The 11 Commandments Of The New-Age-Ego

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The ego, as you know, is clever, very clever. It can utilize everything for its own protection and perpetuation – including spirituality. With the very tools created for its dissolution, it can etch out a new version of itself. And since the old big-bad-ego has got more bad press than Kim Jong-un, it has been reinventing itself across the world in a new avatar: the new-age-ego. Since it is even more deceptive in this crystal-addicted, incense-sniffing guise, GD and me had a sit down to identify this new-age-ego in all its new-age glory. At the end of our hilarious session, we identified its eleven most important commandments, which are active below the surface at all times.

  1. THOU SHALT NOT REST
    Speed is one of the most under-appreciated tricks of the new-age-ego. Busyness, anxiety, rushing are all hallmarks of a superlative ego at work. Of course, the new-age-ego chases new-age goals, which are indisputably noble. Between perfecting your downward dog and saving gay humpback whales, the ego ensures you don’t keep any time for yourself.
    Even when you are on the potty, the ego won’t let you rest – it will insist you reply to at least three emails, read two pages of Eckhart Tolle and retweet Rumi on Twitter. After all, you have to ‘live up to your full potential’.
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  2. THOU SHALT ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE TO STAND AGAINST
    Without an opposition, any good ego would just wither away, so it needs to maintain the perception of an enemy. Whether it’s the corporations or the cults, whether it’s old feudal religions or new two-minute-noodle sects, the ego must have opposition. What’s the point of all your spiritual learning, the ego whispers, if you can’t even use it to prove how unevolved, lost and clueless the others are! To create a powerful ‘I’, one must create a powerful ‘you’.
    Tip: To create an ultra-strong-industrial-strength-ego, judge the entire planet and everybody that lives on it.
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  3. THOU SHALT ‘SPIRITUALIZE’ YOUR WORLDLY DESIRES
    Let’s make this simple. Working hard for months to earn money for a Ferrari is bad, but visualising and manifesting a Ferrari is good… and spiritual. Instead of revealing your desperation to impress chicks, let the Ferrari be proof of how open and receptive you are to abundance.
    Wise ancient teachers intoned that ‘greed’ is the cause of suffering, so no problem: simply chase ‘abundance’ instead! Say “I am not greedy, hungry, desperate and insecure – I just want abundance!” That way, you can be completely entangled in the Maya while still maintaining the glow of transcendence in your Facebook posts.
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  4. THOU SHALT GLORIFY THY MUNDANE EXISTENCE
    Thou shalt give spiritual meaning and interdimensional interpretation to everything. Name your kid after an unheard of Sufi Mystic. Name your dog after an unpronouncable Zen Master. See mysterious synchronicities in Facebook posts. And mistake truck headlights for landing Plaeidian spacecraft!
    If you have a toothache, it is because of an X-class solar flare in Sunspot AR2291. And if you fart like a bulldog, you are merely purging your root chakra!
    Bottomline: To create a spectacular, topped-to-the-brim ego, make sure there is nothing simple or ordinary about your life.
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  5. THOU SHALT NOT BE RESPONSIBLE
    Misapply the principle of non-doership to suit your needs. Take credit for everything that’s going well, and blame the universe/karma/life lesson for the rest. Bottomline: if you make a pile of money, attribute it to your high vibrations and connections with the ascended masters. But if you go bankrupt, call it the ‘dark night of the soul’ and throw an about-to-be-enlightened party.
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  6. THOU SHALT SEEK BUT NEVER FIND
    Keep up the appearance of spiritual seeking, the ego advises, but remember to always remain in the state of ‘I’m-almost-there’. Become a workshop junkie or a guru shopper but remember what you seek should always remain ‘just-around-the-corner’. If you are the armchair seeker variety, scrounge hungrily on Amazon or YouTube to purchase even more books you will never read and mark new videos you will never see.
    Bottomline: Scatter all your energies on the internet, follow dozens of teachers simultaneously, pontificate on chat groups, go to bed every night confused, overwhelmed and exhausted. Become so addicted to seeking that there is no space for finding.
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  7. THOU SHALT BE OBSESSED WITH THE BODY
    Keep asserting that you are an ‘infinite being beyond time and space’, while keeping a hawk-eye on every pimple, wrinkle and milligram of flesh on your waistline. Use all your spiritual tools to look younger, fitter and manifest a neon halo. Perfect your soul beads, your esoteric body processes, and your macro-vegan-lactose-intolerant-glutenfree diet.
    Tip: Being obsessed with the body is the best way to maintain a rock solid six-pack ego!
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  8. THOU SHALT CONSTANTLY BE LOOKING FOR A PERFECT PARTNER
    Your purpose in life is to find the One who will fulfill you, complete you and make you eternally happy. No, no, what made you think we’re talking about God? We are talking about your soul mate!
    So thou shalt be constantly looking for the perfect partner… even if you just got engaged last week! In case you don’t have any luck, switch to Plan B: Thou shalt constantly try to perfect your existing partner.
    Tip: Being obsessed with the ‘other’ is like Viagra for the new-age-ego.
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  9. THOU SHALT OBSESSIVELY PROTECT YOURSELF
    It very important that you feel increasingly vulnerable and sensitive as proof of your enormous evolution. So you must need more and more protection from entities, black magic, negative energy… and especially your spouse and relatives! Gift yourself a fortress of crystals, candles, talismans and other expensive energetic protection tools. Because you’re worth it.
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  10. THOU SHALT FIND YOUR ‘SPECIALNESS’
    What’s the point of being spiritual if it does not even make you feel special and unique! So find a guru who makes you feel uber unique… or find disciples who make you feel super special. Or find a complicated spiritual system with obscure terminology and infinite levels which only a chosen few understand – that too after they pay $1,11,111 (local taxes extra).
    Tip: it is not important that you understand the path or process, as long as it is expensive and the salesperson is impressive!
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  11. THOU SHALT NEVER EVER ASK THE ONE QUESTION
    This is the final and the most important commandment of the new-age-ego. Don’t ever ask the question ‘Who Am I?’
    Never, ever question – who is the one chasing desire, who is the one seeking the soul mate or who is still miserable after so many years of spiritual searching.
    You are allowed to travel to Machu Picchu, eat Spirulina till you turn green and spend a lifetime chanting Sanskrit verses, but stay away from stillness at all cost.
    Stay obsessed with past lives or future prophecies, just don’t come to this moment.
    And don’t ever, ever relax, pause and become silent. Because that is the one thing even the new-age-ego can’t survive.
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    Hungry for more spiritually irreverent humor? 
    Check out 'The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru'

