One of the important rituals of spiritual practice is to understand the ego state and go beyond it. But one of the pitfalls of this practice is that many people end up thinking they have moved away from their ego only to find that they have substituted their ego with a new one….the spiritual ego.
This spiritual ego can create a new way of seeing and portraying itself. This ego can see itself as superior or more enlightened than others. The ego motivates the person to be in the presence of other spiritual like-minded folks. This reinforces and acknowledges the ego’s way of thinking.
The mind still seeks pleasure but it now adds a new goal. It seeks having mystical or spiritual experiences that reinforces the idea that it is special. The mind is still not satisfied with these experiences. It continues to seek new techniques and methods to reach higher states of being.
After revelations or peak experiences, the spiritual ego believes it has things to teach others. “If you follow what I believe and teach”…. you will also live more fully and be very special.
If the spiritual ego developed because of a specific practice of meditation or yoga or through the teachings of the Buddha or a Guru, the spiritual ego will highly recommend this teacher and path as the Way to Enlightenment. When questioned, the spiritual ego will offer what was recited by more evolved authors, teachers or masters, as a way to substantiate the Truth.
How do I know this? Because this is what happened to me during my spiritual journey! In the later stages of my quest to achieve oneness, I developed a spiritual ego.
It was my belief that I knew so much more than others about what we are and why we are here on this planet. I put in countless hours of meditation, devoured a library of spiritual books, devoted myself to multiple Gurus and had experienced out of body and mind altering moments.
I falsely thought I was well on my way to enlightenment and I wanted to share it with everyone that would listen (http://howardshiffman.com/2017/11/13/what-i-learned-seeking-enlightenment/). But actually my spiritual ego was seeking applause. And my mind was fooling itself.
And therein is the problem. I was still using my mind and its thoughts and just did not realize that “what we are”, can never be known by the mind. The mind can only know what you are not.
I realized, during a peak experience, that enlightenment is just a concept made up by the mind to describe the indescribable. Seeking to go beyond ego was beyond the mind. We can’t use the mind to go beyond the mind.
Today I recognize that I still have an ego, the regular kind and the spiritual variety and probably always will.
However, I now recognize after years of witnessing my thoughts that I am indeed not what the mind thinks. I am beyond my thoughts and memories and cannot be anything that I conceive or perceive. I am not special in contrast to others that do not seek a spiritual awakening.
We are all connected to something much More than we realize whether we seek to know it or not.
I share my experience of the spiritual ego with you in the hope that you will begin (if you have not already) to recognize this spiritual ego phenomenon both in yourself and in others.
Be aware of this mind/ego tendency and observe it from your own experience. Be cautious who you follow and what they teach. Accept it or reject it as you see fit. The Truth resides in you.
I welcome your responses to this post. For more, see my posts at http://www.HowardShiffman.com