That ego, tsk tsk, it’s one sneaky little guy.
What roles and characteristics do you identify with? The individual self that we call “you”?
Are you a happy person, a sad person, a confident ego, a doubtful ego, a good self, a bad self, a smart individual, a dumb individual, a worthy being, an unworthy being, a funny ego, a spiritual ego?
What characteristics do you identify with?
Often times we get this idea in our head that one characteristic is somehow inherently more valuable than another such as it’s better to be a celebrity than a blue-collar worker or whatever. Due to various talents or abilities, we may then feel that one person is somehow more superior than another.
This pattern even happens in spirituality. People get this idea that if I’m spiritual, I’m somehow better than those who aren’t. This is nothing more than pride rearing its ugly head.
If there’s one thing people can’t stand, it’s to feel inferior to another and to have people feeling “holier than thou.” If someone says, “I am awesome,” that doesn’t mean that you are not. Since you and I are truly one, you are awesome too!
Yet the mind often gets this idea where if someone says something like, “I am God,” that must automatically mean I am not and they must then be superior to me, even if they explain that we are Gods also. It’s great to acknowledge the awesomeness that exists within us, but adding a sense of superiority is not so hot.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with pride, and it is a higher level than shame, for example, but as the saying goes, “Pride goeth before a fall.” Why? Pride is dependent upon external conditions. Thus the inflated ego is vulnerable to conditions beyond its control and can be knocked off its pedestal into shame.
This even happens to some teachers who become proud of their accomplishments as a personal “me.” They become arrogant and narcisstic, a dangerous place to be.
One thing I really like that Adyashanti does is before his satsangs, he’ll often have people bow to and acknowledge the chairs they’re sitting in to reinforce the understanding that everything in the Universe is just as holy for it is truly all one and the same. Teachers are certainly to be respected, but devotion goes to God. You and I are merely vessesls for consciousness to express itself through. Our bodies and minds are like the musical instruments played by Creation. Creation happens. You and I are witness to Creation.
So while it is wise to take responsibility for our actions, and response-ability is nothing more than the conscious ability to respond to the world as instruments for creation, credit ultimately goes to Creation itself.
Keeping this understanding in mind can help us as we climb the spiritual ladder and lessen the chance for pride to kick in in the form of a spiritual ego. The spiritual ego is just one of the many many flavors of the ego’s dance. It’s something to be aware of and ultimately transcend.