Discussion Forum

Do you believe that the human experience and ego has absolutely nothing to do with spirituality?

Im not referring to religion.
Many times in conversations and books i see these spiritual mantras about the ego etc… and the whole projection thing along with “taking things personally”. I’m beginning to see how sometimes this is used as an excuse to thwart validation of the human experience and ego and how the Ego is looked upon as something as BAD.
In addition… Negative vibes which are a part of life is also seen as bad.

When do we stop bashing the Ego and basic Human Needs (ie. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs) and validate our human selves?

Isnt the “spirituality schpiel” a manipulation tool that tells us how we should act or process other’s actions and keeps us from recognizing basic human needs that aren’t being met?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs

10 Comments

  • Your question is not a simple one but I will do my best to help clear up some confusion. My first question is what is spirituality? Secondly, why would we have the ego if it did not serve as help for humanity to progress?

    Until about a year ago, I read about and/or tried every type of self-help book, philosophical belief system or other spiritual paths. None of them gave me much of anything except a short term psychological boost. Than I came to an actual method, where I could realize this desire for something more than I could find in this world.
    This wisdom is very ancient and practical but has not been readily available until humanity was ready for it. But many attained spirituality and passed the method on for us.

    People who attained spirituality tell us that we need to use the ego with the proper intention to ascend spiritually. In fact, everything in this world is only here, to help us toward this goal. But the way we are now, we are closer to animals than anything spiritual, in terms of our development.

    Here is a short clip about our ego:

    http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/kabbalah-video-clips/the-ego

    Good luck on your search!

  • There is a lot on your post here. I hope I understand most of what your asking so I will make a try.

    Ego is something I believe we think and not necessarily the way the brain is. Example, I think I am better in something than anyone else. I meet someone else who is much better. If I am an open minded person and not so caught up in my own self, I get a clue and get taken down a peg or two so to speak. Now, I don’t think so smugly about my skill or knowledge. Maybe I go seek to learn more if its important to do so. Ego plays a big part in how we treat other people and its usually not good. My belief on ego is just another cause to try and use a power play or domination over someone else even though it could be in a small way.

    Ego, its not a basic need. I believe Ego to be the extension of going beyond the requirements of survival. In other words, way beyond basic needs for the mind and body to naturally function and retain life.
    Ego is not self assurance, self motivation, true confidence or knowledge.
    Ego could be seen as a result of greed.
    Its a feeling, a selfishness, condescending and is a higher than a godlike complex. In our minds we may think these thoughts and they make us feel bigger or better. This may justify something lesser in ourselves of a weaker part. It masquerades as self confidence when in fact there in really lies a weakness and one cannot face it or recognize it because we are human.

    Spirituality, is never a schpeil. Its understanding on a creation of something higher than us. Its a level where purity of thought and realization in creation that is larger than me occurs in my heart and is recognized in the cognitive part of my brain.

    If I have an understanding in spirituality it can change how I treat others. I start being more humble and accepting to others in a kinder and respectful manner. I can accept its not all about me and helps me to understand and to be patient with others and even myself.

    Yes, I believe spirituality is indeed tightly entwined in our experiences and can set thoughts and journeys to seek and find out what it all means.

    Each person sees differently and speaks to explain on a different levels. This is because our minds recognize, accepts at a different rate and manner not to mention the experiences in life. I continually need spiritual food in some form of prayer, fellowship or even mediation, the human mind and body is weak.

  • You may be conflating two different definitions of “ego”. Maslow’s “ego” ultimately seeks to perceive and accept reality objectively. The common understanding of “ego” is usually confused with Freud’s “id”, which is only interested in preserving itself. According to Maslow, we progress from the gross, essential physical needs to a level of psychological/spiritual comfort that allows us to dismiss fear and to live with a sense of belonging and creativity.

    Of course, the gross needs must be met first, and this is where religion often fails. Karl Marx famously referred to religion as an “opiate” for oppressed peasants, designed to relieve pain rather than cure social injustices. Religion CAN be effective. The Bible includes prophets who have decried the abuse of the poor and powerless by the rich and influential, but the cost of speaking out and acting is often more than many believers are willing to pay. So they are satified with the pain-killers and allow the human evils to continue. Religious organizations and leaders who emphasize the rewards and punishments of the afterlife are less inclined to build the “kingdom of heaven” in the here and now.

    Other spiritual viewpoints see the imperfection of the world and conclude that it can’t be real. The Vedic religions in particular strongly suggest that we are responsible for our own reality and that the goal of living is to perceive beyond the illusions of the material world and plurality. Essentially, there is ONLY “I”, an indistinguishable, self-perceiving unity confusing itself with a thought experiment. To get to this level of perception, one has to completely disengage from the world, to lose all interest or “desire” in it. This would likely occur more often except for the persistent illusion that people “need” to eat. So religion may stand guilty as charged insofar as it counsels people to ignore the denial of their base needs (or “desires”).

