Pride is a formidable block on the road of spirituality. When it rears its ugly head it’s painstakingly obvious – to ourselves and others. We may deny it, cover it up or justify it, but deep down we know something is out of tune. A mentor once told me that there is a fine net covering the spiritual reality, and only those who become small enough to fit through the holes can access it. Hard as they try, the big-headed inevitably get stuck. There is no room for pride in the life of a progressive spiritualist.
1) A proud person can’t LAST – pride generates destructive thoughts, words and actions, erecting huge barriers in our relationships. It’s a corrosive disease which makes people rude, arrogant and practically impossible to joyfully get along with. It prevents us from deeply connecting with spiritual company, without which there is no question of spiritual progression. If we can’t appreciate the people around us, we’ll lose them. Time and time again we observe how proud people, sooner or later, lose their enthusiasm to continue.
And even if they do continue, consider:
2) A proud person can’t LEARN – in colloquial English we say a proud person is “full of it.” It’s a graphic term – there is no space to insert anything new. Pride, and the stubbornness which accompanies it, blocks us from discovering, improving, transforming and evolving. Not only does pride create artificiality, but it maintains it and breeds it. Proud people never really develop any substance. After years and years of spiritual practice, they find they haven’t actually learnt that much.
And even if they do learn many things, consider:
3) A proud person can’t LOVE – pride transforms us into little gods ruling over our imaginary kingdoms. The thought of being a servant becomes more and more alien, creating a disposition fueled by expectation and demands. It is the spirit of selflessness, however, which is the foundation upon which deep loving relationships are built. While we are unable to genuinely place ourselves in the humble position, we’ll find our connections with man and God remain superficial, mundane and unsatisfying.
At every step of the journey, we have to look within and introspect. If we are proud we can’t last, we can’t learn, and ultimately, we can’t love.
A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)