Romance and the Ego

Talk about relationships in the context of Spiritual Enlightenment
Enlightened2B
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by Enlightened2B » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:38 am

tod wrote:If you have expectations of another in a relationship are you awake, liberated?

Wouldn't being in a relationship bring to your own attention more examples of where you are attached to your own held thought patterns (eg, expectations)?

I know a quite aware guy who has been with 2 partners (1st one died) who appear to be not too aware and it is evident that he 'uses these relationships', or 'extends the love' to further awaken. It is not that anyone is particularly aware or unaware, or that he is using or extending, it is just what appears to happen from the point of view of a particular observer. His partners have been, in turn, 'madly' in love with him.
Tod, One can definitely be liberated, but at the same time be sucked right back into ego when romance peers its head. My goodness, just ask my uncle about this.

You indicate that this man's partners are "madly in love" with him. May I ask what kind of love that is? Would they still love him if he cheated on them and ditched them and never talked to them again? Do they love him because he is of the same source that they are in Pure Awareness? I'm not saying he would be "right or wrong". However, more than likely, the love you refer to is the love that 95 percent of the population refers to from the concept again of "romance". What does the term "madly in love" mean?

Relationships can be a WONDERFUL tool in awakening because we get to see how ego affects us and we can observe it directly. However, why would an "aware" person need to be in a romantic relationship JUST to "extend" that love? Love can be extended ANYTIME and ANY PLACE. The illusion of "romance" is not needed to do so. When people indicate to pursue relationships for love, well I have a 65 year old male neighbor who I love. Am I going to pursue a romantic relationship with him? I can EASILY develop a relationship with him and extend my love there. So, where does the desire for "romance" come into play? It's not our true selves that do the desiring. It's our human form. It's the form we mistake ourselves to be. It's not a bad thing or a good thing once again. It just is. There is no separate love from loving my 65 year old neighbor than from loving a beautiful woman that I am in a "relationship" with. It's all unconditional love. When we commit to romantic relationships, we are creating a fictitious agreement that is ONLY based on conditions. What else could it POSSIBLY be based on?

Again, we need to all define what the definition of a romantic relationship is. That's the crux of the issue here. Monogamous/committed romantic relationships.. What does it mean? To me, in the unawakened world, it means agreeing to "honor and be faithful" to my significant other. That's an agreement based off of CONDITIONS. How can an agreement such as this one NOT carry expectations or some sort of needs/wants with it?

If we DO choose to become involved with another, how can we POSSIBLY take it as seriously as we would have PRIOR to our awakening? Using excuses to be in the relationship in order to "extend my love to the other" doesn't hold water with me because again.....we extend our love every second of every day. Why is romance needed to do this? All romance does is create more conditions based off of ego which inevitably carry expectations of SOME sorts for either one partner or both. If one argues that is NOT what romantic relationships are, then again, I ask the question.....what IS a romantic/monogamous relationship if not by the definition I just gave? If there are no conditions set, no needs to be satisfied, then what is this thing we call romance? Merlin said it best......SEX and often times loneliness. Yet, few will acknowledge this because they are "awakened".

So, let's throw sex out of the equation for a minute. If you are your true self of Pure Awareness and you are enlightened, why can't you enjoy the love that life has to offer. Interact with different people. Enjoy experiences, even enjoy sex and relationships with others.....yet, without the need to commit to this fictitious notion of romance?

Why does it have to be monogamy or nothing? There are so many ways to extend your love.

I'm trying to point out that the concept of romance is an illusion that merely enhances the concept of "duality" even further. Meanwhile "playing in form" to ME implies enjoying life, experiencing the world fully, but not allowing myself ATTACHMENT to anything because otherwise, that would imply I am a FRAGMENT of this entire projection rather than the ENTIRE thing. Are there no attachments in romance? What's the need for an agreement then to explore "exclusivity" if one does not claimed to be attached on some level to another? If there's no attachment to that person, than we essentially owe them nothing. In THAT sense, again....the question circles....why romantic relationships then? Therefore playing in form means extending my love to others, enjoying the experiences I encounter, enjoying the relationships I have with others WITHOUT the conditions that romance relies on.

tod
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by tod » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:19 am

Thanks for the very full response E2B. Appreciated.

magicbutterfly
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by magicbutterfly » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:03 am

