The manager, the ego, and the spiritual life

Harassed business executives and bank managers resort, in their spare time, to yoga and transcendental meditation. This provides them with periodic “trips” which lack the harmful side-effects of alcohol or drugs; it gets their passions under control, eases nervous tension and reduces the risk of ulcers. But does it necessarily lead to profound inner change and transformation, loss of self, radical redirection of life? Not in the least. All too often it simply increases the power of ego, of self, by “spiritualizing” it. After doing my meditation practice, I “feel” better, and more refreshed. I have plugged in to the cosmic powerhouse and had my batteries recharged. That enables me to return to my daily life and activities on exactly the same basis as before. There has been no change, no sacrifice. I have given up nothing, save a little of my time. Refreshed now, by meditation, I can resume my habitual quest for money, power, influence, the manipulation and exploitation of other people. I have not really thrown away self. I have, in fact, strengthened it, given it more permanence by saturating it with incense smoke and permeating it with cosmic vibes.

From: Cyprian Smith OSB, The Way of Paradox: Spiritual Life as Taught by Meister EckhartThe Way of Paradox: Spiritual Life as Taught by Meister Eckhart. London: Darton, Longman and Todd 2013 (orig. published 1987), 104-105.

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