Jealousy and the
by William Pennell Rock
From the Journal of Humanistic Psychology,
Vol. 23, No.
2, Spring 1983, 70-84
Copyright ©1983 by the Association for Humanistic
Reprinted by permission of the author at
— and jealousy in particular — provide an opportunity to come to a fundamental
understanding of the self. Jealousy is the eruption of attachment. It can be
transcended only through awareness. As we move with awareness into the core of
this phenomenon, we pass through ungrounded expectations and beliefs,
projections and delusions, envy, guilt, the loss of self-esteem, and the threat
to security. The core is an existential problem; it has to do with illusion and
the essentially fearful nature of the ego. In possessiveness, ego defends itself
against nothingness. When we come to know and accept the nothingness at the
core, jealousy and the pain of obsessive attachment
Imagine this: You’re very much in love with someone, and
you have to go out of town. You know your lover’s habits; you know he or she
likes to go to bed fairly early, and that he or she gets up and goes to work in
the morning. So you go away on your trip. You’re gone for about a week, and then
one evening you call, and there’s no answer. Awful pictures rush into your mind.
With great forces of will you stop them. The next morning, you call at eleven in
the morning. His or her roommate answers the phone and says, “Gee, I’m sorry,
She’s not up yet, She’s sleeping late.” Oh god. Something is fishy. Something’s
going on. You don’t know what it is, but your stomach is starting to churn.
What do you do when you’re jealous? In a fever, you may
try to find out if your lover has been with someone else. If he or she has, you
go into a rage, a frenzy of blame.
It’s an immediate response. You are angry. You feel
violated. You want revenge. You want to stop what is happening, control the
situation, manipulate whatever is necessary to protect yourself.
If you can cool down, if you can get hold of the internal
automatic reactions that accompany jealousy, you might find out that you can
indeed fix the situation. Often, what comes up as jealousy can be eradicated by
simple communication. “I need to have more time with you.” “When we go to a
party, I don’t want you to be with anybody else.” “I need to have sex outside
the relationship.” When we leave these needs unspoken, they lie in wait until a
situation exposes them. It is essential to get very clear and explicit with your
partner about your needs and expectations.
Such solutions of diplomacy are important, but they
remain superficial. A deeper opportunity is missed. Things are happening in this
odious passion that present the possibility of entering new levels of
self-understanding, to see who you are and what is the source of
The first step is to clarify what you are about in the
relationship. If you and your lover want to evolve into more awareness; if
somehow, somewhere, the glimmer of enlightened consciousness attracts you and
you want to move in that direction, then you can make an important choice. What
you choose is not just to increase your pleasure together, not even necessarily
to protect the relationship or to secure it in some way, but to use the
relationship as a means of coming to a deeper and more fundamental understanding
of what is so.
RELATIONSHIP FOR TRUTH
How you see the relationship will affect matters from the
beginning; for instance, what you share with each other about your realities. If
both of you are there to create a safe and secure relationship, you will tend to
conceal anything that might threaten it. Many couples come to live completely
mendacious lives together. Gradually, they smother themselves in compromises.
Love energy — eros — cannot pass between two lives lived in lies. Only truth
If the relationship is seen as a means to knowledge, the
paradigm shifts: The discipline is to learn to live uncompromisingly in your
truth and to love the other without qualification. No easy task, but there is no
higher., What you are loving together is truth: Everything real has to be
shared; everything else has to be dismantled.
Here is a simple test to see where you are in this matter
of relating. Write down all the things you have not shared with your partner.
Contemplate this list, and there you will see the limits you place on the
relationship, the degree of your commitment to the way of the lover.
LOVE AND ATTACHMENT
Now, on the path where relationship is a means for coming
to self-understanding, it is necessary to clarify the difference between loving
and being attached. This is a most basic distinction, because so much of what we
experience as attachment, we call love. In fact, most of the institutions
around love, such as marriage and family, are actually ways of protecting our
investment in attached situations.
Loving someone is glorifying who they are in their
uniqueness. Consider a flower. You see a flower that is really beautiful to you.
