The Spiritual Ego
All spiritual practices culminate in annihilating the ego (here the ego represents the internal chatter of the mind; the continuous movement of thought, between here & there / this & that). Many religions also have this goal in mind but whether this practice of eliminating the ‘spiritual’ ego is at the forefront of their concerns is another matter (one which we won’t discuss here).
However, as one appears to make progress on their intended journey, is it not only natural they will want to share their positive experiences with others? This can be where the trap awaits; the spiritual “ego” is already rubbing its hands at the joys of toying with another seekers mind. “Ego” here (in parenthesis) can be related to the sense of achievement, a gladdening of the mind & a feeling of pride.
As one talks of “inner” experiences, giving advice on what to do / what not to do; even distances oneself from others; is there really any reduction in the ego or in fact is it not escalating with its over elaborate claims & statements? Giving advice can be perceived as a form of massaging the “ego” therefore best left alone…or is it?
At times sharing our “inner” experiences may help but it more usually than not confuses & then dissuades others from the validity of their own experiences. Are “inner” spiritual experiences not only for the experiencer? As one tries to substantiate & cross reference it can at times lead to discussion, debate & even arguments – which can be neither productive nor informative.
On the other hand sharing can be extremely productive & beneficial to both parties. As one shares the other grows; then the other imparts & likewise both parties can benefit from the discussion as further insights & confirmations are revealed. However, does it not depend on where the intention is whilst not only sharing but also whilst being receptive? If listeners’ minds are self opinionated & already full, then why have any intention to share at all? Can we actually listen without being comparatively critical?
Whilst giving advice, one could always ask themselves what their own intention is for administering advice in the first place…one must be careful as the spiritual “ego” can appear in full effect when we are least expecting it. Periodically it can sneak up like creeping Jesus in fact!
Therefore, what the HELL am I doing writing this garbage in the first place? No matter which way you look at the futility of it all, I’m heading for a no-win situation. The main thread of this article is to highlight our intentions & then ask ourselves if they are present, when we realise the spiritual “ego” is manifesting. However, sometimes we don’t have the time or awareness to catch our reactions with the ego firmly embedded & in control. One may continuously witness the mind in reflection but during reaction, of course this becomes rather difficult.
This process of self-reflection can be taken as a sadhana as we tread carefully along the journey. Swadhyaya is encouraged to understand the Self (inner / larger); however before tackling such a momentous task, perhaps it is easier to understand the ego-self? (outer / smaller). If continuously reflecting on our actions, eventually we begin to monitor our habits & then reform them (SWAN).
On the other hand, I must stop pretending. In the world here the ego is developing its own agenda!!
“ That I can’t tell you. Every man is different. My benefactor never told me what he learned. He told me how to proceed, but never what he saw; that is only for oneself. “ – Don Juan