Ive had an intense fear of demonic possession since I was a kid. I've had a few intense spiritual awakening experiences over the past 8 years in which I was forced to face this prospect of being possessed. The latest one, I gave in and just completely accepted that I was going to be possessed. This was at the end of an iboga ceremony. It turns out what possessed me was love more intense than anything I knew possibly. It happened again where I accepted this idea of getting possessed, and what possessed me was profound compassion. Each time this has happened, something came in and cut me off again. After the iboga ceremony, when the love ended and turned into pain and my "mind" started making me feel isolated and separate from others once again, I realised that the thing I had feared my whole life was a reality all along, I just wasn't aware of it. Whats so much worse is I see that everyone around me is possessed by their own personal demon too. If my intentions are only to help others, to be selfless and to love and help all sentient beings, then why would I have negative, disrespectful, non accepting thoughts about others. Why would I have any negative intentions towards others at all. If I don't choose this, yet it happens, what does that mean? Something has possessed me and is influencing my perceptions in an attempt to manipulate my intentions towards others. The gnostics used the word "archons". The lurianic kabbalists called it "kelipots". The alchemists used the word "ego". Some very dark times followed this iboga ceremony as I began to realise how hopelessly ensnared by the ego I seemed to be. The alchemists called this process "calcination". Ego is the latin word for "I am". This is what I've arrived at through my experiences, I'm not saying this is what it is, and I'm well aware of how words are open to interpretation so again, this is just my own personal experience, what I've arrived at. My understanding is that the ego is a mechanism which creates an illusion of separation and attempts to trick consciousness into identifying with the illusion. Its driving force is fear. The fear, in one way or another, is always fear of relinquishing attachment to the illusion. An analogy is someone watching TV and becomes so engrossed in it, that they forget they are watching a TV and that TV screen becomes their reality. They forget that there is anything beyond this "reality" on the screen. If someone switches the TV off, does the world end? Maybe if one is identified with whats on the screen, but ultimately, the only thing that ends is identification with an illusion. I don't know why I'm writing this, just felt like it and feel like leaving it at that for now. Hopefully theres an edit link so I can edit and add more later. Otherwise I suppose I'll just add more with replies.