The Skin Ego

Understand the psychological reasons why we are addicted to a virtual, superficial reality.


This teaching has generated a lot of debate on social media. Catch up with the conversation; we have collected and curated the questions and Shunyamurti’s, powerful, provocative and ego-eviscerating answers:


Q: Shunyamurti talks about the post-Jungian thinkers as being mediocre. I’m very curious what he thinks about some of the movement based practices that have grown out of Jung’s concept of active imagination (i’m thinking authentic movement specifically) and the concept of witness consciousness in this frame of reference? I find that the works of dance therapists and embodiment-based concepts have integrated more of Jung’s concepts than other mainstream practices. There is, of course, methodology and thought, but the practices themselves are more body-based than cognitive. I’m very curious about Shunya’s expertise in this area very close to my heart. As always this teaching arrives with divine timing, especially the part about music. It resonates very deeply. Blessings!


Shunyamurti’s response: Dear Elizabeth, thank you for your inquiry. Not all the post-Jungian theorists are mediocre. In fact, one of the finest and deepest minds at work today in the world is a post-Jungian named Wolfgang Giegerich. He offers a brilliant psychoanalysis of Jung (using Jung’s texts with profound accuracy of understanding) in his collected papers. He finds fault not with the focus on thought, but on Jung’s deceptive split-mindedness. The Jung of Zurich is a different being from the Jung of Bollingen. Unfortunately, Jungian theory comes from the more egoic Zurich fragment. This Jung demands to be taken seriously as an empirical scientist, not a mystic. And thus, he reduces the gods to images in the unconscious. Worse, he accepts a Kantian epistemological paradigm in which the ding an sich remains forever unattainable. We can have glimpses of the numinous, but not transcendence into the noumenal. And we must always return to the egocentric frame of reference as our norm and accept it as the only point of view worthy of a scientist, who must gain objective validation as an empirical person studying objective facts, and who must avoid egoic inflation at all costs. This displacement of the true realm of Spirit results in an impotent psychologism rather than an opening to the Absolute. I agree with you about the post-Jungian dance and movement therapies offering better results, due to their imposition of mindful focus on the energy field of the somatic potentiation, bringing immediate frequency shifts out of the imaginarized symbolic register into the real of the organism. But gains tend to disappear with the reinstatement of the narrativizing ego creeping back into hegemonic possession of consciousness. If there is to be liberation from this imprisonment, there must be a complete shattering of the frame of reference of the body ego as well as of the symbolizing mind seeking its archetypal image in order to declare a false victory over the persona. Awareness must overcome both anima and animus, and the notion of collective unconscious as well. Real liberation is of another magnitude altogether, requiring the dimensional shift initiated by dispassionate dissolution of all identity structures and all difference, duality, and existential becoming. Any limited context can at best temporarily ameliorate the nomadic flux in the plane of suffering, but not bring redemption.

Q: Thank you Shunyamurti! I am writing a senior thesis on Black Wholes, equating the skin ego to the event horizon. I was wondering if you recommend any other books for research? many thanks

Shunyamurti replies: Dear Christopher, your thesis concept sounds very interesting, and I can imagine many profound elaborations upon it. Your spelling of the signifier indicates you are working with Nassim Haramein’s paradigm. But other than his work, I cannot think of any books that deal with such a topological construct in any direct way, unless you want to theorize about the hypersphere, which becomes highly mathematical. But check out Kip Thorn on black holes. Some related ideas that come to mind immediately would be, for example, to connect your idea with the holographic universe concept, particularly as developed by Leonard Susskind, involving the hypothesis of a two-dimensional outer skin of the universe being the hologram qua information that projects the spacetime phenomenal appearance within it. One could also work with superstring theory, and posit that the skin morphs into a skein, becoming coiled into a multidimensional torus encompassed by consciousness. The quantum wave function could be thought of as a skin, as well; one that is occasionally shed as the primordial observer withdraws into the Absolute. In an esoteric sense, the skin ego may be conceived as the outer surface of the hermetically sealed alchemical vessel. It will not be transformed, but the transformational process going on at a deeper level will eventually burn it away as an event horizon. Going back into more ancient mythology, you could analogize the world-surrounding river Okeanos as the pranic/prakritic skin containing the heraclitean flux. Egyptian mythology could also offer insights, such as the move of Seth to encase Osiris in the skin-like sarcophagus, around which yet another layer is added, in the form of the tree that grows around the trapped god: symbolizing perhaps a skin of matter within which is another subtle skin of mind. And when Osiris is dismembered, we could analogize this to the breakthrough into the formless emptiness, requiring the journey through the underworld and arriving into a new skin as way of reincarnation and re-dreaming of the cosmos. Hope some of that may be useful. In any case, best of luck and inspiration on your work.

Q: in the last book i read about jung he literally talked about this, i don’t understand what he meant about jung being irrelevant, in these times his work is entirely relevant. the science is relevant, it helps with technology and survival, so it is relevant to anyone who wants to survive. jung did talk about what can not be symbolized, literally that is what the collective unconscious is.

Shunyamurti’s response: Please see the above for the explanation of the irrelevance of Jungian thought to bring about real self and world transformation. I would only add that there is no collective unconscious in the sense Jung explained it. All is consciousness; nothing is hidden or separated. The world itself openly expresses the so-called collective unconscious, if the observer has but eyes to see and ears to hear. The question Jung does not deal with, and which kept him paralyzed and unable to meet Sri Ramana Maharshi, even though he travelled to India specifically for that purpose, is the true nature of the consciousness. If awareness does not belong to an individual, but is the formless non-localizable, image-free, non-conceptualizable Presence, then empirical reality itself is reduced to sheer illusion, or maya. All intellectual structures fall away as inadequate fantasies. The Absolute cannot be contained. The notion of objective science can no longer be maintained. Jung shrank from this recognition, in order to protect his own edifice of meaning, sacrificing liberation on the altar of scientistic pretension. Rather than becoming a guide to ultimate freedom, he diverted attention toward complexes and dreams rather than into the Heart of the Supreme Dreamer.

Q: 20 me’s could not have lectured this better, superficial used to be the way I described anything and everything around me in suburbia. The zombies reflect and I deflect with my knowledge of the self. Only the connection to god, guru and ”” keep me from jabbing morphine in my neck. Ramana


Shunyamurti’s response: Jab your ego instead with the morphine of bliss, by entering the Silence of Absolute Presence. This yields the sweetest nectar of immortality that will release the awakened and illumined Supreme Intelligence to redream and redeem the world.

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