The dissolution of the robotic response of the human brain is necessary to understand the hidden aspects of life and the afterlife. Such dissolution can be called the psychological death. It leads to wholesome and holistic living.

Ending of the ego can be considered as a matter of psychological mortality. This is not usually recognized as a transformation that can take us beyond the purview of the habitual mindset. Exploring into that region brings about a life of higher order than that of the neurotic one in which the vast majority of people is caught currently.

Dissolution of the Ego

Through self-awareness, we understand something non-verbally about ourselves. The conventional mindset is governed by identification with people, things, or ideas. Such identification is necessary for the ego to maintain its continuity. That is how it ends up with emotional attachment to those items of identification. The ‘I’ thus formed by the conventional thought process is afraid of its ending. That is where the identification gives it a semblance of security. It is also the reason why people become very disturbed when their religion is criticized. Dependence on religion for psychological security is the basic factor that leads to fanaticism and violence - thus, ironically, denying that very security to each other!

Under this scenario of habitual neurology, reflective people understand the fundamental source of unhappiness - falling prey to emotional attachments and the associated fear of loss. The apprehension about death also has its origin in that mindset. As our self-awareness deepens, we see the process of being caught by the vortex of habitual thought driving us towards emotional attachments. That sensing brings about an alertness helping us weaken the power of habitual neurology. It sustains an inner clarity that keeps us company and prevents us from being taken over by attachments. We see a door in the wall which the ego builds around us. On account of deepening self-awareness, the door opens and it throws a significant light on what is meant by psychological death.

In his book “Stillness Speaks”, Eckhart Tolle says, “The secret of life is to die before you die and know that there is no death.” Obviously, the first ‘die’ in his statement refers to the psychological death. Some people intuitively sense the ‘soul-value’ in that transformation. They apply themselves to the inward journey through self-awareness and understand the difference between the psychological death and the physical demise. The psychological death reveals the sacredness in one’s true Essence that is different from the ego-self sustained by thought. Simultaneously, one feels the deathlessness of that Essence and that is how people who go through the death experience for a short time (NDE) lose the fear of death.

The Near Death Experience

During the NDE, the mind is temporarily freed from the ego-self allowing it to experience the vast universal consciousness of which one’s Essence is an integral part. Messages from NDEs can help us understand the meaning of psychological death.

The following NDE from Denise V (Episode No. 3221) published by the NDE Research Foundation ( is relevant to the above matter:

"Shining down upon this sea of humanity was a blindingly beautiful light. Pink, golden and white - brilliantly luminous. A sort of "voice" or realization arose within me and spoke. Although nobody appeared, I felt the presence of something immense and eternal standing to my right. It informed me that the people I was seeing, were all those who had ever lived. Yet here they were - alive! It told me that all of them…..were me! Not only that... but I was each of them! I understood this presence was "God". And then God made it clear that all these people - and I - were God. And that He was us. He told me that there was no "death". I was seeing life's continuance. A never-ending flow of humanity, moving within the stream of Life - a beautiful, eternal flow which we're forever part of."

The Society

The psychological fabric of society impacts human thought everyday. This is seen particularly in the matters of nationalism, political involvements and the exclusivist religious movements. Primarily, the media (TV, newspaper, and Internet) sustain the texture of that fabric. The arguments and quarrels, the endless controversies, and the attempt by one group to overcome the other groups, clearly establish the truth of the deplorable state of affairs. Through the habitual thought process, people feed into the social fabric unknowingly and, in turn, allow their own thoughts to be conditioned by it. Once we see this, we wake up to the poison created by such a vicious cycle. We sense the fact that the psychological image that one has about oneself – the ‘I’ – is given life to by that cyclic process. The release from the fabric makes us understand the meaning behind the dissolution of the ‘I’ and the associated psychological death. Our minds, freed from the tyranny of the fabric, would begin to function holistically and sense the purity of aloneness. One would become more soul-oriented and less ego-driven. That would let one’s life be governed by unqualified compassion and natural austerity. Under those circumstances, one can discharge one’s personal and social responsibilities to the best of one’s abilities.

In sports too, the spirit of involvement will be different – more to enjoy the fun and the thrill of the game rather than to ‘crush’ the opponent. The animalistic gestures that our sportsmen let out these days after scoring a point are the clear indices of how much egoism plays a role in our sports affairs. That, obviously, turns a sports field into a battle ground. The so-called ‘sportsman spirit’ goes out of the window. If they understand the meaning of psychological death, the whole scenario will be totally different.

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Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.

Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.

Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy. Blog: