Highest Self Podcast 475: The Spiritual Ego Trap: How To Notice It + Bring It Into Awareness


In this solo episode I dive into how we can use spirituality as a way to make ourselves feel superior to others, bypass responsibility, and excuse certain behaviors- aka our spiritual ego.

The ego is one of the aspects of humans that is necessary for individuality. It makes up who we uniquely are, and differentiates us from others. The ego is not a negative part of you, but it is a good idea to understand when it’s working for you or against you in life.

I share my own journey with my ego, ascension culture, the fun side of spirituality that receives backlash, how spiritual language can come off condescending, and why it’s important to step out of your psyche and back into your body for healing.

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Episode 475: The Spiritual Ego Trap: How To Notice It + Bring It Into Awareness with Sahara Rose
By Sahara Rose

[00:00] Sahara

When we don’t notice the ways that racism, colonialism, patriarchy, but also just, like, looking down on people, the way that it shows up in our own lives, then we’re really missing the whole point of the spiritual journey, because spirituality is not about separating ourselves from other people and being better than then because we’ve figured out some unique lock that no one else has. 

And it actually really shows we’re in an earlier stage of our spiritual growth journey because I was there too, but that, like “I’ve figured it out and you still need to”, and that’s the ego right there.

[00:48] Sahara

Welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, my name is Sahara Rose and I am so excited to have you here in today’s Solocast because I’m going to be riffing on a topic that I’ve been having a lot of conversations with in my personal life. 

[00:59] Sahara

And the way I kind of roll in these Solocasts is, I just start sharing my own perspective of what I’ve experienced without any agenda or even belief system, I’m trying to convince you of, but really, rather, exploring a topic that I try to give voice to on this Podcast that, I feel, a lot of us have recognized but maybe we don’t have a community we get to share about these kinds of topics with, or maybe we just haven’t seen them discussed in this more nuanced way. 

[01:29] Sahara

So, I wanted to talk about this word that you may have heard around the spiritual community, and this is the concept of spiritual ego

[01:39] Sahara

So, first of all, what is spiritual ego? Well, there’s no Webster’s definition, but to me, the way that I see it is, the way that our ego takes a different shape and form, guising spirituality as a way to make us feel superior to others. 

[01:58] Sahara

Now, am I here to obliterate the ego? No, I love my ego, such a goody-go, I love big ego! Remember that song? Destiny’s Child? 

[02:12] Sahara

So, the ego has your personality, it has your preferences, it has your beliefs, it has your values. If we did not have egos, there would be no difference between me, you or anyone. And from the highest level perspective, that is true. We really are all from the same oneness, source of consciousness, however we have compartmentalized our fragments of light into different spectrums, and that’s why each of our dharmas, our soul’s purposes, our values, our preferences, all of these things are going to be unique because they are filtered through the consciousness and the texture of our ego.

[02:50] Sahara

So, to say that I’m here to shatter the ego is, first of all, it’s not being honest, because you’re not, and what happens sometimes, when we say “I’m going beyond ego”, it becomes another way that our ego tries to make us feel like we are better than other people.

[03:11] Sahara

So, all of us in the spiritual community have had some form of spiritual ego and probably, already, still have spiritual ego showing up in different ways (myself included). Okay, so, I’m not speaking to you as someone who has even moved past spiritual ego. For sure, I’m going to listen to this Episode five years from now and be like “WTF?!” So, there is no need to have our walls up in this conversation. I think that’s what makes it fun, right?

If we can’t critique our own community and our own culture, well, then we’re going to be on the defense of someone else does.

[03:43] Sahara

So, like, myself, as a spiritual person who has been part of this culture and part of this community, I find it part of my responsibility to, also, look at the nuances of it. So, this is not pointing and shaming or blaming ourselves or anyone else, but this is really just, like, looking at something that we may have been overlooking in the past.

[04:03] Sahara

And I’ll start with myself and the way that spiritual ego has shown up in my own life.

[04:08] Sahara

So, for those of you who don’t know my background, I actually was on a pathway to be an International Human Rights Lawyer, and I went to school in D.C., and I was working at non-profits and I experienced really bad health issues when I was 21 years old, and my body started shutting down and went into perimenopause. And because of that I had to go to many different doctors who prescribed me tons of prescription medication, hormone replacement therapy, which brought me on a journey of needing to learn how to self-heal, which brought me to Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system and the sister science of yoga, which brought me on the spiritual journey. 

