Ego in Relationship

Most relationships tend to make the participants less happy, less free, and less powerful.  Why is that?

As this excellent interview with Nityama postulates, most of our relationships are built upon the foundational purposes that serve to avoid consciousness, instead of deepening and manifesting it.*

Why would we do that?

Eastern spiritual traditions tend to label the “ego” as the root of all evil. What is the ego?

For the answer to that we turn to the undisputed source off all spiritual wisdom, Wikipedia:

“In spirituality, and especially nondual, mystical and eastern meditative traditions, individual existence is often described as a kind of illusion. This “sense of doership” or sense of individual existence is that part which believes it is the human being, and believes it must fight for itself in the world, is ultimately unaware and unconscious of its own true nature. The ego is often associated with mind and the sense of time, which compulsively thinks in order to be assured of its future existence, rather than simply knowing its own self and the present.

The spiritual goal of many traditions involves the dissolving of the ego, allowing self-knowledge of one’s own true nature to become experienced and enacted in the world. This is variously known as Enlightenment, Nirvana, Fana, Presence, and the “Here and Now”.

Eckhart Tolle comments that, to the extent that the ego is present in an individual, that individual is somewhat insane psychologically, in reference to the ego’s nature as compulsively hyper-active and compulsively (and pathologically) self-centered. However, since this is the norm, it goes unrecognised as the source of much that could be classified as insane behavior in everyday life. In South Asian traditions, the state of being trapped in the illusory belief that one is the ego is known as maya or samsara.” – Wikipedia (emphasis added)

A friend recently told me, “I want to know I am special in a relationship.” Normal enough request, is it not?

But, what is it that wants to know it is ‘special’? Who is that which is speaking as ‘I’?  You guessed it, the ego.

This sentence betrays a few different beliefs:

  1. The object of relating is to receive (as opposed to manifesting or embodying) the energy of love.
  2. The “I” requires external confirmation of its own existence and importance.
  3. The “I” needs confirmation for itself that it is more than the confirmation given to other beings in existence.

What are the fears that these statements are based upon?

  • Fear of lack of love.
  • Fear of not being important enough.
  • Fear of others being ‘more special’ than oneself.
  • Fear of being abandoned…and many others

Fear constricts natural flow of energy.  This constriction can reduce total life energy flow.

In a transcendent state, it immediately becomes obvious that all of these fears and beliefs are utterly nonsensical.

  • There can’t ever be a lack of love. We are love. There is only love.
  • We can’t ever be ‘important’ or ‘non-important’. We just ‘are’. And that is infinite and sufficient and true.
  • No one can ever be ‘more special’ than I. In fact, no one can ever be really separate from ‘I’. All is ‘I’. So this is a double fallacy.

Participants in a relating may not have yet reached an egoless and transcendent state, but how can we create, foster, and remain open for relatings which stimulate our growth and consciousness, instead of hinder them?

Really, the only path is to invite awareness and consciousness into the interaction, instead of finding ways to reduce the consciousness of the interaction.

Doing so will be both painful and existentially-threatening for the ego, which, if we are identified with, will feel like the onset of suicidal death for us.

The advantage of inviting consciousness through relating is that we cannot as easily hide or run from the truths being presented. The danger is that it may be the stimulus for a level of pain which causes us to run even deeper into our neurosis and illogicity.

This pain comes up in virtually every relationship (which makes it easy to understand why relationships fail, over the short or long term). If the participants are unaware of the ego, at some point, the relating feels like death…like dying. The fear that the feeling of death stimulates motivates to leave the relationship at all costs–anything feels better than death, after all. At least that is what the ego thinks.

To be continued…with the answers to the following questions:

Is it possible to have an egoless relating? If so, how? And what would that look like.


* I suspect that is why, deep down, many spiritual people are alone rather than in committed relationships. They see that to commit would be be a compromise, but they don’t yet see an effective model that would allow them unlimited spiritual growth. Indeed, this is true because a model, by very definition, is a conceptual framework, and the limitations of a conceptual framework will quickly become evident in a real relating between two infinite souls when exposed to the dance of the infinite energy of shakti and infinite consciousness of shiva.

About Ryan Orrock

Ryan works with power and sexuality to help people get what they want.

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