The ego can turn anything to its own use, including spirituality.
Without acknowledging your ‘shadow’ attributes and becoming wise as to how ego perpetuates its own existence (through separation & conflict), you will always be susceptible to a takeover by the less palatable aspects of your personality, no matter how spiritual you think you are.
Awakening to our own God-like nature can cause ego to erroneously believe it is God itself. This psychological distortion must be nipped in the bud to avoid ego becoming over-inflated and developing more serious adaptations, such as a messiah/saviour complex.
Inflation of self is often ego’s last-ditch attempt to cling to life before it is overcome (through a process of alchemical transformation) by the awakening inner divine.
If the self has not been adequately developed, however, and the psyche is weak, the transformation process is stymied and ego’s programme of superiority is maintained until a counter-belief is introduced.
Over-inflation of ego is not uncommon, especially in the West where spiritual misunderstandings are rife due to a lack of cultural connection to spirit.
This is why an experienced guide/teacher and/or psychotherapist is essential when embarking on a spiritual quest.
Colonising ego with spiritual teachings is a subtle and precise process that requires one to develop microscopic inner ‘sight’ combined with the ability to cauterize psychological distortions as they arise.
“Walking the spiritual path properly is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centred version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This fundamental distortion may be referred to as spiritual materialism.”Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche