How Not to Be An Asshole

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: Why do some people act like assholes much of the time?

A: The problem is that they spend their time in asshole consciousness. What is asshole consciousness? We describe this in our article, “The Nine Stages of Personal and Spiritual Growth.” We excerpt from the article: the nine stages are explained below:


When you regard human beings, there are nine stages of personal and spiritual development. These are:

  1. Degenerate – These are the layers of criminality and insanity to which human beings can embody, when they are functioning at their worst.
  2. Ego-driven – At this level, people’s personal desires are primary drivers of their behavior.
  3. Conscience-overshadowed – This level is focused on reformation of character and overcoming the excesses of the ego.
  4. Self-direction – People functioning at this level set goals and make plans to actualize their dreams.
  5. Receptivity to the Superconscious mind – Those that access this level are able to activate the cords of faith and intuition to receive emotional comfort, guidance, and insights into the nature of Ultimate Reality. This marks the beginning of the aspirant or seeker phase of spirituality.
  6. Mystic awakening – Those that operate at this level awaken as the attentional principle, the spirit, and/or their Soul. These ones become capable of depth meditation and inner work.
  7. Higher integration – These individuals align with their Soul Purpose and begin to express it in human life. The Soul actively guides their daily life.
  8. Accelerated spiritual evolution – These intrepid individuals use transformational methods to travel through the seven stages of the spiritual Path—Subtle, Planetary, Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, aligned Transcendental Path, and the Bridge Path, T6, and T7 to the Infinite Stage (Param Moksha Desh). This is the disciplic phase of spirituality.
  9. Divine Empowerment – These individuals complete their spiritual development and ascend to the stage of Mastery in their tradition. The Divine empowers them to minister, teach, guide, and initiate others.

People who reach level five can entertain the concepts of spirituality. For these individuals, Mudrashram® has articles, webinars, and books to help educate them about spirituality. To bridge from this stage of development to the stage where they can begin to do conscious inner work, we have put into place the Introduction to Meditation Program.

Those who reach level six, Mystic Awakening, can begin to actually practice meditation. These ones can take and benefit from one of our intermediate mediation courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or the by-mail or online Accelerated Meditation Program.

In Mudrashram®, we actively guide people through stages seven through nine. We have students who have already reached Param Moksha Desh, and are beginning to develop their capacity to function as an Initiate in our tradition, which we call an Adi Sat Guru or Multiplane Master.

For those who are focused on reformation and recovery at stage three, we have coaching courses that will assist those who are recovering from addiction, working on overcoming the issues of growing up in a dysfunctional family or abusive relationship, or seeking to return to normal functioning and healthy spirituality after involvement in a cultic group.

For those currently established in stage four, who are developing the potentials of the Self, we have our Life Coaching Program to assist them rehabilitate their ability to function at their best and achieve their goals. These individuals can also benefit from taking the Introduction to Meditation Program, which teaches them how to turn on and utilize the executive functions of their personality.

Those who are polarized at the level of the ego, stage one and two, perhaps only truly grasping the consequences of continuing to function at this level can change them. Those who do break out of this armored mindset, typically do so through religious conversion and repentance, and resolve to change and reform themselves.

In Christianity, there is an outreach to “preach the gospel,” to evangelize those who are operating in the “sinful” mindset of the ego, and lead them to a life based on moral principles and faith in God—there are similar roles that other religions play to reach and reform those who operate in these two lowest strata of personal functioning…


Stages one and two comprise the zone of asshole consciousness.

For people to move out of being “living demons”—criminals and monsters capable of committing atrocities and horrific crimes against other people—they need to find legal and socially acceptable means to achieve what they desire without harming, threatening, or manipulating others.

For people to break out of the defensive prison of egoic polarization, they need to gain insight into how they are wasting their life and how they are harming themselves and others through their speech and actions. They have to decide to stop doing this behavior and let go of their arrogant attitude, and become willing to be corrected.

Asshole Consciousness

Some of the markers of asshole consciousness include:

  • Not caring about other people’s feelings or welfare, only caring for yourself (selfishness)
  • Having a sense of entitlement to obtain whatever you desire, and to get it through any means fair or foul, regardless of whether others are harmed or exploited (greed)
  • Having a sense of entitlement to enjoy sexual pleasure with whomever you are attracted, using them to obtain sexual release, and then abandoning them (lust)
  • Having the desire to acquire far more than you need to show yourself as successful and wealthy and to compete with others to show you are superior (attachment)
  • Expecting others will fulfill your every wish, will always agree with you, and will always give you everything you want without resistance or complaint (narcissism)
  • Expressing rage at others if your desires are thwarted or hindered in any way (egotistic anger)
  • Considering yourself to be far superior, much more intelligent and important that others, and treating others without respect—even being rude, cruel, and abusive to them (arrogance)

In mystic poetry, the person who is locked into these two stages of egoic polarization is pictured as living in a prison. The system of defenses locks their awareness in the Conscious mind, and makes them unable to transcend this band of the mind.

