What is Nonduality
Experience Nonduality via Yoga Nidra
Starting February 1, 2018, Nonduality.com will operated by James Traverse.
Click here to go to the next issue
Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nonduality Highlights each day
How to submit material to the Highlights
#3560 - Thursday, June 10, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
From Choosing Love: How to Find True Love and
Keep It Alive by
You can read a free chapter from it at www.radicalhappiness.com.
The ego doesnt want to commit to anythinga place, a relationship, a careerbecause it believes that something better may be possible, and its willing to forgo what is present for the possibility of something better that isnt present. Essence, on the other hand, is committed to whatever is. It doesnt commit into the future because all that exists is the present, so it commits itself to that.
This is the essential difference between the ego and
Essence: The ego dreams of something better in the midst of
whatever is, while Essence simply enjoys and commits attention
and love to whatever is. In fact, committing attention to
anything that is present results in enjoyment. This is why the
ego enjoys so littleit commits attention to what isnt
present and to what it doesnt have, and suffers over that,
rather than committing attention to whatever is. It loves its
fantasies, dreams, and desires more than it loves reality.
To love, we have to fall in love with realitywith whats true right now, not with what might be true in the future or with what we want to be true in the future. Love happens in the now (like everything, really). Thats why the ego doesnt know about lovebecause love is the experience of being in the now, or the present moment, and as soon as the ego experiences the now, it runs from it. Commitment takes a willingness to fall in love with realitywith the real partner who is in front of yourather than seek something else, either actually or through fantasy. What you commit to is whats here right now. Who knows what will be here next? All you ever really have is whats here right now, so it makes sense to commit to that, in other words, to give your full attentionyour loveto that.
Those who have difficulty committing to a relationship often have difficulty committing to other things as well because they have an underlying belief, or misunderstanding, that whats here isnt good enough and whats somewhere else is better. This is the egos basic assumption about life: Whatever is happening now isnt it. It is somewhere else, with it being ultimate happiness and contentment. The ego assumes that because it perceives whatever is happening as not good enough, it is, in fact, not good enough, and it concludes that must mean theres something else that will be good enough. It imagines one day it will find peace and happiness because life will finally line up correctly. Those who cant commit are waiting for life to line up, fall into place, and theyre quite sure that doesnt look like whatever life looks like now.
The funny thing (or not so funny thing) is that life never does line up for anyone, simply because the ego wont perceive it as ever lining up. It has a habit of perceiving life as imperfect, even when its quite ideal. In any event, life isnt meant to be perfect or to fulfill the egos dreams and desires. It serves a higher purpose, one that has very little to do with the egos fantasies. Life is essentially about learning to love and learning a lot of other things too, and for this, life is likely to look less than perfect to the ego.
Life brings people into our lives for various reasons, and sometimes we have to be willing to stretch ourselves to gain what can be gained from a relationship or tap the love that is possible. Relationships, like life, arent meant to be easy, although they can be deeply rewarding. Commitment makes it possible to tap the potential of a relationship. If you give up on a relationship after the first blush is gone, you may never realize this potential. Sexual union often becomes the glue that keeps people together long enough to begin to experience true love or learn what they need to learn from each other. Nature has a way of bringing about spiritual lessons and spiritual growth. Sexual attraction is one of the ways Essence brings people together and keeps them together long enough to benefit from each other and grow.
The ego doesnt appreciate growth, and its not in relationship for that, or for love really. Its unwillingness to commit and to grow often prevents a relationship that could be a very good one from becoming that. It is forever chasing after the perfect 10, which doesnt exist. But its difficult to convince the ego of that. It believes in its fantasies. To the ego, its only a matter of time before the one shows up. Hope springs eternal.
Essence experiences the one in whomever is showing up, and thats the difference between Essence and the ego. Its possible to love whoever shows up in your life. In fact, its very wise to do that if you want to be happy. If you dont want to be happy, you will reject whoever shows up in your life. This doesnt mean you shouldnt be discriminating. Loving and saying yes to those who show up in your life doesnt mean getting sexually involved with them unless you want to. Essence says yes to themis open to thembecause it is curious. And then it is very wise about getting more involved with them. Essence commits itself to someone only when love is flowing in both directions and the relationship is rewarding on many levels. The ego, on the other hand, may commit out of sexual attraction or because some other need is met through that relationship, which is not a good basis for commitment.
Commitment naturally flows from love and appreciation of another. Its the natural outcome of love. And this love is often enough to overcome conditioning and other difficulties that might arise in the relationship. Without love, commitment is hollow; it has no basis. Without love, the foundation for the relationship wont be strong enough to weather conditioning and other difficulties.
Commitment only makes sense when there is love, but the ego isnt capable of love. It forms relationships based on needs, and thats when commitment falters. As soon as someones needs arent getting met, then the commitment is questioned. Those who are identified with the ego much of the time have a very difficult time committing, while those who are identified with Essence are able to love and therefore able to commit. Eventually everyone learns to love, but relationships can be pretty volatile when egos are in charge. Even so, because relationships provide the ego with many of the practical things it valuessex, security, affection, companionship, support, and helppeople who are in relationships for egoic reasons often end up discovering love. This is how life draws people out of the ego and into Essence.
Choosing Love will be published by Hampton Roads in 2010.
top of page