Published on New York Spirit
Enlightenment is the ego’s ultimate disappointment. — Trungpa Rimpoche
The world is ascending towards a higher consciousness. More and more people are recognizing the spiritual way of living, secretly hoping that this is the panacea for all troubles in their lives. We are consuming a lot of intellectual material on topics like the universe, energy, chakras, transformation, affirmations, and more. One of my friends was discussing the affirmation practice. She told me that she has started chanting, “I am Angelina Jolie” and is hoping to get the actresses’ perfect figure and a Brad Pitt, too. We both laughed aloud, although it made me realize how we are spiritualizing our worldly desires.
We often judge others and view ourselves in a higher light when they don’t follow the practices we do. We think we are more erudite than those who do not understand the laws of the universe or the matrix of life. We become preachers trying to impart our own pocket book version of ‘Geeta’. It doesn’t matter who is the audience, he will always remain ‘Arjuna’ and we, the little avatar of ‘Krishna’. Poor Lord!Reading books written by great gurus, practicing yoga daily, learning Reiki, and attending healing workshops often gives us a false sense of who is close to enlightenment or if they are “better” than so-called non-spiritual people. We might be stepping one step forward on the road of understanding by learning all these teachings, practices, and therapies, but we are far away from becoming spiritual. One is spiritual when he or she has no attachments to anything materialistic in this world. One becomes spiritual when they let go.
Aren’t we defeating the whole purpose of spirituality by inflating our ego balloon?
Ego is not bad in itself. It is just a protective shield we have made around us which goes on super active mode when we get envious, hurt, judgmental, or possessive. Unfortunately, it serves us in unhealthy ways more often. The competitiveness emerges from the sense of a need to fulfill the fat-bellied ego. We want approvals, we want to control, and we want power.
But ego is not something you can shed off and be free of. You have achieved things in life and it became a part of your ego. You learned few things taught by masters and it made the size of your ego outfit from M to XXL. It becomes your reality and hence it is not possible to eliminate it. As Osho says, ego is darkness inside. You cannot throw darkness out of the room. Darkness is only the absence of light, so is ego: absence of self-knowledge. You cannot sacrifice it. He asks us to be on a constant look out for it inside us. The deeper we dive into ourselves to be alert of our ego; the light of awareness will keep dispelling it.
Doing things our way is one thing, considering it is the only ‘right’ way to do things is the ego rant. There is more than one way to make one particular dish. None of them is right or wrong. Similarly, your partner might not be doing things your way, doesn’t mean it is not right. The moment you feel you want to correct them, understand that you want to take control and ego is going to talk.
The condescending attitude towards the one who knows lesser than us is the beginning of drain of our knowledge. It indicates that we never achieved anything genuinely. Exposure, inclination, and chance gave us the opportunity but we were unable to make use of it by absorbing its true essence.
We have chosen to live our life socially and responsibly around our families. Our path might not be the same as the saints who left everything to search for the wisdom. Even then, we can bring spirituality into our lives by first becoming ‘human’. Ram Dass, when asked how to become enlightened, replied, “Love everyone, feed everyone, serve everyone.”
There is a man in India who was an award-winning chef. One incident changed his life and he left his elite job in Switzerland to serve beggars and mentally challenged people on the street. He felt that this is what his life should be all about. He founded Akshaya Trust. Akshaya in Sanskrit means ‘imperishable’ and was chosen by him to signify that human compassion should never perish. The spirit of helping others must prevail forever. Also, in Hindu mythology, Goddess Annapoorana’s ‘Akshaya bowl’ was never exhausting; it fed the hungry endlessly. He personally cooks and often hand-feeds to nearly four hundred people each day. His team is also working along with him to reach a number of people.
He found his path of spirituality, and we should do what we can do to find our own by following his example. When we serve humanity without discriminating, we grow into a true spiritual being.
Though the learning curve often begins in a not-so-spiritual manner, it is essential to rescue ourselves from the hypnotic spell of our own egos. When we characterize things as per our convenience, it is our ego creating the mess. Soul knows nothing of conflicts. It just knows incessant joy. It’s a long process of revolving in cycles of learning and cleansing ourselves. Until then, none of us is spiritual – not me, not you. All of us have just embarked the journey.
May we recognize the ‘Human beings’ inside us and grow into ‘Spiritual beings’.