The strange life of the conscious Ego
A body, a brain, a mind
In the previous articles of this blog I have dealt at length with the spirit, with the mediumistic communications about its existence, with the relationships that can exist between the spirit and the conscious Ego. My research, however, has always had the conscious Ego as its foundation, as it represents the fundamental center of reference for the inner experience during human life. Starting from the bottom, so to speak, we can rely on sufficiently solid bases to be able to reach and explore something that is possibly higher. Furthermore, the conscious Ego is endowed with self-consciousness, thanks to which it identifies itself as the experiential subject of human psychic reality. For these reasons, it seems useful to me to dedicate this page to the deepening of the nature and characteristics of the conscious Ego and to the transformations it may undergo in the course of life.
The vicissitudes of a living organism, such as the human body, begin with its formation and growth and end with its death and destruction. As has been explained in the section on life on Earth, these are events that concern the transformations of that immaterial entity that has been called information, which exert their effects on the physical support of matter and energy. As I have already said, in this respect there is no difference between the human body and that of an evolved multicellular animal, such as a cat, for instance: the process' complexity is the same. Among the organs of the human body there is one, the brain, whose functioning gives rise to mental activity. Brain activity determines and controls the functioning of the body – also as a reaction to environmental stimuli and those coming from within the body itself – but this process does not require, at least in its initial stages, any conscious subject. Consciousness is formed slowly, like an archipelago of small islands that join together over time forming a larger territory, and the cohesion necessary for the Ego's self-consciousness to emerge requires even longer times.
Throughout the first phase of human life, which lasts twenty years or more, the mental processes in which the Ego is involved through consciousness are automatically carried out: the most diverse environmental stimuli produce their effects on the nervous system and on the brain, causing psychic reactions in terms of sensations, emotions, feelings, desires, or thought processes determined by the mental faculties and therefore, at least in part, by the brain quality. In the first part of life the individual is particularly predisposed to learning, to be programmed, and readily assimilates the elaboration of the vital programs culturally transmitted by the generations that preceded and by the environment in which he/she lives. The discovery of human life is always a fascinating and engaging process in itself – even if in some cases it shows difficult and painful aspects – during which the hopes, desires and projects for a future that, although largely imagined through illusions, still act as a catalyst for the vital energy that wants to exteriorize itself.
As far as the inner life is concerned, at this stage the consciousness, once formed, floods the Ego with particularly intense psychic experiences, also due to the quality of the brain, still young and functioning at full capacity. The Ego, on the other hand, is so immersed in the psychic dimension that cannot even consider itself as an autonomous entity. This lack of self-consciuosness makes it easy enough – for the programs that determine the development of our societies – to condition the Ego so that it works in accordance with the collective consensus of a human group: what is today defined as popularity. If this process is consolidated, as often happens, the Ego continues to function in this conditioned way for the rest of its human life, identifying itself with its own psychic experiences, as these are acquired by consciousness, in a completely uncritical way, devoid of intelligence and passively enduring all the offenses and the impairments that this distorted functioning reserves to it.
When a human works in this way, his conscious Ego is controlled – almost without realizing it – by the positive or negative tone of the psychic tunings that involve it. In this way also the will, which should at the Ego's disposal, is driven: all that the Ego knows is the desire, the tension to get something, and the pleasure that comes from getting what it wants, or the frustration and suffering resulting from failure to fulfill desires. The Ego does not ask itself any question about the origin of desires: it considers them something absolutely natural. Usually the people that work this way always turn to the outside to get useful information and programs for their purposes, especially when negative emotions and feelings have the upper hand: all our society is oriented to favor these forms of programming and reassurance, and anyone who wants can take advantage of this situation, as long as she/he is inserted in a context that guarantees an aura of authority and (presumed) competence. Be extrovert, social and popular: these are the watchwords of our age.
