The Many Faces of Spiritual Egotism

By George A. Boyd © 2016

This article builds upon our article, “Reflections on the Ego,” and explores the dimension of spiritual egotism in greater depth. Our original commentary is found in an article, “The Seven Postures of the Ego,” where we discuss the seventh form of egotism, which is spiritual egotism. We will quote from this article on this aspect of egoic expression:

Subtle Egoic Identification – This aspect of the ego enables you to identify with a spiritual essence, and then to form certain beliefs, attitudes, and judgments about self and others when you are in this state of identification. For some, it gives then a sense of superiority, of specialness, of being a member of an elite group. For others, this takes the form of comparing their progress with others, and being dissatisfied with the rate and quality of their spiritual progress. For others, it is a belief that they are flawed; that they are demented, blind, worms that can never gain enlightenment or receive the blessings of God. For others, it can become a sense of narcissism and grandiosity—that they are a Divine Being incarnate, and they are entitled to special treatment, and worship and obedience from others.”

“The belief that one has been born again and has adopted a new state of identity carries along with it this subtle egoic identification. When people say, for example, they are Christians, Yogis, Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists; they are activating this subtle form of identification.”

“This new state of identification can become a pseudo-personality, as UCLA researcher Dr. Jolyon West called it, and take on a life of its own—divorced from the genuine feelings and issues of human life. When people dwell in pseudo-personality, they live a spiritual agenda instead of their authentic lives. They adhere to a sense of purpose that a spiritual teacher defines; or a lifestyle that a Divinely-inspired scripture commands, or that is revealed through inner communion with an advanced spiritual being through inner visions, revelations, and channeled or prophetic messages. When they are so “inspired and guided,” they no longer inhabit their own lives; they are committed instead to follow a spiritual path, whose precepts inculcate what they should choose, think, and believe, and how they should act.”

“Many spiritual teachers emphasize the egoic aspects (3) [the defensive posture] and (4) [the shadow], which are largely negative, and advocate (7) [subtle egoic identification] instead—re-identification with a higher spiritual essence. Tolle is no different here: he seeks refuge from the unconscious aspect of the ego, the shadow, by keeping attention anchored in “Being, ” e.g., present time state…” [Please see the article, “Reflections of the Ego” cited above to learn about these egoic aspects.]

In this article, we wish to use these initial insights as a springboard to examine the facets of spiritual egotism in greater depth. We seek to answer the questions, “How does subtle egotism manifest?” “What are its links to distorted mental functioning?” “How can a wayfarer upon the Path, who recognizes that subtle egotism has taken a sinister turn, eradicate these patterns from the mind?”

How Does Subtle Egotism Manifest?

Subtle egotism takes a variety of forms:

  1. Comparison with others – this can manifest as superiority (“I am so much more advanced than him on the Path”) or inferiority (“He is so much more advanced than I am and he is making much faster progress than me. What’s wrong with me?”)
  2. Jealousy and Envy – this form appears when it appears that another disciple is getting more attention from the spiritual Master, or greater blessings from God. This manifests as a “sour grapes” attitude (“Well, he might get attention from the Master because he knows how to show off before the other disciples he loves the Master, but the Master knows that I am his true devotee, and I don’t have to make vain displays.”)
  3. Narcissism – This takes the form of absorption in a spiritual essence coupled with a sense of greatness or omnipotence. The disciple feels vastly superior to others—like the God King, Pharaoh, to his “mortal” subjects—so that he expects that others will serve him; show him deference and the highest respect; anticipate his every need or wish; never disagree with him, because he has superior insight and wisdom; and indeed, should even worship him. Extremely narcissistic disciples cannot take public transportation, because they might be polluted or drained of energy by common people; they cannot broach any criticism, and consider it a personal affront; or cannot deign to do any work themselves, but delegate it to those who are their “inferiors”—as they cannot be bothered to do these menial tasks, as others are “meant to serve them.” [If severe, spiritual narcissism can transform into narcissistic personality disorder.]
  4. Grandiosity – The grandiose disciple loses his human grounding and feels that he is a god-like being endowed with supernatural powers and great wisdom. This grandiosity can take three forms: (a) distorted identity (narcissism – q.v.), (b) delusional thinking and belief (mania), or (c) perceptual aberrations (illusions and hallucinations). When grandiosity becomes increasingly severe—and when all three forms accompany it, the disciple migrates into psychosis—delusional disorder, mania, and grandiose paranoid schizophrenia.
  5. Intense focus on the faults of self and others – In those disciples who have a very strict conscience, or are disciples of teachings that expect they will adhere to the highest standards of moral purity and saintly behavior, they can be extremely harsh in their criticism of their fellow disciples, themselves [this pattern can lead to depression], and even of their spiritual Master.
  6. Idealizing spiritual aims and devaluing personal ones – Those disciples that create an idealized vision of what it will be like when they reach a certain state of the Path may become so enraptured with their vision that they neglect to attend to their personal lives. They may fail to find a marital partner. They may neglect their education. They may find it impossible to focus on complex work, and instead, find employment in low pay, low skilled jobs.
  7. Expecting miraculous outcomes and Divine intervention – Those who regard themselves as “special,” “beloved of God,” one of “God’s children,” or “one of the chosen ones [the Elect],” may expect, even demand that God must take care of them. They expect that they will not need to make any effort other than praying, affirming, decreeing, claiming God’s promises by faith, or visualizing their desired outcome, and the “Law of Attraction,” “the Universe,” the “Divine Mind,” or “Providence” will instantly manifest whatever they need or desire.

