By Andy Douglas
“We’re on a mission from God.”
Proclaimed in righteous tones by John Belushi (or was it Dan Akroyd?) at a key moment in the American comedy film “The Blues Brothers,” this line of dialogue conveys the urgency, the conviction, the characters’ utter sense of being right in their hilarious, if destructive, quest to do good. They’re called to do important work – dammit! – and nothing is going to stand in their way, even if it leads to multi-car pileups.
It’s human to cling, sometimes, to a sense of stubborn righteousness, which is what makes the Brothers’ lampooning of it so funny. (And because they also represent a ‘stick it to the man’ anti-establishment attitude, we cheer, but that’s another story.)
A Buddhist teacher once remarked that when you meditate, there’s the danger that a sense of self-importance can grow. You may become obsessed with the grandeur of your practice, bolstered by your own growing sense of change. This problem has also been called spiritual materialism. The ego can as easily get enmeshed in spiritual work as in any other kind of work. Just because one is meditating, that doesn’t mean the problematic aspects of the ego go away. Continue reading