Finally, it must be remembered that the psychic experience of the conscious Ego is, by its nature, subjective: beyond the information we can obtain from another Ego, through verbal communications and bodily behavior, about its psychic experiences, or what we can hypothesize through empathy in his/her state of mind, we cannot directly experience what the other is feeling. Furthermore, it should be kept in mind that only rarely – especially in our culture – does the conscious Ego know itself: in fact, given that the Ego is controlled by psychic instances, a sudden change in the external or internal environment of the body, or the emergence of new psychic tunings until then remained unconscious, are sufficient to change the mood, the way of feeling and the behavior of a person, to the point of making it unrecognizable not only by others, but also to itself. A pathological limit case of this condition is represented by the forms of dissociation that can determine the presence of multiple personalities in the same body.
Self-consciousness and the enhancement of the Ego
I already said that the condition of identification of the conscious Ego with the psychic dynamics that involve it can last a lifetime. In the past, some cultures have enhanced self-control techniques of the Ego, while today a form of self-indulgence prevails – above all in our society – for which the Ego favors and seeks out those psychic experiences that offer an immediate reward, even if ephemeral, in terms of pleasure and happiness. That the Ego wants to avoid painful experiences is understandable, just as the pursuit of happiness is part of its nature: problems arise from the fact that in human life every choice has consequences – for ourselves as for others – and today's pleasure may result in tomorrow's suffering. Moreover, due to the impermanence of the effects of certain experiences over time, there is a need to always seek new positive experiences, without having control over the mind, which determines their effects. In any case, it is a condition that can lead to a stronger subjugation of the Ego to the psyche, rather than contributing to its liberation.
Today's society, made up of great moltidudes of individuals, is based on programs that leave little room for the liberation of the Ego, even though it continually proclaims its intention to defend human freedom. The fact is that the Ego of those who have the power to control and guide others (such as rulers, teachers, mass media leaders or influencers) is in turn controlled by certain psychic tunings which determine, more or less chaotically, the collective guidelines. So ordinary people, who let themselves be passively conditioned by mass psychic programs, look with admiration and envy at the human models of their controllers, who in turn are driven by particularly strong psychic instances, and all of them are equally fascinated and ensnared by the psyche. Nowadays the dominant psychic tuning in mass societies is fear, because the number of humans is so high that the collapse of the complex social structures that guarantee their survival would lead to misery, competition for resources and death for a huge number of people. The basic instincts deriving from our animal origin are still largely predominant.
And yet, even in these conditions – certainly not favorable – a desire for liberation begins to manifest itself in the Ego of some people: at first glance it might seem a new psychic tuning like the others, but unlike the others it does not try to exercise any form of control on the Ego, indeed it makes it more conscious of the domination exercised over it by most psychic instances. This new experience, on whose origin the Ego begins to question itself, enhances some aspects of intelligence as a resource at the service of the Ego, and significantly increases self-consciousness, so that the Ego can focus the mind's attention on itself as a subject of consciousness and knowledge, and not as an executor of mental commands programmed by psychic forces and socio-cultural conditioning. After some time, the conscious Ego begins to feel an ever deeper connection between its real nature, which remains enigmatic to it, and this particular psychic tuning that makes it freer, gives it dignity and enhances it, offering it a perspective that goes far beyond its weak and impermanent human condition. The source of this psychic tuning is the spirit, which, in this way, urges the conscious Ego to begin its spiritual adventure.
The path of enhancement of the conscious Ego begins when the Ego not only realizes its dependence on the psyche, but that itself is a temporary product of particular psychic tunings, and therefore the result of a process of very large dimensions, which determines its birth, death and destiny. This process constitutes the inner reflection, more or less conscious depending on the person, of the physical phenomenon that gives rise to human life, by which a body (and its brain) is formed, grows, acts, ages and eventually dies. In this respect the Ego is nothing but the mental representation of a particular individual singularity that shows up in the context of a mysterious process that transcends it. But it is precisely at this point that something clicks in the Ego that poses the problem of its existence: while the body ages and advances along its path towards death, the Ego feels the need (and, one might say, the right) to continue to exist: temporary existence appears unsatisfactory to it. Not all humans feel the inner rebus determined by the awareness of the temporary duration of the instrument that determines the individual mental activity (the brain) and the consciousness of the Ego's right to exist, but some feel it intensely. Obviously, this problem does not arise for those who have a form of faith that takes for granted the survival of the conscious Ego, to which an existence independent of the functioning of the brain is dogmatically (and irrationally) attributed.
