How to Relate to Others' Egos

Let me share an experience with you, one that I had recently, which is very close to what you’re saying.

I had come back from the West Coast, a month or so ago, and had a space of about ten days where there were no demands on my time, and I’d been very tired with jet lag and…

So I was just living very quietly in our apartment in Oxford. My only obligations were to spend time with my son, who lives over the road from us, and so he would come over each day or I would over and see him for a few hours; and then I would come back to our apartment, and it was very quiet; I was finishing writing my book, so it was a very quiet, contemplative, restful time.

And then I got a call from an old client that we’re doing a project for, in the pottering.

And he’s an extremely demanding client;
very nice man, but very demanding,
and not the easiest character to interact with.

I had to go to London to meet with him. I knew it wasn’t really necessary to go to London to have the meeting –it could easily be done over the phone– but I felt it was the right thing to do in this relationship; we’re doing a big project for him, so I went; on a train to his offices in Kensington.

And I was struck; it shot me; because it was so long, actually it was only ten days or so, that I had been out into the world to engage with it. And I had… There was just… I felt so open, so borderless, and so… total lack of resistance… And then I went into the heart of London on public transport, and I felt exactly what you describe. The… the… the bombardment on all sides, belying me,
and in this meeting it was even more so.

It was this slight indignation I could feel from the other, that I… that I wasn’t fully… involved. And it even caused some irritation, on the other side, that I wouldn’t… that I couldn’t compl… come completely. And I felt the pull from the world, exactly as you describe, to “Be like me”; to “Get real”; to “Be some…”, to “Be somebody” [audience laugh], to be an object.

And I have to confess also, I felt some resistance to that; I felt myself for a moment [drawing-within-himself gesture]
Don’t… don’t… don’t do this;
don’t try and get hold of me…

And then I felt this resistance, and how that resistance was more of the same. It was a reflection, it was a mirror of the behaviour that was happening.

And… and then… so I saw this resistance come up, and then let it go and realised

… that I didn’t need to protect myself… from this demand from the world to be somebody; to be an object;

… that to protect myself from it, was… was one way that the world… of letting the world win. It was playing the world’s game.


By refusing to play the world’s game [drawing-within-himself gesture],
I was playing the world’s game [perpetuating gesture].

… that actually it was completely the opposite:

To be totally open.

Because that is where we are safe.

That is the only security.

Is to be just totally open persons.

And I could feel… [repetitive grabbing gesture]
that this character; I could feel that he…
the activity of trying to get hold of me;
trying to… [continuing grabbing gesture]

As long as I resisted,
he was winning.
He was… he was
[shaking fist]
making me into someone
[steady fist],
a resisting someone.

But as long as I wasn’t that someone, as long as there was no resistance, he was just barking in the wind; he was just… There was nothing there. And he didn’t feel any resistance. So he didn’t feel that he was being frustrated, because there was no resistance there.

And the meeting softened
[sweet expression; open hand].


And we started smiling;

we started laughing;


It was so sweet in the end.

Everything that we needed to get done, it got done.

He actually ended up apologizing. He had thought that I had done a few things… I’d got things wrong, and actually I knew that in this case I had been very careful, and had done everything that he had… [writing gesture]
And he call… even called one of his guys in New York,
“I think this; and Rupert says this. So which one of us is right?”
And his guy in New York –I heard him on the phone speak– he said,
“Actually Rupert is right; he did the…”

And this guy, this… this…
[inhaling while tightening his lips]
… defensive, aggressive…
He put the phone… He said,

I’m so sorry. You were right; all along.
What you had done was what we originally agreed.”

And he was so soft,

and it was so sweet,

at the end.

So… And then I went home; I just got the train home again.

And when I got home, I recalled
… this whole incident of… of going out into the world that seems, as you say, to
demand that we play its game; that we become someone, or something;
… and the slight resistance to that, and how that actually subtly perpetuates…
… and how the letting go of that resistance…

That’s what I meant earlier, in the end of our meditation, where I say,
We find ourselves at the heart of experience.”

