Thursday, March 23, 2006

Unconditional Love

I’m learning a bit more about unconditional love these days. I was talking about it with my daughter last night (she’s home from school), and our conversation crystallized some aspects of it.

I’ve generally thought that unconditional love means a sort of blissful unawareness of the loved object’s faults. Meaning, we just don’t see the problems, so we love constantly and consistently. But I’ve experienced something quite different lately.

Now, I would define unconditional love as: Continuing to love a person when you just don’t like them very much.

And the *only* way I’ve found I can do this at all is by knowing what Love is, the Love that is divine Spirit, and knowing that the person’s external actions that are mean or grouchy aren’t the final word on who they are as expressions of Love. I can’t imagine being able to love unconditionally if I thought the external *was* the real and final.

This may sound very rudimentary to you out there who have understood this from day one. Do you ever find on your spiritual journey that you often have to go back to basics and learn those lessons more deeply? It seems like I’ve been learning about Love my whole life, but I never “graduate” so to speak to complete knowledge. There’s always more to learn and explore and demonstrate.

And, are you ever stumbling along when you come face to face with a moment when you realize you have to love unconditionally *right then*? It’s like time stands still and you have a choice to make. And no matter what’s happening around you, you control your own experience by choosing to love with understanding rather than react with anger or impatience.

A few weeks ago, my son did this for me. I was upset and being very verbal about it. He kept quiet as I spewed. He told me later, though, that he’d realized there was nothing else he could do but love me. He said that no matter what I was saying, he was thinking, “I love you, Mom.” We’re learning together, he and I.

To me, times like that feel like the whole world is a movie playing out before me and I’m just watching it but deciding how I feel. I’m not sucked into it, I’m separate from it mentally and am simply witnessing and thinking my own thoughts. It’s a strange feeling for one who wants to fully engage all the time. It’s detached, but not disengaged really. It’s engagement in a different form.

My daughter and I talked about this passage last night:


Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it. The wintry blasts of earth may uproot the flowers of affection, and scatter them to the winds; but this severance of fleshly ties serves to unite thought more closely to God, for Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world and begins to unfold its wings for heaven.

--Science and Health

We gain something from loving like this. It’s just a matter of doing it.


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1 Comments:

At 3/26/2006 12:39:00 PM, Blogger Al Belote said...

This is a great topic and a very important one in the world today. I'm a big believer in unconditional love, though it's not always easy to deliver on.

My father had his own addendum to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" -- he added, "especially if you think they don't deserve it." I always liked that spin on it...it was a good reminder in difficult situations.

I think Love (that is -- God) loves unconditionally by nature and it's human love that puts conditions on it. If you remember that God is loving you and the other person unconditionally and equally, that helps you to put aside the self-protective, fearful-of-conscequences, human limitations on unconditional love.

The thing I struggle with though is when to say when. I think I've come to the conclusion that there are cases when the only practical or safe way to love unconditionally is from a distance to avoid being in harm's way.

 

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