September 21, 2023
The dance between the ego and true happiness is a complex one. At its core, the ego often stands as a barrier to experiencing genuine joy especially in the context of intimate relationships.
Imagine someone deeply entrenched in their ego. They operate under the belief that they have a superior understanding of life, more so than others and particularly more than their partner. This need for superiority often masks a deep-seated desire for control. Their need to always be “right” and “in control” can prevent them from allowing others, even their closest partners from contributing to their happiness. This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle where they continuously seek to make themselves happy like a person trying desperately to scratch their own back where there’s always a spot they can’t reach, always a void they can’t fill on their own. Similarly, while self-pleasure might provide fleeting satisfaction it pales in comparison to the deep and shared intimacy that comes from connecting with a loving partner.
Consider the other side of this equation where there’s a person in this individual’s life, a devoted individual who genuinely desires to bring them happiness. This person finds immense joy in the happiness of their cherished loved one due to their empathic emotional connection to them. Bound by that empathy they feel a surge of joy when their partner is happy and a pang of sorrow when they’re not. Yet, when they witness their partner constantly chasing and seeking happiness and fulfillment elsewhere be it through materialistic pursuits, fleeting intimacy or other vices it doesn’t merely reduce the potential joy for the one caught in their ego. It also leaves the individual whom truly loves them feeling sidelined, their very purpose undervalued and unappreciated.
True love thrives on reciprocity. It’s in the mutual desire of wanting nothing more than the happiness of the other. When both partners engage in the dance of selfless love a magical thing happens and a positive energy reverberates between them. They start feeling each other’s joys and sorrows as if they were their own. Their energies become so aligned that they’re both committed to the happiness of the other, making selfish pursuits redundant. It’s like the difference between attempting a self-massage and the comfort of a partner’s touch. Choosing to splurge on a professional massage, focusing only on oneself, means forsaking the tenderness and care a loving partner can offer, a partner who’d willingly offer their comforting touch without expecting anything in return.
In examining the relationship between ego and happiness it’s evident that letting go of the ego is the key to genuine joy, harmony and mutual understanding. However, when the ego overshadows genuine love and deep connections, it introduces significant risks. The journey of transcending ego to embrace shared love is challenging but yields eternal and immense rewards.
True love, especially within the bounds of partnerships, whether between couples, husbands and wives goes beyond mere emotional connection. It necessitates letting go of the ego, transcending individual desires, compulsions and vices and embracing a mindset built on altruism, empathy and unity.
Consider the simple analogy of a pair. Each morning, you might reach for a ‘pair’ of shoes or put on your glasses. The term ‘pair’ signifies unity, an inseparable bond between two entities that together create something more significant than their individual selves. Take the example of scissors. A single blade is but a knife. But when two knives come together, they transform into a pair of scissors. They work in harmony, complementing each other to achieve a joint purpose. If one blade asserts its independence, claiming it doesn’t need the other, what happens? The scissors disintegrate into two separate knives, a manifestation of ego interrupting unity.
Visualize a rowboat. Here, two individuals sit, each holding an oar, with true love and shared happiness as their destination. If one, dominated by ego, starts rowing impulsively towards what they believe will bring them happiness, the boat inevitably circles, going nowhere. Worse yet, if both are entrenched in their egos, rowing independently, their efforts exponentially counteract, leading to chaos. But by setting ego aside, recognizing their interdependence and harmonizing their efforts, they move forward and their journey, regardless of the specific direction represents their shared happiness. The boat, symbolic of their relationship, sails smoothly only when navigated within their unity.
Similarly, our eyes work in tandem. If one eye decided to be proverbially rooted in ego and operate independently of the other, not only would it create an evident misalignment to any observer of said individual with an egoic eye, but their depth perception would be lost. Drawing a parallel to relationships, when one partner allows their ego to dominate, seeking independence and sidelining their significant other it produces a misaligned, ‘cross-eyed’ partnership. From an external perspective such a relationship clearly seems off-balance. More critically, the couple’s shared vision for the future becomes blurry and they move in disparate directions. The partner rooted in ego pulls the other, who might be genuinely committed to the relationship’s well-being into a whirlwind of imbalance and uncertainty.
To maintain harmony in relationships there needs to be an understanding that transcends individual identities and self-centeredness. When partners invest in a shared identity, much like the synchronized movement of eyes or the joined blades of scissors it fosters equilibrium. Imagine if both partners thought, “I give all of me to you and you give all of yourself to me.” Such mutual dedication propels the relationship towards a balanced future.
True love’s essence lies not in the externalities of our lives. It’s not about the grandeur of our homes, the brand of our cars or the amount in our bank accounts. Neither is it about our tastes in food, our choice of music, the sports we play, nor our professions. Rather, true love revolves around immersing oneself wholly into a partnership, forging an empathic bond, understanding the other’s desires and committing to fulfilling them. In this realm of unconditional love there’s no pursuit of personal happiness nor expectations of returns.
Let’s consider an everyday act like buying coffee. When you pay a barista for a cup, there’s an inherent expectation of receiving that cup, brewed to perfection. If it deviates from this expectation, discontentment arises. Similarly, when you are incessantly in pursuit of personal happiness and those plans or aspirations falter it opens a gateway to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. However, by surrendering one’s ego, by quietening the voice that emphasizes individuality and independence and entrusting your happiness to the universe, divine forces or a devoted partner, you liberate yourself from this relentless chase. Life then becomes a series of blessings that one can be eternally grateful for, as opposed to a constant tally of met or unmet expectations.
