipline, and dedication. This process isn’t for trendy “spirit junkies,” it is for sincere spiritual seekers.
Here are some helpful spiritual practices that will help you reconnect with the truth of who you are:
The spiritual awakening journey is one that requires courage, radical honesty and the willingness to let go of all that you are not. What is the ego? The ego is a teacher, one that you carry with you each day. When seen in this light, the ego is the most powerful and persistent teacher we have to wake us up to the Truth that has always been here, and will always be here.
Mateo Sol is a prominent psychospiritual counselor and mentor whose work has influenced the lives of thousands of people worldwide. Born into a family with a history of drug addiction, schizophrenia, and mental illness, Mateo Sol was taught about the plight of the human condition from a young age. As a spiritual counselor and mentor, Sol’s mission is to help others experience freedom, wholeness, and peace in any stage of life. See more of his work at lonerwolf.com.
7 Inner Archetypes That Cripple Your Confidence and Self-Respect
by Aletheia Luna
The absence of self-love lies at the very core of every form of anxiety, depression, loneliness and emptiness that we feel as a species.
In fact, low self-esteem is such a pandemic problem, that we get at least a handful of emails, Q&A’s and comments on this website about it every single day!
Everyone in life at some point experiences issues with low self-esteem and poor self-confidence. In our world that teaches the preeminence of material wealth and accomplishment over soulful depth and wisdom, it’s no wonder that so many of us feel internally weak and fatally flawed.
If you feel as though you’re lacking self-confidence and respect, I can’t stress enough how important it is to become self-aware of the inner archetypes within you. And not only that: but to love and fully accept them as they are. This will allow their hold over you to cease.
What Are Archetypes?
Father of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, once proposed that we all share a universal unconscious mind, called the “collective unconscious.” The collective unconscious is a layer within the mind that possesses all of the spiritual, symbolic, and mythological experiences and knowledge of existence. When we are born, we all inherit these ancient ancestral patterns. Archetypes then, are essentially patterns that aid our physical, mental and emotional growth as humans.
7 Inner Archetype ExamplesSince Jung, many authors, psychologists and thinkers have identified a large number of archetypes that exist within all of us to some degree. While many archetypes are positive or neutral (e.g. the visionary, the warrior, the engineer, the companion, the artist, etc.) some are destructive.
Every archetype we have within us has, at some point in our lives, served a purpose. Whether that is to gain attention or acceptance as children, or simply to make friends, every archetype has aided us in some way. However, as adults many of us “grow out of” certain archetypes. Gradually, instead of benefiting us, these archetypes actually undermine and wound us.
Unfortunately, many of us drag around these old and irrelevant archetypes with us for our entire lives. Little do we know that these very archetypes are secretly depriving us of the faith, self-trust and willpower we need to experience joy, creativity and peace.
The more self-aware you become of these archetypes, the better equipped you’ll be to release their hold on you. So now the question is, which of the following archetype examples are you still holding on to?
The AddictOther names: workaholic, consumer, gambler, glutton, hedonist
Addictions come in many forms. You can be addicted to physical things such as food, alcohol, tobacco, drug, money and sex. You can be addicted to concepts such as fame, success and beauty. And you can also be addicted to emotions such as the approval, love and acceptance of others.
Addict archetypes are places within us that believe that people, emotions, situations and objects outside of ourselves can make us happy. Unfortunately, this deprives us of our personal power, and makes us enslaved to whatever we are pursuing.
Lesson to be learned: Nothing outside of you can bring you love, happiness, approval or acceptance — YOU must find these things inside for them to truly last or bring you peace.
The BeggarOther names: outcast, vagrant
The Beggar archetype within us approaches life from a place of destitution, neediness and impoverishment. When The Beggar is ruling your life, you will find yourself constantly dependent and reliant on others for your security, happiness and well-being.
The Beggar within us is ruled by the following mistaken core belief: “I don’t have anything of value. I need others to help and support me.” Thus, when we approach life from a place of inner poorness, we are constantly propelling ourselves towards situations that reinforce this feeling.
Lesson to be learned: Your thoughts influence your reality. If you believe you are poor and have nothing to offer, your existence will reflect that. On the other hand, if you believe you are already rich and have gifts to share with the world, your existence will also reflect that.