But it is precisely the mental character of any form of conscious perception of the psyche that allows the Ego to go on – with the spirit's support – in its path of development and liberation. In fact, even the assertion that the existence of the Ego depends on that of the brain is dogmatic, indeed it is one of the dogmas of our time and of our social culture. The brain is nothing but a complex tool through which consciousness and psyche can show up in the physical dimension, and the Ego can manage to control the functioning of the mind (that is, of the brain), rather than being controlled by it. However, the laws that govern the universe and our life have a mandatory value, and according to these laws the body's death is an event that marks the definitive exit of the conscious Ego from the physical dimension, with which it will no longer be able to interact actively, due to the lack of a suitable instrument. For this reason, death remains an important event, to which a normally intelligent person should prepare in time, considering that in any case he/she will face an epochal change of environment (or rather, of dimension). In this respect, the attachment to life that is culturally stimulated even in people of old age represents one of the most ridiculous and harmful psychic distortions of our society.
The reflection of the Ego on itself is an exercise in conscious meditation by which the Ego escapes the influence of the psychic forces of alien origin by which, in the course of its life, it has been attracted and controlled. It is an effortless exercise, but requires a constant dedication, and therefore a bit of time every day. Like everything that is authentically associated with the spirit, it does not involve any ache, but rather soon becomes a source of serenity and happiness, even if in the initial phase – in the same way that every physical exercise produces a certain muscular soreness – it can cause some disorientation in our normal adaptation to social reality. When the Ego focuses its consciousness on its own essence, it frees the mind from any psychic experience (thought, emotion, sensation, feeling, fantasy, etc.) that is foreign to its own nature. What is experienced is not emptiness – even if for a certain period one may have the impression of being serenely suspended in nothingness – but a transformation of the psychic tunings that begin to harmoniously accord with the spiritual essence of the Ego.
Problems can arise when we must return to the functioning normally (and mandatorily) required by our social role. For a person who is in the midst of his or her working and social life, uncommon resources are needed to move from one mental state to another without undergoing a dissociative process. In this respect, meditation is much more suitable and advisable for those who have already retired, and can devote – as would be appropriate and intelligent – the remaining time of their life to prepare for transfer to the other dimension. In any case, meditation involves a progressive enhancement of the conscious Ego which, once it has been purified from the psychic slags in which it was imprisoned, no longer has anything to do with the forms of selfishness and egotism that can characterize the protection and enhancement of our ordinary human personality. The conscious Ego shines with its own light and does not need any form of protection from others, in whom rather the presence of a conscious Ego, even if not freed, must be recognized.
The discovery of the Ego: preliminary techniques
Through the reflection on the conscious Ego implemented by meditation, each of us is free to discover her/his own Ego. It is therefore not a question of a conceptual adherence to a mental scheme pre-packaged by someone else, because every human being is given the full freedom to understand the nature and value of what he/she finds inside. In a certain sense, it is not even necessary to adopt a particular technique: it is simply a matter of using consciousness as a mirror that clearly reflects the image and nature of the conscious subject. Eventually, we can talk about technique in relation to cleaning the mirror, which must be made shining and free from impurities. In fact our incessant mental activity continually introduces into our consciousness psychic events of every kind, which saturate, obscure, and render it unsuitable to reflect the image of the Ego in a reliable way.
