Love is a battle you wage with your ego on behalf of the beloved.
The division of self is a dubious concept. The whole idea of the id/ego/superego, Freud’s conscious, subconscious, and unconscious categories… Meh. I’m not a psychiatrist, so I’m just going on what makes sense to me. (This guy says it is a load of crap, if that helps bolster my supposition.) We do know that there are three parts of the brain and that they each have different functions and that they don’t always work well together. But none of those physical structures correspond to what I mean when I use the term “ego.” And as much as I don’t like these lines between selves – they make about as much sense to me as the idea of a 3-in-1 G-d – I’m reluctantly headed in that direction with this.
Ego is the I am. It is the part of us that is firmly rooted in a perspective, a set of experiences, opinions, histories, beliefs, and definitions. Ego says I want, I need, I deserve. Actually, it might be more of a caveman than that. Me hungry. Me horny. Me tired. Me thirsty.
Ego is the quitter. The demander. The now-insister. The faithless.
Ego is pride.
Ego can be destroyed, it feels its own mortality. Ego is vain. It must be seen to know for sure that it is there. It’s fragile and constantly under threat. It is insatiable: the more you soothe it, the more soothing it requires.
You are not your ego. Neither am I. To twist a quote from the fabulous RuPaul, you are not your ego, you are your awareness of your ego.
The ego is of the body, constrained by the limits of both time and skin. Our awareness is comprised of Source. That awareness is the part of us that is eternal, that recycles through lifetimes, that goes on when our body-rooted ego gives up. It is from our awareness that we can choose, and in that choice, love.
Which sounds good, until the ego realizes it is being marginalized, at which point it kicks up a tantrum worthy of a four year old in a toy store. I want what I want and I want it now. There is never enough for the ego. Never enough attention, never enough love. In this world of scarcity, fear dominates. Jelousy, anger, judgement, posessiveness, any attempt to control another… all expressions of fear.
And it isn’t like you can deal with the ego once and be done with it. It’s a never-ending argument between your divine fire and the body that houses it. Love isn’t the longing, the wanting, the feeling like you can’t breathe without the beloved. It isn’t the heat or the hunger. Not that any of those things are bad things – why else would Source choose this form of expression if not for the capacity for joy that resides in our bodies – but they are not love. Love is the fight with yourself, the never ending battle to keep track of which is ego and which is you and beating back ego for the good of the strange alchemy that is us.
You do it so the beloved doesn’t have to. You do it because it’s better this way. You do it because it’s hard, and it’s love, and it’s the best of what you’ve got. You do it because what comes out of the effort – patience, kindness, compassion, balance, growth – is worth it.
If lust is all you need, than roll around in it. Sit in your ego and feel all the fear that goes along with it, the insecurity, the constant need for more, and revel in it. You might as well, it’s what you chose.
Just don’t call it love unless you’re willing to attempt the fight. I’m not saying you have to succeed all of the time, I’m just saying that the fight is the difference between love and everything else.