The FanaticOther names: perfectionist, worrier, control-freak, bigot
The Fanatic archetype is both passionate and driven, but also prone to stubbornness and neuroticism. If your inner Fanatic is imbalanced you might be an obsessive worrier, perfectionist or “control-freak.”
The Fanatic’s main concern is control. This can create a lot of tension, health issues and relationship problems.
Lesson to be learned: The only thing you can control in life is how YOU perceive and approach life. You cannot completely control external situations, and you can never fully control other people. Realize that life is more than safety, security and success. Learn to loosen up and introduce more spontaneity into your life.
The JudgeOther names: critic, examiner
As humans, our natural instinct is to judge. We judge situations to assess whether they’re dangerous or not, we judge to find our ideal partners, we judge to find clarity and discernment in daily life. This is all natural. But often our lives revolve so much around the mind that we neglect the heart.
When The Judge within you is imbalanced, it will always be analyzing and condemning you. Negative self-talk is often strongly linked to rogue inner Judges that don’t know when to stop. A major cause of low self-esteem are Judge archetypes that are fueled by negative core beliefs and cognitive distortions.
Lessons to be learned: Judgement is normal, but is your self-judgment harming you more than helping you? Remember to show yourself leniency, kindness, objectivity and forgiveness — just like a proper judge would.
The Martyr is an archetype within us that desperately craves for praise, adoration and a sense of self-worth from grandiose acts of self-sacrifice. Martyr’s will often adopt the role of caretakers and cater to everyone else’s needs but their own. However, when our inner Martyr’s are not appreciated enough by others, we resort to guilt-tripping and manipulation.
Essentially, our inner Martyrs are places within us that are deeply wounded. These are the places that believe our self-worth comes from what we DO rather than what we ARE inherently.
Lessons to be learned: You don’t need to sacrifice all of your needs, wants and dreams for others in order to be worthy or lovable. You are innately worthy and lovable. Take responsibility for your happiness and learn how to love yourself fearlessly.
The SaboteurOther names: destroyer, serial killer, mad scientist
Just like all other archetypes listed here, The Saboteur is a natural part of the cycle of birth and death. Everything in life must eventually be destroyed in order for new things to arise. The shadow side of The Saboteur archetype is that it can develop a ravenous appetite for destruction.
Self-destructiveness is the biggest issue that The Saboteur brings to our lives. When we are deeply wounded and filled with self-hatred, The Saboteur is a wrathful confidant that tears down everything in our path. Relationships, friendships, careers, health, mental stability — nothing stands in the way of The Saboteur.
Lessons to be learned: What part of you feels that you aren’t worthy of freedom, joy and love? Explore your deeper feelings of worthlessness and how they poison and undermine your life decisions. You must learn to respect, honor and love the person you are.
The VictimOther names: slave
Victimhood allows us to acknowledge our woundedness, but when we get bogged down in it, it can cripple us.
The biggest problem that The Victim brings to our lives is disowned personal power. When we don’t take responsibility for our prosperity, bliss and contentment, our lives seem like a never-ending stream of misery. The truth is that there is only so much you can blame other people for your grief or misfortune.
Lessons to be learned: Stop blaming other people for your failures and disappointments. You are only a victim if you make yourself out to be one. Instead of being a victim, adopt the role of a fighter: this is a much more empowering role that will enable you to develop self-responsibility.
How to Regain Your Confidence and Self-RespectAfter you have read the archetype examples above and identified your main one (or bunch), you will need to meditate on them. Ask yourself, “How exactly is this archetype/s influencing my thoughts, feelings and actions?” You can journal about this, discuss it with someone you trust, sit in solitude with the question, or anything else that will help you introspect.
Finally, your job is not to hate, destroy or repress these archetypes in you.Instead, allow yourself to come into a peaceful understanding of them. Let the Archetype/s know that you appreciate the roles they have served in your life, but you’re now ready to surrender them and move on. You might like to design your own ritual or ceremony for this last part if you desire.
If it helps, bookmark or print out this page of archetype examples to re-read as you go through this process.
I know how debilitating low self-esteem and poor self-confidence can be. I have struggled with this many times in my own life. The difference is that I accept it as normal and do my best to move on, take care of myself, and honor my gifts.
If you have any experiences or insights to share about the archetype examples above, I encourage you to share below.