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Shh! Don’t Tell Anyone I’m Happy…

Fear of Happiness

“We really have a good life,” my wife says to me on a Monday afternoon as she snuggles into bed in her favorite pajamas and snug old t-shirt. As a healer, she doesn’t have fixed work hours, and now, as a consultant, neither do I. So we spend some happy daytime hours with our three-year-old son. But I feel a familiar twinge inside me: Don’t say it, it might go away.

“I sometimes use you as an example of someone who has a good marriage, a great job and is a great father,” my brother and mentor GD says to me on the phone. Even before I can feel the compliment, something contracts in my chest: Don’t celebrate it or something bad will happen!

You see, I have an irrational superstition about acknowledging the goodness in my life. Like I need to hide my little happiness from some nasty Ogre of Destiny who walked past little ole me – and blowing the party whistle may just make him look down: Hmmm…. How did I miss YOU?

In the past, my paranoia went so far that I was terrified of taking an action to assert confidence of continuation or (gasp…!) permanence. As if the very act would tempt Fate. An example: when I was dating my current wife, at one point I was living in at her apartment. But I never kept my toothbrush in her bathroom stand, preferring to carry it in my bag every day: Don’t claim to know the future! It sounds funny now, but in my head, the placement of that toothbrush decided the fate of our future offspring.

So I have lived with an inner certainty that it can and will all come crumbling down anytime now. And that every smiling picture I take will someday be used with a caption: ‘In Happier Times’. I try to convince myself that things aren’t as wonderful as they seem – no matter how it looks to others – so I don’t get ‘carried away’. The mind advises that it’s the best way of protecting myself from the shock of tragedy, when it does happen. (“Because Life is meant to be a painful struggle, and every sane, sensible person knows that happiness is fleeting, temporary and delusional” – the Mind)

But unfortunately, this is also the best way to keep joy and ecstasy outside the door. Focusing only on what needs to be fixed makes life an endless To-Do List. Acknowledging your happiness may make you a target of jealousy, but it’s also likely to make you a source of inspiration. And that’s worth it. For just a little while, I can relax the resistance against fully feeling joy and let go of the radar that’s constantly scanning for trouble.

And I can re-examine this ancient fear that if I celebrate my life, the happiness will go away. Maybe if I celebrate my life, then the happiness will definitely stay for at least for one more moment – this moment! And the next moment will be born out of this moment. And moment by moment, a virtuous circle of celebration will be created. A rolling snowball of joy that resonates with others who also celebrate their lives. And someday, even if a shock of tragedy comes, it will be cushioned within this soft expansive love for Life; and staying numb is a dumb solution anyway.