    But “spirituality” is hard to pin down. If it amounts to an obsession with angels, demons and the afterlife, it is pointless fantasy. If it informs one’s undertanding of the world in a way that connects us to other people in a responsible, altruistic way, it can do a lot to meet human needs and validation.

    Pure egotism is very inefficient. We can’t aquire, manage and operate every aspect of our lives as individuals and hope to rise above a stone age existence. Mutually interested cooperation makes civilization possible. And civilization is nothing more than the meeting of common needs to enable greater self-actualization (even if only for some).

    Civilization can always be improved. Healthy religion tries to do so, using its prophetic spirit. Poor religion attempts to maintain the status quo with the certain “authority” of dead scriptures and stone-chiseled “commandments”. Poor religion defers justice to the “spiritual” realm. Healthy religion brings its spirit into the world of the living. True spirituality reveals a deeper understanding beyond the surface. It does not conceal the reality behind appearances.

    Everyone has an “ego”, whether it be a deprived peasant or an overindulged tycoon. Each of these egos perceives needs. But the line between need and luxury shifts with income level. The rich person, in an honest moment, realizes he could do without “all this”, but doesn’t realize there is a lower limit to “all this”. The poor person doesn’t dare cross the line between subsistence and “all this”. He doesn’t have any of the alternative options that a rich person doesn’t even acknowledge having. So naturally, status quo religion better suits the personj who is well off. But it is a dead, spiritless, museum of religion, irrelevant to life.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. Vital, spiritual, effective religion is disturbing, uncomfortable, challenging. At least one faith makes a clear distinction between “happiness” and “joy”. “Happiness” is an overrated and illusory goal that supposedly describes a person perfectly comfortable without regard to anyone else. “Joy” is the thrill of realizing when something objectively good is in the process of happening. Joy must be shared, as must spirituality. Otherwise it makes no sense. “I” am important, but only in community with “us”.

  • It’s probably at the top of the pyramid that SPIRITUALITY affirms that man was created to be like God as much as it is possible for a creature to do so. And it’s at this point that the ego can become a two-edged sword in refusing to submit to the real source of power. Satan himself is the prefect example of one who was created as much like God without even the use of free will.Then he used his free will in satisfying his ego with a false pride rather than freely admitting that God was still superior to him. Satan was truly objectively made to be like unto God, but the correct use of his free will was still needed to accomplish that feat making him the most powerful being next to God. But that included freely admitting that he was still inferior to God Himself. Now God shows Him that very inferior flesh and blood is capable of achieving that which his superiority failed to accomplish. But this also shows that those at the highest rung of your pyramid need to be careful not to fall in the same error as satan, since those in the lowest rungs may succeed where they can fail. So I say spirituality plays the only role in the ability for man to achieve his highest aspirations and desires. Man is made to be like God as much as it is possible for a creature to be like God. But there is a right and wrong way to go about it. Submitting ones ego to this higher power is the correct way since it freely plugs inself into the power source of God Himself.

  • This is very Neo-Satanic outlook.
    The core element to most spiritual paths has to do with understanding a connection to all creation, regardless of whether it’s Nature, God or anything else.
    The ego is problematic in this picture because it encourages us to see ourselves as separate and individual, which prevents us from perceiving a connection with everything else in reality. Even more, it can become unhealthy, in which case we view our own individuality as being more important than other individualities.
    It sort of depends a great deal on your assumptions about reality, however. Neo-Satanism shares the outlook you mention above because it’s actually an atheistic/humanist philosophy. As a result, the individual experience is far more important than the collective experience, so the above would ring true.

  • The point is that the ego is a force of limitation. It is not “evil”, but if one cannot break free of the ego’s grip, it is not possible to unite with the infinite, unlimited oneness that forms the ground of all existence. If one acts in the world only for one’s own gratification and allows the mind to form attachments to limited ideas and objects, then that which is unlimited is inaccessible. However, this is not to say that one must give up the world and stop acting in it. It means simply that while acting in the world, one does not identify one’s true self with limited objects and ideas, but instead should have constant awareness of that which is beyond all ideas and limitations.

  • The great thing is you can be just what you want to be, no one can make you do anything you don’t want. We were created this way its called Volition. We were created just above the animals so if you want to live an animal life go for it but you have a choice which other animals don’t.

    This creator wants to give you His love for He wishes you to love Him in return. It isn’t much more complicated then that. In order for you to love him as He loves you, selflessly, you must be able to choose not to love Him also.That brings EGO into play. Now you see the connection.

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