As promised -- a continuation of “crazy wisdom” as applied to relationships... LOL
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-=[ Ego & Essence in Relationships ]=-
“People say, ‘I want love.’ Take away ego (I), and desire, (want) and what are you left with?”
Yesterday I received two communiqués from friends on the frontline of love. Why they try me, when I don’t even own a cat is beyond me. Maybe it’s because they think I’m smart, or because of my background in psychology, I dunno. In any case, both were in pain.
It’s funny because I was reading some interesting material that I feel bears on this whole relationship thingee. As some of you know, stages of moral reasoning hold a deep interest for me and it dovetails well with relationships. If we can picture love as a light, then as that light passes through us, it’s filtered according to what level of moral reasoning you’ve attained. At one end of the spectrum, there’s relating from an ego-centered perspective, at the other there’s a spiritual or essence-centered perspective. Both have huge implications of how and who and why we love. Perhaps you can think about this the next time you’re out on the front lines bleeding out...
First, ever notice how people often say, “I am angry,” or, “I am sad,” but almost never say “I am love”?
The major characteristic of ego is a sense of being separate and “unique.” To relate from an ego-centered perspective to experience love as a want -- something to fill that hole you feel at the core of being. Loving in this sense is grasping, clinging.
Relating from an ego-centered perspective is like making the commitment to turn your lover into an emblem of your sense of unworthiness, and to use that individual as a justification to forget who you really are. It’s a determination to make someone else your Higher Power -- to see them as the source of your happiness, security, sense of well-being.
In that way, it is almost certain you will blame them for the feelings of unworthiness, insecurity, lack of fulfillment, anger and discontentment that you feel. It’s always him who makes you unhappy. If only she could be the way you want her to be, you would feel better.
Egoic love is like taking a vow to use the relationship to practice and perfect your ability to judge and project. Self-centered relating is giving to get, and solidifying your perception of yourself as a powerless victim. Relating from an ego-centered, lower-stage moral standpoint is valuing the form of your relationship over its content, and to focus your energy on whether or not the other is living up to your needs as you have defined them. In this way, as long as your lover fulfills the desires and demands of your ego, you will love her and be nice to her. When they don’t, you will feel justified in criticizing and attacking him, manipulating him and trying to change and control him. You will use the relationship to practice your belief that safety lies in separation, in keeping secrets, in being defensive and attacking or withdrawing when you feel scared.
In this way, you assure that you will emerge from the relationship more angry, despairing, cynical, defensive, hopeless and convinced of your guilt (and his/ hers) than when you entered it.
Spirit, or Essence, for me is about the original self -- a higher self -- before all the garbage created in order to perfect the walls of our egos. Ego-centered relating is based on fear; essence-centered relating is grounded in love. It’s another way at pointing at our spiritual nature. We experience our essence in those moments when we become translucent enough to allow the light of love shine through us with the barest of distortion. From a moral reasoning development perspective, essence is relating from a worldcentric perspective, where the sense of separateness that marks ego-centered relating is absent.
Essence demands you deepen your acceptance of your own true nature as Love itself and using that as the ground from which you engage in love with your lover. It is committing to see your lover as a reflection of The Sacred, and think of her as a beloved companion here to help you wake up to the sanctity of existence. From this perspective, it is committing to join with your lover in healing whatever defenses come up in order to experience love.
In cultivating your capacity for unconditional acceptance, forgiveness, kindness, compassion and trust, you surrender your judgments and pave the way to see him as innocent and entirely lovable. In this way you may come to know yourself as the same. Essence leads you to focus on nurturing the content of the relationship, honoring her by doing your best to relate from a place of honesty and kindness. Where you see something lacking, you look to what you could give, instead of looking for what could be.
Resisting the temptation to control in order to avoid facing your own pain, essence will direct you to commit to stopping when confronted your own wounds and instead explore the true nature of your hurt. This can be scary because in sharing your process with another, you’re asking for support in opening your heart and in that way, surrender living under the thrall of your inner fears.
This sounds like a tall order, but it is infinitely more rewarding and healthier than anything you may have tried in the past. Relating from Essence is like returning home into the heart of Love together. It’s coming to the realization that through our relationships we may become our truest Self: free, whole, at ease, and capable of loving without condition.