About Aletheia LunaAletheia Luna is an influential spiritual writer whose work has changed the lives of thousands of people worldwide. After escaping the religious sect she was raised in, Luna experienced a profound existential crisis that led to her spiritual awakening. As a psychospiritual counselor, tarot reader, and professional writer, Luna's mission is to help others become conscious of their entrapment and find joy, empowerment, and liberation in any
11 Traps Sabotaging Your Spiritual Growth
No matter what the practice or teaching, ego loves to wait in ambush to appropriate spirituality for its own survival and gain. – Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Spiritual growth is an experience we all go through once we have experienced the spiritual awakening process. As we begin to awaken to the truth of who we are, we develop a connection to our authentic essence, higher nature or Soul.
As we progressively advance on our paths, our spiritual essence begins to blossom like a luminous flower deep in our heart. And the more we clear away the dead, gnarled and overgrown beliefs, perspectives, and emotional baggage within us, the more clearly we feel our divine essence. When we maintain our inner garden, we feel more and more love, wisdom, peace, and wholeness as our True Nature is revealed slowly to us.
Yet, like any garden, our metaphorical inner landscapes can be consumed by weeds, plagues, and forms of pollution that strangle anything beautiful we have been nurturing. Sometimes, we even sabotage the growth occurring within us ourselves, without knowing it.
What is Spiritual Growth?
Spiritual growth is the process of awakening to your true nature, purpose, and potential. When you undergo spiritual growth you experience an expansion in awareness and insight, also known as higher consciousness. All spiritual growth has one objective: to help you embody your Soul, Higher Self or Atman. Once you are able to unite with your Soul, you will experience what is understood as enlightenment, “heaven,” Oneness or moksha.
11 Traps that Sabotage Your Spiritual Growth
This isn’t a journey about becoming something. This is about unbecoming who we are not. – Adyashanti, The End of Your World
The problem with the spiritual journey is that it is often laden with traps of many kinds. These traps are not physical, but they are instead mental and are often referred to as anti-awakening forces.
As we process life primarily through the mind, we also tend to approach spirituality with the mind. The issue with this is that spirituality cannot be contained by the limitations of thought. Once spirituality is captured within a thought, it ceases to maintain its true essence and instead becomes a constricting belief or dogma. In other words, spirituality loses its alive, ever-flowing essence once it is compartmentalized within the mind.
Think about it this way: have you ever felt immense awe and wonder in the presence of something beautiful and enchanting like a sunrise? The moment you stop immersing yourself in the feeling of the sunrise, and start taking a photo of it or describing it in a text message, is the moment you are no longer truly present with the sunrise. Instead, you are filtering it through your thoughts or through a lens of some kind. The same can be said with spirituality.
The more we use the mind to approach our Soul, the further our Soul feels. But the moment we drop our thoughts and allow ourselves to purely feel our Soul, suddenly we feel at home once again. Think of it like this: when you chase the sun on the horizon thinking you will reach it, you never will, because it is an illusion. But when you stop and feel the sun’s presence shining on your skin already, you will no longer chase anything.
It is difficult for us, as mind-oriented beings, to become conscious of our thoughts, as we have been conditioned to identify with them since a young age. But once we can observe our thoughts and how they tend to sabotage our happiness, we will experience true spiritual growth.
Below I want to share with you eleven of the most common traps that we fall into on the spiritual path. I have personally experienced these pitfalls many times, and they have resulted in a lot of pain and struggle. See how many of these traps you can identify with:
1. The trap of spiritual bypassingSpiritual bypassing is the practice of using spirituality to avoid, suppress or escape from certain emotions or situations in life. Common types of spiritual bypassing include:
Read more about spiritual bypassing.
2. The trap of superiority
This manifests as the tendency to “look down” upon others who are not as “consciously advanced” or “awakened.” The trap of superiority can be seen as a subtle feeling of “being better” than others who aren’t “spiritual.” In more extreme cases, this trap can appear as the tendency to lash out at people who are still “asleep,” “blind” or “sheep” of society. This kind of reactive behavior can often be seen in people who have just “woken up” to the state of the world, yet have undergone minimal spiritual growth. We need to remember that everyone is doing the best they can at their level of consciousness. When the time comes, they will awaken too.
