Souldemy
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Souldemy

The Spiritual Ego Trap

In this article, I want to talk about what Spiritual Ego is and what are its different types, however, first, let me address what kind of spirituality I am talking about here.

We are living in a time when on the one hand, we are experiencing extreme displays of hatred, whereas, on the other, there is a wave of awakening. It has only been a few decades since a new form of Spirituality has been spreading like wildfire throughout the world. This new Spirituality is different from the old religious Spirituality in the sense that it is a personal inquiry with total freedom over what you believe, instead of the traditional orthodox Spirituality in which you are supposed to follow specific rules and regulations. Some have termed this phenomenon as the New-Age movement. The basic idea of this new form of Spirituality is that your connection with the Universe, Collective Consciousness, Soul, or God is highly personal. How you want to lead your life depends upon what you feel deep within. Your feeling or intuition comes from your divine connection with the Universe or God, and hence it cannot be wrong for you. Each individual has a different & unique path in the journey of their soul. No matter how awkward, embarrassing, painful, or sacrilegious your unique path might seem, it is right to listen to your inner voice’s guidance. Your unique path makes you go through circumstances in life that are important for you to encounter for your learning, growth, to change your unhealthy patterns, and to make you strong.

This is totally different from religious Spirituality because, as per most of the religions, there is a spiritual master or prophet who is considered to be closer to God than the rest of humanity. Therefore that prophet is the one who will communicate with God for you and will tell you that what it is that God wants from you or for you. Though religious Spirituality continues to prevail over the planet in terms of numbers and population, Personal Spirituality has been on the rise since the 1970s, with an increasing number of people turning inwards into their own selves for answers, rather than turning to religious books or preachers.

Another basic idea of this new kind of Spirituality is that all sentient beings in the Universe are one. At a deeper level, the consciousness of all beings is connected, and together we all form the collective consciousness. The separation between us is just an illusion, and each individual soul is equal, no matter how unequal their physical lives may seem to be. These ideas are beautiful, and I personally believe that the freedom to follow our own journey and the concept of oneness is incredibly empowering and that these will help us raise our consciousness. However, I have noticed a trend in the past few years, that might destroy the purpose of practicing this form of Spirituality. This phenomenon is known as “The Spiritual Ego.”

The free form of personal Spirituality has given birth to various kinds of practices. These practices include meditation, energy work, manifestation, channeling, crystal healing, fortune-telling, tantra, past-life regression, etc. These practices have eventually led to the formation of various groups and communities. The members of such communities meet every now and then for discussion groups, prayer, meditation & reading groups, healing retreats, and other spiritual retreats that involve the practices I mentioned previously. There are also communities where followers of a particular spiritual guru gather together to learn and celebrate their shared admiration for their master. Although all these practices are empowering and can really help us in our spiritual transformation, we should be cautious of developing a Spiritual Ego, especially in the early stages of our transformation.

So what exactly is a spiritual ego? Although there is no standard definition of spiritual ego, in my understanding, you develop a spiritual ego when you develop the desire to show-off your practice of Spirituality. It defeats the purpose for what you delved into Spirituality in the first place, that is, your PERSONAL connection with the divine.

You can find traces of spiritual ego starting from a person who has just been introduced to Spirituality, to a person who has developed a large following and claims to be a spiritual guru. I want to talk about mainly three kinds of Spiritual Ego:

  1. Spiritual Ego Of The Member
  2. Spiritual Ego Of The Guru

Spiritual Ego Of The Novice

For someone who has just started practicing Spirituality, it is easy to fall into the trap of the spiritual ego by assuming that they have figured out the right path only by consuming some content or doing a few practices for a few months. This is the person who is just beginning to read spiritual books, practice meditation, attend retreats or group practices, watch spiritual videos, or participate in online courses. This is the time when you feel the urge to convince others of your path and change them so that they can see the world the way you see it. It is essential to understand that no path is right or wrong. What you might think is the right path is only right for you. It might not be right for another person. Everyone is unique, and everyone has a different journey in life. It is crucial for everyone to listen to their own inner voice or intuition, and decide the journey for themselves. That is the most spiritual thing to do. Even if they choose not to practice Spirituality for their entire lives, it’s absolutely okay! Nobody has assigned us the responsibility to change anyone else. Someone who really wants to transform would come to you by their will and ask you for your help. Even then, your job is to just let them know about your experience, not force them into following your path, instead empower them to pursue their own inner voice.

I myself have been a victim of the Spiritual Ego of The Novice. In the initial months of my spiritual study, I thought that I knew better than the people around me and decided to convert my friends and relatives from being religious to being spiritual. You might have guessed by now what followed, severe backlash and hatred. I was labeled as a crazy person who has totally lost it. Soon I realized that I had fallen into the trap of the Spiritual Ego, and decided to continue learning and practicing personal Spirituality without talking to anyone about it.

Spiritual Ego Of The Member

Spiritual Ego Of The Member is when someone joins a community and feels a sense of pride for being a member of that community. This is a more dangerous kind of an ego, as it holds the potential to destroy the idea of Personal Spirituality. We human beings have an innate craving to connect with people and share experiences. Therefore, we form groups and communities with like-minded individuals. Although it is lovely to be a part of a community, at times, what happens next is quite unfortunate. We tend to divide ourselves and start considering other people and groups as separate from us when they have different beliefs or practices than ours. We start thinking that the views of our community are better than those of the other. And that is precisely when we fall into the trap. Having some experience of being a part of various groups and communities, I have encountered some people and groups who would carry a badge of honor and welcome only people who would agree with their beliefs. There are even communities who have developed uniforms as an indicator of their separate identity.

Such a mindset is harmful, to say the least, and would lead to further division of the Universe. The pillars of Spirituality are unity, oneness, love, compassion & empathy. We need to keep asking ourselves, are we uniting humanity or dividing it?

Spiritual Ego Of The Guru

It is funny how a lot of so-called spiritual Guru’s carry some of the biggest egos. The question of whether someone is a Guru or not is highly subjective, however, unfortunately, the world has started identifying Gurus based on their popularity. The higher the number of followers they have or, the more number of views they have on their videos, the apter the title of Guru becomes for them. I would say the person with high popularity might not be the most excellent Guru. In fact, he or she might be an incredible marketer. A true master might be someone who lives a humble life in the mountains, not known to many people. It is the message that matters, not the messenger. In fact, true masters would never have a desperation to gain followers. Their message would be so strong that they will become magnets, and the right people will automatically be attracted to them.

Sadly, there have been many cases of so-called spiritual gurus throughout history, who, after gaining the trust of their followers, have exploited them. Hence we should be careful to whom we are surrendering ourselves. And if you or I have a message to spread, then we should be cautious of falling into the trap of considering ourselves as an omniscient Guru. Unless and until we are truly enlightened, there are always many things for us to learn, and we will forever remain students, no matter much knowledge we gain.

Spirituality is beautiful, and it has brought beauty to the lives of many, but it is essential to be careful of getting trapped by the Spiritual Ego. Mahatma Gandhi said it beautifully, that “When the ego dies, the soul awakes.”

Saqib is a Meditation & Spirituality teacher on Insight Timer. He is also a certified Reiki practitioner and NLP coach. Get his content in your inbox by joining his Mailing List

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Saqib Rizvi

Saqib is a Meditation & Emotional Healing Coach, a Spiritual Mentor, and a lifelong student himself. His teachings and services are available on Insight Timer.