So, like many of us, I got on this journey because I needed to learn how to heal myself, not because I thought it was cool, not because I, at all, wanted to be part of the culture. I didn’t even know about the culture, but it was for my own need. 

[04:55] Sahara

And I think for most of us, it comes from this pure place of “I’m sick”, or “I’m hurt”, or “I feel pain”, or whatever the thing is, and what spirituality can give us is this higher level perspective of how things are interconnected.

[05:10] Sahara

In my own journey, spirituality is what allowed me to see the connection between my physical symptoms and my mental attributes, and then to connect it my dharma, my soul’s purpose, something even beyond that. So, it has been extremely monumental in my life. 

[05:26] Sahara

However, the spiritual ego started showing up, for me, when I became very, very regiment in my spiritual practice. So, it started, for me, even before my health problems, with ashtanga yoga, I became very devout ashtanga yogi, practicing my sourced practice for three hours a day, then became raw vegan and was like one of those, raw vegan was part of my personality, I started a raw vegan blog because that’s just what you did in the late 2000s, and I spent all my time studying spiritual texts and I kind of only wanted to talk to other people who were on the spiritual journey. And then, as soon as I graduated college, I moved to India, I was studying Ayurveda, I was constantly looking to find new ashrams to stay at or gurus to learn from, and I was hungry for spiritual knowledge. And I shifted, everything about myself, from, of course, who I surrounded myself by, but even my clothes. I would wear really baggy, loose clothes, very the monk look. I listened, mostly, to mantra-based music, I wanted to only read spiritual texts, I was just very, very mindful of any media that I consumed. And again, a lot of that came from a beautiful place, of, like, fuck, wearing jeans is super tight and constricting, like, why would I want to wear that? These loose, baggy clothing are so much more comfortable; watching horrible tv shows is toxic in the mind, why would I want to watch that? 

So, it didn’t come from a place of “I’m doing this to fit into a culture and community”, consciously, however, then, when I started to take another spiritual path, the outfits would change again. Then I went from yoga clothes, then now I was in my more Shakthi, belly dance, tantra phase, and now, I started wearing these loose flowy skirts and darker colors, and then it shifted again. 

And now, looking back on it, I can see, very much so, how my esthetic, how my world view, how the people I surround myself with, really revolved around the type of spirituality that I was resonant with.  

[07:34] Sahara

Now, again, that makes sense, if you’re a rocker, you’re going to wear rock outfits. If you’re a Lui-Lui Lemon girl that often comes with a certain culture, it’s very normal for fashion to depict our world views. However, what happens, sometimes, with spirituality is, we think that that’s not happening, we’re not honest with ourselves, so we think “Oh, I only wear white because white is the enlightened color that allows all light to stream through you and connects you with one source consciousness”, and “I only listen to this music because everything else is low vibe”, and “I only do this…”, and you see these little threads of ego put in there.

And again, it can be coming from even a true place, however, then it’s like, okay, the people who don’t wear your style of clothing; the people who don’t listen to your same kind of music; the people who still go to the mall, you start to look down on them and you start to judge them. 

Again, a hundred percent, did this too, and parts of me, in this day and age, I believe still do as well, even if I’m unconscious about it, for sure! Like, Black Friday, shopping sales – I can find my own judgment around that.

So, I’m not saying that I’m over this either, however, in my own spiritual journey and where I am now, I’ve realized that, often, what we see as spirituality is a culture. And we can see this, so, obviously, when we look at all the different cultures that exist in spirituality, from the shamanic plant medicine, ayahuasca-focused culture, to like the Kundalini culture, to the starseed, Pleidian, light being culture, to the Vedic, yoga scripture culture, to the nervous system Gabor Manti culture, to the – I don’t know, there’s so many out there, and they all have their distinct vocabulary, their distinct opinions and sets of beliefs that you have to adhere to, to be a part of the community. 

And if you have things that oppose with the community’s shared beliefs, you’re ostracized.


