To strive for a want is to struggle. We can want food, so we struggle to hunt something, or to work to buy something. Or, we can want to win an argument with someone, and the argument itself is the struggle.
We may want something legitimate, like having our friend to wake up because there is a fire in the house. That’s about a shared experience. But we can also just want someone to have our opinion instead of their own. That’s not about sharing, that’s a power struggle.
Our soul functions on the spectrum between sharing and indifference, and we either create a cooperative flow between ourselves and others, or we are indifferent to them and we simply leave them to be as they are. One is shared love, the other is love through freedom.
Meanwhile, our egos focus on either winning or losing, and they use power over others to gain certainty around their expectations. Success is victory, failure is losing.
Precisely because they are usually presented the opposite way, let us look at examples where a romantic relationship reflects the egocentric victory-failure dynamic, whereas love and indifference can be represented by a job –in a writer’s room on a network TV series.
Note, a marriage is intended as a partnership with shared power, and a network TV show is a clearly delineated power structure with a show-runner with virtually all of the power, at the top.
As example of how the strive to win can steal our freedom, note that a husband can argue with his wife because he wants her to have his political opinion. If she does not take it, he will exercise his power by being angry and making her pay, in an ongoing attempt to force her into failure. But ego-based power battles like this can also take other forms.
One of the most popular posts on this blog is about a woman who got excessively angry with her husband for bringing home lean instead of extra-lean ground beef. In this case the scolding is about her informing him that he is losing their competition over whose opinion should define ‘right.’
This relationship situation will only be improved by greater awareness and an acceptance that it is wiser to shift to a focus on soul-based shared experiences rather than on ego-based victories and defeats.
Representing the soul-based scenario: in a healthy, successful TV series writer’s room every writer exists in a tacit state of love. There is the full freedom to throw out any idea, no matter how crazy, and we will be respected for the courage and intent to share and cooperate.
If a writer resists this sharing and cooperation they will have negative experiences. But, in return for focusing on that shared cooperation, a writer can stay on the show and help plot its course with others who also care.
An example of how indifference ends an experience; if a writer wants to win an argument over a show-runner, they dooming their employment by failing to accept the reality that gives the show-runner total control.
That control only exists in order to ensure the show has vision and a focused direction that is true to the characters, show and audience itself, rather than being about the personal opinions of a writer or even the show-runner themselves.
In the case of a writer being let go, a healthy show-runner won’t hate the writer or feel they have defeated them in some competition. They’ll simply accept that that writer didn’t fit that show and they will respectfully leave them to find a new place in the universe to participate in.
Again: the show-runner either loves them, and they love the show-runner back by sharing ideas; or the show-runner is indifferent, in which case the writer’s contributions become in consequential to this show, so they are respectfully freed to find the show that better represents their tribe.
If the writer feels they genuinely belong with the show-runner, their only option is to humbly accept that the show-runner has the final say and should be offered respect just as the show-runner will show it by being –at least initially– open to every idea the writer has.
We can flow with others or leave them to be; or we can battle with others to either win or lose. In using a romantic relationship to capture ego, and work to capture love, the intention is to show that these two ways of being exist in every milieu in which we find ourselves. No matter the circumstances, we will always enact one or the other.
By understanding the differences between the ego and soul better, we can begin to become more sophisticated about our choices regarding which perspectives and aspects of ourselves we engage as we move our way through this remarkable world. And that being the case, the best way to end an argument over power is to stop wanting to win it, and to start sharing love instead.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.