Tonight’s topic in meditation class was pride. Although I never considered myself to be a prideful person, after contemplating the topic of pride, I realized on multiple occasions, not only have I projected prideful emotions onto myself but upon countless individuals throughout my life. When our kind and humble teacher for this evening began to unpack pride, it became clear that pride is extremely complex and attached to many of the other emotions including, jealousy, judgment, fear, anxiety, you name it! The ego’s need to judge others in an attempt to be superior, seems to suggest that pride can be viewed as a defense mechanism which helps one cope with his/her insecurities.
Think back for a moment to a time when you felt that you were better than someone in some way. For example, if you drive an expensive vehicle, have you ever pulled up next to someone who drives a beat up car and felt more superior than that individual? Maybe you make more money than your friend or your neighbor and at times you view yourself as being more fortunate or lucky than he/she because you can afford more expensive clothes and your friend or neighbor can’t. Or, perhaps you have a co-worker who you consider your equal in many ways. You both make the same amount of money, live in the same neighborhood, drive the same type of car but maybe he/she is a little smarter than you, better looking, or appears to have the relationship you wish you had. Deep down there might be a part of you that wishes you could be smarter, better looking or have a great relationship and as a result you might find yourself looking for reasons to criticize or judge your co-worker in order to feel better about yourself. If you pay close attention you will find pride lurking in the form of feeling more fortunate than someone, more superior in some way and in some instances less fortunate or inferior. No matter which example you identify with, pride is an underlying component which feeds the ego and influences you to pass judgment on others by projecting feelings of superiority, anger, hatred or resentment. If you identify with any of the examples mentioned above, no need to feel guilty or ashamed! Embrace this recognition, for doing so allows you to transmute your pride into humility!
Since there is a deep historicity and attachment to self pride, one must realize that it is one of the most destructive delusions the ego will use to keep human beings separate from each other. If we were all able to be more loving, kind and compassionate and sincerely practiced humility on a daily basis, then perhaps all human beings would realize that we are all interconnected and that despite the differences in our appearance, our culture and our socialized belief systems, when we get down to the heart of the matter, intrinsically we are all one!