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[11:13] End of Advertisement


[11:15] Sahara

Now, whether you’re actually, like physically part of this community, like you’re part of a club or, I don’t know, a membership, or even a cult, something like that (it could be to that extreme), but there’s also unconscious ways of, maybe it’s everyone that you follow on social media and the content that you consume and the people that you follow, and you notice like “Okay, I’m in this ascension culture, that we are always talking about ascension and levels of ascension, and that’s our language and that’s our vocabulary, but here I am questioning whether any of this really exists. And part of me has a lot of doubts and a lot of hesitation”. Well, if you bring that into these communities, they’re going to meet you with a huge wall, because that’s going to trigger their own world views and perspectives. 

[11:57] Sahara

So, often times, we think that when we are spiritual, we’re being more open, but it could just mean we’re adhering to another pre-conceived set of values that that spiritual lineage, or even a lot of it isn’t really from a lineage, it’s very new, but that group of people has decided to agree on, right? 

[12:20] Sahara

So, for example, a friend of mine, Kyle and I, we did these funny skits because both of us love to just, like, do improv and you know, make fun of ourselves, and I was like the nervous system healing girl, and he was like the ayahuasca bro, and we’re like having this back and forth conversation, it was so interesting for both of us to recognize ourselves in that and how you could almost predict what that person is going to respond without even knowing them because of the way that that demographic responds to certain questions.

[12:53] Sahara

Now, again, does this exist in every culture? Yes, absolutely! And I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong, we create patterns to make sense of things. The thing that I’m pointing out is that, in spirituality, we often think it’s ourselves creating them and we don’t recognize that we’re just in another culture. 

[13:12] Sahara

So, in my own journey now, going from ashtanga yoga to more of the divine feminine, belly dance realm, and then moving back to the US from India, and you know, rediscovering myself in more of the festival scene culture, and then moving into the entrepreneurship space, like the conscious entrepreneurship space, and just different dances throughout my life. And part of myself that I sort of abandoned in this journey is the part of me that loves to twerk, the part of me that’s super playful and silly, the part of me that loves beauty and you know, getting dressed up and finds make-up, even, to be beautiful, those parts of me were shunned out because they weren’t part of what was supposed to be spiritual, right? Like, you know, maybe you can dress in a certain way, if that’s like the dakini, tantra girl esthetic or if that’s the whatever esthetic, but it couldn’t be just me because I needed to look the part, I needed to sound the part.

[14:14] Sahara

So, when I started to bring in these other aspects of myself back into integration, such as my dancing, belly dancing, twerking, shaking, my love for hip-hop and reggaeton music, my, just like, jokester, playful energy, the fact that I swear, like, all of these different pieces into it, it was very triggering for people. 

And to this day, I still get a lot of hate for it, because it doesn’t make sense in people’s perspective of “Oh, well, if you’re spiritual and you wrote these books on Ayurveda and Deepak Chopra wrote your Forwards, and this, how could you be showing yourself shaking your ass in a drum circle?”, like, that does not make sense in people’s perspectives because they see someone who dances and is free in their bodies, they have their own set of judgments around that, mostly the slut shaming kind of judgments, and then people that you see as spiritual and almighty and holy and better than now, it’s like “Oh, if they, you know, take down their hair, then all of a sudden, they’re no longer in that beautiful cloud-like realm that you’ve put them into”. 

So, it creates this questioning, it creates this juxtaposition, it’s hard for people to then classify you, so then they become triggered. 

[15:30] Sahara

And that has just been my path, I think, and maybe in this lifetime as well, but it’s always been my path of just creating my own mix of things and following what excites me, even if it doesn’t fit into the cultural norm. 

[15:43] Sahara

So, I’ll share an example that happened recently. For those of you who don’t know, I’m also a DJ, and I was DJ-ing at a conscious festival, and I was playing my set and my set has everything, it’s very multicultural, multidimensional and it’s really focused on, like, Shakthi, twerk, ecstatic dance. So, I started with bass and then I brought in some hip-hop music because, to me, hip-hop music is, like, the ultimate way to just release your root chakra, and also, that is where the twerk move comes from. It comes from the Nola bounce scene which has origins from African dance. 

So, to me, you must honor that culture and where it comes from, and play that music, because that’s part of the entire picture. 

