A friend of mine was sharing an experience of what he felt was being touched by the Holy Spirit. As he was telling the story, tears began to seep from his eyes and roll down his cheeks. As he wiped them away, he apologized for the show of emotion but explained that each time he retells the story he is overcome by such a feeling of love that he cannot stop the flow of joy. He emphatically stated that everything is love – love for family, love for others, love for self. Wow.
This conversation got me thinking about the ideal of unconditional love. What is unconditional love? Is unconditional love even possible? As I understand it, unconditional love is a love so profound and so encompassing that no matter what happens the faith in that love can never be shaken. Is it possible to have a love that strong for another human being? Or for oneself? And what does it look like?
Romantic relationships between two people are framed in conditions. Once two people start dating there will usually be a conversation about the nature of the relationship. Questions such as is this an exclusive relationship, will the relationship include physical intimacy, and how often will we see one another all have conditions attached. For example, when two people agree to date exclusively the condition is that there is no dating outside the relationship. Indeed, marriage vows specifically state the conditions under which two people agree to be married.
Many parents will state unequivocally that they have unconditional love for their children, and that no matter what happens they will always be supportive. And I have also heard parents say that they would not love their children unconditionally, particularly if they are involved in a heinous crime.
And although I admire and respect the Buddhist belief in Basic Goodness in each and every person, I will admit to having a hard time seeing it when I am in a state of hurt or anger because of a perceived betrayal or act of disrespect. And as far as unconditional self-love, I know that I am the hardest on myself when it comes to what I consider my failings or short-comings.
And yet all of the Master Teachers – Jesus of Nazareth, the Buddha, Mahatma Ghandi, to name a few – teach the practice of unconditional love as a necessary component to self-growth and self-development that leads to a path of true enlightenment and entering a state of bliss.
I, too, believe in unconditional love. But I know that I haven’t achieved the level of enlightenment where I can practice it all of the time, even for those that that I love fiercely. So I continue to try. I remind myself that each one of us, including me, is a divine soul having a human experience, and as such we are all doing the best we can, with what we have, at the moment. I communicate with my Higher Power through prayer and meditation. I take the time to notice and celebrate the small miracles that happen around me all the time – the sound of wind through the trees, the feel of sun on my face, the hum of a bee as it does its work with the flower, the view of the setting sun over the lake – these things remind me that I am part of a great big, beautiful world. And in these small miracles I see the work of the Divine, and know that it is in the intent to try to do my best that I can experience unconditional love.
Sending you Love and Light,
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.