Because all said and done – I can say it now – I do have an amazing life. What about you?

The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 2

Fake Guru Guide
So you’ve amplified your little bathroom epiphany into a full-blown enlightenment orgasm, you’ve created an indecipherable teaching and convinced a few blokes that you are the Real Shree Sri McCoy-ji. You’ve painstakingly followed all the instructions in The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A  Guru – Part I, and you think it’s finally time to have your aching feet washed in rose-water… But wait! The critical phase is about to begin. Here’s the insider’s guide by GD and me to Livin’ La Vida Guru Loka!

1) Destroy the Competition:
Constantly discourse that all other teachings are superficial and all other teachers are caught in various degrees of self-deception. (Note: Dead teachers should be praised freely). Also, any student who leaves or wants to explore something else is an idiot.
In short, present yourself as the only broker for enlightenment on this planet. You are the only socket to plug them to the Source. You are the only real-true-capable master… the rest are all frauds, thieves and delusional monkeys!

2) Disciple of The Week Award:
Let your disciples compete for your attention and affection. Create situations where disciples compete for intangibles like a place in front of the podium or leftovers from your plate. Public reward and punishment is key to this. Remind students that he who has the microphone and the big flowing beard is always right! Keep them well-behaved by never letting them know exactly where they stand and how much they have evolved. And for your own job perks, remind every attractive student that “a true disciple never says no”.

3) ‘For Your Own Good’:
Let this phrase be the chorus line of all your songs. I am making you work for free… for your own good. I am taking all your money… for your own good. I am publicly humiliating you… for your own good. I am exploring tantric poses with your girlfriend… for your own good. And one day you will thank me for it! (Repeat 2x.) A superb variation of this strategy is: “This is what your soul is asking for.” Try arguing your way out of that!

4) Elevate the Sheep:
Reward the disciples who become more and more like sheep, or mindless robots – whichever comes first. If they show symptoms of independent thought, deal with it firmly because that obviously comes from their ego. But be a little devious about it: Tell disciples to trust their inner voice — but only after you translate it for them!

5) Spiritualize All Your Desires:
You may have a pertinent question here: how to maintain your specialness even after disciples see you blundering day after day? Here’s how this simple, fool-proof technique goes: “Since you are pure consciousness, everything you do is blameless. And since they are not yet awakened, everything they do comes from ego!”
There, now you have a license to be rude, angry, jealous, greedy, insecure and screw around while still being awakened. Enlightenment means never having to say you’re sorry… or wrong, or confused, or depressed, or horny!

6) Glamorize Suffering:
In time, some followers will get really stressed in their quest to appease your impossible standards. Some may begin to suspect their constant unhappiness is a sign that they are not on the right track. So do not – we repeat – do not make happiness or love or peace the yardsticks to measure progress! Instead, keep telling them that the more they suffer, the more they are evolving! Reframe all their dullness and depression as ‘dark night of the soul’ or ‘part of the ascension process’. Tell them stories of how much people in the past have suffered and cried for enlightenment, and keep them addicted to the struggle.

7) Be a “Non-Guru” Guru:
See, here’s a tricky point. If you run a business, you need to show results. So how do you keep people hooked for decades onto an enlightenment carrot with no proof of success? Simple — don’t ever call yourself a Guru! Demand respect and obedience like a guru, but insist that you are just a normal guy. Tell them: “You are my real gurus.” (Not too often, else they may start believing you.) Emphasize repeatedly that you don’t really want to be a guru – and that a true master suffers the power, worship, dollars and threesomes only for his devotees’ sake!

The Bottom Line:
One, make sure the students constantly realise they are spiritually inferior to you. Use large doses of judgement, criticism and complaint. Keep ‘em small, keep ‘em seeking, keep ‘em hooked.
Two, keep them scared for their future outside of your safe little chalk circle; in the name of freedom, teach them a new kind of bondage.
Three, anyone who leaves should instantly be demoted to the status of ‘lost soul trapped once again by worldly desires’.

So there, with a little help, becoming a guru can be as easy as one-two-three. And if all your disciples escape in any case, then announce with deep sadness: “Nobody wants the real thing. People are not ready for the truth.” With this simple declaration, you can still continue to be right… and superior to the rest of the human race. Then you can move to another country and start again from Step 1.  

In the meantime, just be careful that you don’t bump into a real master – one who may be lovingly and insightfully using some devices just like these to transform people’s lives.

