Monk's Pride (Is Spiritual Superiority A Good Thing?)
There Are Thousands of Various Faiths, Is Your Faith the Only Right One?
If your immediate answer was yes, you likely suffer from Monk's Pride.
On Earth, at this time, there are currently thousands of various faiths, many of them believe in various Gods, many believe in one God, many believe in a trinal (that is, made of three parts,) yet single God. Some believe in a Goddess. There are many who believe in an androgynous deity. Some people do not believe in a single entity as the source, but believe that all of creation is just one single thing and that all that make up that One thing should be respected as God. Most believers actually believe in the same God, they just use different names and have slightly different perspectives of His demands of and covenants with humans.
The Gold of Spirit
Where did the term Monk's Pride come from?
Before Monk's Pride can be discussed, it seems imperative to mention that in almost every world religion, there have been alchemy practitioners. This dates back far into history.
When many people think of alchemy, they think of crazy people in pointy-hooded robes trying to turn lead into gold for profit. This was not the true mission of the alchemists of antiquity, at least, not according to some of those alchemists. Their true mission was to turn the lead of self into the gold of spirit. They believed that having and building a connection with God took lots of work and they believed that their work was bringing them closer to God.
Many of them did attempt to create gold from lead in a physical sense, but most did so due to belief that achievement of such a feat would teach them more about physical objects (such as themselves) becoming closer to God. Those who did work towards making physical lead into gold did so under the premise that if they repeated the experimental processes in their mind through controlled meditation, they would grow in a spiritual sense. These alchemists had very specific steps they took to grow closer to the Creator. Their belief was that the more a person repeats these steps, both physically and mentally, the more they are opening themselves to the Spirit of God.
In order to understand why alchemists hid the fact that their goal was spiritual, it is important to know more about the world in which alchemists throughout history have lived. Alchemy was seen as a form of spiritual science by its practitioners. This was in a time when any form of science not approved by Catholicism or the Church of England were considered heretical and people were tortured and killed; typically being burned to death on a pyre, for expressing belief in such sciences. To avoid such treatment, they appealed to the greed of the people running these religions by stating that they were working to create physical gold from lead for the glory and/or the profit of the religions or the leaders of the various Religions.
Gold was considered the purest of metals, so it was an obvious choice to represent purity of Spirit for someone who had to operate in secret for fear of being burned alive by the Church.
So, What exactly Is Monk's Pride?
There is a historic legend that a group of monks who were performing spiritual alchemy had achieved a certain number of processes, resulting in them thinking that their mission was complete and they had grown as close to God as humanly possible. Their belief, itself, was the monk's pride.
In this legend, the monks who thought they were closer to God than everyone else began to suffer. According to the legend, as a result of their pride, they were plunged deep into the dark depths of the black night in the soul.
The purpose of this legend is to inform practitioners of a few things, at least, in the opinion of many researchers. The first warning that is indicated is that our work as seekers of Spirit is never done. The second warning is that when you think you are spiritually superior to other people, you are reducing yourself to a lower spiritual level than you would if you did not concern yourself with such things. It would seem as if there are two morals to this story --that worrying about the status of other people who make their own choices is a distraction from your own everyday growth, and that our work is never done.
It would seem that in today's world, many people look down at other people for their belief systems. These negative prejudices are often voiced aloud or casually shared on the internet. A follower of any belief structure can behave in such a manner. Many of the people who find themselves thinking like this tend to forget that they are an ambassador to their belief structure.
A person is entitled to their own beliefs, but it should be noted that if someone has never heard the messages of your religion, but they see representatives of your beliefs calling other humans "devil" or "demon," it will probably not make them want to participate in your religion. Unfortunately, there are even people out there who don't want other people participating in their religion. that is a different story all together.
All of the above are separate examples of monk's pride.
A strong advocate for their beliefs should try to communicate from a place of understanding. A poor advocate for beliefs will ridicule another person for their beliefs.
The Golden Rule (treat others how you want to be treated, or some equivalent) exists in every religion. This rule is golden in every religion for a reason. So before you ridicule another person for their beliefs, ask yourself two questions-
- Does your belief system include the Golden Rule, in one form or another?
- Do you want to be ridiculed for your beliefs?
Unless you like being ridiculed, you are probably violating your own alleged beliefs if you take so much pride in your belief structure that you must put other people down for not agreeing with you.
Monk's pride, does cause those who suffer from it to plunge to the depths of darkness in their own soul, even if it is only momentarily.
You may disagree, which is fine by me, but next time you see someone embarrassing someone for what they believe, take note if you think that is how your Deity taught you to treat people. Take note of the tones they take, the abusive choice of words, the look of anger on their faces, and the lack of love or respect, even though love and/or respect is taught by your religion of choice.
© 2016 Robert Cassady