I’ll start out this article with a small disclaimer: I am not an unconditionally loving being, nor do I believe this is something that a person “should” strive to become, in order to be a good person. “Unconditional love” is a very lofty goal, and one of the greatest potential accomplishments that a human being could ever make. I do greatly encourage people to strive for this, and am grateful to those, who attempt it. Unconditional love is something that I do personally strive to achieve in this lifetime, but I am well aware of my human imperfections, and the fact that I am not there yet.
Unconditional love can definitely be a sticky topic to discuss with people.
When it comes to a subject as grand as this one, I can only speak what I’ve found in my own experience. There’s no evidence, no science I can reference. I’ve found that many people disagree with me when I speak of unconditional love, or, as I sometimes like to call it, Love. I call it Love, because I do not think you can properly define the word Love without it being unconditional. To call something Love, but for it to fall short of being unconditional Love, real Love, is to put severe limitation on the word.
- I believe the best place to start would be to say that the word “love” is a word. Like any other word, it is merely a symbol for what it represents. Three syllables have been used to sum up a very abstract, emotional, and vast idea. Each person’s interpretation of the word love is slightly different. Maybe you’ve experienced this before in a relationship. When you say “I love you” to one person, they may think you want to start spending more time with them, perhaps enter into a romantic relationship with them, or that you have physical feelings of attraction for them. Another person may simply interpret it, as you letting them know you enjoy their company and appreciate who they are, nothing more.It is my observation that people do not always take this into account when using this word in their communication with others.
It is also my observations that what I would define as unconditional love is often quite different from how other people would define it. From now on, in this article, I will simply call it Love.
- Love is limitless. It has no boundary, and no ending point. It is infinite. Because it has no boundary, and is infinite, it does not have levels. There is no such thing as loving one thing “more” than another thing. It is all encompassing. It is one.
This clashes with some of the more traditionally held beliefs in society that when you truly love someone, perhaps your husband or wife (girlfriend or boyfriend) that you love them “more” than anyone else. Some people even believe that if someone loves them and is in a relationship with them, that they should not love anyone else.
This is where jealousy comes into play. Under this context, jealousy is a desire to limit someone else’s love. I do not mean to say that this means people cannot be in happy, loyal, monogamous relationships, but it is very important to understand that by our very identity, we are designed to love everyone. It is unrealistic to think that someone could or would love you “more” than someone else.
They may be very committed to you, very much in love with you, even madly in love with you, but the strength of this love can in no way be defined by their lack of love for other people.
Can you see the slight madness in this idea? It is simply unrealistic to expect or want someone you care about to limit their ability to love others. It is not healthy for you, or for them, and will keep you in a place that is removed from reality. Jealousy is not Love, nor does it define Love.
- Love is also beyond us. By this I mean that Love is not fully understandable by the ego that speaks the word “love” or thinks rationally and linearly about it as a concept.
Love transcends our strange beliefs that we are separate, individual beings, disconnected from the whole. Love is real. It is the very foundation of our reality. Because of this, Love is always present. It always exists, whether we are aware of it or not. The real truth is that we all do Love everyone, and everything; it is simply our perception, and our human-ness that gets in the way from us experiencing this.
More than this, we are Love. Rather than saying that we are loving, we actually are Love. It is my belief that the full realization of this simple truth, the completely full identification with Love, rather than the separate self, or ego, is enlightenment.
There are many things that get in the way from us coming to this realization, the paradox being that this is more true than anything else that the average person believes about themselves.
So if it is true, why are we not experiencing this as true?
This line of thought can go very deep, about as deep as possible.
- Our experience of being human is the main obstacle that holds us back to experiencing ourselves as Love. We have been both gifted and cursed with these brains of ours that come pre-loaded with all sorts of survival mechanisms, emotional triggers and reactions, patterns of memory storing, beliefs, conclusions, methods of “rational” thought, etc., etc. Along with all of these, there is also the very mysterious and deviant mechanism within the human mind to form a conceptual identity about oneself, starting from the moment you are born.
All of these things form a thick cloud that murks up the waters of your ability to perceive ultimate reality. Instead of just seeing reality as it is, the brain is too busy interpreting reality, and drawing hasty inaccurate conclusions about it.
In reality, what are you? What thoughts come up when I ask this question?
These thoughts, whatever they are, are not real; they are exactly what holds you back from simply seeing what you are. We have become so removed from the simple act of observing ourselves and our experience as we are, as it is, without judgment, without drawing conclusions, forming opinions, or projecting our own beliefs onto everything, that we don’t really see the truth at all. Instead we tell ourselves stories, with words, about who we are, what we experience, what life is.
The truth of the matter is that in reality, you are what you are. And what you are is so plainly self-evident and right in front of you at all times, if you can simply learn how to just see it without interfering with it in your head. When you say things like “I am happy. I am Steve. I am a good parent. I am an American”, you are not talking about yourself. You are identifying with what you do, think, feel, and experience. This is a very different thing.
And yet, we have all been doing this our entire lives, to the point that we stopped even questioning it a long time ago. And this is why we do not experience ourselves as Love, why we don’t identify with unconditional Love. It’s right in front of us right now, and at all times. There’s just a big web of mental “junk” getting in the way. The many different paths towards spiritual enlightenment are all different methods for clearing this junk out of the way, so it can stop obstructing our plain, clear view of the reality that is right in front of us.
The last thing I want to say about Love is that…
- Love is total, 100% acceptance. To truly Love someone is to accept them exactly as they are, without wanting them to be different. Love not only accepts people exactly as they are, but also situations, objects, events, and everything else that it looks upon.
Love is the force that understands everything is perfect exactly as it is, and that everything happens exactly, as it is meant to happen. When you think about the people in your life, who have loved you in a way that had a profound impact, I would wager that you felt completely accepted by them at all times.
This is another misunderstanding about Love that comes into personal relationships.
Some people enter into relationships keenly aware of their partner’s shortcomings and weaknesses, with an expectation of them to change. The irony of this is that the very attitude of wanting and expecting something or someone to be different than it is in the present moment (this is another way of saying resistance) is the one thing that stops that very thing you want to change to be able to. The resistance ends up locking the pattern in place, and feeding your creative energy into it, making it stronger.
To want someone to change or be different than exactly what they are is the opposite of Love. If you struggle with this one I highly encourage you to do the counter-intuitive thing and learn to accept the things you have been resisting about your partner. You may be surprised at how magical this can be. Nothing is more healthy and transformative for a person as unconditional Love. You may find that by giving them only Love and acceptance, their so-called “shortcomings” may begin to disappear on their own accord.
To conclude this article, I want to reassure you that
- Things I’ve listed as the opposite of true, unconditional Love are very human. Even very spiritually advanced people still struggle with them. We are genetically designed to have these tendencies and emotions, and it’s not a walk in the park to overcome them. So be easy on yourself. We may not all be unconditionally loving beings, but this does not mean we don’t love, or that we don’t have hearts of pure gold. We are a strange mix of spirit and animal, with a potential that goes beyond our wildest imagination.
Every thing each person does to move closer to their potential to Love unconditionally contributes a great gift to our world, and everyone around them. So take it easy, and walk your path as best you can.
TIP: If you are looking for a real-world example of unconditional love, you do not need to go far. Most dogs are as unconditionally loving as the saints of the earth. It really is amazing how such a powerful thing can be so easily accessible and right in front of us. Notice how loyal dogs are, how quickly they will forgive and forget if someone hurts them or is unkind to them, how eager they are to please, be good, and make their owners or friends happy, and how innocent and unashamed they are in expressing their affection and love for the people in their life.
This article was written by Love.