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by David Truman
Chapter 7 - Love Over Ego
• The battle of ego vs. love
The battle of ego vs. love
Inside every human being, two opposing forces battle against one another: love and ego. Each has its own agenda, suggestions, and ideas, and they are almost always opposite. It's up to us to choose which we will allow to govern our lives.
The force of love
Love draws us toward the good. It moves us to be kind and sensitive at all times, and it admonishes us when we are unkind or neglectful. It is not manners or upbringing, but the force of love in us that makes us feel so uneasy with being angry, rude, reactive, jumpy, or paranoid.
Every heart is sensitive to love's requirements. Even if no outer voice called on us to love, we would call on ourselves. Our conscience is love's voice speaking from within.
For example: Your sister breaks your favorite glass while washing the dishes. You start to scold her because you are angry, but you don't get too far before you notice she looks awfully hurt, and she starts to cry. Suddenly the wind goes out of the sails of vengeance, and you find yourself wishing to offer comfort. You apologize for making such a big deal out of it. Once more, the sensitivity of the human heart has enforced love's rule.
The force of ego
But to ego, love is dangerous. The painful parts of love are threatening, and so are the good parts. Rejection and conflict can be threatening, in the sense that they create pain—and no one likes pain.
But then so are commitment, surrender, and trust. Even pleasure threatens ego, particularly great pleasure. A lot of love is too much for ego. Too much to give. Too much to take. If ever love raises its beautiful head too high, ego gets uncomfortable, and reacts in ugly ways, because it knows that if love rules in our hearts and minds, egoism is out.
"Too much love" begins to call ego's ways—selfishness, self-protection, fear, doubt, defense and offense—into question. Wherever that love light shines, all such junk sticks out like a sore thumb.
So, ego not only fears that loving will result in hurt, it also fears that if we love too deeply, too happily, we will abandon the ego-concept (of separation and self-protection) altogether. Ego fears its undoing in love.
Love: the purifying fire
And ego is reasonable to fear love, because the truth is, if we were to let love run its natural course, it would eliminate egoism from our lives and mentality altogether.
True love is like a great fire that arises in our hearts. If it is allowed to burn high enough, it will melt down the walls, the separation, the distance. It will bring about a fusion of souls, and give us an awareness and experience of our unity, our togetherness, our connectedness.
This is true in great friendships as well as in great romance. Wherever love is true, unity and togetherness are!
It's like this: Two or more souls, when you rub them together, make a spark. If you feed that spark with activity, energy, and attention, the spark becomes a flame. That flame grows bigger and bigger, and pretty soon, we have a fire!
It heats up not only ourselves—our hearts, our lives, our emotions—but the whole space around us. It affects everyone we meet. It spreads like wildfire! A love flame, once ignited, gradually grows into a full-blown forest fire. Or at the very least, it tends to do so. But, not against our will. And the fuel of love, desire, surrender, and care are needed to power it.
Once ignited, a love fire will start to burn up all the pain, the negativity, the ego-garbage that burdens our lives and souls. Just like a forest fire, it starts by burning up the little stuff. For example, a person newly in love will start noticing their selfish and destructive habits, and want to change them.
Then, add a little wind, a little fuel, and the fire takes off. Under favorable conditions, it soon reaches a critical mass, and the forest fire actually becomes a vortex, a firestorm. It generates huge wind, a wind that blows from all directions into its fiery core. That vortex sucks in everything that isn't bolted down, and burns it up. Then, with huge convection power, it shoots the ashes of all it has consumed way up into the sky—into the heavens.
That's what happens to ego when we let our selves and lives be directed by love. A love fire, once inflamed, starts to melt down ego and everything else. It starts sucking everything into itself. It calls for more! It calls for letting go of everything one usually clings to. Selfishness is sucked in. Fear is sucked in. Doubt. Cruelty. Indiscipline. Self-destruction. Insecurity. Mistaken identity. It consumes our ego-identity, and shoots the remains up into the heavens—and what is left is who we really are.
If you want to purify silver, you put it into the hottest part of a fire. Gradually, the impurities are burned away, until all that's left is pure silver. Love does the same with us. It burns away everything that we are not, and leaves only our pure selves.
Ego tries to regain control
Once begun, love has a life of its own. It brings into play higher forces than we contain—Divine forces. And because of that, one gets the feeling that things are running out of control. The last thing ego wants!
The sense of impending doom causes ego to hang on tight to who it thinks we are. That's when people start to pull out of relationships, have second thoughts, insert all kinds of doubts, freak out, withdraw. At this point, people will feel things like: "I'm losing my center. I need to get out of this." "Can I really trust this person with so much of my heart?" "I'm not ready for love. This is too big a deal."
If you are thinking about commitment, watch out—not for love, but for ego. You can expect it to express terror of imminent love in urgent outbursts:
"Stop! Don't do it! You can't promise your love. You might change your mind. Besides, you're not that loving anyway. Be true to yourself. You have to be able to disengage at will—how are you going to feel about doing that if you've committed yourself? Don't risk it!"
Keenly aware that in this day and age, freedom and autonomy sell soap, ego plunges confidently ahead:
"And what about your freedom? You don't want to be tied up, do you? Don't sign your soul away! What about your independence? Don't you want to enjoy yourself? What about your dreams, your plans, your fantasies? If your future belongs to anyone else, you will have no life for yourself! That person is trying to trap you, make you a slave! Don't be a fool!"
Of course it is wise to be aware, but it's foolish to be paranoid, acting on blind fear. The most important thing to be careful about is ego. You will begin to observe how everything it does amounts to the attempt to ruin your life by keeping you from closeness. Watch it carefully, and you will see the method to its madness.
Ego's habit of freaking out, withdrawing, fearing, etc. keeps much of the available fuel—which is, essentially, love, recognition, attention, energy, whole-heartedness, true commitment—out of love's fire. Usually, it will allow a certain amount of fuel to be thrown into the fire, but no more—thus, keeping the relationship at a "comfortable," controllable, mediocre level. Or in other cases, one might pull out completely, refusing to give anything to the relationship in terms of time, care, energy. And then, obviously, the fire will go out. That's how many relationships die.
Cold feet, retractions, blowing hot and cold—it's all ego's efforts to re-stabilize, once the illusion of separateness has been threatened by love's fire. Ego's trying to put the love fire out, so it can continue to "live."
Ego uses the past to discredit love
One of ego's dirtiest tricks is to use the past—both positive and negative—to justify avoiding love, or ruining it. It knows how to make effective use of both glowing and gloomy memories to squelch love. If something isn't as appealing as something that happened before, ego whispers, "You can do better than this! Don't bother with it." On the other hand, if something happens that seems better than anything before, it says, "Fat chance! Where's the hitch here? Anything that seems this good is bound to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Don't get sucked in!"
Ego likes us to think that love is dangerous and heartbreaking. It tries to interpret the past in such a way as to support that idea. But in truth, it was never love that caused us pain and problems—it was ego. Think about all the times when things went wrong. In each instance of pain or disappointment, exactly what caused the problem? Surely it was not love, but the insufficiency of it.
Further, consider the more beautiful events of the past. What made those most pleasurable and memorable events beautiful? The chances are excellent it was love.
Unity is nothing to fear
To be willing for Big Love, the only thing people need to know is there's no harm in Unity—there is only the undoing of separative mentality, and the suffering that separative mentality spawns every day. This truth needs to be pointed out, seen, and experienced.
Many people fear that love, unity, joining, blending, will destroy their individuality—extinguish their selves. And there is no blame for that fear. It is an innocent failure to realize the fact that Unity and individuality are compatible. In fact, when a person is unified, their beautiful, unique qualities flourish. Just as a flower needs to remain rooted in the earth to bloom, and grow, and be itself, we need to be rooted in one another, and in the big I-of-all, to bloom, grow, and be ourselves. But we don't usually know that (much less have enough faith in it to bet our lives on it). So we resist the love-fire (which is, indeed a meltdown into Unity). We douse the fire.
Let it burn
If you would be truly free, and if you would fully love, then feed love's fire. Be in the fire. Push the edges, walk over the boundaries. Then, although you will maintain your individuality, you will be very much of One Mind. And you will function together with the beloved, rather than separately. You can feel that, because it is the Truth about love.
So, when lightning strikes, and a forest fire of love flares up, let it burn freely. Forest fires are natural, you know. They've always been. And they're useful: they clear out the dead underbrush.
Love's fire, too, is natural. It clears away the dead wood of selfish living. It clears away the obstructive, choking underbrush of alienation. Soon, if we only allow the awesome forest fire of natural love to freely burn, we won't have so many complications to worry about in life. Love's fire will take care of the dead wood for us. And we will just be here, as we are—feeding this never-ending, ever-blending fire.
Now, friends, you know about the awesome refiner's fire of natural love. How it works; what it does; and where is it heading. Use that knowledge of Big Love—and your experience of it—as a reference point by which to put ego's fear in proper perspective. Forget ego, and give your all to real love. Invest big, love large, where big possibility for love-fusion is realizable. Offer Big Love wherever it may be welcome, and accept it as it offers itself.
It is okay by the True Self that love takes us over. It is okay by the True Self that we move into our real Nature: togetherness, unity, passion, desire, at-one-ness. We are all of that Nature. And the True Self knows that Nature will not hurt us, because it is us. We are bigger than the walls of the body container, by far. This is why we can say, "Friends, whatever blends, the chord is you"—and mean it.
by David Truman
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