III. Love Without Conflict, P 4
4 You who identify with your ego cannot believe God loves you. You do not love what you made, and what you made does not love you. Being made out of the denial of the Father, the ego has no allegiance to its maker. You cannot conceive of the real relationship that exists between God and His creations because of your hatred for the self you made. You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it. No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding. Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s “drive to get.”
I really get that all love in the ego world is ambivalent. There are conditions on even the strongest love I am capable of experiencing. For me that would be the love for my children. I love them so very much, and yet I feel that love in degrees. When they please me I feel the love more strongly than when they displease me. I hate saying that, but it is the truth. The love I feel for them is all mixed up with ego neediness and ego judgment. When I am able to detach from the mother role and think of us all as aspects of the same Self, I feel something that is much closer to actual love and that love does not waver.
Jesus says that real love is without ambivalence because it is wholly without the ego’s “drive to get.” Here is an example of how I see the “drive to get” showing up in my relationships with my children. For Mother’s Day, my youngest son sent me a really lovely card. He talked about what a good mother and good person I am. He congratulated me on my fulfilling spiritual life and talked about how it brings comfort and inspiration to others. It was especially touching to me because he recognized what matters to me and was willing to acknowledge it even though it is not important to him.
One of my daughters was there and I showed it to her. She was touched too, and then she said, “No wonder he’s your favorite.” I laughed at that and reassured her that I don’t have a favorite child. This is true because I love them all equally, but in that moment, she was right. In that moment, this child of mine had provided me with the ego need to be acknowledged and elevated. In that moment that made him very special to me, and so in the ego thinking, I loved him with special love.
Later I was thinking about loving all my children equally (maybe reassuring myself?) and was thinking about what I love about each one, and how precious each one is to me. Then I realized that this too is conditional love. It is not pure love without reason. I love this thing and that thing, each one being special in their own way. Real love, outside of ego, is pure and has no conditions and no degrees. Because this is not something we experience very much we don’t expect it from God. We tend to think that God loves us for a reason, and that what we do can influence that love.
Jesus says the reason for this ambivalence is that we hate ourselves, the self that we made, the ego self with which we Identify. I understand that, too. I have felt that hate many times. I hated that I am not thin. I hated that I am not very good at so many things. I hated that I have played the victim so many times in my life. I hated myself for being bad with money. I hated myself for never having been the kind of pretty I always admired in others. I hated myself every time I failed to live up to my spiritual expectations.
I didn’t usually express it like that. I generally disguised the feeling and call it frustration or disappointment. I would say, “I wish I could have”, or “too bad I didn’t”, but I really hated myself for my perceived inadequacies. Once in a while the barriers that generally prevented me from confronting my self-hatred would break down and I would rage at myself. Well, I used to do that. It hasn’t happened in a long time. And often when it did, it took the form of depression and despair, but these are just hatred and rage turned inward.
I think it is a good sign that I can freely write about and share these insights. I have been allowing my mind to be healed of the belief in guilt and I am learning that I am not actually this ego self, but am really spirit. This is the reason I can confront the self I made and allow myself to see the ugliness of it. It is not me. I no longer need to hide behind my well-constructed spiritual ego.
I do not love the ego I made and that is why I do not, when I am identified with it, know what love is. It is why I am afraid of God, if I am. If I don’t love what I made, maybe he does not love what He made either. If I am so disappointed in myself, maybe He is disappointed also. What if a child of mine turned against me completely? Would my “love” turn to hate? Would God’s love turn to hate if I betrayed him completely?
If I don’t know how to completely and unconditionally love my children, it stands to reason that I would believe that God’s love for His children could be conditional as well, in which case I’m screwed because I obviously don’t deserve His love (according to the ego). Except maybe if you compare me to a serial killer or something, and so here comes projection and blame and specialness. This ego version of love and its counterpart, hate, explain a lot about human behavior and the fear of God we all have to look at and let go.
I am learning to let go of guilt and fear and I am learning that what I always thought of as love is not even close to real love. It is very helpful that Jesus talks about this in such a direct way, and that he lets me know I am not the only one who feels like this, and that it is simply the ego experience. As my mind heals I am beginning to experience the love of God in little doses, as I am able. I am seeing very clearly what is not love and that is a good start, because seeing it is not love, I can let it go, and be open to another experience.