A guy sitting next to me on the bus the other day kept looking over
my shoulder to check out the book on my lap. When I stuffed it in my
bag, he asked, “what are you reading?”
Slightly embarrassed, I told him, “it’s called, Love, an Inner Connection.”
“What’s it about?”
Self-help books and pseudo-spiritual tomes I’ve always considered
hokey. Human beings are fantastically complicated, a lifetime isn’t
long enough to discover all the nooks and crannies in one person’s
psyche. Merge two of these creatures in a relationship and they’d need
at least a couple centuries to figure one another out. For every
self-help “rule” about relating, you’ll find a thousand situations that
So, when a friend suggested Love, an Inner Connection, my
first reaction was to gag. But since the book’s based in Jungian
psychology and ancient Chinese philosophy, I gave it a whirl.
Here’s the gist: there’s the “essential” self and the ego. The
essential self is our identity in its purest form, untouched by social
conditioning. The ego is an insecure bully who concocts a social role
and avoids challenging situations to keep the self from harm. When two
people fall in love, their essential selves recognize each other and
connect. In a real love connection, two people can manifest their
essential selves, savor intimacy’s bliss and fulfill their lives’
But along comes the ego shouting things like, “you’re too ugly and
stupid for someone to love,” or “yo, the last time this happened, your
heart got trampled.” The beginning of love is always a battle between
one or both partners’ egos and essential selves. Thus, the journey to
love means silencing the ego, withdrawing when your partner’s ego is
actin’ a fool and having the patience to endure the initial
When I described the book to the guy on the bus, he nodded and said, “see, my problem is whenever love comes, I push it away.”
The fact that most of my acquaintances and even strangers on the bus
(swear to God, it happened) are voicing romantic concern suggests lots
of people are struggling.
Having allowed his “issues” to get the best of him, my friend Jay
cheated on the girlfriend he’s crazy about and has been fighting ever
since to get her back. My girl Diane caves into the whims of a guy she
loves but who sucks at the teat of non-commitment like a baby to a
pacifier. Jack’s in love for the first time but won’t make the changes
that would allow a new person into his world. Irene drives away every
man who shows affection because she won’t take the time to let feelings
evolve. Everyone’s selfish, terrified egos are running amok.
Years back, a recently divorced guy I’d been dating admitted to some
anxiety about the intensity of our fledgling romance. He wanted to
keep seeing one another, but a small part of him was tempted to back
I went ape shit.
“Nooo,” I wailed. “It’s too soon to freak, you can’t do this, give it a chance.” And so on.
Dude disappeared. Shortly thereafter, I picked up Love, an Inner Connection. And by gum, the book changed my life.