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#3560 - Thursday, June 10, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -          


From Choosing Love: How to Find True Love and Keep It Alive by Gina Lake, which can be purchased on 


You can read a free chapter from it at

The ego doesn’t want to commit to anything—a place, a relationship, a career—because it believes that something better may be possible, and it’s willing to forgo what is present for the possibility of something better that isn’t present. Essence, on the other hand, is committed to whatever is. It doesn’t 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 little—it commits attention to what isn’t present and to what it doesn’t 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 reality—with what’s 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). That’s why the ego doesn’t know about love—because 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 reality—with the real partner who is in front of you—rather than seek something else, either actually or through fantasy. What you commit to is what’s here right now. Who knows what will be here next? All you ever really have is what’s here right now, so it makes sense to commit to that, in other words, to give your full attention—your love—to 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 what’s here isn’t good enough and what’s somewhere else is better. This is the ego’s basic assumption about life: Whatever is happening now isn’t 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 there’s 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 can’t commit are waiting for life to line up, fall into place, and they’re quite sure that doesn’t 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 won’t perceive it as ever “lining up.” It has a habit of perceiving life as imperfect, even when it’s quite ideal. In any event, life isn’t meant to be perfect or to fulfill the ego’s dreams and desires. It serves a higher purpose, one that has very little to do with the ego’s 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, aren’t 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 doesn’t appreciate growth, and it’s 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 doesn’t exist. But it’s difficult to convince the ego of that. It believes in its fantasies. To the ego, it’s only a matter of time before “the one” shows up. Hope springs eternal.

Essence experiences “the one” in whomever is showing up, and that’s the difference between Essence and the ego. It’s possible to love whoever shows up in your life. In fact, it’s very wise to do that if you want to be happy. If you don’t want to be happy, you will reject whoever shows up in your life. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be discriminating. Loving and saying yes to those who show up in your life doesn’t mean getting sexually involved with them unless you want to. Essence says yes to them—is open to them—because 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. It’s 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 won’t be strong enough to weather conditioning and other difficulties.

Commitment only makes sense when there is love, but the ego isn’t capable of love. It forms relationships based on needs, and that’s when commitment falters. As soon as someone’s needs aren’t 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 values—sex, security, affection, companionship, support, and help—people 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.

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