We encourage aspirants and disciples to examine themselves honestly to uncover the signs of emerging spiritual egotism.

  • Are you comparing yourself to others’ progress or behavior?
  • Do you feel you are special? Do you feel that you have God’s special favor?
  • Do you feel you are great and powerful, and far superior to others?
  • Have you become arrogant? Do you belittle or condemn others because they do not believe as you do?

Antidotes to these tendencies to spiritual egotism include the following:

  1. Humility – realize that whatever your spiritual attainment, you don’t stop being a human being with limited knowledge and ability, emotional fragility and vulnerability, character weaknesses—and you are mortal.
  2. Keep your human grounding – don’t stay in altered states of awareness for long periods of time—for this can bring about sustained identification with these states in which you feel god-like, grandiose, and omnipotent
  3. You are competing only with your self – Stop comparing yourself to others, as you must focus on the mission you were meant to accomplish. What abilities are you meant to develop? Develop them through study, practice, and experimentation. What knowledge, understanding and wisdom do you need to gain to carry out your mission? Gain them through study, contemplation, and reflection. What virtues were you meant to acquire? Work on your character to bring these qualities forth. What masteries were you called to manifest? Study each aspect of the Path connected with that stage of development and synthesize the necessary abilities, knowledge, and ministerial competencies to operate from that platform.
  4. Realize that everyone is suffering – Climb down from the mountaintop of arrogance into the valley of the heart. Before you give others a thorough tongue lashing—heaping invectives and insults upon them for not living up to your standards—realize that they may be coping the best that they can given the issues with which they are dealing, and are doing the best that they can right now.
  5. They may not be ready or suitable for your Path – Before you assume you know best for others and presume they need to join your religious group or take initiation into your spiritual Path—because you believe it is the best and highest one—consider where their Soul is on the Path, and what are the personal issues with which they are dealing. It may not be appropriate for them to leap up onto your Path in the Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental bands of the Continuum—they simply are not ready.
  6. Consider what you are avoiding in your own self – In many people that adopt grandiose and narcissistic mindsets, these states of power and inflated sense of identity are reactions to not wanting to look at very painful areas within them. They become great in their own eyes, so they don’t have to confront their own feelings of inferiority, lack of competence, and weakness. You may wish to question, “What’s behind this grandiosity?”
  7. You’ll never be as great as God – The Divine is part of another order of Nature. Your consciousness is anchored in your physical body; the forms of the Divine encompass the entire planet, the solar system, the Monadic Life Wave, the galaxy, the physical universe, the astral cosmos, the causal-mental cosmos, and the ultimate Source from which the Soul and the spirit were born. Your job is to actualize your human and spiritual potentials, and stop trying to play God. Instead consider: “How may I be of service?” How can I use my knowledge and abilities to benefit others?”

