The ego can use anything to control us and keep us from becoming enlightened. And that includes making us feel like spiritual people.
Our ego likes us to feel important. It is keen to feel better than others and it’s not always good at admitting our faults either. In our quest for enlightenment, we need to make sure our ego hasn’t sabotaged our good intentions to be spiritual people.
Here are 5 ways the ego can turn our intention to be spiritual people into something less wholesome.
1. Resorting to spiritual one-upmanship
Our ego is constantly comparing us to others. It loves to feel superior. But sometimes, it can take our spiritual practice and use it against our desire to be spiritual. If you ever feel superior because you meditate for three hours a day, never drive a car, don’t eat meat and buy all your clothes from charity shops – stop. Truly spiritual people don’t judge others. If you want to live a spiritual life and be appreciative of your blessings and awestruck by the wonder of the world, you haven’t got time for that kind of one-upmanship.
2. Engaging in spiritual fads at a superficial level
Spirituality can sometimes be as guilty of shallow fads and consumerism as any other interest. When we engage in many spiritual pursuits, jumping from one thing to the next and collecting designer yoga pants and crystals along the way, we can fail to make a deeper connection to our needs as spiritual people.
While there is nothing wrong with experimenting with different spiritual practices, if we graze them rather than immersing ourselves, we will not reach a deeper level of spirituality. Spirituality is about deep experiences and new realizations, and they take time and commitment.
3. Use spirituality to shirk responsibilities
While we try to be more spiritual people, it’s important to remember that we are also here in human form. This is part of our journey too. Therefore, we should honor our responsibilities to others on the material plane. Otherwise, what is the point in our human incarnation?
So keeping our commitments to others, nurturing our relationships and taking responsibility for our actions are part of being spiritual people. Saying that reality is an illusion to get out of paying your bills or cleaning the bathroom just won’t wash.
4. Using spirituality to avoid facing truth
Being authentic is a big thing in spirituality. However, this concept, when used incorrectly, can actually prevent our spiritual growth. If someone criticizes us and we say they just don’t ‘get me’ or they are not ‘honoring my truth,’ then we may miss out on a lesson.
When we listen to what they say and look carefully at our behavior, we can then make an informed decision about both. Perhaps our behavior was ill-judged and perhaps there is a lesson to learn if we open to the possibility that we are not always as spiritually mature as we think.
5. Being dismissive of material things
For some reason, people seem to think that being rich and being spiritual can’t go together. But money is just an exchange of energy. There is nothing inherently wrong with having money and material possessions.
In older societies, a witch or shaman would have been supported by the community so they could perform spiritual work to benefit the group. Ultimately, judging ourselves or others based on their material worth isn’t a spiritual thing to do.
Of course, we all do some of these things some of the time. There is no need to feel guilty for failing to meet our intention to be good spiritual people. At the end of the day, we are humans on a journey.
As long as we keep trying and learning, we will continue to be more spiritually mature and enlightened day by day.