“The trip to the end of the world” is a strange phrase. It is difficult to say if it means a far off place, or going to where the world has ended. Though I have been to several esoteric places, I would not consider them the “end of the world,” and more of the beginning of it. So, I will discuss the latter.
The world, in my case, is the world of ego, or individual identity and perception. Each of us has our own perception that has been shaped by our lives and our identification with who we are as individuals. Can this world of ourselves ever be broken? Yes, I believe so, as I have experienced moments of this happening, and many others have as well.
Sometimes, we realize that we are seeing our environment exclusively through our lens, and not through the sight of others. In fact, there is something called the collective unconscious, which famous psychologist and philosopher Carl Jung has described. This collective unconscious is the storehouse of all wisdom, knowledge, and experience. If people can tap into this consciousness, we can lose the limitations of our consciousness (McLeod, Saul).
To lose one’s ego, to take a trip to the end of world (the world we know through our own eyes), we need to eliminate thought, and be left with only awareness. As the great spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle said, “The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not “the thinker.” The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence” (The Power of Now: a Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment). The end of the world in this context is when you become the watcher, rather than the thinker. Thinking creates many internal worlds, though our true self, the watcher, is always there. We just have to awaken that part of our self in order to be beyond the thinking self.
Once, when I was meditating, the watcher in me awakened with much greater power than usual. Commonly, I can achieve mental stillness for a few seconds. However, this time, the state of mental stillness lasted for what seemed like forever, though in actuality it was maybe only 10 to 15 minutes. Yet, within those 10-15 minutes, I had lost all sense of who I was, what my name was, my history, my background, and all identities that were attached me by either my own efforts or the efforts of others.
This state was beyond peaceful. It was complete satisfaction and acceptance of whatever happened. I could not react to external or internal processes because I had lost my ego. Only the ego reacts, because it sees conflict. Without the ego interfering into our consciousness, there are no issues.
Strangely, I somehow came back from this pure consciousness by reminding myself (which self, it is difficult to determine) that I need to retain my identity to live life. I do not know if this is correct, though. In retrospect, I believe I should have stayed in that state.
Though I returned to business as usual after this intense experience, I never forgot who I truly am: pure consciousness that is completely satisfied and peaceful. And though I have meditated every day since that happening, I have not encountered that same experience. It is difficult, as meditation, in the real sense, requires no effort, and yet I want to put in effort to achieve this lost state. I might have to wait my whole life, or a few lives, until I have the experience again. Yet, maybe it is enough to know what I am, and what we all are. Our essential self has no identity and no attachments. It is absolutely free and not dependent on anything. If there were something as “nothing,” we would be it—but without the association of blandness and unimportance. In fact, being the real you is the most blissful and exhilarating experience—it just does not show externally.
I implore all people reading this to dig deep into yourselves and to try to find the place within you beyond your thoughts and identity.
McLeod, Saul. “Saul McLeod.” Simply Psychology, 1 Jan. 1970, www.simplypsychology.org/carl-jung.html.
Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now: a Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Hachette Australia, 2008.