The ego thrives under the following conditions:
You get what you want. Others agree to follow your agenda. There is a sense of self-control. Right and wrong are clearly demarcated. Nobody crosses the line between right and wrong. You name the conditions of loving someone else and being loved in return. Anyone who agrees with you is showing that he/she loves you. Someone who obeys you feels safe. Someone you must obey feels unsafe.
Ironically, these conditions for making your ego happy turn out to make who you really are very unhappy. There is no joy in being in charge, no love in controlling others, no expansion in defending the line between right and wrong.
So seductive is the ego’s story, however, that countless people pursue happiness in the ways described. And they may even achieve perfect self-discipline and power over others, but in so doing they will sacrifice their true selves.
To find your true self, you must surrender to it, and the best way to do that is to surrender to another person. This doesn’t mean that one ego gives in to another ego. That would indeed spell defeat. Instead, you share with the other person the truth about yourself.
You want love without limitations. You want to feel safe. You want to express yourself creatively. You want to expand in joy. You want to be free. Your highest wish is for unity in a state of perfect peace.
When you can share these deep desires with another, what happens? The world will reflect your level of consciousness. In this case, the reflection comes from one other person – the one who shares your truth.
However, the secret isn’t to surrender to another person, or even to each other. You surrender to the path. It is a path you share. You commit to wherever the path is taking you. In this way you give up your ego-centered perspective. Your focus shifts to the space between you and the one you love.
Adapted from The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2009).