Consciousness is trained by our western culture to focus on psychic experience, considered as the normal and unquestionable mental reflection of an external objective reality, which determines in us sensations, emotions, feelings and thoughts to which an absolute value is attributed, at least until the Ego identifies with the psychic experiences in which consciousness involves it. The psyche's subjective character is at least partly repressed by our culture – which needs people who function according to objective patterns, in accordance with social needs – only to reappear, often unexpectedly, in lower, primitive and naive forms, sometimes violent towards others and ourselves. Our consciousness is therefore shaped from early childhood so that it focuses attention on certain psychic tunings rather than on others: it is thus subjected to a process of deformation which makes it unsuitable to focus on the inner reality of the Ego. In addition, over time the most diverse psychic experiences leave incrustations and deformations of all kinds, preventing our consciousness from functioning as a perfectly polished crystalline lens. In these conditions it is no wonder that introspection is limited to considering the Ego as the subject/object of the search for satisfaction of the desires induced by psychic dynamics.
The goal of the initial phases of meditation, to achieve which years of practice may be needed, therefore consists in cleaning up and reshaping our consciousness, so that it can better reflect the nature of the Ego, thus becoming a reliable self-consciousness and self-knowledge. It may be useful to suggest some technique to shorten this preliminary phase as much as possible – while bearing in mind that the necessary resources vary from person to person – but first I must better clarify the meaning that the two terms mind and consciousness, often used indifferently, may have. Consciousness is an instrument, the use of which should be in the full availability of the Ego as a conscious subject: in our culture this happens rarely, as normally the psyche and conditioning programs prevail over the Ego, which can easily be dominated despite itself by thoughts, worries, desires, passions and constraints from which it would like to free itself, without success. Mind can be considered both from the point of view of the product of brain activity – inwardly perceived through consciousness or its reflections on consciousness – and as a synonym for the psychic experience, whatever its origin. Therefore expressions commonly used in meditation practice, such as freeing the mind or purifying the mind, seem to me to be incorrect and to a certain extent also misleading.
Under ordinary conditions, our consciousness is controlled by psychic instances that determine, based on power relations, what can become conscious and what cannot. The Ego is more or less passively involved in these dynamics, undergoing their effects (whether appreciated or not) in an uncritical way, without managing to gain real control over the voluntary use of consciousness and how to focus on something and keep it firm. Therefore the first objective of the Ego consists in taking the control of consciousness, which must be transformed into a perfectly functioning instrument of which the Ego can dispose according to its intentions, and not obeying the desires and fears that the human psyche imposes on it. The preliminary technique to achieve this goal is to keep our body in a quiet environment, isolated from external stimuli, in a condition of conscious attention, for at least half an hour a day, increasing this period, progressively, up to a hour a day.
The body's position does not have a particular importance: it is sufficient that it be comfortable and natural, without inducing drowsiness. You can sit with your back straight, but also stand up against a wall, or lying on your back as long as you remain alert. Even immobility does not necessarily have to be perfect, and small movements are allowed, as long as they do not translate into actions that can interrupt the conscious attention towards the psychic flux determined by our mental activity. The external stimuli that can determine actions must be carefully avoided: the telephone must not ring, no one has to knock on the door or ring the bell, any external noises must be softened: the preparation of the room in which one meditates must be such as to guarantee the isolation, and this already, in the current social conditions, can be an objective not easy to obtain. You can also meditate at night, when everything is quieter, lying in your bed, as long as you can stay awake without slipping into drowsiness. The initial commitment consists in being able to maintain this state for at least half an hour, possibly fractioning it with short intervals of no more than a minute. The eyes can remain open, semi-open or closed: keeping the eyes closed facilitates, above all at the beginning, the observation of the mental flow, on condition of not falling asleep.