So, I’m playing hip-hop music and people were having the best time ever and so many people came up to me saying like “Thank you so much for playing that”, and when I say hip-hop, I mean, I’m playing old-school hip-hop, I’m playing Missy Elliot, I’m playing Genuine, I’m playing My Neck, My Back, I’m playing, you know, just, like, the fun 2004 hits, you know, and I play the clean versions too. 

So, people were coming up to me saying “I’ve never had so much fun at a conscious festival before, it’s typically like, when you’re spiritual, you have to listen to, like, super, like, airy spiritual music and everyone just like weaving their hands like this and there’s, like, no hips involved, so, thank you for bringing that in”, because I was playing a lot of reggaeton and Brazilian funk and Afro beats, but then, later, I found out a few days after, that there were a number of people who were very triggered by my music. And they complained to the festival and they said that that was wretched, okay. So, that was wretched, that it is considered trashy to play hip-hop music, to twerk, to express yourself in that way. And I found it very interesting because that same festival had people doing tantric orgies, people full sets of everyone naked and eye-gazing and very sexually free and open, yet, if I play hip-hop music, that’s off the table, that’s now too much, that is considered wretched, but the tantric orgy is sacred.


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[19:13] Sahara

So, I share this because that’s the spiritual ego coming in of like “This is what’s accepted in our norm, in our community, but anything outside of that – no, no, no, that’s not allowed, that’s not what we do here, that’s bringing down the vibe, that’s creating the wrong culture that we’re separating ourselves from”, when My Neck, My Back is literally just a woman reclaiming her pleasure, she is voicing what she desires. 

[19:39] Sahara

And keep in mind too, she’s a black woman in doing so, and the triggering that happens, because for me, as a brown woman, I definitely get a lot of prejudice, but black women even get it more so, which I want to recognize here.

And the fact that playing music from black culture was so triggering for people, felt low class for them, shows the internalized racism, as well as patriarchy, in the spiritual community.

And this ties back to the spiritual ego because they have now adopted these new beliefs because they’re spiritual “Oh, because we’re spiritual, we don’t listen to that music; we don’t dance that way; we don’t dress that way’ we don’t do those stuff; we’ve separated ourselves; we are better than those people!” But it comes back to the same threads of “Why are you better than them? Oh, because they’re black, because they’re brown, because they’re a woman”, because of colonialism and these beliefs that dancing in certain ways is considered barbaric. But being poised and adhere to house music, but then being a freak in the back, that’s okay. 

[20:45] Sahara

So, I share this with you because the spiritual ego really is a tricky one because you create this world view that the reason why you believe that way is because you have ascended, because you have had these more lofty, expansive, ascended world views. However, what often comes with them is the same positions of power and the structure of who’s at top, right? Which tends to be the white sis man. 

[21:17] Sahara

So, it’s important for us to look at this because when we don’t notice the ways that racism, colonialism, patriarchy, but also just, like, looking down on people, the way that it shows up in our own lives, then we’re really missing the whole point of the spiritual journey, because spirituality is not about separating ourselves from other people and being better than then because we’ve figured out some unique lock that no one else has. 

And it actually really shows we’re in an earlier stage of our spiritual growth journey because I was there too, but that, like “I’ve figured it out and you still need to”, and that’s the ego right there, of “I need to show you because I am inherently right and you are inherently wrong”. And it can show up in many other different forms as well, and we can talk about this for hours.

[22:10] Sahara

So, my invitation, for you, is to just notice at how it might be showing up in your life. Maybe ways that you have experienced it at the hands of someone else, but also the ways that we may have perpetuated this.

[22:22] Sahara

I was having this conversation with my friend Liliana last night. We were at this conscious festival and we were talking about how plant medicine is such a big focus right now, of, you know, doing the ceremony, another ceremony, another ceremony, because I need to heal my ancestral lineage, and how, sometimes, like, the ultimate way to heal your ancestral lineage is just to go visit your family. And you really don’t need to do medicine, just like, whatever is showing up for you right there, in that conversation, are the very aspects of yourself that get to be healed.