May I join in this fascinating topic?
In my opinion, all relationships are "play in form" with rules that we agree on up front or assume. There are different rules for friendships, work associations, family relationships and romantic relationships just as there are rules for games and sports. Sometimes we enter a game assuming that the rules are obvious and get hurt because the other person was playing by different rules. And if the people involved break the agreed on rules, we also get upset or hurt. But to play, it works best to follow the rules whether it is a ball game or a romance - more pleasure and less pain.
So, why have a romantic relationship at all? It's play in form, just with more at stake. More intensity, more opportunity for learning, more pleasure and more risk of pain. It's a test of how awake we really are. And more opportunity to really be in the now with another person knowing that it won't last. To give our all, to share who we are, physically, mentally, emotionally and yes, spiritually. To desire the other knowing that it is just desire, to bond, to become one with them, knowing that it will be over much too soon.
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease." Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Enlightened2B
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by Enlightened2B » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:36 am

magicbutterfly wrote:May I join in this fascinating topic?
In my opinion, all relationships are "play in form" with rules that we agree on up front or assume. There are different rules for friendships, work associations, family relationships and romantic relationships just as there are rules for games and sports. Sometimes we enter a game assuming that the rules are obvious and get hurt because the other person was playing by different rules. And if the people involved break the agreed on rules, we also get upset or hurt. But to play, it works best to follow the rules whether it is a ball game or a romance - more pleasure and less pain.
So, why have a romantic relationship at all? It's play in form, just with more at stake. More intensity, more opportunity for learning, more pleasure and more risk of pain. It's a test of how awake we really are. And more opportunity to really be in the now with another person knowing that it won't last. To give our all, to share who we are, physically, mentally, emotionally and yes, spiritually. To desire the other knowing that it is just desire, to bond, to become one with them, knowing that it will be over much too soon.
That makes sense to me MagicButterfly. However, rules are tough to follow when there's an ego at play 8)

Most relationships don't require anything in return such an agreement. Romantic relationships require that you stay "loyal and faithful and satisfy this and that, etc otherwise, you're a goner". I can definitely see how we can grow from a romantic relationship as it definitely helps evolve consciousness in the human form, but at the same time, romantic relationships always come with a price tag of getting something "filled" which is ego in itself. That's why I feel that there always be some level of suffering because of it's impermanence and relation to ego directly and association with anything impermanent always leads to suffering.

I'm dating someone now and I notice my ego at play. Yet, I allow it to be there, but it's there. I sometimes question if I can be present and with her at the same time. I'm going to approach this as a challenge. I feel that in committing to someone, you're creating expectations in itself right then and there. That's where expectations come in to play. With other relationships that are non romantic, there are no needs to be filled nor expectations at all. Doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue relationships. I just think we should be aware if attachment starts to happen. You don't want to become PART of the story when you ARE the story AND the paper and book that holds the story. Yet, that's what happens in relationships, you can be an observer for a time (granted this still creates duality), but you're still going to be part of it to some degree at some point because attachment is just part of the contract.

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TemporalDissonance
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by TemporalDissonance » Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:54 am

Enlightened2B wrote:However, rules are tough to follow when there's an ego at play 8)
Enlightened2B, this has been a very invigorating and enjoyable conversation. Yet, I can't help but to bring us back to the question of "is this true?" I presented yesterday. Your notions as "there's an ego at play", "95 percent of the population", and "I don't know a SINGLE couple" suggests assumptions, and in the most sincere way, possible judgements, fixed positions, identifications, and perhaps ego in your image and projections of what monogamous romantic relationships are and could be.

I started this conversation with a history (emphasis on the story) of romance in contemporary culture as a suggestion that "romance" itself is fluid. That it isn't fixed. That it is a construction onto itself. Perhaps in having such a fixed perspective of what "monogamous romantic relationship" are for the "non-spiritual" and "unaware" (and I use these terms in the loosest way possible, knowing their inherent problems), you may not be allowing yourself to question your very idea of what a monogamous romantic relationship between two people with different or same spiritual interests CAN be, regardless of your personal experiences. While there is the basic agreement of exclusivity, each "monogamous romantic relationship" are different. We would be surprised to know that not all monogamous romantic relationships are what we have come to think they are or ought to be.

In a few posts above, you question why would you extend your love romantically in a relationship when you are loving everyone unconditionally already. My question for you is "Why not?" Why not experience this world of "illusions"? As magicbutterfly said, "It's a play in form". It is the very fact that you have come to know the impermanence of all that you would be able to savour the joys of relationships in all its forms and constructions in the NOW instead of lost in some distant past or future.