3. The trap of forcefully trying to wake others up
Once we have awoken out of the “matrix” it is common for us to desperately want our loved ones and fellow peers to awaken. We can see how much pain and delusion other people are in, and that riles up in us the intense desire to “show them the truth.” However, often our attempt to forcefully awaken people misfires quickly. Even though we have good intentions, our desire to “save” others causes them to backlash in ways that infuriate both them and us. The less responsive they are to our pushy attempts to “wake them up,” the more frustrated and alienated we become. Eventually, trying to force others to wake up ends up harming both ourselves and others. Not only that, but this trap generates a lot of anger and misunderstanding, which results in further ego ensnarement, sabotaging our spiritual growth. Let people wake up when they are ready.
4. The trap of wanting to help others
This trap is closely entwined with the previous trap except it is more geared towards giving others advice. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help others, as long as you respect their boundaries. But sometimes developing an expanded spiritual perspective gives the ego an opportunity to feel more “knowledgeable” than others still trapped in illusion. When unsolicited advice is given to others, the results can be disastrous (think anger, upset, offense etc.).
Wanting to help others can also be used as a way of escaping our need to help ourselves. Under the guise of being “spiritual” and compassionate, helping others can be just another form of spiritual bypassing.
5. The trap of wanting to revolutionize the world
Once we wake up to the lies and corruption present in our current societal structure, many of us want to desperately change society. We fall into the trap of thinking that freedom, honesty, and justice can be created by changing the external system. As a result, we buy into the “us versus them” and “divide and conquer” mentality that is a product of the ego’s tunnel vision. We don’t realize that we’re actually fuelling the corrupt system which depends on anger and chaos to thrive and survive. Instead of understanding that all true change comes from an internal revolution, we get caught up in the pursuit of external revolution which is fragile and transient.
6. The trap of meaninglessness
Once we experience divine and transcendent states of being in which we become One with all, we can fall into the trap of spiritual nihilism after the experience passes. In other words, once we realize, from the perspective of the Universe, that nothing we do ultimately matters because all is passing, we can fall into a depressive mindset. Using truths such as “All is an illusion,” the person who falls for this trap tends to filter life through the mind. By mentally clinging to these truths, they become beliefs that the ego uses as an excuse to paradoxically feel separate from existence.
7. The trap of avoiding everyday responsibilities
Some people get so infatuated with the spiritual path that they avoid dealing with ordinary, everyday affairs. This form of escapism can lead to leeching off others, not paying bills, evading taxes, obsessing with “living off the grid,” etc. When avoiding everyday responsibilities is worn as a badge of being consciously elevated or “more spiritual” this too is a form of egotism in disguise. Avoiding ordinary responsibilities which are not perceived as being “spiritual enough” can also be a form of distraction that the ego uses to limit spiritual growth. The more concerned and obsessed you are with living an outwardly “spiritual” looking life, the more distanced from your soulwork you become. Sometimes we need to feed the sharks to keep the calm and live balanced lives.
Remember the old Zen saying: “Before Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water; after Enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.” We need to be humble and recognize that ordinary daily life is the perfect place to spiritually grow and mature.
8. The trap of self-victimization
Soon after we experience a spiritual awakening and wake up to the insanity of the world, it is common for us to get stuck in self-victimization. We may start to perceive the world as a “prison” and other people as the “captives” or even “capturers.” The shock of awakening may send us spiraling into anxiety and paranoia. Inevitably, we may start feeling like victims
resulting in us blaming other people and the higher powers for how we feel. The spiritual trap of self-victimization can be seen a lot on social media which often tends to become a pity party for spiritual fledglings. At the end of the day, we need to see that it is actually our thoughts that cause us to suffer, not other people or situations. Once we can take self-responsibility for our perspectives and beliefs, we can become empowered once again.
9. The trap of the Savior Complex
This trap is related to the previously mentioned trap of wanting to help others. The Savior Complex is adopted by people who feel a sense of superiority to the rest of humanity. Their sense of being “different” and more “spiritually elevated” can make them feel as though they are destined to fix the world. The Savior Complex can most often be seen within the “lightworker/Starseed/healer” circles who tend to put themselves up on pedestals, believing it is their cosmic duty to “save the planet.” This perception aligns with the belief that there is something “wrong” with reality and that other people are “broken” and need to be fixed (which is an ego perspective). This perception also reinforces the ego’s sense of “specialness” and self-importance.
