Ego and Guru
- Recently, someone emailed
with a question about the
guru and ego. Because I've
mentioned several writers
on these sites (GR and NDS)
...and for the joy of
espousing...I'm re-posting here:
Hi ________ -
Yes, the ego subsides but rises
again, even in an enlightened one,
as does the former personality --
with its impatience, sarcasm and
other, what we would call negative,
For those who have tasted the
realization of enlightenment, the
ego is at first both relieved that
it did not expire as it feared, and
excited with the new clarity of mind
that enlightenment brings.
And for a time the enlightened one
is so awash with peace and love and
pure joy that the ego and personality
is softened and sweetened. The feeling
of confidence and trust in what is
seen as a benevolent universe once
again, overrides the former fears and
doubts. But over time, the ego begins
its attempt to assert its role as
master, as it had done before.
This is a battle that the enlightened
one sooner or later recognizes, and
faces without any fear or doubt. The
realization and enlightenment has become
the core and center of their being,
but...and a big but (if you'll pardon
the expression) is the reality that
the ego will rise again, as will old
Stabilizing in enlightenment, the
sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, takes some
time and experience to mature. As I
wrote, at first consciousness that
has been "sweetened" as Mark in
NDS writes. is absolutely crystal clear,
and that clarity never leaves.
However, if an enlightened one either
does not recognize the wiles of the
ego (St. Paul said in scripture that
as long as we are alive, "the flesh
(our ego and analyzing, critical mind)
wars with the spirit (our enlightened
identity) or dismisses what is
happening, there is soon trouble afoot.
As Bruce Morgen writes, when the ego
rises, as it invariably will, the
question is, will it rise as servant
or master. Keeping the ego in the
servant role is one of the great
values of meditation and spiritual
practice. The value of holy company,
the company of seekers and enlightened
ones is another way to stay in touch
with our true home, our true Self,
our Source, from which love and tenderness,
caring and compassion flow.
The other area that can create a
dangerous pitfall is the mythologizing
of masters, gurus, enlightened ones into
these "perfect, sinless, impeccable,
beyond error" beings. This is just not
so. Enlightened Ones may speak to ideals,
but to profess that they live them
perfectly does not square with reality.
If an enlightened one buys into
this and begins to present as a
supernatural being of perfection -
exit stage left.
One other "red flag" comes to mind.
This is one Sarlo is very sharp to
pick up (and sometimes too quick to
attribute): the strong attachment
to a model...at the exclusive of
others. The old fundamentalist
view of having an exclusive
understanding of infallible truth.
This is found in just about every
tradition I've looked at, to my
surprise. I thought it was
peculiarly to the pop-cultural
Christian, but there are tight-ass
fundamentalist in the other major
religions as well. This is the
genesis of war and terrorism,
in great part. One side is
fighting the infidels on the
other side, and each side
uses propaganda to demonize
This attachment to a specific
model even extends to the division
between those who are comfortable
with spiritual models and theistic
language (as I am) and those who
find spiritual trappings irrelevant.
Truth is truth, words are words.
Words cannot express the truth of
spiritual awakening or nondual
When your guru goes sour, back away.
If your resonance with their teaching
is beautifully attuned, you will allow
them their humanity and not lose sight
of the fact that they are "qualified"
guides to the door of realization. They
can only bring you to the door. Any
suggestion of supernatural powers, or
emotional manipulation are, in my opinion,
wiles of the ego.
Osho is an example (reportedly) of a
beautiful, clear mystic who, for a variety
of reasons -- many more than I know, I'm sure,
went sour and became manipulative and...
well, you can read about him on a variety
of sites. His early teachings were gorgeous
and crystal clear.
OK. I have rambled.
Hopes this helps,