Enjoy the courtship. Savour the intimacy. Relish in knowing another. Be in the relationship fully. And if and when it ends, you smile and be grateful for the opportunity to having had that experience with another loving being.

magicbutterfly
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by magicbutterfly » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:09 am

Ah, yes those expectations. Perhaps that's why in the old days, people got married before getting involved. There was a firm commitment made in front of the community, family and God or judge so that if one party didn't live up to the "rules of the game", there were serious community consequences. We have more firm rules for football than we do for romantic relationships that can and often do hurt us deeply. But then perhaps that's why we are becoming enlightened more quickly. :D
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease." Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Enlightened2B
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by Enlightened2B » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:14 am

It's rather ironic I suppose that I am pursuing an "experience" (too early to call it relationship) with someone and yet I'm questioning the concept of romance. I guess I'm a hypocrite 8)

I'm taking it for what it is and I'll leave it at that. Thanks all for the input in this thread. It's nice to hear the varying opinions of all. I love the fact that there can be discussions on this forum without "ego" taking over the conversation like many other internet forums seem to employ.

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merlin41
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by merlin41 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:18 pm

My view of relationships in general is that they are mainly based on egoic needs and we as humans have confused sex and procreation with love, I don't even think it is a demonstration of love.
I remember one of Ram Dass's teachers saying to him "what is all this interest in rubbing two bodies together, its nothing to do with love"

I believe sex is all about procreation and we are greatly rewarded by hormones and chemicals to induce states of ecstasy for mating and creating the next generation.
Our biology is also programmed to encourage us to swap mates after a couple of years or so to improve the gene pool.

The upshot of all this is, that as we have mixed up some romantic love image with sex, and added the myth of bonding for life we are completely at odds with our biology.
IMHO we are actually serial monogamists by nature, I believe this is why most relationships fail on our terms.

There is an excellent book that describes all this very well "Cupids Poisoned Arrow" here is an excerpt:
When we fall in love, a primitive part of our brain pierces us with a desire for great passion (Cupid’s dart). An orgasm feels great, and if it were the end of the story, lovers would be able to do what comes naturally in the bedroom and live happily ever after. The problem is that sex—especially the kind with lots of orgasms all around, leading to that feeling of "I'm definitely done!" (sexual satiety)—isn't an isolated event. Orgasm is the peak of a much longer cycle of subsequent changes deep in the brain. These lingering effects, and the unwelcome feelings they evoke, can poison our relationship without our conscious awareness. Remarkably, such diverse symptoms as selfishness, unfulfilled needs, communication problems, infidelity, and sexless marriages can all originate in these noxious commands.

In some of us this “poison” takes effect so rapidly that we part after a single tryst. More often there is a period of relative relationship happiness, supported by a short-lived love potion. This honeymoon harmony (or lust) encourages us to bond for a while. On average it’s long enough for mates to produce and attach to a child, even if they do not, in fact, procreate.

Creeping disillusionment, born of Cupid’s poison, then motivates us to merge our genes with exciting new partners as well (even though we may choose to grit our teeth and resist temptation). Why? Our genes are programmed for their own immortality, and they don’t politely wait for opportunity to knock. These little wisps of DNA urge us toward lots of pregnancies and a variety of partners. The more dissimilar our offspring, the better the odds that some of them will survive changed conditions or epidemics in order to procreate. Our willingness to shop for unfamiliar genes would once have helped protect small populations from the dangers of inbreeding.
http://www.reuniting.info/cupids_poison ... _chapter_1

Isn't love essentially who we are and its all there is? When we play with the form and involve sex and romance all the above comes into play, and confusion reigns, so lets enjoy the confusion as someone once said, its a good place to be :D
“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion--and where it isn't, that's where my work lies.”
― Ram Dass

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smiileyjen101
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by smiileyjen101 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:55 pm

Have fun and BE love with it E2B. Great discussion!!

If one loves, honours, cherishes and respects oneself, then by awareness realising this is all and everything, then all experiences are :)
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

Enlightened2B
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by Enlightened2B » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:09 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:Have fun and BE love with it E2B. Great discussion!!

If one loves, honours, cherishes and respects oneself, then by awareness realising this is all and everything, then all experiences are :)
Thanks Jen. Great post. Totally agree.

Enlightened2B
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by Enlightened2B » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:11 am

merlin41 wrote:
Isn't love essentially who we are and its all there is? When we play with the form and involve sex and romance all the above comes into play, and confusion reigns, so lets enjoy the confusion as someone once said, its a good place to be :D
Enjoy the confusion! Couldn't have said that better. 8)

magicbutterfly
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by magicbutterfly » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:22 am

I believe sex is all about procreation and we are greatly rewarded by hormones and chemicals to induce states of ecstasy for mating and creating the next generation.
Our biology is also programmed to encourage us to swap mates after a couple of years or so to improve the gene pool.