You want to glorify that flower in its own natural setting, or else you want to
pick it and possess it. Those are two entirely different ways of being. Love
creates a thankful glorification of the flower. You love the other you want to
see the other thrive, enjoy, and grow. You want to see them become more of who
they are, nor matter what that entails. That’s the truth of love. It is
Attachment is quite different. You want to pick the
flower, sever it from its roots, and make it yours. You want to appropriate the
beloved, make him or her be what you want them to be, conform to what is
convenient for you in the relationship. Attachment is not care for the other;
it’s care for oneself. This distinction has to be understood: Are you loving, or
are you attached?
If you are attached, you are going to experience the pain
of jealousy. It follows that jealousy becomes the opportunity to see within
yourself the truth of attachment. Not theoretical understanding, but existential
awareness of attachment at its very roots. Only through this awareness can
jealousy be really transcended.
PENETRATING TO THE CORE
The most extraneous and irrelevant way to deal with
jealousy is trying to control your partner. It is also the least effective.
Whatever illusions you may have as to who is to blame or who is at fault,
jealousy is within you; not within the relationship. Manipulating your
lover is a poor palliative. To control outer circumstances by making your lover
behave or toe the line in a certain way is to miss the opportunity. You always
miss the opportunity of jealousy — indeed, any pain — if you blame others. It
is not that the other may not be to blame, but that in the matter of inner
realities, blame is always irrelevant.
Manipulation of the other is external. Moving inward, we
use the situation that created the jealousy as the occasion for clarifying
communication and for negotiation. To do so is constructive for the
relationship, but still peripheral, still not touching upon the real opportunity
presented by jealousy. Moving further inward towards the core, we come to the
personal level: yourself and your own reactions. This is the real field for
dealing with jealousy: not trying to blame or fix your partner, but seeing who
Really, jealousy is like an onion — so overwhelming, so
pungent, so difficult to be near. It cannot be ignored. It makes you cry. Yet
the onion is an important food. In blaming and controlling, you are refusing to
see that there is an onion. You are trying to avoid. In trying to see who you
are, you take the onion in hand. You take a radical, internal view of what
happened to you in jealousy. Now you peel off layer after layer of the onion
until you reach its center. There at the core is the possibility of
The first layer of the onion is your unexamined notions
about how one should be in relationship. What are your beliefs? Do you believe
that if you’re in a relationship with someone, you should be with them
exclusively and they should be exclusively with you? Well, where does that
belief come from? Is it based upon some hidden idea that the other is your
possession? Is the other an object to be arranged in a way that is suitable to
you? Only if you possess the beloved can you tell them how to be. So, if you’re
inclined to manipulate and control in this way somehow subconsciously you have
already made the lover into your possession. This is something to look at. Can
one person be the possession of another? What beliefs do you carry about
The fact of the matter is, you are not actually in a
loving relationship if you think that you possess the other, because the essence
of the other is basically free. Whatever peripheral control you may exert, you
cannot touch that inner freedom that a human being is. Whatever peripheral
control you may exert, you cannot touch that inner freedom that a human being
is. You may control your lover so that he or she appears to love you, but you
cannot make a person love you.
Moving inward, look at the situation rationally or
realistically. We each have our own sexuality, and we each have to take care of
it as we can. Only some people can fit their sexuality into one relationship. So
to have the belief that your lover should be able to so conform may already be
erroneous. You are not responsible for the sexuality of the other. You can not
take control of their sexuality. You do not own it. It is their own. And what
they do about it is in a real sense their own affair.
This insight has probably helped me in my own dealings
with jealousy more than any other. Somehow I had the idea that my sexuality and
her sexuality were tied up as one. That is a beautiful experience. In
fact, the relationship may go through a long period where there is a pure union
of two sexualities. But to say that that is how it must be forever and oblige
the other to behave in accordance with that belief will not work.
Erroneous beliefs inevitably contribute to the pain of
jealousy. Take stock of your beliefs, and drop the ones that aren’t functional.
That’s the first skin of the onion.
The second layer is projection. Sometimes we suspect that
our partner is being untrue to us. For instance, that night you called your
lover, a thought immediately came to mind: “Oh, she’s got somebody with her.”
One reason that you may have these perceptions is because you yourself are
harboring thoughts of being “unfaithful.” In fact, if you are in a relationship
where you have an agreement not to be sexual with anybody else, you will almost
inevitably start having feeling of wanting to be with others. Sooner or later,
if you don’t share those thoughts, or if you’re not up front about the fact that
you have such feelings, you will imagine that your partner is having them. This
is projecting. Your jealous feelings may come from the fact that you feel like
you want to play around, and so you suspect that your partner is doing it
because you refuse to be aware that you are entertaining such a temptation
yourself. A projected perception and a real one feel differently. We can
learn to discriminate between the two. Again, the challenge is to be aware, to
Another level that we have to peel off is envy. Envy is
often mistaken for jealousy. I have experienced what I thought was tremendous
jealousy, when in fact what I was feeling was envy because my partner was having
a ball and I wasn’t. Well, she’s off having a good time with a boyfriend in New
York, and I’m out here sitting alone. I want to have a good time with somebody.
Envy is the frustrated longing for the other’s experience. It is a different,
more superficial phenomenon than jealousy.
Another layer is guilt. Guilt can afflict you if you feel
bad because you’re jealous. Since the sexual revolution, some would-be liberated
people think it’s wrong to feel jealous. We are told that we shouldn’t feel
jealous, we should rise above it. So if you have this belief and you feel
jealous, you’re going to experience shame and guilt. But judgment is truly
irrelevant. Jealousy is jealousy. It is neither good nor bad. It simply is, and
it is an opportunity.
We must learn to peel away the skins of illusion, and get
to the core. Really, what I’m talking about is awareness. The discussions of
projection, envy, and guilt are pointers, but you have to bring to your own
internal situation of jealousy your awareness. Ask these questions and
investigate the reality of your feelings. In order to transcend a negative
feeling, you must move deeper and deeper into your own authentic experience of
it. Not what you read in a novel or saw in a movie. Not what someone has said
you should feel. What you are actually feeling.
Becoming aware of the actual feeling and the true source
often alleviates the feelings. You may experience what you describe as jealousy,
but when you really examine the feelings, what is really there is anger that you
were being left out of something that was fun — envy. There’s your partner
taking a trip with someone else. You would like to go on that trip, and you’re
being left out. Those are not really feelings of jealousy. They are simply
feelings of sadness or anger at being excluded from something that’s happening,
something that you feel you belong to in some ways.
The outer layers of the onion of jealousy really aren’t
jealousy at all. They’re reactions belonging to other complexes. If you can see
them, and separate them out from what you’re really feeling, you can sometimes
relieve the pain without ever coming to jealousy. What was really going on was
moral indignation, envy, guilt or fear, or some other kind of
Up to this point in peeling the onion, the primary
emotions are sadness or anger. Both are created out of expectation. You are
angry with your lover, you are sad because he or she has violated your
expectations. But you are responsible, because you have created
and are holding those expectations. Desire, according to the Buddha, is the
source of suffering. A tension is created in your consciousness between
whatsoever is and what you would have it be. That tension is the basis of all
Once the anger and sadness resulting from our fractured
expectations are peeled away, once blame is removed from the other and anger
disappears, once we see the superficial feelings around ourselves that aren’t
really at the core of jealousy, we come to fear.
FEAR AND ANXIETY
The first fear we come to is fear of loss. Jealousy sees
many things that can be lost. The fear of loss of the lover is the greatest. The
rest of the fear around jealousy is in fact anxiety; that is to say, it does not
have a real object.
The first anxiety comes from the loss of self-esteem. All
kinds of self-doubt come up. You don’t have enough money. Something’s wrong with
your body. You start projecting your own inadequacies on the other’s actions. If
your self-esteem is low, a jealous episode is going to be used as an occasion
for proving that you are unlovable.
Examine the ideas that you have. You’ll notice that they
belong to all the old mechanisms by which you put yourself down. In other words,
you were putting yourself down for these things long before the beloved came
along to give you an excuse for doing so. Now you’re just using him or her as a
So here’s something else that you can do about jealousy:
Start being aware that you are putting yourself down and that the inclination to
do so is there independently of the jealousy-producing situation. Own your own
tendency to put yourself down. Learn to deal with it yourself, and don’t lay it
on your lover.
