To achieve great wealth and power in a human lifetime, one must be almost single-minded in such a pursuit, desiring these things above everything else. These wants are driven by the ego — the gratification of rising above and having dominion over others. The satisfaction derives from the mistaken notion that greatness in one’s lifetime makes one superior to their fellow man.
But human achievement is not equal to spiritual achievement. In fact, one usually precludes the other. The more one appeases the ego, the less one is able to develop spiritually.
Observe the very rich, the very powerful — politicians and kings, religious leaders and giants of industry. It is easy to recognize how disconnected many of them are from the purest part of their own souls.
They fill the void with the spiritual equivalent of empty calories – material goods, status, , with the game of bending others to their will. And although they may have greater ability to shape the world to their whim and even direct the course of history, once on the other side they hold no special status except as having been a tool to move along the story of humankind; a tool of the universe.
However the desire for greatness is not the only way in which humans cater to the ego. Submission to any of the various manifestations of the self — insecurity, fear, guilt, desire, grief, anger, pain — prevents the soul from ascending, from connecting with the greater universe. This is what blocks the soul’s path to true peace
To covet anything –even serenity and spirituality — is to accede to the ego.
sculpture by Russian artist Nikolai Aldunin