I still want the same exact things I wanted when I was a kid, I want to be loved exactly as I am and I want to be loved well. I want attention, affection, appreciation and respect. I want to be seen as perfect and incapable of doing anything wrong. I want to be treated with kindness, warmth and admiration. I want to be seen as a miracle and as a gift. I want to be seen as a genius, I want to be treated like a king. That's sort of how it went for me as a kid. Perhaps when I was younger it was as simple as when I started the paragraph, and as things went on, things escalated a bit. I don't know.
Today I'm in a beautiful relationship with a lovely person who, like all my previous partners, challenges me in ways that really bring me to the edge of my relational capabilities. So for this and many other reasons, I consider relationships, one of my main forms of spiritual practice. A spiritual practice, that I must say has afforded me with the greatest opportunities for growth and healing to date.
For whatever reason, I find myself in a deeply committed relationship with a person who drives the mightily spiritual and righteous ego that started to control me a very long time ago. And according to such spiritual ego, the reason why my sweetheart drives me nuts is because spirituality and self-development aren't at the top of his list of priorities. So when he is eating a bunch of cookies, watching "reality" TV shows for hours, drinking his third beer and saying that it would be really nice if he had a cigarette, spiritual ego tells me that it's time to go nuts. Because all of this is certainly a sign that there is something terribly wrong with him and with our relationship. Of course.
If only he were like ME, the spiritual, sensitive and enlightened master that I am, I would have no problems and our relationship would be perfect. Of course it would.
Now, in case it's not blatantly clear, I am being sarcastic. Not towards you, but towards this ginormous spiritual ego that has run the show for the better part of my 31 years of life in this particular incarnation. It's a tragedy really, what this clever mastermind ego has done.
If you're like most people, after reading the small vignette I have shared about my sweetheart, you would think that he's a monster. And the truth is, he is not a monster at all. Like him, I have my vices and ridiculous habits too (marijuana, video games, computer, chips and so on... also did I mention I was a smoker?). Thing is, of course the spiritual ego doesn't point those out to me. All the ego tells me is that I'm pretty much flawless or at least in the process and on track to being that way and my sweetie is not. And best of all, the spiritual ego "knows" that for a fact.
See why relationships are great spiritual practice? When you're really, really paying close attention, and when you're being really, really honest, you can start to see the painful problem. If spirituality becomes at all about being righteous, we have completely missed the point. And that's why a close, intimate, committed relationship can be so good for a serious spiritual person.
You get to see things like just how much the ego exaggerates and demonizes people's traits. Especially the people you are closest to and love the most (my sweetie is not a heavy smoker, drinker or lazy fat person). You get to see how ego works full time to take all the beautiful things away from you. You get to see how to ego there is something wrong with EVERYTHING. You get to see how ego throws projections on the screen of your awareness that are designed to make you suffer and that couldn't be farther from the truth. You start to get to see how ego is doing all it can to bamboozle you. You start to see how black or white ego thinking really is. You start to see how an empowered spiritual ego is the most evil force on the planet. And I mean that for real.
Righteously judging your partner hurts and creates serious suffering, righteously judging your partner is a very cruel and seriously damaging practice. One that can only be stopped once we see it for what it really is. And here's what I found...
I didn't get what I wanted when I was a kid. I didn't get it at all. I wasn't treated well, I wasn't unconditionally loved and I wasn't embraced and seen as a beautiful gem. And I am pissed about it. Because I am so pissed, I refuse to give it to my love and I refuse to give it to anyone else. Fuck them. If no one loved me, why should I love anyone? If I was righteously judged for wanting more toys, loving video games, eating junk food and sneaking out of the house to see soap operas - why the fuck should I give my fiancé a pass? Fuck him and fuck everyone, if I suffered for being who and how I am, so should he and everybody else in this world. If there is something wrong with me, there is also something wrong with everybody. My job is to pass on my pain, to pass on my hurt, to get even, to seek revenge and to hate the world. That's what I need to do. That's my function as an ego, that's my mission as a spiritual ego... but of course I'll call it "tough love," of course I'll say my intention is "good." Of course I'll claim I'm doing it to protect you. Of course I will. I'll do that so I can go on. I'll do that so that with my "good" intentions I can continue on building my road to hell and seeking retribution. I'm the spiritual ego, that's just what I do.
So psychotic and so illuminating. Wouldn't you say?
The point is that I want to get, and I don't want to give. I want my love to listen to me, accept me as I am and praise my every effort. But I don't want to do that for him at all. I want him to give me what I wanted as a child, but I don't want to give him any of that. He should go first, and MAYBE I'll go second... if he's lucky and knows how to ask in the perfect way.
Ego is a lunatic. Enlightened ego is even worse.
I feel so blessed to be able to see it for what it is and not indulge it. I feel so blessed to be able to recognize what my partner wants. What he wants is what I wanted and still want. To be loved and accepted exactly as I am. To be trusted. To be heard, to be seen and to be cherished and valued. And that's where the edge of my practice lies right now.