I’m learning about Love right now. All sorts of love, and the ways I experience it, where and how it motivates me and exists within me. Consciousness urges me to understand a love that is without attachment, requirement or desire; a love that contains only Truth, like pure sweet clean water. Is it possible that we all already have this kind of love within us and the purpose of this life is simply to uncover it?
In a recent conversation with a good friend, he brought up the idea of “unconditional love” recalling a previous conversation a few weeks before where I had declared to him regretfully and honestly that I didn’t think I was capable of such a thing. Outside of my own children for whom I felt a deeper bond that what can even be described in words, I didn’t think I could love someone completely – I would always judge something about them, this was the human condition I concluded.
My friend said that he had considered my statement over the past few weeks and had concluded that I was mistaken because I was misinterpreting what “unconditional” meant. I asked him what he meant.
“Can you love me even when I’m being a jerk?” he asked.
History had proven this to be true. We had been friends a long time.
My mind argued that this wasn’t unconditional because it was only one person in seven billion and unconditional meant I could love without condition of who you are, what you do, where you live, what you look like – separate from any judgment my mind may have of you.
So then I tried to imagine other people in my life, and found that in fact, I did love them even when they were acting in a way or saying things that I judged negatively – or even that caused me direct harm, or pain. Yes, I could still Love them, even though I didn’t like what they did all the time.
So then my question had to extend to people I had not yet met, strangers, and people in other lands – could I love those people, even though I don’t know them?
I look on the internet and see faces of people I don’t know and I look deep in their eyes. There is…something there that I recognize. Something is there that is known to me, even though we have not met. Yes, I can love them too.
We have many incorrect notions of what love is: Love doesn’t mean I want to move in with you, sleep with you, cook your meals, solve your problems or become your therapist. Love means I realize I know nothing actually, and I am open to learning with you and through you.
I realized after my conversation with my friend that unconditional love exists as our birth-right – it is the center of free will. Judgment is a natural human activity, designed to help us discern what may or may not be the best option for us at the time. It is freedom in action. We are free to express love or to withhold its expression. And without sounding too much like a hippie we must conclude that if each person held love as the conscious motivation behind each choice they made, things would be very different. We can love someone but not necessarily “judge” that it is the healthiest option for our choices to have them in our intimate life. Since everything changes and passes, what is for today is not necessarily what is for tomorrow, But, we can always recognize that the part inside of us which express love is the same part of another that is receiving the love.
Maybe the greatest challenge we all face is to come to a place where we understand that we have to love our own selves unconditionally before we can transfer that love to someone else. Running workshops on my farm I have had the chance to speak to many people about this idea of being “centered in self”. Although it seems logical to conclude that we can’t give away to someone what we don’t have for our own selves, our culture has communicated a very different type of conditioning to us. We have told women that they need to put their children and families first and have created a martyr like attitude3. This has only resulted in a multitude of generations being raised by secretly resentful women.
Men have the pressure of continued roles as “caretakers”, emotionally detached breadwinners and hunter-gatherers, their success being measured by material acquisition and property value. This is such medieval thinking in the modern age! The challenge for men is daunting, requiring that they take the very long journey to understanding their own hearts and emotions and putting aside the requirements of society to ignore the basic inner natures.
Unconditional love exists in all of us I see now. The challenge is in excavating and finding out the truth about how it lives in you. When I look out of my window and see that I am life living in life, I feel a kind of love which expresses itself as joy in my heart. This love doesn’t require anything of me, it just is. Gratitude is the natural result of this focus.