“Lessons in Discipleship” by Swami Kriyananda
Spiritual Overconfidence: Thinking of Oneself (and One’s Abilities), Rather than God
Every devotee goes through ups and downs on the path. During his ups there are times when he feels as if God were practically a hair’s breadth away. He only has a bit further to go, and he’ll be there. Everyone goes through such periods where he feels so in tune that he’s really, as it were, just racing towards heaven. Then all of a sudden that quality is lost, and the clouds roll in again, and he wonders what ever happened.
We can understand it this way: as soon as we get a divine state of consciousness, the strength of delusion is such that we take the blessing to ourselves, and think that we’re special or important. We get a little experience of God, and instead of expressing appreciation, we start to think, “Oh, I’ve got something now. I’m someone special now.” The ego comes in again, and because of this we come crashing down and have to begin all over again.
The way out is for all our energies to always be directed towards God. The true disciple is always thinking only of how he can serve God and guru more, of what more he can give. If the devotee starts to think of how he can get more experience or more realization, then he falls back into delusion. It has to be a constant giving, and in that giving, God can give us more. It’s like a closed circuit that builds up greater and greater power.