We encourage you to observe your own tendencies to spiritual egotism, and to root out these weeds from the garden of your spiritual heart. We suggest that you will benefit from using the antidotes to spiritual egotism to help you correct these inflated, narcissistic and arrogant mindsets, and to settle back into your humanness again.

On Why We Give You Soul Readings in Mudrashram

By George A. Boyd © 2021

We uniquely start our intermediate meditation trainings in Mudrashram® with studies of the Great Continuum of Consciousness and your place on it? Why?

Because, your Path is unlike anyone else’s. So, we customize your meditation program to you.

We identify where you are on your inner spiritual journey through a Soul Reading, and we give you guidance appropriate to your station on the Path. As you take each new step, we give you new guidance relevant to that level. This process continues until you reach the highest stage of spiritual development.

Do you know that most spiritual groups start you meditating on their level, regardless of whether this is appropriate for you?

  • If you go to a Christian or Jewish spiritual teacher, they will focus your attention on your Moon Soul nucleus of identity.
  • If a Yogi Preceptor trains you in meditation, he or she will lift your attention into union with your Cosmic Consciousness nucleus of identity.
  • If you receive Light Immersion from a Cosmic Master, you will be led to unite your attention with the Astral Soul.
  • If you study with a Supracosmic Master, you will be taught to contemplate the Supracosmic seed atom of that teacher’s Path.
  • If you receive initiation from Sat Guru of a Transcendental Path, he or she will have you meditate on the spiritual essence of that Path.

In Mudrashram®, we start with your spiritual cutting edge, which is the aspect of your spiritual nature that is incarnate in your life, and teach you to transform it. This is unique and distinct: no other Path teaches you how to do this. This is why we say in Mudrashram®, we don’t take you to our Path; we unfold you on your Path.

If you have never meditated before, we start you with our Introduction to Meditation class. This trains you in the basic skills that you need to do the more advanced practices of our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

Our intermediate classes are where you learn the advanced skills of transforming your Soul at the cutting edge of spirituality, awakening your spiritual heart and opening the inner channels of light and sound, and traveling in full consciousness through the Planes of Light—and much more. We give you a whole toolbox of 27 techniques to actualize your personal and spiritual potentials.

If you want to learn more, read our articles on the Open Stacks page, and in our free online Library. You can take Public Webinars that interest you.

On this website, you can also read about our classes, and the many other ways we have put into place to support you. And while you are there, take our meditation test to see which of our meditation programs is best for you!

If you have questions, or aren’t sure if this is the right program for you, schedule a complimentary spiritual discovery session with us. We’ll help you gain some clarity, so you can make a decision aligned with your values and your truth.

Levels beyond Ideas

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: What lies beyond ideas?

A: There are seven layers of the psyche that lie beyond ideas. These are:

  1. Patterns
  2. Archetypes
  3. Seed atoms and vehicles of consciousness
  4. Nucleus of identity and personal identification centers (ego and Self)
  5. Attentional principle
  6. Individual spirit
  7. Soul

These higher layers beyond ideas can be defined as follows:

  • Patterns are repeating sequences we observe in Nature, like the seasons and the cycles of the moon.
  • Archetypes and symbols are containers of meaning that are present in the unconscious and Superconscious mind.
  • Seed atoms are the activation nexus that allows you to utilize the knowledge, wisdom, virtues, and abilities that dwell within the forms through which the Soul incarnates and expresses.
  • Nuclei of identity and personal identification centers allow the mind to identity with a center that integrates the activity of the Conscious (ego), Metaconscious (Self), and bands of the Superconscious mind (nuclei of identity)
  • The attentional principle is the essence of consciousness and intention that enables you to do inner work.
  • The spirit is the essence of love and devotion that yearns to return to God.
  • The Soul, or ensouling entity, is the center that holds and operates through these other centers. This is your core identity.

Aspirants and disciples need to cognize and work with these higher levels of the mind beyond the realm of ideas. These higher essences are the object of spiritual work that enables you to grow in insight and wisdom, and to transform your spiritual essences to evolve spiritually.

