Those practices supposed to reduce egoism often encourage feelings of pious superiority

It would appear that the mindfulness movement is overrun by preening narcissists. Who could have guessed? A Dutch study by Roos Vonk and Anouk Visser, entitled An Exploration of Spiritual Superiority: The Paradox of Self-Enhancement, is the first to measure how people feel they’re more advanced than others in terms of wisdom, self-knowledge and psychic intuition.

An investigation involving around 3,700 people found that practices that are supposed to minimise the ego tend to enlarge it and that those who put extra effort into enhancing spirituality – mindfulness retreats, aura-reading, past life-regression – are the smuggest, most self-aggrandising and unbearable of all (I may be paraphrasing a tad there). Such people cling to unmeasurable and irrefutable claims about their innate superiority, such as greater insights into the human condition, deeper compassion for others and more advanced psychic abilities (they sense things, dontcha know!). Most of us will have come across people like this. Roughly 99% will wish that we hadn’t.

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