The Savior Complex can go one step further and evolve into a Martyr Complex. Martyrs believe they must “bear the burdens” of others. Obviously, this is an extremely unhealthy way of living which is based on Christian conditioning (think of the story of Jesus). By “carrying” other people’s pain, Martyrs bypass taking responsibility for their own happiness and enable other people’s immature behavior. Read more about the Martyr Complex.
10. The trap of attachment
After experiencing profound and expansive mystical experiences which often come after significant spiritual growth, it is common for us to attach to the experience. It can be painful to come down from these experiences and return back to usual, unenlightened reality. We can also attach to our “stories” and beliefs about spirituality. Because the mind tries to make sense of this transcendent experience, it will often latch onto various ideas as a form of control. But the more we attach to our beliefs, stories, desires, and mental interpretations, the more we suffer. We forget that everything passes, even transcendent experiences. Enlightenment isn’t a destination, it is a complete surrender; a fundamental shift in the way we approach life.
Attachment is perhaps the most common trap that sabotages our spiritual growth. On one hand, attachment to ideas helps us to grow, but ultimately, those ideas that we are unwilling to let go of end up stagnating our growth. When ideas become protection blankets rather than catalysts for our growth, there is a big problem. We need to realize that freedom cannot be experienced through the mind. Freedom is felt when we can be liberated from attachment to our thoughts.
11. The trap of relying on external answers
As we progress through our spiritual paths it is normal, and beneficial, for us to seek out external support. Reading books, attending workshops and seminars, going to retreats, practicing holistic techniques, and getting a personal guru all help us experience spiritual growth. However, after a while, it is common for us to become too dependent on external answers for our freedom and happiness. This pitfall can be seen in many spiritual seeker’s obsession and glorification of their gurus (in other words, projecting and disowning their divinity onto another).
Eventually, as we become accustomed to constantly searching outside of ourselves for answers, we forget the presence of our own Souls. We forget that our ultimate source of guidance and wisdom comes from within us, and instead, we keep chasing things outside of ourselves that we believe will “enlighten” us.
We need to stop, pause, and reflect on our spiritual journeys. Are we seeking out first-hand experience or second-hand experience given to us by others? Don’t forget to look within for your answers as well because it is by connecting with your Soulthat you will ultimately experience freedom.
In order to see through and extricate ourselves from these traps, we need to be radically honest with ourselves. We need to be willing to see that we have indeed gone astray and have fed into the ego. We will also immensely benefit from exploring our Shadow Selves and exploring our mistaken beliefs.
Don’t worry if you have fallen into any of these traps. We all become ensnared by the ego. It can be particularly difficult for us to see clearly when the ego “spiritualizes” certain beliefs and ideas. The more open, humble, and honest you are, the more you will be able to see through these tricks and liberate yourself.
Finally, don’t be afraid of the dark. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. Everything, no matter how painful, is a learning opportunity. At the end of the day, your Soul is everything you have been searching for.
If you have any extra thoughts or insights about traps that sabotage spiritual growth, please share below. I would also love to hear your own journey.
21 Signs You're Experiencing Soul Loss
“Soul loss is regarded as the most serious diagnosis and the single greatest cause of premature death and serious illness by the traditionals, and it’s not even mentioned in our Western medical textbooks.” — Deepak Chopra
In our society, there is a mysterious phenomenon occurring known as “Soul Loss” arising in all people of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds. Indigenous people have known about the occurrence of Soul Loss for millennia, and understand it as the result of an inner fragmentation caused by unawareness, a traumatic experience, or, an intense shock to the mind and body. When we experience Soul Loss, a part of our Soul – or living essence – ‘hides’ or shuts away, hindering us from expressing and experiencing our true potential and wholeness as human beings. Oftentimes entire aspects of our psyches are completely blocked out or repressed.
While for many of us Soul Loss may sound uncomfortably familiar, this experience is usually temporary, and with the proper Soul Work these lost elements of ourselves can be reintegrated into our lives.
What is Soul Loss?During my introduction to shamanism and the methods of ritualistic ‘soul retrieval‘, the basic understanding of Soul Loss that was expressed was that parts of our souls travel off into other realms, or alternate realities, sometimes being possessed by spirits. In the shamanistic perspective, when these parts of our souls are not recovered, we can’t seem to find inner completion or wholeness.
