When we make some remarkable progress in our spiritual pursuit , there comes a certain feeling of excitement, and along with it a bit of superiority for having done what the masses have not. Instead of feeling humbled that Divine’s Grace has allowed this important first step, many of us may feel a ‘high’ comprising of conceit and arrogance. So much so, that we tend to look down on the rest of humanity as ‘poor unenlightened’ ones. This sense of pride or feeling of specialness is nothing but a different form of ego – spiritual ego. . Further enhancing this definition, spiritual ego can be termed as that part of self that feels it has accomplished something very special and it causes us to feel superior in relation to others because it makes us believe that we have made a self realization that sets us apart from the masses.
This is not to say that we the spiritual people are not helpful or that we are wrong in what we are saying and teaching…..but rather, few of us may have allowed our ego mind to take the thoughts of oneness and spirituality and may be using it unknowingly as a trap for the Self. It is easy to get caught here as our ego is brilliant in its defense mechanisms. It will do anything to keep us feeling different, or separate, or justify its previous beliefs…… even if it covers it up with pretty words of oneness and thoughts of wanting to help others. If at any point during the long spiritual journey we start feeling that we’ve arrived, conquered or accomplished something really spiritually superior, and that this accomplishment puts us above others in any way, we can be rest assured, we’ve activated the spiritual ego.
Other types of ego like professional ego can get identified easily either during single session of genuine introspection or by others who are close to you . Most relevant example is of professional ego . After we are trapped in that, we tend to boast of our achievements in many ways . We tend to argue with others a lot. We bully others with the help of our professional status, higher intelligence or superior knowledge . These aggressive and negative behaviors born out of professional ego are easily recognizable by others. If we retrospect and self inquire in solitude then we also can stumble upon the existence of this professional /social personality which we might have developed over a period of time .The spotting and accepting of this type of ego may not be a real problem as this ego works for gaining wealth ,power and status .This goal can be attained even after spotting ,accepting and diluting of ego . Acknowledging this type of ego doesn’t work against the main goal around which it is formed .We can reduce this particular ego and still carry on with earning .
Spiritual ego works towards achieving a goal called soul realization hence anything which comes in its way to reach final state will be rejected or manipulated. . In addition to this, spiritual ego always gets covered with layers of softer feelings of love , compassion , giving , sharing . In fact these are the traits responsible for the feeling of specialness which eventually caused the birth of spiritual ego .Thus it is most difficult to identify the same with routine introspection or observation. Acknowledging spiritual ego can lead to a steep fall in perceived ‘state of being ‘and can result in a rare realization that we have already moved away from the original goal of self realization. Hence acknowledging and admitting the same pose a great challenge for us as acknowledgement takes us away from our ego self’s main goal. Others around us may not even realize our inner state as spiritual ego produces all actions and behaviors which are in sync with that of nearly realized person i.e. always expressing peace and love. All these negative traits are hardly exhibited to the outer world. This is really a threatening situation as neither we nor others can point out easily that our spiritual ego is on rise .
The best remedy to get rid of this or dilute this is Self enquiry which is akin to taking a flashlight of awareness and shining it within our being to illuminate thought processes, beliefs and all inner workings of mind. Any type of ego always generates a kind of constant unease from within . Such unease needs to be unearthed and honestly accepted as a result of spiritual ego . If we can afford a ‘Living Guru ‘ in our life then Living Guru can ensure that we –the disciple always remain on the right path till realization is struck . He keeps showing mirror to us and makes us aware about the presence of this subtle ego. This may be the main reason for many who keep following Living Guru or Gurus during their spiritual journey.
In service of the Divine with faith !