Now, imagine channeling your energy which was once devoted to self-gratification towards making your partner content. This simple act transforms the dynamics of a relationship. Your partner, rather than being ensnared in the chase for personal happiness becomes the recipient of joyous and unexpected moments which become daily affirmations of your love and care. It’s comparable to washing hands. Picture attempting to cleanse each hand without the assistance of the other, it’s an impractical and almost absurd endeavor. Just as hands clean each other most effectively when they work in tandem, couples who embrace vulnerability, set their egos aside and move beyond individualistic pursuits experience the richest and most fulfilling relationships.
The beauty of interdependence can be parallel our body’s harmony. The balance of masculine and feminine energies underlines our intrinsic need for each other and how our inherent design commands mutual reliance for a broader, holistic purpose. Think of the brain and body. A brain, while essential is rendered futile without the body’s nourishment and protection. Conversely, a body without the brain’s guidance is directionless, devoid of vision and purpose. Each is incomplete without the other. If either proclaimed its independence, claiming it could function singularly the whole would inevitably flounder. This profound interdependence underscores the vitality of unity, both within and beyond relationships. The journey of true love, thus, compels us to shed layers of ego and embrace mutual reliance.
Lessons from Balloons and Dogs
There is a popular anecdote often used in motivational talks, team-building seminars and self-help workshops to illustrate the power of collaborative effort. It is said that in a seminar filled with 500 participants a speaker orchestrated an enlightening exercise. Everyone was handed a balloon, on which they were instructed to scribble their name. These balloons were then shuffled and placed in another room. They were then later instructed to find their balloon in the other room, as participants clamored to locate their balloon in the resulting disarray none emerged successful in the first five minutes. But, a twist in instructions shifted the dynamics, instead of searching for their own balloon, they were asked to pick any balloon and hand it to the person whose name was on it. The room was soon buzzing with exchanges and swiftly every individual was united with their balloon. The resounding message was loud and clear. By emphasizing the virtues of interdependence, collaboration and the power of collective effort over looking out out for one’s self-interest it’s far easier to achieve swift harmony and receive what you’re seeking for without even looking for it.
We can then use this as an analogy in happiness within a romantic relationship. Picture your balloon as your happiness. The instinctive pursuit of one’s own balloon amidst a sea of many mirrors life’s endless distractions, be it the allure of entertainment, gourmet delights, chemical vices, festivities, novel experiences or the dizzying range of activities available to fill our time. Endlessly chasing personal joy is like that futile search for one’s own balloon, a never-ending cycle. Instead, what if we focused on finding happiness for our partners, understanding their psyche, recognizing their preferences and anticipating their needs?
Such thoughtfulness can be transformative. By immersing ourselves in our partner’s joys and alleviating their displeasures small or big we can create an empathic connection where their joy becomes our joy and their contentment our primary aim. It’s a profound realization that our true purpose isn’t to chase after our own happiness but to discover it in our unity and shared experiences with our closest loved ones.
Take dogs for instance who are often hailed as emblems of unconditional love. It’s not that dogs inherently relish the game of fetch. Instead, their repeated retrieval of the ball is a testament to their desire to please their owner. Every toss and return is a testament to their devotion. This can be compared to two partners in a true loving relationship. The act of seeking out and presenting the metaphorical ‘balloon of happiness’ to each other is like playing a joyful game of fetch. Most dogs don’t play fetch solo as they’re devoid of ego and their actions aren’t dictated by self-interest. Their unadulterated joy is simply derived from the presence and happiness of their owner. This altruistic, unconditional love dogs exude is precisely why they’re cherished by many. Their innate nature is to love and give love selflessly. In our relationships we can draw inspiration from these gentle canines focusing not on our individual desires but on the collective happiness of a shared bond with someone special.
Laser Beam of Love
In our quest for love and connection, it’s vital to understand that true love isn’t about spreading oneself thin or scattering affections in every direction. It’s about intensity, focus and depth. Genuine love functions more like the light of a laser beam than the light of a candle. While a candle’s light gently spreads in all directions, a laser beam is concentrated, emitting its brilliant light with precision.
In your pursuit to give and receive love, avoid the trap of superficiality. Offering a fragment of yourself to everyone, giving everyone a single penny ultimately leaves you poor and others scarcely enriched. In contrast, reserving and concentrating your profound love for one special individual is like gifting them a priceless gold nugget. One might ponder on the concept of limitless love, but it’s not limitless, nor is one’s time. To contextualize, consider this: is it more meaningful to have a thousand fleeting intimate moments with numerous individuals at a superficial level, or to share profound depths of a thousand intimate moments and experiences with one cherished partner over time? In both scenarios you’ve experienced a thousand moments of intimacy with another body. However, the former scatters your energy and affections, often leading to transitory connections and heartbreak for all. The latter, however, promises lasting bonds, mutual growth and the formation of a deep-rooted relationship and a possible loving a healthy stable family and lineage. This is the essence of the love laser beam, a sharply focused channel of affection.
It might be tempting to think that the specifics of whom you love are inconsequential. Yet, while it’s not about being exceedingly choosy or seeking perfection, it’s most crucial that the love is reciprocated. Mutual understanding and a shared vision for the relationship are paramount. Both partners must commit, reflecting each other’s intentions like a pair of mirrors. Both must be willing to row the proverbial relationship boat in the same direction. Should one partner drift into the realm of ego or lose sight of the shared journey, the relationship may falter. Yet, even in such scenarios, the power of true love offers a way back, by shedding the cloak of ego, embracing vulnerability and refocusing that laser beam of love to shine on each other.
In essence, the path to shared contentment lies not in chasing personal joys but in seeking happiness for that one cherished individual. When two souls decide to channel their energies into each other, to be each other’s unwavering love laser beams is when the magic unfolds. Such a union thrives on connection, unity and mutual vulnerability. So, let go of scattered pursuits and focus on that singular bond. When two individuals commit to illuminating each other’s paths they journey together toward shared happiness and a love story that stands the test of time.