Deeper than fear that comes from a loss of self-esteem is
fear for the nest. One of two lovers is usually more concerned about the
security of the relationship. Often it is the woman. Usually the function of the
female in nature has been to keep the nest. It’s almost as though nature gave
her that fear out of protection of its own. The woman fears for her home, fears
that the source of biological or family security is threatened. A man can also
be possessed by security obsession. As women have become freer and more
assertive men experience jealous insecurity more often. This is a deeper level
of this onion of jealousy.
Deeper than fear for the nest and close to the core,
are anxieties from infancy that are quickened by the present situation. Often,
such jealousy is delusional there whether or not there is any occasion for it.
We can come to terms with many of these fears by looking deep inside and finding
memory traces from our childhood of being abandoned, for instance. These
memory traces come from various losses or threats, beginning at birth. Later,
you may want to win the special love of the parent of the opposite sex, but you
may not achieve this primitive goal, so you feel constantly frustrated and
inadequate. Or you become morbidly guilty and conclude that you should
lose your oedipal goal because your incestuous wishes are bad.
You carry within you for the rest of your life memories
of these early childhood traumas. Later, as soon as your lover goes for someone
else, all that early trauma is triggered. Now if you move into a deep awareness,
you can actually experience those childhood traumas, you can see that what
you’re experiencing in this present situation actually comes form a deep
residual memory of abandonment.
All of these levels of the onion have to do with
illusion, not with realities. They’re from the past, from childhood, or they’re
illusions about the present, beliefs that are illusory, that don’t relate to
here/now reality. This is a very significant aspect of these anxieties that come
with jealousy. If you have jealous feeling, and you start looking at them,
suddenly you begin to see that they’re not real. You are torturing yourself with
unreal fears. What does this mean? What does it come from?
THE CORE ILLUSION
We are coming closer to the core of the onion. Reactions
that are peripheral, the more superficial skins of the onion, are resting upon
the core. The core is the source — the first illusion. The core has to be there
for the other illusions to be there.
At the core is fear of a deeper kind. In its first
aspect, it looks like fear of aloneness. This fear, too, comes from a childhood
situation, from memories of when your parents left you alone. There you were,
freaked out in your crib, crying, and nobody heard you.
This core fear has also the aspect of fear of death.
Again, something is going to be taken away — your own being! That’s how
vulnerable you are. There’s something about jealousy, that gut feeling, that is
like the fear of death. It’s that immediate, it’s that real.
Something that’s very like fear of death, interestingly
enough, is fear of love. When we love, we move so much into the other that we
lose ourselves. We use the expression “falling in love” because it’s like
falling into a great abyss. You lose your identity, your sense of autonomy. And
that is exactly what happens when you fall in love. You lose your autonomous
sense of who you are.
The fears of aloneness, of death, of love, all have the
aspect of fear of abysmal nothingness — the fear that there isn’t anything.
Death suggests this to us. When we die, we don’t know what’s beyond. The only
thing we know is that it’s not like here. So as far as we’re concerned, it’s
just oblivion. Nothingness is there in our consciousness all the time. Jealousy
brings us immediately to this fear of oblivion.
All these fears — of death, love, aloneness, and
nothingness — all are like the core of the onion. In fact, they all
point to this core. The core itself is existential. It has to do with your
existence. Thus jealousy is not fundamentally a problem of relationship, not a
problem of love, but a problem of religion. Jealousy is basically,
fundamentally, a spiritual problem.
What I mean by “religion” here is not belief or morality.
I mean religion in the fundamental sense of how you relate to your own existence
— your feelings, your senses, your inner aloneness all of those realities
that you experience but can never really communicate. Every human being relates
to his or her own existence. Existence is God. In that relationship you’re
totally alone. In that you have no company. That is what it is to be a human —
relating alone and reflectively to your own existence.
The truth of your religion has little to do with going to
a church or temple, but with how you relate to that which you can’t articulate,
which is within you, and true. The way you relate to this existence is the basis
of religion, and this religious matter is the core of the onion. Jealousy in its
core exposes how you, as a human being, relate to your existence.
Basic to the question of existence is the question, who
is this “I” that’s doing all of this feeling? Who is this “I” that loses
self-esteem, that has a nest to protect, that is afraid? Who is this “I” that
says “mine”? Who is this conglomerate of expectations? Who is this
In the East, they call it the ego. We use the word “ego”
in the West in the sense of self-esteem; or in psychoanalysis, it is your
capacity to cope with reality. When I talk about ego, I’m talking about
something more fundamental. It is that which identifies, that which feeds on
self-esteem, that which is the composition of all your expectations, that which
perpetuates itself by possessing. In short, ego is that which can become
Ego and jealousy are both illusory. In your experiences
of jealousy, you come to an insight that it is not real. You were jealous, and
then all of a sudden you’re not jealous any more, and you look back to when you
were, and you feel that it wasn’t real at all. It disappeared because it had no
basis. That’s what I mean about ego. Ego is that which we experience which is
not real. Jealousy is also not real. Becoming aware is the joy you feel when you
actually experience that unreality.
Let us consider envy again. Like all the skins of the
onion, envy stands on ego. See how illusion works in envy. First of all, how do
you know if you can be envious of another person? You see only outer
circumstances and objects. You don’t really know if the other is really happy
with what they’re experiencing. When you look at the other, what you perceive is
your own projections. Don’t even suppose that you can see another person’s
reality sufficiently to compare with yours in the first place. There’s no way —
until we reach utter, silent awareness within — that we can go into another and
truly know their reality. But the illusion goes deeper.
In envy you are comparing the I — which is your ego —
with the ego presented by someone else. Your comparison is based on an illusion
that you are an entity and the other another entity, and you can compare the
two, Only ego is “comparable.” Only if you see yourself as an ego can you
compare yourself in the first place.
Your comparison is based on illusion. The “you” object
that you’re comparing with some objectified person out there is really a subject
— internal, hidden, uniquely, incomparably yourself. All your subjective
reality is being objectified and then judgement compared with an object out
there that you perceive to be a certain way.
With envy, possessiveness, jealousy, ego itself, we are
not dealing in moral or ethical issues. It is irrelevant whether these or any
acts they come from are wrong or right. It is a matter of reality or illusion,
of authenticity, of phoniness. When I talk about peeling away the layers of the
onion, what I am asking you do is become aware. Through awareness only
can we drop this illusion. And that which has illusions, that which can be
jealous, is ego.
The feeling of abysmal jealousy is an eruption, a deep
catharsis of ego. That’s why jealousy is the great opportunity to stare ego
right in the face. But it is difficult. It requires ruthless awareness, because
ego is usually concealing itself. With deadly subtlety it masquerades as
comparison, as blame, as the fault of the other, as problems that you have. It’s
hard even to have any grasp of it, because its hold on you is so subtle, so
magical. It’s always casting a spell over you. In fact, you believe that
you are ego. That’s why it’s so hard to see. Thus, when jealousy presents
the source of suffering itself directly before you, there is great
What creates ego in the first place? Existence takes care
of me as a child in a womb. It keeps “breathing” me. Then why do I develop this
illusory me that — in the name of protection — keeps me in pain, keeps me
alienated, isolated, separated from others, and unable to trust in existence?
Why am I unable to trust that I’m taken care of by the whole, by all that is?
All of us live in fear, and that which lives in fear is the same as that which
is jealous: the ego.
To understand the ego, we must return to the core of
jealousy. We “fear” the same in love, death, and aloneness. It is existence, or
God, pure being. But because it is not a thing (only ego sees things), it has
been called in the East, “nothingness” and “emptiness.”
Let me give you an experience that might give you some
sense of this nothingness. When you’re waking up in the morning you are in a
twilight. You’re just coming out of sleep, before your thoughts begin to form,
some ground is there. Like a tremendous empty vessel, it’s there prior to your
thoughts. Things bubble up in it and become realities. They congeal, take on an
identity, and form the ego that you think you are.
The words “vessel of emptiness” or “nothingness” sound as
though they are describing something that is devoid of content. They don’t have
that meaning. They mean that for existence there are no things that are real. In
other words, existence presents us with an undifferentiated flow of experience
welling up out of a void, an abyss of the unknown. Only with our minds do we
pick out things, interpret them, and say that they are real. Our minds say that
things out there really exist in the meaning context and values we assign to
them. What we actually experience is a moving kaleidoscope of uninterpreted
fullness. And this moving, ever-changing phenomenon over which we have very
little control, really, is a nothingness. It is a fullness in which there is no
thing. So when you get right down to the basic religious question raised by
jealousy, you have to question whether or not you really even exist.
In his great work Being and Nothingness, Sartre
said that we as human beings so dread this ground of consciousness, this
nothingness, that we have to create ourselves to be something. We are nothing.
We are undifferentiated out of the great emptiness. We have no content. But this
is so frightening, so abysmal, that we create ourselves to be something
namely, an ego. Being and nothingness is ego and existence, jealousy and the
abyss. We are something fearful created out of nothing. Since somewhere we
always know the something to be unreal, nothing is always present to us
threateningly. My sense of my death is that it is always presented because
nothingness is always there. Death is an accession to nothingness, a return to
the source. So here we are, and basically what we come form is emptiness or
nothingness. This is our basic angst.
A friend of mine experienced a lot of pain in her
relationships. She was very compulsive, and possessive. She asked her teacher,
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, about her pain, and he told her this: The ego, which
arises out of the nothingness that we basically are, can have a negative or a
positive response to the nothingness. The something that we are knows deep down
that we’re standing on nothingness. All of you know, deep down, that before the
whole, you aren’t anything. The negative response is subliminal terror. Against
this fear of nothingness, you create the illusion that you are something. You
back this project by preoccupation with realities, accumulating and possessing.
That something illusory that you are is the one that suffers in jealousy. The
entire structure is a negative or fearful response to nothingness.
But Bhagwan told my friend that this something-ego can
also relate positively to nothingness. Only then can we move out of attachment
into prayerful gratitude and heartfelt celebration of the other’s being. Only
then are we capable of real love. Only by saying a deep yes to nothingness,
existence, the whole, do we come to be at home in nothingness. Eventually the
positive response enables us to drop the something in favor of
You are just a bubble. You were nothing before; you are
nothing now. An enlightened bubble is not concerned with its bubbleness. It just
is. It doesn’t appear anything special, yet it feels all, sees all just as it
is. That’s why it is said to be enlightened. This is a positive, pure response
to our given existential situation.
Most of us don’t react positively. Instead, we shore up
our ego realities and live in fear. But death goes on reminding us of
nothingness; aloneness goes on reminding us of nothingness; and love reminds us
of nothingness. All three of these are ways that we experience nothingness right
here and now, and they are frightening. If you have a fear response to
nothingness, you will cling in your relationships, you will have to be
possessive. You will have to control others. These are all tensions and
compulsions that reflect this fundamental fear — this negative response to
Thus ego in its fear protects itself from truth. This is
the core of the onion. It is this core that you’re really dealing with in
jealousy. Many illusions are there, many external circumstances distract you
from this core, but this is what jealousy is.
Given what is so, you have to turn yourself around
completely and fall in love with nothingness. This turning brings with it the
greatest religious insight: Nothingness is there to be relaxed into and loved.
This is what they call in religion, surrender. You surrender to the nothingness
and when you do so, it begins to give forth what you need. You have no control.
There is no you that can control.
The you that controls is exercising the illusion of the
ego. We are all in it — all of us running around filling our lives with
possessing, controlling, and manipulating. We are not really in control. Our
manipulations are only superficial, but the ego would have us believe that we
must be in control or else there is chaos. If you have much insight into how
things around you really are, you will come to see this control for what it is.
It is like a molecule thinking it controls the universe.
The whole organism of existence is moving in its own way,
and we are just nothing. Nothingness is the organism that is the whole. You are
not separate from that organism, and the sense that you are separate from it is
the basic illusion of ego. It prevents the richness that the whole gives forth
when we let go to it.