[Coming Sometime Soon: The Foolproof Guide to Being A Fake Disciple – How to suck up to your spiritual teacher, dump all responsibility for your life on him and blame him when everything goes wrong!]

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The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 1

Fake Guru Becoming a spiritual Guru is a tricky business. One wrong move, and you could end up actually having to work for a living. But with a few time-tested tricks from GD and me, you can have a spiritual empire which spans far beyond your dog and driver. So here’s the hilarious first-class pass for all those on a guru-trip!

[Disclaimer: No real gurus were harmed during the writing of this article.]

1) Invent The Big Bang:
The first thing you must create is that truly cosmos-shattering enlightenment anecdote aka The Big Bang. This is important. But what is even more important is that your enlightenment story must always be preceded by a disclaimer like, “I don’t really like to talk about this…” or “I only share this for your understanding.” And then share it as freely as a visiting card. Next, dismiss everything pre-enlightenment as a meaningless dream and choose your grandiloquent new name. Again, insist your disciples conferred it upon you out of love and respect!

2) Create ‘The Chosen Ones’:
To convert potential disciples, you need to privately say this to each one: “You have such great spiritual potential.” It does two things: one, it supports the poor bugger’s secret belief that he is a highly evolved soul. More importantly, it shows him that only you have the penetrating insight to see this, and guide him to his glorious destiny!

3) The Mystical Touch:
Tell your students what you want to give them cannot be contained in words. To add that special kundalini mystique, every once in a while during deep meditation, flap your arms like an albatross and channel moaning sounds from a galaxy far, far away. If you can’t burp up holy ash, at least wear enough crystal jewelry to make Elizabeth Taylor look like a nun.

4) Copyright Your Own Technique:
Next, copyright any ordinary technique in your name by adding the word ‘quantum’ to it. For example ‘quantum relationship yoga’, or ‘quantum argle-bargle technique’ or ‘quantum of solace method’. Explain it by randomly combining words like “fifth dimensional attunement”, “pure being” and “Archangel Zigzagel”. Finally, create a pseudo-Sanskrit Ritual Mantra ‘Oppa Ganga-namah Stile-Om’ (Translation: Oppa Gangnam Style)

5) Spread The Good Word:
Like every brand, you need a strong marketing & PR team, except you will call them ‘gullible-disciples-willing-to-work-for-free’. Virtual followers on social media are more important than real followers these days so give up-to-the-minute updates of your gloriously happy, perfect life. Since everything is part of one consciousness, feel free to recycle others’ ideas as your own (but remember to copyright your words and sell them for $13.95 in paperback).

6) Answer Every Question With ‘Absolute’ Confidence:
So what if your attempts at discourses are as shallow as monsoon puddles? Just paraphrase everything by saying things like “Don’t pay attention to my words. Listen to the silence between my words.” Remind students that even Lao Tzu admitted that the Truth cannot be spoken.

A few tips on dealing with smart-ass questioners. If you don’t know how to answer a difficult question, the first option is to shoot back: “Who is asking this question? Who wants to know?” If that doesn’t work, dive straight into the Absolute (as in the state of Being, not the Vodka). Remember this: “Pure Consciousness” is the correct answer for every question ever asked! For example:

Q: Master, my wife has left me, and I am about to shoot myself. What should I do?
A: Everything is happening in Pure Consciousness. Nothing happens outside Pure Consciousness. Pure Consciousness is all there is.
Q: Oh thank you, Master! I didn’t see that perspective! I am so small and petty.
A: Yes, you are.

If someone persists, then say with a deep sigh: “I am ready to give you enlightenment right now, but are you ready to receive it?” (If he persists in saying ‘yes’ that’s obviously ego speaking.) And if all else fails, dismiss the student as ‘too intellectual’. And recommend a month of kitchen duty to cure him of this disease.

7) Set Impossible Standards:
If anyone demands to know where they are heading, reply ‘the day you are able to surrender FULLY, you will be enlightened’. The trick is to use words like ‘completely’, ‘totally’ or ‘fully’. Because hey! What ‘fully’ actually looks like is so totally in your hands! So keep the herd running after goals like trusting fully, loving fully, serving fully and you can keep them busy for a decade at least.

If you do have occasional pangs of conscience, remember that sheep need a shepherd. If it’s gonna be somebody, might as well be you! And if the CEO of Goldman Sachs can get paid millions, why shouldn’t you? Chances are, you might actually help someone!

These tips should get your little spiritual movement off the ground. But the difficult part is yet to come – how to keep your new flock from bleating too loudly, grazing on greener pastures or jumping the fence completely. More about resolving these issues in: The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 2.