Savannah Hanson: Spiritual ego |

Savannah Hanson: Spiritual ego

Savannah Hanson

For everyone who chooses to dedicate themselves to a spiritual journey, eventually we will encounter the slippery, elusive, shapeshifting spiritual ego. This can be one of the last and most highly defended aspects of the egoic thought system.

Once the ego catches the new program, it will happily morph to spiritual ego, helping us define who is ahead and who is behind on the path, comparing ourselves favorably or unmercifully to others, pointing out all the ways we are “sinning”and making us feel guilty and ashamed for all the ways we do not measure up.

Spiritual teacher Matt Kahn has said he can sniff out the spiritual ego from a mile away. In a private session with him many years ago, he nailed me with the awareness that my spiritual ego was riding high. Yet the mystery is always kindly willing to shake things up to bring forward our next level of integration and healing. So for the last few months my spiritual ego has been front and center in my life.

A series of experiences culminated in a surreal encounter where I felt literally entranced by my own understated yet cunning ways of keeping this entity alive and flourishing through comparison, making wrong or right, alienation and attachments. Then I subconsciously developed spiritual ego radar and was being triggered by witnessing that egoic energy in others while hiding from the mirror with ensuing discomfort and suffering. It came to a head a few weeks ago when I felt like I was in a bad play, defending how far I have come on this path and trying not to get caught in a hierarchy of illusions, right or wrong, better or worse dynamic.

I felt stunned by how much this bothered me and felt almost completely lost about how to pull out of the hole I had dug myself into. Many factors contribute to a sense of being “advanced” on this path, of being recognized as an “expert,” thanked for my wisdom, acknowledged for my spiritual “progress.” What seemed like a wonderful way to shift out of previous feelings of unworthiness, slowly lead to a false identity being formed of spiritual superiority.

Finding yourself

Luckily, a soul agreement brought the false edifice tumbling down around my ears. Just today I had the opportunity to call myself forward and acknowledge how lost I had become in a maze of devious and crafty ways I was inadvertently making myself better or worse than others.

The experience helped me return to humility, one of the vital characteristics “A Course in Miracles” lists of a teacher of God. The word humus originated in the late 18th century from the Latin word for soil. I needed to return to the ground of my being.

In conversations with others, we might congratulate ourselves on how far we have come and how far advanced we are from those of other traditions or religions. We many look askew at others who have just begin their journeys and unconsciously use it as a way to prop up our own dying egos. Make no mistake, to dismantle the illusionary self is no small task. So spiritual ego is delighted to usurp the process, finding a way to subsume the path of awakening.

“I’ll do it,” ego cries. “I will be the ego police and let you know if you or anyone else breaks the rules. Then I will shame or blame you or the other and demand penance for your sins. I will let you know how guilty you are as soon as you have an unconscious thought, speak negatively, are not generous, get angry or even furious, think unkindly about others. I can think of a million ways to keep you lost in judgment till the end of eternity. Sounds fun. Let’s go, I love this spiritual path stuff.”

To become more aware of signs of the spiritual ego please read: nouks-blog/signs-of-the-spirit ual-ego/.

Today I had to muster all my courage to call myself forward to extricate myself from the mess I had created. I have had to be vigilant to begin to recognize ever more muted and indistinct ways ego seizes the spiritual journey for its own ends. It fears its own annihilation and will not let go without a fight to the death.

Yet it is not to be met with whips and chains, rather with a loving yet firm hand saying, no, let go of all judgment. Let go of all forms of attack. To vilify this false self or greet it with guilt is just fuel on the fire.

Instead we embrace this aspect with love, letting it know its services are no longer required. Then we rest in the magnificence of remembering ourselves always in all ways as children of God while awaiting the next miracle.

For information on private sessions or classes or to schedule a free 20-minute consultation, contact Savannah Hanson, M.A., MFT #40422 at 530-575-5052 or

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