I didn’t need to go back to the flat;
to find that peace again, to find that independence.

Right there, in the heart of this slightly awkward, intense situation;
right there, without the resistance,
that was where the peace and the freedom was.

Right in the midst of it.

The important thing is not to have an agenda with the person; not…

You… you may see a display of ego; a display of a sense of separation, trying to aggrandise itself, or trying to protect itself, or… one of the numerous ways that the separate self perpetuates itself. You may see that. That’s not a judgement; it’s an observation. It’s fine to see that.


But it’s another thing to have an agenda with it.

And to have an agenda with it, is exactly the same as the ego that you are observing.

In other words, it’s only the ego in our self that would have an agenda with another ego.

So, make the distinction, very clearly, between observing the sense of separation –in your self, but here we’re talking about relationship with others–


… make the distinction between observing this sense of separation, however it displays itself in another, and judging it.


Awareness does the observing;
the separate self does the judging.
Yeah? That’s the difference.

So you, take your stand as Awareness;
you do the observing.


But, that’s the first thing. Not to have an agenda, with this… Not to feel that it’s wrong; that it needs to be corrected. It’s OK just as it is. This display, is OK, just as it is.
You, Awareness, don’t have an agenda with it.

And then the second thing
is to realise that what this other really is,
is this presence of Awareness.

And there’s only one presence of Awareness.
Something that is without limits.
There can’t be more than one of it.

We know in our own experience,
this aware Presence,
it doesn’t have an edge;
it doesn’t stop anywhere.
There aren’t lots of awarenesses.

So this one
that you are speaking to,
your very


Now, in between, like a kind of screen, there is a display of thoughts, and feelings, and behaviours, and gestures, that betray a belief that we are –in the other– the betrayer belief that we are something other than this presence of Awareness. So this display, that you are dealing with, is just a set of conditioned thoughts and feelings and activities and gestures.

So, you relate,
–when you speak to them, in your heart–
relate to who they truly are.

Don’t buy the story that they are a separate self, that they…
Don’t… don’t… don’t
reject it, don’t judge it and reject it,
but don’t buy it.

Let it do its thing.

And… you can respond to it appropriately;
it doesn’t mean that you just ignore what they’re saying.
No. You respond. Appropriately.

But really,
the one you are speaking to,
is the Presence behind this.

And just that is enough. Because this will… that attitude will ensure that whatever words you use (that are responding to their words), are somehow impregnated with this understanding.

So though the actual content of the conversation may be “What you did, and what I did, and what…”; it may be relative… psychological… stuff. Nevertheless, your own responses will be… will be saturated in this deeper understanding.

And something of that, of your response, will percolate through the conditioning, to who they really are. And… In a kind of resonance. Who they really are… It’s as if they wake up.

This… this gentleman that I was meeting in London the other day, when his guy in New York told him that actually he had made a mistake… So right there he’d been… All the time he has been telling me that I had got it wrong, and then, right there on the loudspeaker on the phone, his guy told him, “No, no, you made a mistake. What Rupert’s saying is what we agreed.”

And, when I heard that,
there was just no response in me at all.
It wasn’t manufactured; I…
There just was no feeling of
“Oh, there! I was right all along.”


It just didn’t arise. It was just… those are the facts.

And he must have felt that. He must have felt that there wasn’t the least judgement. Of him. There was no, “OK, there you are. I told you; you’re wrong.”

So in other words, if I had felt that, I would have squashed him into a person:
“YOU, are wrong! And I, was right.”
And he would have felt… even if I had only felt it, he would have felt diminished. He would have… he would be made into a person.

But because I didn’t feel that –not through any effort, it just didn’t arise– he felt that. So, at that moment, the sense of separation in him, it just… it couldn’t stand. Because there was nothing to fight against.

And at that moment,
the conversation changed its tone.
Because he was,
just for a moment,

He could, although he would never formulate it like this.

I wasn’t referring to an ignorant person;
I wasn’t in relationship with this person who was wrong in this case.

And he was liberated.

And I could see it on his face…
The whole tone, the body language…
Everything… changed.

Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros