WHAT IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE? A personal journey...
by Dr. Jon Repole, D.C., N.C., H.H.P.
I have learned and continue to learn many valuable pearls of wisdom each and every day. And for this I am not only grateful but blessed. One of the greatest gifts I have ever received, however, is the understanding of what complete unconditional love really means.
Our physical journey -- eating right, exercising, sleep hygiene, etc. -- means absolutely nothing if we don't come to understand the underpinning of its inherent truth and symbolism. I see these physical undertakings as a simple platform for allowing our true growth on the spiritual and emotional dimensions. We are in essence -- spirit -- inhabiting (for a relatively short time) a physical body.
We, unfortunately, identify ourselves with our beliefs, dogma, memes, and cultural indoctrinations. And as we add a new belief, we add yet another fence post around our true authentic self. With each fence post we build an imaginary wall around a barren little garden -- separating ourselves from the great vastness that surrounds it. This faulty identification (belief) is like a drop in the ocean not knowing it is the ocean or a sunbeam unaware it is the sun. We compare our fence posts to others -- democrat, father, our job, our religious affiliations, etc. -- and defend it at all costs. When we meet someone we try and connect by aligning our fence posts to the ones that match others. The fence posts that do not match up are defended (mostly unconsciously) at all costs to protect our faulty image of ourselves.
Conditional love is the illusion of this imaginary barren garden that we defend. It causes us to separates from others and more importantly -- from the truth of who we are.
Unconditional love, on the other hand, is the disassembling of our posts -- allowing this barren garden to flourish in the splendor of seeing everyone and everything as a part of the whole and the interconnectedness of the divine spark that exists within us ALL. When the veil of illusion is transmuted other's needs are simply seen in the light as no different than our own.
We usually approach relationships (romantic and non-romantic) from a platform of conditional love. Our fence posts create an internal dialogue that tells us that there are certain actions and behaviors that (if performed or executed by others) will cause us to withdraw our love. So what does this look like?
- if you are not part of my culture, nation, clan -- I will withdraw my love
- if you fail to meet my needs -- I will withdraw my love
- if you use a particular tone -- I will withdraw my love
- if you don't complete a certain task -- I will withdraw my love
- If you cheat on me -- I will withdraw my love
- If you do not show me affection -- I will withdraw my love
- If you do not remember my birthday -- I will withdraw my love.
- If you have a certain religious belief -- I will withdraw my love
- If you don't agree with me -- I will withdraw my love
And the list goes on and on...
Unconditional love, simply states that there are no conditions, circumstances, or words that would cause me to withdraw my love for you. This is seeing another through the eyes of the divine and understanding that when two people stand together there is no boundary or point where one persons energy ends or begins.
Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying, "The illusion that we are separate from one another is an optical delusion of our consciousness."
We seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. The conditional relationship is based on attachment in that we are seeking to be completed by another person all the while forgetting we are already complete.
"For an unholy relationship is based on differences, where each one thinks the other has what he has not. They come together, each to complete himself and rob the other. They stay until they think that there is nothing left to steal, and then move on. And so they wander through a world of strangers, unlike themselves, living with their bodies perhaps under a common roof that shelters neither; in the same room and yet a world apart...A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take."
(Excerpt from ACIM)
The end of the 20th century has seen a marriage of science and religion. Quantum physics has gifted us with an understanding that at the core of all life is an interconnectedness. This is symbolized and referred to by physicists as the Zero Point Field. We tend to get caught up in the meaning of symbols of which words/thoughts are the strongest. Words are nothing more than symbols of symbols that point to truth. Words, however, are not truth.
The Buddha nature, Christ consciousness, the Eternal Tao, the Zero Point Filed are all symbols that point to Truth. They all point to an unchanging, eternal, and formless dimension of which can only be experienced not spoken. Our goal should be to see the similarities rather than the differences.
In pondering the significance of this universal realization we can attest to the greatest blunder of man and womankind -- which is our inability to see past worldly "forms " (our fence posts) to the inherent universal truth of divinity and interconnectedness.
Human beings will always make mistakes, however, if we believe their mistakes reveal or uncover the ultimate truth about their true identity/divinity then their mistakes become our mistakes. We will stay asleep by our lens of perception of them.
Relationships offer us one of the most amazing platforms to help us awaken from our sleep and to open our eyes -- allowing us to see the world through the soul's new eyes rather than the blinders as worn by the body. Relationships, in this context, refer to all situations, events, circumstances, people, animals, Gaia (our earth), and so on...
So I will offer a simple practical application of living these tenets. For starters, we can remind ourselves of the famous serenity prayer before moving forward:
Next, we can use: Unconditional Forgiveness (for the past), Unconditional Gratitude/Awe (for the present moment), and Unconditional Love (for the future).
This is a process of rewriting our stories and being able to discern facts from our opinions. This can be practiced throughout the day with any thought that creeps into your mind that:
- Is unloving toward yourself
- Is unloving toward others
- Is simply not improving the quality of your life
We can try to move towards an experience of unconditional forgiveness by trying to “feel” this emotion away from the intellect and towards the heart by fostering a deep understanding that there really is “nothing to forgive.” Our role is not judge and jury but rather a role of taking responsibility for our reactions, interpretations in not allowing the past to live in the present moment.
Unconditional Gratitude & Awe for the present moment
It is easy to be grateful for the good in our life. Unconditional Gratitude, however, is non-judgment and viewing events, circumstance, etc. as neither good nor bad. Unconditional Gratitude fosters recognition of so called “bad” events through the reinterpretation by your Inner Wisdom whereby life is seen as a classroom and adversity as a doorway.
Unconditional Gratitude will move you directly into the experiential realm of “Awe.” For example, you will not only be grateful for the flower but you will begin to touch the flower, smell the flower, and contemplate its majesty and the mystery of life.
You can practice unconditional gratitude and awe throughout the day by:
- First expressing gratitude intellectually for any event, circumstance, or person and then taking the next step to “breathe in” the experience away from the intellect and towards the heart. In this way we can experience the gratitude through our five senses and possibly align with extrasensory awareness, as well.
This is the practice of extending love to the “future” as it unfolds. For our future “goals,” we can turn them away from extrinsic rewards and towards intrinsic rewards that foster the ultimate goal of peace toward all our dreams and aspirations. We can, for example, change the goal of something as simple as a tennis match from, “I want to win the tennis match” to “I will play my best.”
Through the practice of forgiveness, gratitude/awe and love we will again be led to the highest dimension of existence that fosters true Unconditional Love for all that is, was, and will come.
- This is the practice of seeing the face of “God” in everything that comes across our earthly eyes.
- This is perspective shifting by seeing everything as love or simply as a call for love
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