Types of Ideas

Ideas are a spectrum, which dwell in your Manomayakosa. There are 12 major layers of ideas:

  1. Chaotic, nihilistic (motivated by a lack or meaning or purpose for living)
  2. Depression, self-harmful (motivated by loss of hope, lack of belief that dreams can be attained)
  3. Delusional, paranoid (motivated by a desire to preserve identity, liberty, and power)
  4. Fearful, anxious (motivated by survival and attachment)
  5. Destructive, demonic (motivated by anger and hatred)
  6. Sexual, sensual (motivated by lust)
  7. Money, accumulation of wealth (motivated by survival and greed)
  8. Power and fame (motivated by narcissism and egotism)
  9. Altruism (motivated by love and the wish to be of service)
  10. Creative, scientific (motivated by the quest for knowledge and discovery)
  11. Metaphysical, philosophical (motivated by the quest for wisdom and the discovery of truth)
  12. Seed thoughts (motivated by the direct inspiration of the Soul)

Fear, ignorance, and passion dominate the first eight layers of ideas. The four higher orders of ideas are avenues for your Soul’s expression.

Part of the inner transmutation process is to burn the clinging of desire off of ideas that embody the negative passions, and to only let ideas remain that actualize your Soul’s Purpose. This inner alchemy melts away imprisoning desires, and replaces them with the detached, compassionate wisdom of the Soul.

We note that today’s prevalent conspiracy theories tap level three of the spectrum of ideas.

What Are Dreams Made of, Virginia?

Your dreams are ideas clothed in your desires. You have an idea of a perfect spouse or partner. You have an idea of a perfect home. You have an idea of an ideal career. You have an idea of an idyllic retirement.

You take these ideas, which are neutral, and you make them meaningful. They become the motivating factors of your life, for your company, for your vision about how the country should be. You choose to embody this idea, and you powerfully desire it. You obsess about this idea until you have made it real.

We suggest you contemplate what are the ideas that you have clothed with desires. Notice which of these embody the negative passions, which you can live without, and those which are the foundations of your life that you choose to retain. Also note if any of these ideas embody your Soul’s altruism, creativity, and intuitive knowledge.

Through culling the desire-laden ideas from the mind, you empower your Soul to shine through the mists and to embody its purpose in your human life. You may find that many of the ideas that you have clothed with desires, others have transmitted to you—these ideas that do not belong to you and do not fit, you may simply jettison, so you may let your true essence come forth.

The Gentle Art of Creating an Alternate Reality

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: How do political and religious leaders move their followers into an alternate reality, so they believe lies and conspiracy theories?

A: This hypnotic co-option of the follower’s reality testing and judgment appears to come from both the behavior of the leader and the response from his or her followers.

When you look at the behavior of the leader, you see:

  • The leader will modify and distort perception by magnifying certain elements and minimizing others
  • The leader will change beliefs about events and other people, so that people will only get information about the world the way the leader sees it
  • The leader will declare the world your senses perceive is unreal
  • The leader will lie to people incessantly, so followers begin to doubt their own beliefs and perceptions

When you observe the behavior of the leader’s believers, you commonly see

  • They proclaim the leader is the only source of truth, and tell other people to only listen to their leader
  • They cast the leader as a savior, someone who can alone solve the problems of the people and the nation
  • They make the leader appear as larger than life, as super-human
  • They believe the leader has charisma, or God has chosen him or her
  • They pledge fealty or allegiance to the leader, and obey his or her commands as infallible
  • They dedicate their life to the leader, and are willing to fight and die for him or her
  • They listen to the leader’s advice, abandoning their own judgment
  • They do anything the leader wishes, leaving aside their life’s goals
  • They live in fear that the leader will withdraw his or her approval and support, and they believe terrible consequences will ensue if the leader does not support them—in religious groups, this may be framed as going into eternal damnation or losing their chance for salvation
  • They create a larger-than-life myth about the leader, inflating his or her deeds, so they appear heroic or superhuman
  • They want to see and be in the presence of the leader, so they will receive his or her supernatural force (mana)
  • They believe the leader, no matter what, even when he or she blatantly lies to them
  • They are loyal to the leader, even if he or she uses them and betrays them

While not an exhaustive list, these are several of the features you see in political and religious cults that authoritarian leaders control. A common theme in these groups is that followers are swept up into an alternate perception of reality. In this state of heightened suggestibility, it is very easy for them to believe in the most absurd conspiracy theories their leader promulgates. We certainly see this occurring in nations where authoritarian leaders have seduced a large portion of the populace in believing his or her lies.

