The spiritual ego is the most dangerous type of ego of all.
If you’re not mindful, it can totally destroy your life – but not in a violent or aggressive way. Instead, the spiritual ego is disguised under the mask of “good intentions,” “higher vibration,” “awakened perspective,” and humble self-importance.
Beware of the spiritual ego.
It is a trap that many of us spiritual seekers can and will fall into at some point. And the longer we stay in this spiritual ditch, this stagnant standstill, the more likely we are to become a spiritual narcissist.
In fact, spiritual narcissism is perhaps the most tragic disease ever to befall humanity . We’ll explore why later. But first:
What is the Spiritual Ego?
Let’s touch on the basics first. The ego is our sense of self; it is the illusory “me” story that we carry around in the world as an evolutionary survival mechanism. Yet the ego is the source of all our suffering and our sense of separation from who we really are, which is limitless, whole and infinite. We could call this spirit, deity, life, unity, consciousness and so on.
So what is the spiritual ego? The spiritual ego builds on this basic ego that we carry around with us. It’s the ego on crack, the ego on steroids, the ego inflated beyond its usual size. Yet we don’t realize that we have developed a spiritual ego until life gets good and really messy.
How does the spiritual ego develop?
The spiritual ego is a product of spiritual materialism – that is, using spirituality to serve the ego rather than approaching the spiritual path with the intention of trying to go beyond the ego.
When spiritual paths, practices and concepts become slaves to the ego, this is the birth of the spiritual ego. In other words, when a person’s central idea about himself is dominated by the Believing that you are a “spiritual person” is the spiritual ego.
If a “spiritual person” overshadows everything else, wa s is a person, this is the spiritual ego in action. Yes, there are positive benefits to building your identity around spirituality. But there are also some pretty scary consequences that we shouldn’t ignore.
The Evolution of Spiritual Narcissism
Walking the spiritual path properly is a very subtle process; It’s not something to naively jump into. There are numerous ramifications that lead to a distorted, egocentric version of spirituality; we can fool ourselves into thinking that if we instead strengthen our egocentricity through spiritual techniques, we will evolve spiritually. This basic distortion can be called spiritual materialism.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Spiritual narcissism is the real pinnacle of spiritual egoism: it is the ego that has become so firmly fixed , so adamant about his own spiritual greatness that it’s pathological. It’s narcissistic.
As we already know, narcissism is a mental disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of their own importance (among several other hairy issues). The same problem applies to spiritual narcissists: They have such an unshakeable belief in their own awakened perspective, their own “special” spiritual attainments, and their knowledge that they cannot connect with (or tolerate) their humanity. Spiritual narcissists also cannot tolerate other people – although they may fine-tune the outward image of being compassionate or wise – others ultimately pose a threat to their megalomania.
Spiritual narcissism begins with spiritual materialism . Within spiritual materialism (the trap of using spirituality to serve the ego) there is always a seed of spiritual narcissism. And as that seed continues to be nurtured, without becoming uncontrolled, without being uprooted or challenged, it grows and grows.
Eventually we can become so distracted, so blinded by the ego that has been using spirituality, to make itself indestructible that we are worse off on the spiritual path than when we started.
Examples of the spiritual ego
Some of these examples border on spiritual narcissism (or are downright narcissistic), others may be seen more in the spiritual community. Let’s look at some examples of the spiritual ego:
- Claiming “special access” to a spirit guide/angel/spirit/ascended master for the purpose of self-aggrandizement.
- Believe yourself as the reincarnation a superior being, a famous spiritual historical figure, etc. (what does it really matter if you are?)
- Take frequent photos of your spiritual practice and post them online to empower gaining one’s self-image, status, and attention/validation
- Explaining that others may not be able to understand you because you have reached a certain state of “high vibrational consciousness”, awakening, liberation, etc. – and contempt for the jeni show genes that are not on the same “level” (instead of compassion). being very vulnerable, showing empathy and facing up to human emotions (e.g. “just let go and let go”, “you attracted this experience”, “who is there to experience this?”)
- On “low mood”, “undeveloped”, “unawakened”, “sleeping” people
- Boasting and boasting about spiritual achievements or gifts
- Mimicking, like a “spiritual person looks and sounds
You got the picture.
I’m sure you can think of a few more examples and feel free to share them in the comments.
15 Signs of the Spiritual Ego
The spiritual ego is so dangerous because it is almost impenetrable.
People can spend their entire lives (or lifetimes) caught in the trap of unknowingly misusing spiritual words, ideas, practices, and ways to inflate their ego.