Before psychology, this explanation was the only way primal cultures could explain such a common phenomenon in order to find ways to treat it – and it was immensely effective.
Soul loss is in fact the rule rather than the exception. As individuals, unless we have become Awakened Souls we lose our soulful energy every time we identify with our egos; every time we seek to feel whole through addictions, stimulation seeking, dogmatic beliefs, conditional relationships, and workaholism.
Aside from our incapacity to feel whole, when we experience Soul Loss we begin experiencing feelings of weakness, fatigue, depression, anxiety and emptiness. We just know something is missing from our lives – but many of us struggle to discover what exactly is missing. To understand Soul Loss as a loss, or disconnection, from the most vital parts of who we are, is known in psychology as ‘dissociation‘ – a root of many mental maladies.
The Psychology Behind Soul LossOnce we recognize our souls (or consciousness) as an intensity of energy – anything that creates a reduction in this energy will result in listlessness, moroseness, and depression.
To create an imbalance within the psyche is to allow the individual parts of the personality (e.g. the shadow self, anima, animus, etc.) to make themselves independent and thus escape the control of the conscious mind.
Psychologist Carl Jung understood this process as relating to our ‘psychic libido‘. Jung proposed that our psychological personalities were composed of different ‘complexes’ (or parts of our sense of self), and the primary one of those responsible for control over all the others was our ‘ego’ which is the mental image we have of ourselves, or what we believe ourselves to be. Our conscious energy can be weakened due to one of these ‘complexes’ escaping the control of our ego and becoming autonomous, therefore leeching all of our ‘psychic libido’ energy and creating a psychological imbalance that shatters our natural wholeness.
So what causes one of our psychological ‘complexes’ to emancipate itself and become a tyrannical usurper of consciousness? Often the answer is that identifying with something harmful, or experiencing a trauma of some kind creates this phenomenon.
An extreme example might help explain better:
Imagine that a young child is molested or abused. In order to cope with the horrendous experience, the child escapes by disassociating, or detaching themselves, from the situation. In the process of protecting themselves, the child creates various alter ego’s, or entirely different personalities within themselves as a defense mechanism.
In psychology, this is treated as “multiple personality disorder” (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder). It is easy to understand how tribal cultures would have perceived this as a loss of the Soul. But essentially, psychological disassociation is nature’s way of protecting our physical organism against intense trauma and loss by blocking these wounding situations out. In the end however, it is our responsibility to protect our spiritual organism, our soul.
But Soul Loss, or psychological disassociation, is not limited to these extreme cases and can be found in different degrees in most people. Addictions, eating disorders, identity disorders, post traumatic stress, depression, codependency, narcissism, low self-esteem, and adjustment disorders are all common causes for Soul Loss in our superficial, fast-paced, materialistic modern societies that are mostly devoid of all sense of sacredness.
A young woman who dreams of being an artist but has to live up to her parent’s expectations of being a doctor will lose a little bit of her soul, ignoring an essential part of her being. Or suppose the young woman does go ahead and follows her dream of being an artist, but deep down she still depends on her parent’s approval. She then either blames them to avoid taking responsibility for pursuing her passion, or she grows low in self-esteem because she is not accepted by them. This story might sound familiar to you.
Fortunately there are many ways of finding wholeness again. A lot of the material Luna and I write for LonerWolf is a form of ‘Soul Retrieval’, where we help you to become aware of aspects within yourself that you may have been ignoring. We do this by encouraging the development of authenticity, for self-exploration, self-love and self-transformation.
Next, you will be able to apply this knowledge of Soul Loss to yourself. Are you experiencing it?
Signs You Might Be Experiencing Soul LossThere are a variety of physical, psychological and spiritual symptoms pertaining to Soul Loss. When we experience Soul Loss – or parts of our soul ‘hiding away’ or disassociating from us – the result is a loss in soulful energy, or the very vitality of our lives. This loss of energy prevents us from living healthy, fulfilling and creative lives. Sometimes Soul Loss can last for a whole lifetime, resulting in the development of a self-destructive person who we often refer to as a “Lost Soul” in our language.
To recover these lost parts of ourselves, and to become balanced, whole and centered once again, we must first identify the symptoms of Soul Loss within us. Below you will find some of the most common symptoms: