What is conventionally called “love” is an ego strategy to avoid surrender. You’re looking to someone to give you that which can only come to you in the state of surrender. The ego uses that person as a substitute to avoid having to surrender.

The Spanish language is the most honest in this respect. It uses the same verb, te quiero, for “I love you” and “I want you.” To the ego, loving and wanting are the same, whereas true love has no wanting in it, no desire to possess or for your partner to change.

The ego singles someone out and makes them special. It uses that person to cover up the constant underlying feeling of discontent, of ‘not enough,’ of anger and hate, which are closely related. These are facets of an underlying deep seated feeling in human beings that is inseparable from the egoic state.

When the ego singles something out and says “I love” this or that, it’s an unconscious attempt to cover up or remove the deep-seated feelings that always accompany the ego: the discontent, the unhappiness, the sense of insufficiency that is so familiar.

For a little while, the illusion actually works. Then inevitably, at some point, the person you singled out, or made special in your eyes, fails to function as a cover up for your pain, hate, discontent or unhappiness which all have their origin in that sense of insufficiency and incompleteness.

Then, out comes the feeling that was covered up, and it gets projected onto the person that had been singled out and made special — who you thought would ultimately “save you.” Suddenly love turns to hate.

The ego doesn’t realize that the hatred is a projection of the universal pain that you feel inside. The ego believes that this person is causing the pain. It doesn’t realize that the pain is the universal feeling of not being connected with the deeper level of your being — not being at one with yourself.

The object of love is interchangeable, as interchangeable as the object of egoic wanting. Some people go through many relationships. They fall in love and out of love many times. They love a person for a while until it doesn’t work anymore, because no person can permanently cover up that pain. Only surrender can give you what you were looking for in the object of your love.

The ego says surrender isn’t necessary because I love this person. It’s an unconscious process of course. The moment you accept completely what is, something inside you emerges that had been covered up by egoic wanting.

It’s an innate, indwelling peace, stillness, aliveness. It’s the unconditioned, who you are in your essence. It’s what you had been looking for in the ‘love object’. I’s yourself.

When that happens, a completely different kind of love is present which is not subject to love / hate. It doesn’t single out one thing or person as special.

~ by Eckhart Tolle (March, 2012)

An Ego Strategy to Avoid Surrender