Unfortunately the spiritual ego can lead to abuse and even murder cases such as Jonestown, abuse by Bikram Choudhury (founder of Bikram Yoga), Swami Rama (Indian Yogi), Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (spiritual teacher), Sogyal Rinpoche, Andrew Cohen and even Chogyam Trungpa (who coined spiritual materialism) and so on. The cases of spiritual ego are so vast and varied that it is impossible to include them here.
The reality is that as spiritual beings having a human experience, we are imperfect. Heck, I’ve fallen into spiritual ego countless times – and it’s not pretty. But the bottom line is to practice humility, openness and a willingness to be honest with ourselves – these qualities are the best defense against spiritual selfishness and narcissism.
Well, without In short, here are signs of spiritual ego and spiritual narcissism to look out for (both in yourself and in others):
- Overpublication (say: bragging ) Your particular spiritual achievements
- Claiming a superior attitude (directly or indirectly) due to one’s spiritual gifts or talents
- The Attempt to embrace physical/earthly and godlike qualities
- Believing that your connection with the divine is somehow deeper or more special than other people’s connection
- Focus on how “spiritually evolved” you are al s othersand…
- Judge others for being “less awake”, “sleeping”, “unc onscious”
- Trying to look, dress, or sound like a “spiritual” person
- Using spiritual words and concepts to avoid mistakes, were wrong or face vulnerable emotions
- Flaunt how spiritual you are on social media(with photos showing spiritual postures, attitudes, locations, tools, etc.)
- Over identifying yourself with spiritual knowledge (and how much “you” know)
- Try to convert people to your perception (to preach or debate to them)
- Resisting being “called out” and getting angry at those who try
- Claiming access to special and exclusive Live spiritual knowledge that others do not have access to
- Lack of curiosity and receptivity to life
- Wearing a mask of kindness, positivity, or wisdom
Essentially, these fall into the affliction of the Spiritual Egoist, often attempting to affirm their spiritual distinctiveness to the world through covert and overt methods. More often than not, however, the spiritual ego is a slippery little devil that is difficult to call out or clearly define simply because we are so close to it and find ways to justify it.
Why is the spiritual ego dangerous?
Quite simply, the spiritual ego is so dangerous because it is clothed in robes of light. It seems to be awakened, enlightened, wise and all -loving – and that’s what makes it so hard to catch.
Also, the spiritual ego makes us feel powerful, even untouchable, which is exactly what the ego is trying to achieve in our own self-esteem and self-image – and this can be downright terrifying.We may even feel like committing a profane and sacrilegious act by calling out the spiritual egobecause it is so inflated and has such a good opinion of itself ( a delusion that we have totally subscribed to).
Not only that, but the spiritual ego is dangerous because it limits all growth: it is the death of all transformation, for to evolve is to go through the cycles of death and rebirth fen. And when the spiritual ego “already arrived” is stagnant, there just can’t be any more growth.
Read more: Giving Birth: The Miracle of C-section
In fact, the deadliest virus on our path is believing that “we’ve arrived”, “enlightened” or somehow spiritual have become superior to others. Not only has the ego become narcissistic, but it has developed a full blown God complex, the state of believing that it is indeed God. But that’s not in an egoless, non-dual way: that’s pure ego-centrism, the very definition of darkness (or the absence of light).
The more I-based we are, the further we are are of the light of consciousness that transcends self. And if abiding in the ego equates to separation from the divine, living from a place of the egocentric god complex takes it a step further: It’s like living in total darkness – the very definition of hell.
When A person lives in hell, she will harm others. This is basic knowledge that even a child could understand. When there is a total absence of light, there is only darkness – and how can a person in such a state see clearly, feel clearly, think clearly, or behave clearly? The result is suffering, both for the one experiencing the god complex and for the unfortunate souls around them.
How to stop the spiritual ego
As I mentioned before , we need to approach the spiritual path with humility, openness and a willingness to be honest with ourselves.
A crucial starting point is practicing a combination of self-love and shadow work – two internal working practices.
We all have a shadow side (i.e. the face of the ego that is not presented to the public) and we need to become aware of it in order to prevent problems like spiritual selfishness and narcissism from arising.
If you want to learn more about shadow work, check out our free guide to shadow work.
You can start asking yourself questions like:
- “If I saw someone behaving like me, what would I think of them?”
- “Am I willing to face my inner contradictions – and if there is resistance, what does that mean?” spiritual ego not letting me see it?”
- “In what areas do I feel spiritually superior?”
- “How consistent am I in what I feel, think and do ?”
You can also ask trusted friends, loved ones, or spiritual mentors to help you identify areas where You may have fallen into spiritual delusion. Introspective journaling (see our shadow work journal) is also another way to evoke the spiritual ego.
What do you think about spiritual narcissism and the spiritual ego? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below. Also, feel free to suggest methods that can help people protect themselves from this spiritual trap.