Once the meditation has begun, the alert attention consists in focusing our consciousness on all the psychic events that enter its range, observing the more or less chaotic transformations, without exerting any inhibiting or controlling action against the psychic flux. The only really important thing, in this preliminary phase, is that the Ego is aware of observing, through its consciousness, the psychic flux determined by mental activity. Usually, those who begin to meditate observe a messy and rather chaotic flux of psychic events that invade their consciousness: thoughts, memories, images, desires, worries, fantasies, programs, etc. follow one another in front of the Ego that observes them. There is no need to do anything, the simple fact of observing the psychic flow is sufficient to produce a double effect. First of all, from time to time consciousness will also focus on the Ego, as an observing subject: in this way a thought or a form of imaginative perception will be produced, which will be inserted into the psychic flow, attesting that «I am observing». Furthermore, the Ego begins to progressively differentiate and detach itself from the observed psychic flow. This exercise must be performed steadily, day after day, for a sufficient period of time, until it produces evident and beneficial results.
Although one of the purposes of meditation is to create a mental state of pleasant bliss, it takes some time for this to happen. The initial phase, which lasts for a few months or a few years – depending on how our mind works and the resources the Ego can count on – is not in itself unpleasant, but neither can be said to be particularly pleasant: someone will find it relaxing, someone else will observe, among other thoughts and feelings of the psychic flow, one that suggests him/her to use their leisure time differently, in a more gratifying way. If we are sufficiently steadfast, we will observe this thought/desire with a particular interest, as it highlights in an exemplary way how the psyche tries to ensnare the Ego. In any case, the meditative state must be relaxed, letting the psychic flux take its course and the consciousness register it in a condition that we could define as unconcerned interest.
After some time the Ego can begin to evaluate the particular positive, neutral or negative effect associated with every psychic experience: for example, a memory can be pleasant or painful, and a thought can be neutral in terms of emotional involvement. Even a mental image can arouse an emotion, and – as we proceed in our meditation activity – we can register mental states in themselves pleasant, characterized by an emotional happiness sometimes very intense. At other times the mental reaction may be bored or irritated by the continuous recurrence of unwanted or uninteresting psychic events. These psychic dynamics, well recorded by our consciousness, help us to understand how everything we experience inwardly depends on our mental activity (in turn determined by the brain activity), and also every automatic association between certain psychic experiences and the events of the external world, defined as real, depends on the mental programs that have been transmitted to us and by which we function. In this way the conscious Ego realizes that it is something different and autonomous with respect to the mental activity that incessantly involves and controls it: our own body and our brain thus become, for our conscious Ego, the equivalent of an environmental factor which it must deal with and which it tries to keep under control, even if with more or less satisfactory results, but with which it does not identify.
Progressing in meditation
In the phase of evaluation under the emotional profile of the psychic dynamics – which never involves their judgment or repression – it is particularly interesting to reflect on the mental states that arise as a result of the success or failure in satisfying our desires. Desires themselves are to be considered as psychic events that involve the Ego more or less intensely, sometimes even to completely dominate it. As such, desires can be part of the psychic flow that occurs during meditation. The dynamics associated with desires are often enigmatic, and represent the greatest obstacle to the Ego's liberation, also because – with the loss of a desire – the same tension that drives us to live can be reduced. For example, sexual desire – which has a typically iterative character because, once satisfied, it reappears after a while – can determine positive or negative emotional reactions, but when, with age, it is significantly reduced, it can be replaced by the desire to feel it again with the same intensity as when we were young, so much so that many people are willing to undergo all sorts of practices in order to delude themselves that they can be young again.
On the other hand, when one becomes an elder, the desire to be able to get back the energies and mental faculties of youth can manifest on different fronts, and is linked to a more general desire to live, the more intense the more our life appears interesting and emotionally satisfying to us. A definitely humorous example of the power of involvement of certain desires is given by some spiritual guides – usually Tibetan lamas or Indian gurus – who, coming to the West to teach meditation techniques, end up demanding sexual services from their female students, obviously young and physically attractive: as for the awareness of a normal human desire, nothing to say, but in these cases the teacher, after meditation, moves to action!
