April 14, 2013

Spiritual Ego: The Metaphysical Catch-22. ~ Judi Smolker

Do not fall victim to seeking authority figures and trusting the right person over the right idea.

In the world of yoga, new age mystics and mindfulness, of the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra, there is a beautiful, peaceful, blissful community; there is much wisdom and healing to be gleamed. There are many inspiring quotes set against nature scenes to enjoy while scrolling through your favorite social network. And there are a lot of adorable stone Buddha statues, sweet aromatherapy scents and pretty satin cushions.

Yes, this world is a beautiful place to stumble upon indeed.

But there is something that you might encounter on your journey to enlightenment. After we shed the ego, (a phrase that makes Freud clutch for a big cigar in his grave) and find ourselves buzzing along a higher vibration, one is left to wonder—why do I still have to deal with all these low-level, um, I mean low-vibrational beings funking up my day!?

Well, the answer isn’t that those souls missed the 2012-year-of-awakening boat—it’s that you might be sitting upon a throne of spiritual ego.

Yeah, I said it: it’s the metaphysical catch-22.

To ascend in the spiritual ranks, you must leave others behind in the cosmic dust.

Of course, we don’t judge them. They are on their own journey, perfect just for them, to help them express their unique selves in their perfect way and time. You cannot rush a rose bud to bloom by pulling its petals apart, after all. You’d only break it.

But here’s what happens when you start to think this way: You do not view other people as having valid experiences or having something useful to contribute. You stop listening. You might even find yourself more easily agitated.

The truth is, it’s not for you to know if their roses have bloomed, died, re-budded and re-bloomed or not.

It works the opposite way as well. With spiritual ego there is the twin sister: spiritual insecurity. That’s the part of you that knows that your guru is most definitely more enlightened than you, or that yoga teacher who seems to glide on air is obviously existing on some more pure realm.

You know—a place with a lot of fountains, orchids and koi fish, a place in which problems either don’t exist or simply fade away after a meditation session.

Spiritual insecurity is also the part of you that doesn’t think you are having valid experiences or that you have something useful to contribute. It’s the cynic, and the second guesser.

The spiritually insecure make great scientists. They require a lot of data, and prefer proof when possible.

The thing about spiritual ego and spiritual insecurity is that they are not, in themselves, baseless. Once you begin to cultivate a breathing practice or a meditation practice, eat healthier, shop more humanely or take time to take care of yourself on a regular basis, you do actually really feel better.

You feel new.

You have every right to give yourself pats on the back for your accomplishments, and it feels so damn good!

You can become much more sensitive and be genuinely repulsed by people who gossip or eat at McDonald’s.

Just make sure you check yourself.

Even someone who is munching on nuggets could potentially provide you with a message you need to hear.

Do not fall victim to seeking authority figures and trusting the right person over the right idea.

Truth can come from any place.

I would hope that somewhere in the land of fountains, koi fish, orchids and expansive landscapes, there is a spiritual high that we can reach for in which we don’t need a spiritual ego riding our coattails. A place where Bodhisattvas can walk hand in hand with their tv-addicted, processed-food-loving, mind-chattering, unexamined-self-talk-repeating friends in perfect harmony.

Or is that just spiritual naivete?


Judi Smolker began as a sandy-footed ballerina and butterfly catcher along the coastline of Los Angeles. She grew to a cracked nail polish yogi and local poet/open mic MC. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in anthropology, she scored a sweet sales job at a yoga studio. Shortly after, she became certified to teach. She now resides in west Orange County where she teaches, aides in a Physical Therapy clinic, and takes care of two fabulous dogs. You can check out her website at YogaByJudi.tumblr.com.



Assistant Ed: Stephanie V.


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