Co-opt reason, and you create an alternate world where anything can be true. Suppress judgment and you can believe the most absurd conspiracies. Control others through fear and guilt, and you create a group of obsequious myrmidons.

Those who have been drawn into this vortex of delusion no longer realize they have become unmoored from reality; they become hypnotized to believe the alternate reality the leader disseminates, in which he or she controls them.

Moving beyond Delusional Enlightenment

Moving beyond Delusional Enlightenment:
Exploring Potential Integration with the Higher Self

By George A. Boyd © 2021

This is a continuation of last week’s article, “Varieties of Enlightenment.” If you have not read this article, please go back and read it, as it will give you context for this week’s web log post.

Q: In the article, “Varieties of Enlightenment,” you speak of the state of delusional enlightenment. Is it possible for individuals to integrate this state of enlightenment, so it is not distorted and delusional?

A: In the Subtle Realm, during their initial enlightenment experiences, aspirants gain temporary union with their Soul Spark. Below the wave of consciousness of the present time on the Akashic Records Subplane of the Abstract Mind Plane, aspirants are commonly drawn up to this level of the mind. Aspirants who have progressed beyond this stage might be brought up to gain union with a seed atom in the Psychic Realm (Star Seed), into the Moon Soul nucleus of identity, or the Solar Angel nucleus of identity. They may be alternately guided up to unite with the Soul.

Without having context for these experiences, however, the aspirant may receive distorted or false material in these altered states of consciousness—or misinterpret what the experience means. This warped lens of perception then forms the kernel of delusion and self-deception. Several elements have to be bought together to ensure these experiences become properly integrated.

  1. Awakening of the Kundalini – This raises the energy substanding awareness to activate each of the vehicles of the upper Subconscious, Metaconscious, and Superconscious mind up to the current stage of evolution of the Soul. This awakening allows the Soul to have full access to its knowledge, virtues, and abilities in each vehicle of consciousness from the system of chakras of the Subconscious mind to its station on the Path.

This awakening of the Kundalini Shakti needs to be methodical, level-by-level, and fully under the direction of the Soul—this promotes integration. In contrast, a sudden awakening of the Kundalini may give a glimpse of the Soul and a temporary enlightenment experience, but these experiences do not allow the Soul to gain exact knowledge of its vehicles, nor can the Soul identify where these experiences arise on the Continuum.

  1. Progressive movement of attention – Training attention to move along the thread of consciousness and recognize each focal point up to the presence of the Soul brings the ability to recognize the phenomena of the mind on the stratum where it arises.

Abruptly lifting attention into union with the Soul—or a nucleus of identity—does not permit a clear understanding of where this spiritual essence is in relation to the ground state of attention in the waking state of awareness. Instead this promotes confusion and mystification.

  1. Activation of the Antakarana – Activation of the cord that connects the intellect with the Soul’s intuitive vortex plays a key role in facilitating integration. Progressive awakening of this cord gives understanding of each step of development up to the Soul’s current station on the Path.

Skipping ahead, without tracking what is at each stage of development, can lead to viewpoints restricted to a narrow band of the Continuum. For example, if the experience that purportedly grants enlightenment illumines only a section of this cord, you perceive an incomplete picture of the Path your Soul has opened. Instead, your vision might only contain:

  • The worldview from the wave of consciousness on the Akashic Records Subplane
  • The perspective from a seed atom (Star Seed) in the Psychic Realm
  • The view from the Moon Soul nucleus of identity
  • The standpoint of the Solar Angel nucleus of identity

In Mudrashram®, we have students study each aspect of the Continuum in the Mudrashram® Correspondence Course, so they have a thorough understanding of each stage of the Path. In contrast, jumping ahead into these restricted viewpoints can spawn distortions and delusional beliefs.