As meditation progresses, consciousness becomes increasingly clear, efficient and receptive, and the Ego can start an activity of intelligent critical reflection on the psychic events focused by consciousness. The role of detached observer allows the Ego to progressively free itself from automatic involvement and identification with the products of the psyche. This critical reflection is very important because it allows the Ego to become well aware of the effect that every psychic event has on it. In fact, it is quite understandable how the Ego is inclined to avoid the involvement by those psychic tunings that exert an unpleasant or painful emotional effect on it, but in relation to the desires that lure it with welcome and pleasing emotions and enticements, before taking action, it must be aware of the dynamics with which the priming mechanism is working. Obviously, this is a completely natural way of working, but suffering and death are also natural events. Without a phase of intelligent reflection, meditation can have beneficial, relaxing and positive effects on the evolution of our personality, but the process of liberation of the Ego is slower. Through reflection the Ego does not want to judge or remove some psychic demands, but puts into action a search for knowledge of the mechanism that binds it to certain psychic tunings.
The expansion and improvement of consciousness make the Ego realize that its involvement in human life is determined by the psychic tunings to which it is connected and on the basis of which it is driven to act. In this respect, meditation is by its nature a technique that suspends action. Unlike sleep – another state in which action is suspended – during meditation the Ego is alert and present, and consciousness is active. What results can meditation produce after some time of practice? I cannot honestly answer this question for the following reason: while we can objectively speak of meditation as a technique, what happens to the conscious Ego by practicing meditation is an intrinsically subjective experience, and therefore I am unable to say – or of to know – if what occurs to me will happen, in the same terms, also to another. One of the flaws sometimes found in meditation teachers is that they do not just explain the techniques, but at some point they also begin to suggest the results, thus stimulating a wait centered on a form of desire.
Anyway, in the light of my experience, I can say that meditation leads to the discovery and enhancement of the Ego as a spirit – or as an entity associated with the spirit – and in this respect everyone will be able to experience their own Ego, in ways that can be different from one person to another. When consciousness has reached a sufficient level of efficiency, detachment, clarity and ability to focus on what enters its visual field, it almost automatically rotates, so to speak, 180°, and instead of focusing on ordinary psychic experiences, it concentrates on the subject of the experience, that is, the Ego. This event is not empty, at least as I can experience it, but is accompanied by psychic tunings of a quality quite different from the ordinary ones, both in the waking state and in the dreaming one. And here ends my testimony, precisely because of the substantially subjective nature of these experiences. Everyone is therefore free to independently verify where the path started by practicing meditation will lead him/her.
An important aspect of meditation is represented by the observation – which can have the effect of a real illuminating discovery – that the psyche stimulates the Ego to action: in fact, our western culture is based on the myth of action, which culminates in the complexity of our technological achievements. Apart from the periods of sleep, we are constantly led to act as required by our psychic dynamics. Meditation interrupts this continuous flux of actions, maintaining a condition of non-doing that allows us to observe the dynamics of the psyche. Our intellectual creative activity distinguishes from meditation firstly because it is aimed at achieving some goal, and then because it must be translated into some form of action, such as writing or speaking, so that the results of our mental work can be transferred to the social milieu. Without taking anything away from the demands of action as an instrument of that transcendent process that determines what we call human progress, it would be appropriate for people to devote some of their time to meditation: the distinction between a meditative and contemplative Orient and a dynamic and productive Occident today no longer makes sense (assuming it ever had one), and human saneness requires both action and meditation.
Meditation and consciousness
One of the effects of meditation is to improve the quality of consciousness. If it is true that the Ego, as a conscious subject, comes into contact with psychic experiences, the normal state of daily consciousness is almost always insufficient to clearly focus both the psychic experience and the Ego's involvement by that experience. Usually our consciousness is limited to registering the psychic event just enough to activate a reaction or a program of behavior by the individual, and to insert it into short or long term memory in the most important cases: it is a largely automated activity, of which the Ego often is not even aware. Meditation increases the power of consciousness, just as exercise increases muscular efficiency, making it able to focus with clarity and intensity both the psychic experience on which attention is focused, and the involvement and reaction of the Ego facing that experience. In this way the Ego is no more deceived and, so to speak, taken from behind by the psychic dynamics, but is enabled to know exactly its degree of involvement, conditioning or compliance. Thus the process of detachment and liberation of the Ego can be started.