The upshot of all this is, that as we have mixed up some romantic love image with sex, and added the myth of bonding for life we are completely at odds with our biology.
IMHO we are actually serial monogamists by nature, I believe this is why most relationships fail on our terms.
That could be true prior to enlightenment. It's what I call ego sex. Find the highest quality mate that will have you and procreate. Repeat ad nauseum. :wink:
However, for those of us who are awake, I believe that after the initial rush or hormones, we can go deeper into presence with one person.
The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm... If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others. (Pg. 295 A New Earth)
And he says that if you can't do any of those then stop. However, if you can't leave or choose to honor your vows, then go deeper and find the peace that comes from surrender. ET uses an example of dealing with a flat time in pouring rain in the middle of the night and how we can change the energy vibration when we surrender to what is.
The peace that comes with surrendered action turns to a sense of aliveness when you actually enjoy what you are doing.
Page 297 ANE
You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end.
Pg. 298 ANE

I believe that couples who do honor their vows and learn how to go deeper into presence, get more than just simple pleasure of reproduction sex.
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease." Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Enlightened2B
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by Enlightened2B » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:28 am

However, for those of us who are awake, I believe that after the initial rush or hormones, we can go deeper into presence with one person.
I'm beginning to agree that although I do believe there is a lot of ego involved with romance and I'm not entirely sold on monogamy, I do think that relationships (romantic ones) can really bring one INTO presence. I'm seeing this now with the person I'm involved with. We're going on four dates now, and spending an incredible amount of time together....just getting to know each other (no sex yet). I immediately notice that I stray from presence and start to become sucked into this "force" of this "relationship" the more involved I get with her. I notice some anxiety as well as there is a 'wanting' to make this work. Then, the heavens open up once again.... I realize.....I am merely trying to control the outcome and not allowing what is....to be....and everything becomes peaceful again. It seems that romance triggers some sort of painbody I'm learning within me probably from past experiences which I think even relate back to my childhood. Really powerful stuff.
I believe that couples who do honor their vows and learn how to go deeper into presence, get more than just simple pleasure of reproduction sex.
Totally agree. I hope this wasn't lost in my initial post. If you make vows to be faithful, I believe those vows have to be adhered to.

magicbutterfly
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by magicbutterfly » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:59 pm

I notice some anxiety as well as there is a 'wanting' to make this work. Then, the heavens open up once again.... I realize.....I am merely trying to control the outcome and not allowing what is....to be....and everything becomes peaceful again. It seems that romance triggers some sort of painbody I'm learning within me probably from past experiences which I think even relate back to my childhood. Really powerful stuff.
:!:
If you make vows to be faithful, I believe those vows have to be adhered to.
With enthusiasm and enjoyment hopefully and not with gritted teeth. :D
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease." Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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merlin41
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Re: Romance and the Ego

Post by merlin41 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:30 pm

magicbutterfly wrote:
I believe sex is all about procreation and we are greatly rewarded by hormones and chemicals to induce states of ecstasy for mating and creating the next generation.
Our biology is also programmed to encourage us to swap mates after a couple of years or so to improve the gene pool.

The upshot of all this is, that as we have mixed up some romantic love image with sex, and added the myth of bonding for life we are completely at odds with our biology.
IMHO we are actually serial monogamists by nature, I believe this is why most relationships fail on our terms.
That could be true prior to enlightenment. It's what I call ego sex. Find the highest quality mate that will have you and procreate. Repeat ad nauseum. :wink:
However, for those of us who are awake, I believe that after the initial rush or hormones, we can go deeper into presence with one person.
The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm... If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others. (Pg. 295 A New Earth)
And he says that if you can't do any of those then stop. However, if you can't leave or choose to honor your vows, then go deeper and find the peace that comes from surrender. ET uses an example of dealing with a flat time in pouring rain in the middle of the night and how we can change the energy vibration when we surrender to what is.
The peace that comes with surrendered action turns to a sense of aliveness when you actually enjoy what you are doing.
Page 297 ANE
You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end.
Pg. 298 ANE

I believe that couples who do honor their vows and learn how to go deeper into presence, get more than just simple pleasure of reproduction sex.
I agree with most of this, "magicbutterfly" but I feel its much harder to stay in presence with someone when sex is involved due to all the effects of bonding and separation created by the hormones and chemicals produced during sex. Though the negative effects can can be largely avoided by practicing sex without orgasm (Karezza) http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom

I also feel its much more difficult when we are younger and lust is at its height. I find I no longer need sex so it seems to be easy when it occurs to remain present, without getting lost in the needs and projections of the ego.
“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion--and where it isn't, that's where my work lies.”
― Ram Dass

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