You can become possessive about God as you can about a
lover. If you become possessive in religion, you lay a trip on God. He will be
Rama, he will be Jesus, he will be dialectical materialism, he will be the
state, he will be your God. “My religion is the only true one.” “The God
I believe in is the one and only.” Anyone who is very rigid in his or her
beliefs is manifesting the same principles as that which creates jealousy. In
other words, the possessive person and the fanatic are involved in the same
game. They build up the same kinds of resistance to the same primordial fear.
So, if you are in negative response to nothingness, you’ll become preoccupied
with material possessions, you’ll become obsessed with controlling a lover, or
else you’ll become very religious and rigid about your beliefs.
When you possess you become possessed. You live in a deep
vulnerability based in illusion. The stomach-churning pain of jealousy comes
from that vulnerability. That’s what you’re experiencing. The jealous moment is
essential catharsii of this existential complex.
TO THE CORE
Now, a relationship with a lover or a relationship with
God can reveal the ultimate. Through loving a lover or an image of God you can
experience pure nothingness as bliss. But if you possess, if you have a God that
you have fixed beliefs about, or if you have a lover that you jealously control,
what you’re actually doing is blocking your realization. Out of fear you are
misusing that which can give you an experience of bliss. You are so controlled
that you cannot be overwhelmed. And the ultimate can only make itself known when
you allow yourself to be overwhelmed.
If you have this negative response to nothingness, the
very base upon which you are standing is false. That false base is ego, the seat
of jealousy. The possessed person, or the God or principle that you believe in,
is only a projection of that ego. It is not real. You are relating to an
illusion, a projection that you created to keep yourself from experiencing fear.
Your eyes are closed. You can’t really see the beloved.
And this is what happens to us. This is why we don’t
communicate in love. Because the lover is a false idol. Whether it’s the person
or whether it is a God, somehow it’s false. Our eyes are closed to the reality,
and what we’re relating to all the time is our own illusion.
This is the basic mechanism that creates jealousy in the
first place. What you really want from a lover, what you really want from God,
is bliss. If you possess them, if you lay your trip on them, if you’re relating
to your own projection, you’re stopping yourself
from experiencing this
bliss. If you can’t know joy through the lover, or through God because of the
illusion that you’ve created, you can’t really experience the bliss of love. You
have to see this basic mechanism that is happening in your relationship to
existence and know that as a jealous person you are making a choice.
Love cannot be channeled to one object. If you have one
love object and channel all of your love there, what you are experiencing is
attachment. Similarly, if you are jealous, you are not experiencing love, you
are experiencing attachment. If you really love, then you’ll experience
an overflowing, you will experience love for all. It’s a natural consequence of
loving. It is not a natural consequence of attachment. In attachment, you’re
channeling all of your love in one direction. In love you’re experiencing
something in one direction that frees you in all directions. It’s as if you
threw a stone into a pond. Where the stone hits the water, radiations ripple
outward. When you really love, it may be directed toward one object, but it
radiates into love for all of existence. That is why love is said to be
So this is the possibility that you have as a jealous
person. When you work on jealousy, forget the lover and deal with your own
relationship to existence. Go deep inside yourself, slowly peel away the outer
layers of the onion until you come to the core that is your own relationship to
existence. Then you will free yourself to love more.
My own love relationships have been guided by my teacher.
In the last five years he has shaped all the significant factors in the
development of my love life, because he wants me to reach beyond the neurotic
needs of relationship. There was a time when I experienced a lot of pain in
loving, a lot of jealousy. I felt that I was always living in fear of loss. I
felt like I couldn’t hold on, and I was in constant pain because of it. So I
went to my teacher and asked what to do. His answer cut through to the core.
“Simply love more,” he said. “To cut right through fear of loss which is
infantile in its source, right to the core of the basic relationship what you
have to existence, go into more loving.” In other words, if you love someone, go
deep into your own unique experience of what that love is, and just let that be
who you are. Surrender to it. Build your identity upon it. You are not a person
who is jealous. Not someone who’s trying to control. Not even someone who’s
fearing. You are love experiencing itself deeper and deeper within its own
“Your love is a boat,” Bhagwan said. “Just go on, enter
loving more, tending, penetrating — and the boat, of its own volition, will
carry you to the other shore.” ++
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