Those of us involved in spiritual development know that egotism is something to avoid and we try to do that, but sometimes, in subtle ways, our ego let’s us know it is alive and well. We may think that we have escaped from egotism because we are not seeking out fame and fortune, but that is not always true.
If you do something good do you get just a little upset or disappointed because you don’t get any credit for it? If so, that is your ego speaking. If you help some people and they don’t acknowledge it, does that bother you? That too is egotism.
I can remember way back when I was a teenager walking home from school one day with my best friend. The first few blocks were down Main street where most of the stores and restaurants were located. A couple of people were looking down at something in front of one of the stores, a store that was not opened at that time, but was full of toys. We looked down too and saw smoke coming out of a basement window. We knew this store belonged to Mr. Morton who also owned and ran another store across the street, so we ran over there and told him about the smoke. He asked us to go back and look behind the building to see if we could tell if there was actually a fire or it was just something like a furnace smoking. When we got to the back of the building, there was no doubt. The rear door was on fire and there was already a fist-sized hole burned through it. We ran back and told Mr. Morton who then called the fire department (no 911 back then). The next day, when we read about the fire in the local paper, my friend and I were both disappointed. We knew that Mr. Morton knew our names, but all it said in the paper was that the fire had been reported to Mr. Morton by “passerbys”. We wanted to see our names in the paper: egotism. Of course, I wasn’t trying to be spiritual back then, but the story is just to make a point.
Unlike some other spiritual writers, however, I am not going to tell you that your ego needs to be squashed, eliminated, destroyed and killed. That is not necessary, and not even wise. If you are a fan of Star Trek, you may remember the episode where Captain Kirk was split in two by a faulty transporter. One of the Kirks was very kind, gentle, philosophical and intelligent. The other was aggressive, fearful, emotional and egotistical. When an important decision had to be made, Kirk #1 couldn’t do it. He needed a bit of ego in order to be decisive.
That was fantasy, yet the point it made is very true. We need our ego, we just can’t let him run things so be aware when ego is showing up and don’t let him take over.