The ego has six personal layers:

  1. Behavioral – this is the ability to use the vehicles of the Conscious mind; the egoic octave of your volition operates here.
  2. Motivational – this is the array of desire images that drives your behavior from the ego.
  3. Ego identity and roles – these are the “I AM statements” you make about the roles you play—for example, as a worker, parent, or a member of a political or religious group. At this level, you are actively engaged in pursuing your desires, and you are aware of your behavior, emotions, thoughts, and motivation that operate in this role. [Those who meditate upon this layer of roles discover that each of these roles operate to fulfill some aspect of desire.]
  4. Life narrative – This is the story you tell yourself about what you have achieved in your life. When you are functioning in asshole consciousness, you may highlight and exaggerate your successes and achievements; and minimize, omit, or lie about your deficiencies or failures.
  5. The layers of defenses – This defensive layer holds your core pain, shame, and fear out of your awareness, and lets you maintain the illusion that you are invincible, you are always right, you are superior to anyone else, and you are entitled to instantly have whatever you want.
  6. The Shadow or Personal Unconscious – This is the repository of your painful feelings you hide from others, the secrets you do not want to reveal to others. For you to transcend egoic polarization, you need to disarm your defenses, to re-own your inner woundedness—to tell the truth about these feelings and stop pushing them away—and decide to stop being an asshole.

Undergoing psychotherapy or having a religious conversion facilitates this gradual transition to the place where you are able to inventory your character flaws and begin to transform them.

An evocative exercise to help you begin to dissolve these negative components of asshole consciousness is called the Renunciation Meditation.

Imagine that there is an inner flame, an Altar of Sacrifice, behind your ego—from which your ego ultimately arises. By meditating on this lighted flame, you will come to understand how this negative construction of the ego arises, and how these layers of negativity are dissolved. Holding your attention on this inner flame reveals the following defensive layers of the ego:

  • Resistance and limits – This layer sets boundaries and keeps people away from your core of pain and shame. Typical statements that come from this layer are, “Stay away from me! Stop that!”
  • Anxiety – You feel worried that someone will come to know your secrets, the things about which you feel ashamed—and will make you experience what you fear. You might feel worry and fear arising at this level and feel like your world is falling apart.
  • Projection – When you can’t accept what others say about you, you may attribute it to them. You might say, “You are to blame! It is you who are the angry one!”
  • Introjection – At his layer, you get into touch with the statements others have said to you or you have said to yourself that make you feel badly—ashamed, inferior, unworthy, or incompetent. This layer brings up statements like, “I really am no good! I’m a jerk!”
  • Regression – If your normal defenses do not protect you, you may go into earlier ways of defending yourself—you begin to act in ways that you used when you were younger, even going back to the way you acted when you were a child. You might have a temper tantrum, for example, or begin throwing things at other people.
  • Denial, paralysis, and shock – At this layer, your defenses begin to break down. You feel that others are going to be able to see what you have been hiding and will hate you, shame you, and reject you. Statements that signal you are broaching this layer are, “This isn’t happening! This is a nightmare!”
  • Surrender – At the core of this layer of defenses, you can no longer hide your shame, your pain, your fear, your rage, and your self-hatred. You feel in this inmost layer of your defenses like giving up and surrendering. You feel you can no longer fight against the world, and you surrender. This moment of surrender allows Love and Grace to touch you and heal you.

As you dissolve this negative armoring over the ego, it will begin to domesticate. You will begin to jettison your asshole consciousness piece by piece, and you will begin to act with honor, integrity, kindness, and consideration for others. You will develop a genuine humility, and feel gratitude for the blessings of life.

If you hold your attention on this inner altar until your ego’s defenses are exhausted and it surrenders, you will open the portal to your conscience, your Higher Self, and the Divine—this will allow the character reformation of the third stage of personal growth to occur. As you let go of the tenacious defensiveness, narcissism, and manipulation that asshole consciousness embodies, you will begin to bring forward your better nature—a kinder and gentler you that was veiled behind the self-constructed walls that have kept out love and healing for far too long.

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