Consciousness, so enhanced and strengthened, assumes a fundamental role, becoming the necessary and indispensable presupposition for existence. The Ego itself exists only in so far as consciousness exists, or – to be more precise – the Ego exists for itself only in so far as that individual aspect of consciousness which concerns it exists. The existence of individual consciousness can be compared to the operation of a mobile phone which, among the millions of transmissions in the form of packets of radio waves modulated in frequency simultaneously present in the ether at a given moment, is able to receive only the frequency that was assigned to it. It is evident that there are billions of individual consciousnesses, and therefore billions of Egos, only at the level of living human beings, and therefore a problem arises: in relation to this mass of conscious Egos, what importance can the single Ego have, to which however each one of us seems to attach a fundamental role?
Consciousness, in its individual aspect, is a fragment that only tunes a limited bundle of psychic experiences, which the conscious Ego experiments and can memorize, at least in part. On this site I started from the assumption that the sense of existence and identity of the individual Ego is determined precisely by its being conscious. The state of consciousness, in turn, must be memorized at least for a certain time, otherwise there would be a constant discontinuity that would invalidate the very existence of the conscious Ego. What would become of our Ego if we felt something (an emotion, an idea, a sensation) to forget it a moment later? This could be the condition of children in the first months of life, during which a continuity of consciousness has not yet formed and therefore there is no Ego. But when the Ego becomes aware of its own existence, it becomes also aware of the existence of billions of other Egos, whose psychic experiences, however, it cannot directly experience. It also realizes the substantial differences that can exist between the Egos of two persons: these differences are mainly due to the psychic tunings that involve each of the Egos and control it to a greater or lesser extent, determining their way of feeling and behavior, but also – at least in part – to the influence of something of a different nature that can orientate the course of individual life.
But there is more: the acknowledgment of the existence of unconscious activities in our mind, or of the influence on our life of entities – such as those we have called spirits – whose consciousness does not coincide with that of the Ego, leads us to ask ourselves if we can consider valid the hypothesis that our existence coincides with that of the conscious Ego. I highlight the word our, because it is clear that existence, in general, goes on even without our Ego. The hypothesis that some states of ecstatic bliss entail the loss of the Ego's self-awareness has been advanced by several parties: for example, within the Indian philosophical system of Advaita Vedanta, some thinkers believed that the perfect state of consciousness was that of the dream without dreams, during which the conscious Ego is completely absent. It must be recognized, however, that a state of ecstasy, like samadhi, is still a conscious state whose experience is recorded in someone's memory, otherwise we would know absolutely nothing about it, while of what happens during deep sleep (without dreams) no memory trace remains.
In my opinion the existence of a conscious subject, the Ego, is fundamental for the experimentation and registration of any psychic experience, ordinary or transcendent. Obviously the Ego itself experiences its existence through consciousness – and in particular self-consciousness – by which it can also draw on the memory of experiences already lived and recorded. Therefore the evolution of the functioning of consciousness also involves a different self-perception of the Ego, and therefore a transformation of it. Through a process of reciprocal interaction, the Ego activates, through its own will, techniques aimed at increasing the quality of consciousness and broadening its range of action, and the consciousness, in turn, illuminates the Ego on the state of existence of the same, in the light of psychic tunings of a more advanced quality than the ordinary ones. I think that behind this process there is the inspiring and guiding action of the spirit, which attempts – as far as its prerogatives and its resouces allow it – to make the conscious Ego evolve to the point of freeing it from the limits imposed by human condition. And, as I said, meditation is a valid and effective technique to improve the performances of our consciousness.