And sometimes it’s easier for us to be in the ceremonial, out of body space and be, like, healing our lineage in our own psyche, rather than having these physical conversations with the living people who are right in front of us, because those living people who are right in front of us are going to have some responses that we might not like.

[23:11] Sahara

So, again, in my own journey, you know, I was telling my mom I was, you know, healing our ancestral female lineage and my great, great, great grandmother, and I was telling her about this and she’s like “You know, I’m alive”, and I was like “No, it’s beyond this, it’s intergenerational”, and she’s like “Well, one day, I’m not going to be here and you can talk to me”. At first, I was like “She doesn’t get it, I’m doing deeper work here”, but she’s so right, she is so right, because it’s easier for me, in my own bubble, to be healing my relationship with my deceased great, great grandmother, who only exists in my consciousness, and frankly, I am in control of how that feels (for the most part), than having a really triggering conversation with my mom, that brings up the little girl in me and, but she is my living ancestor, right here.

And I share this because that is the spiritual ego in me that wanted to do this, like, deep ancestral healing work in the realms, rather than looking at what was here, available for me to address right now. Like, why can I not have this conversation with my mom? What’s showing up in me? Where do I not feel heard? Where do I feel triggered? Where do I start to get angry and reactive? That’s the work right there! You don’t need to look far, it doesn’t need to be so complicated.

[24:31] Sahara

And I feel like, in spirituality, it’s like you, sometimes, need to go through this wave of leaving the way that you saw the world and unlearning everything and then relearning all of these new things from Past Lives, to Karma, to Dharma, to Ascension, to being a light worker, to Mary Magdalene, to sensuality, to Shamanism, to crystals, to Reiki, to whatever else, all the things we talk about on this Podcast. You learn about them all, but then you come back down the rollercoaster and you’re like “Okay, integration, conversations with my family, going back to where I grew up, like, looking at my every-day life and how I’m showing up in my relationships and my sense of work and purpose”, and, like, that’s really what it’s all about.

Spirituality is not just to have this experience because that’s just like watching a movie. Watching a movie is to have an experience, but to me, it’s about integrating your spirit, your soul, into this physical realm. And sometimes you do need to acquire new knowledge and new perspectives and learn about all of these things, and some of these tools are going to be very powerful for you and you’re going to hold onto them and bring them back down into these realms. And some of these tools have a specific length of time for you and they served you for a part of your spiritual journey, but then you evolved past them, not that you’re better than them, it’s just that they’re not what you need in your journey right now, and this could be from, like, crystals, to even belief systems.

And it’s important for us to recognize this because as we come back into the integration, into the wholeness, into the circle that this is all about, and to who we were before this, we realize that we already were sacred and that we had everything that we needed already around us and inside of us, but we needed to go on that journey to remember.

[26:22] Sahara

So, I’m curious to hear how the spiritual ego has shown up in your life, how you’ve experienced it, any thoughts and reflections that you have on this, please share with me on the Instagram post that has this clip. That’s the perfect place for us to have a conversation.

[26:37] Sahara

And you know, I really think that it’s important for us to open up dialogue on the own ways that we are showing up, not pointing the finger at someone else and being like “Hey, Sally had so much spiritual ego”, it’s very easy to, but that pointing of the finger that we do, that’s the spiritual ego right there.

So, if you do notice that you are looking at everyone else’s spiritual ego, what are the three fingers pointing back to you, what are they showing you?

[27:05] Sahara

So, I just dished out a lot of mine, so, I’m curious to hear how it is for yourself. Please, share with me on my Instagram (@iamsahararose) in the comment section, and any other podcast that you would love to listen to here. I love opening up the dialogue to just pressing conversations like this that are in the collective zeitgeist that we get to sound out together.

[27:25] Sahara

So, thank you so much for tuning in! If you loved this Episode, I would love to gift you a Free Womb Meditation for leaving a review.

So, head over to the iTunes Store, leave a review, take a screenshot before hitting submit and email it over to me at [email protected], you can find that link in the show notes and I will email you back my Womb Guidance Meditation. 

Please share this Episode with anyone that you believe can benefit from hearing it and I’ll see you in the next one. 


Episode #475: The Spiritual Ego Trap: How To Notice It + Bring It Into Awareness with Sahara Rose
By Sahara Rose

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