UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young
Love begins at home and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in that action.
– Mother Teresa
Love is a very pure form of energy but when filtered through the prism of ego, it can become distorted and even contaminated. While great harm has been done in the name of love, it had nothing to do with love.
Love is the ultimate energy of the universe. It is like a sun that always shines and we can choose to bask in it or we can go inward to a place of darkness and shadows. When ego chooses darkness, it blames others for lack of love, which is like going into a windowless basement on a sunny day and complaining of the lack of light.
In relationships, what we call love might well be lust, neediness or dependency coupled with affection, rather than a high form of unconditional love, characterized by acceptance, compassion, forgiveness and a sense of the eternal.
For ego, love is very different than the love soul knows. Ego gives itself broad powers when it loves, including unlimited expectations, a need to control, manipulation and withdrawal of love when its needs are not met.
What this looks like in practical terms is the partner who holds the other responsible for his/her happiness. He really wants to play golf, but instead of wanting him to be happy, she pouts, gives him the silent treatment or otherwise makes him feel guilty. He either stays home and is miserable and resentful or goes anyway, carrying guilt along with his clubs. Neither one of them ends up happy.
She signs up for a yoga class because she needs to de-stress and the time to herself will feel good. Rather than encouraging her to tune into her needs and validating the importance of self-care, he is resentful because he thinks she should be home with him in the evenings. She goes to class but can’t really relax because she keeps thinking of the grumpy greeting she will get later.
Ego often twists and distorts love in the realm of parenting as well. If ego gets caught up in feeling the child is a reflection of the parent, the child is not free to be his or her natural self. Ego sees a child as a blank canvas upon which to create the image it would like to see. What emerges is a constant power struggle between ego’s will to shape the child and the child’s tendency towards individuation and creative evolution. Sadly, the child often gives up the fight because the child’s ego cannot tolerate withdrawal of love. The child, therefore, lives a life that is not his or her own.
Another compulsion of ego is to have the child meet its emotional needs. This can manifest as hurt feelings when the toddler wants Mommy to read the story, not Daddy. Later, it shows up as resentment when the teen would rather go out with friends than spend time with Mom. Regardless of age, the child feels the parent’s displeasure and feels guilty for not pleasing the parent. This is the beginning of the pattern of living life according to what others think, rather than expressing one’s authentic self.
Clearly, for ego love is as much, if not more, about meeting ego’s needs as it is about fulfilling the needs of the other. Ego will even go so far as to say, “If you loved me, you would do things my way.”
When we connect with our higher soul selves and see the souls of others, the quality and experience of love becomes quite different. To love another is to want what is in their highest good. It is to treasure the fact that our two souls have connected in this lifetime and to honour that connection. It is to realize the primacy of that connection and to see that the particular roles we play – husband/wife, child/parent – are secondary. We must not get so caught up in the ego drama that we forget each soul has its own journey, which we are blessed to share, support and respect.
Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For articles and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit www.gwen.ca