My reflections on deluded pride

Last week, I attended a meditation class on “deluded pride”, which set me thinking & reflecting till today. “Deluded pride” was defined as a deluded mental factor that observes our good qualities or possession, exaggerates them, and feels arrogant. It was described as one of the main delusions in mankind, alongside anger, desirous attachment, jealousy and many more.

I can’t help but wonder, to what extent do I hold “deluded pride” within myself?

Often, the instinctive response at first sight is to brush aside all these delusions, thinking “this is not applicable to me, surely I don’t hold any deluded pride”. It is uncomfortable to even entertain the possibility that “I have deluded pride within me, for example…”. But by acknowledging that I may have deluded pride within me, it is an essential step for me to courageously look inwards and heal.

Masters confirmed that it is common for all human beings to hold a certain level of deluded pride within us, unless & until we transcend beyond all notions of duality between self and others.

Often, the beliefs that we have taken on from others, shape within us the innate desire to want to feel or be seen as better than others. Growing up, it is common for families & teachers to inculcate within us the values of competing with others & striving for success. No one wants to be seen as a failure; everyone wants to win. For example, it is common for parents to compare among their children, between their children & cousins, between themselves & their relatives / colleagues / neighbours. The list is endless. Almost everything under the sun – every good quality & possession can be the subject of comparison, such as academic results, jobs, marital status, number of children, wealth, house, cars, clothes, physical looks, status & reputation.

We need to be mindful of any deluded pride within us, because it harms us like an unseen poison.

The first disadvantage that really struck a chord with me was that it stagnates learning & progress. For example, if I feel that I have mastered it all as an in-house legal counsel, why will I bother to pick up new legal knowledge? Or if I feel that I have understood spiritual concepts taught on the chakra system, spiritual awakening or the concept of emptiness, why will I need to learn all these further? When others share with me on subjects that I already have some knowledge, my deluded pride will block me from re-learning, internalising & growing through others. Therefore, with deluded pride, we may end up living in a bubble: disconnected with others & the reality, and even further apart from our own untapped infinite potential residing within.

The second disadvantage is that it leads to the inability to take constructive criticism from others. When we hold inflated views of ourselves, and others remind us of the issues within us to heal & release, we get easily upset. Instead of looking within to reflect if there is any truth & learning, we react & retaliate back, launching a barrage of criticisms against that person. Over time, this makes it difficult, and even impossible, for any one to point out our faults.

The third disadvantage is that any confidence that we derive from deluded pride is easily shattered. When others come along with better qualities & possessions than we do, we feel upset, aggrieved and demoralised. When no one shares the same exalted view of ourselves as we do, we feel unhappy. As the confidence is not built on firm foundations, it is easily crushed by ourselves & others.

Often, the first step to healing is awareness.

It is difficult to heal if we cannot identify the delusion in question. It is also difficult to heal if we engage in an intellectual understanding, but not a deeper heartfelt internalisation, of the delusion. A useful analogy is like reading medical prescriptions & hoping to get cured from the illness.

We hope the above sharing is helpful. Our intention of sharing is to invite everyone to consider this delusion, to expand our hearts & minds to be aware of it, and to hopefully work on it one day.

Blessings be to All! ❤

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