After taking a 10-day course I felt like I had just been introduced to the right way to live life. As I started to meditate regularly I started to identify a separation between myself and all of the non-meditators around me. I felt like I was walking on the right path, the path to liberation, and they were all lost. I identified as being a better person than everyone else.
This response formed partially to justify the difficult path I was walking on. Transitioning into a life with dhamma is hard, so to justify the sacrifice I was making I told myself that I was becoming a better person than everyone else. I didn’t realize that I was accidentally building up my ego at the same time that I was working to dissolve my ego.
After several years of meditation, humility has returned as I’ve become much more realistic about my location on the path. The path is very long. If liberation was like reaching Mt. Katahdin, the endpoint of a 2000 mile hiking trail named The Appalachian Trail, I would still be in Georgia within 20 miles of the starting line. While I’ve benefited from every minute I’ve meditated, I’m still just a beginner.
In addition, it seems like some people who have never meditated in their lives are further along the path than I am. Some people are just naturally strong, optimistic, loving, and compassionate. I’m realizing that meditating doesn’t make me better than anyone. It just makes me better than who I was yesterday.
If I had to start all over again I’m not sure how I would deal with this issue of the meditators ego. In some ways I’m grateful to this feeling because it motivated me to keep practicing. It seems like it might be another natural step along the path to liberation. Just realize that if this feeling comes up in you, along with everything else, it has risen to someday pass away. Time to meditate.