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The Science of Spiritual Narcissism

Discussion in 'Dharmic Religions DIR' started by atanu, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. atanu

    atanu Member
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    A purported benefit of mind-body spiritual practices such as yoga, meditation and energy healing is that they will help “quiet the ego”. But empirical data seems to show that the reverse is true, at least in the short term.

    Scott Barry Kaufman reports, citing several studies, that the western hatha yogis and mindfulness meditators exhibit increased ego self-enhancement, narcissism, and spiritual superiority instead of purported ‘self effacement’ goals.

    So science confirms what the sages have always warned us about. The author however notes that being aware of the ego appropriating the spiritual superiority is the way out.


    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-of-spiritual-narcissism/
    ...
     
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  2. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    I love this quote from the article: " If a major point of yoga is quieting the ego and reducing focus on self, why are there so many yoga pose pictures on Instagram?"
     
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  3. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    I once attended a meditation session by a (proselytizing) Tibetan Buddhist group. Before the actual meditation, they started with progressive relaxation. They put great emphasis on the fact that progressive relaxation actually was not part of their path, but they considered it as useful, as they believed the mind of Westerners (Germans) was not suitable to go straight to meditation from the stressful, outward, everyday mindset many people experience.
     
    #3 Sirona, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  4. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    Maybe because many Westerners are told from childhood that they/we have to be "self-confident" and "competent", meaning ready to compete with others. It's a possibly challenging task to give up such life-long conditioning. Moreover, yoga, like many other things has become a market. You can buy special yoga mats, clothing, magazines etc. Yoga in this context has a performance aspect. Many people do yoga not for penance and humbleness, but to remain young until they are in their 80's, or they strive for a narcissistic "fake enlightenment", to keep their mind "optimized" in order to increase their market value.
     
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  5. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I've noticed that new churches and other kinds of new groups tend to go through a serious of common hurtles that are related to being new. Its because they lack experience and particularly lack older people, and this series of hurtles can take place over a period of decades. I'm talking about personality problems and questions about fundraising and responsibility and communication and babysitting etc. It may not sound applicable, but maybe its the same in some ways for these western groups that are new? Maybe the new practicioners are just not quite baked yet?
     
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  6. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    This was one of the first and major lessons Sai Baba taught me in the Ashram: beware of Spiritual Ego
    The Scriptures teach that Ego is hard to overcome, Spiritual Ego is almost impossible to overcome
    Hence the need of Bhakti, love for Guru/Master ... this is one of the only ways to to conquer Ego
    Because you develop respect, reverence, devotion ... humility, which cures Spiritual Ego

    The Masters I met, who practised Jnana (Path of Wisdom), all started with intense Bhakti
    And the Wise one never let go Bhakti, as Bhakti is the only way to escape the Beast
     
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  7. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Nice post. I agree, mostly. One must realise that ego is not the master of anything.

    I wish to point out however, that bhakti or devotion if not tempered with knowledge that the ego self is ultimately a chimera can lead to bloated ego-s too. The fundamentalists and terrorists world over claim to be devoted devotees only.

    Shri Ramana once said true bhakti and jnana are same.

    ...
     
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  8. atanu

    atanu Member
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    I think this phenomenon is not specific to westerners. Maharshi Ramana warned against this often.

    All religions teach surrender and it goes by different names: prapatti or sharanagati in Hinduism, ‘Thy will be done’ of Christianity, and ‘Islam’ of Islam. This is the goal of practices too — too wean away attention from ego self to the real self. But probably, in the short term, this ultimate is not clear. And so we often see a spike in ego of the devotee, yogis, or meditators.

    My two cents.
    ...
     
  9. atanu

    atanu Member
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    I fully agree. Often people come to religions to get peace. But not knowing that the ego is the cause ( in the short term at least) proper care is not taken to observe how the ego plays. A small weak ego assumes a big size and thoughts ‘I am a man of God’ or ‘I am the most excellent meditator’ takes hold.

    We all need to observe the ego play.

    ...
     
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  10. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Hence I mentioned the importance of a Guru (=being humble)

    3 Different Path:
    a)Service
    b)Bhakti
    c)Jnana

    1 Extra Path:
    d) Para-Bhakti

    Also described as:
    * Realization that the 3 paths are 1, seeing unity in diversity, see that Love is key in all 3
    * The final step is to kill the Buddha/Guru (beware to all, do NOT take this literal)
    * The truth is beyond all what we think
    * Turiya, Tantra
    @stvdvRF
     
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