  1. Aligning the three conative streams – It is important to align the three conative streams—will, intention, and wish—with the Soul’s purpose. In integration, the egoic and human octaves of the will are in one accord with the transpersonal will of the Soul that enacts its Soul Purpose. The intention of the attentional principle supports this volitional stream, as does the wish of the spirit: Everyone is rowing together.

In non-integrated, delusional forms of enlightenment, the attentional principle anchors suggestion to fulfill desires or to manifest the agendas of a group to which it affiliates—apart from alignment with the Soul Purpose. These random, disorganized episodes of intentional creation are out of touch with the Soul.

  1. Grounded appreciation for your abilities at each level of functioning – This recognizes and appreciates the range of abilities that each octave of functioning contributes to human life and spiritual development. Understanding the range of abilities of the ego, the Self, and the Soul, and the band of the mind in which these abilities operate is crucial to permit integrated functioning and maintain appropriate boundaries, accurate self-knowledge, and congruent identity.

Jumping up into a purported state of enlightenment without clearly defining the operational arena of the ego, Self, and Soul can lead to self-delusion and grandiosity. These disorders of identity that arise in states of delusional enlightenment include:

  • Solipsism – This is the distorted notion that only the Soul is real.
  • Narcissism – This is the belief that only your desires are important and others only exist as a means to fulfill your desires.
  • Grandiosity – This conflates the ego with the Divine Atom within the Soul, so that you believe that your ego is God.
  • Boundary confusion – In this scenario, you do not know where your Self begins and ends, and where others begin and end. You believe you are other people: you can be readily controlled or manipulated when you adopt this enmeshed mindset.
  • Group identification – You strongly identify with a group, whose mission you seek to enact. As a result, you can become completely absorbed in the agenda of your political party, your religion, a religious cult, or a hate or terrorist group.
  • Codependency – You care for others without considering or honoring your own needs. You do not set appropriate limits.
  • Arrogance – You believe your vision of the world is highest and best. You believe this gives you the right to impose this view on others and attempt to convert them into seeing the world they way you see it.

Through clearly defining the operational zones of ego, Self, and Soul, you sidestep these distortions of identity, boundaries, and self-knowledge. We study these levels that are encapsulated with the ego, the Self, and the Soul in the Mudrashram® Correspondence Course, and our other meditation programs.

  1. Synthesis – In this state, you have coherent and synthetic understanding that is grounded in the Soul, based on its progressive evolutionary experience.

In non-integrated and delusional approaches, they toss together information into the same basket—ideas picked from science, philosophy, New Age teachings of the Psychic realm, Judeo-Christian beliefs, and insights drawn from traditions that dwell in Cosmic, Supracosmic, and Transcendental Bands of the Continuum.

Instead of grounding each concept in its perspective on the Continuum, and recognizing that this is a description of the world from that vista, non-integrated approaches conflate disparate viewpoints as pointing to the same idea—when they clearly are depicting something else.

In integrated approaches, each idea is appreciated in its own context. You understand that the unified field theory portrayed in quantum mechanics really is not the same as the oneness the Yogi experiences when he or she is in union with Brahman.

  1. Absence of perceptual warping – Integrated approaches do not warp and bend reality to conform to your wishes or desires. In integrated views, you observe the world and the mind as they are—there is no desire to impose your agenda.

In delusional enlightenment, there is a hidden agenda to make things appear the way you want them to be or so the world will fulfill what you desire. For example:

  • Your group will enact its agendas so others will conform to its vision of the world
  • You will create what you wish to get what you desire, without considering its impact on other people and the world
  • You believe you are persecuted and under attack because you hold beliefs that you believe are true, but others don’t agree with your vision of the world. You desire that others will see the world your way and embrace your delusional vision of the world.
  • You want your political party or religion to take control and you will do everything in your power to impose your values on others.

If you can begin to tease out these different threads that distinguish integrated and delusional enlightenment—and increasingly shift into the integrated posture—you will come to find that your spiritual experiences will no longer be islands of disjointed insights, realizations, revelations, and impressions. Instead, you will make sense of your inner experiences, and they will become synthesized into your Soul. You will comprehend these experiences, and use them to bring forward your Soul’s purpose. These experiences will assist your Soul serve humanity in the way it was sent forth from Source to do.