Updated: Nov 16
I was going to do a video but decided to spare you since I look a little beat today. This pandemic has gotten me into a nasty habit of sweats and yoga pants...I even broke my glasses and much to my husband’s chagrin, I still wear them. I’ll spare you the uncomfortable looks.
Anyway, let’s get to it. Might want to grab a cup of tea and settle in ⏲⏳.
I’m surrounded by people in my life who support me, challenge me, cause me to think. They provide the daily fodder I need like the air I breathe so that I may come to conclusions about life, and they push me further into my understanding of what it means to be human and I am forever grateful to them for that. A simple 30-minute phone call can fill me with such delight. I was blessed to have one of those calls this week and it got me thinking...I should do a series called Deeper Dive where we explore and examine those things that are beneath the surface but are important to our experience of daily life. I’ll pick a few topics over the next few weeks and we’ll go deeper into them.
Today’s topic is Unconditional Love.
I’ll swing left, then right but hopefully I’ll be able to give clear insight and offer some things you might not have considered but will be beneficial on your journey.
So what is unconditional love?
In theory it doesn’t need much explaining. While it’s a modern buzzword and seems to be the new, in fashion thing to do, in and of itself, the concept is complete...to love without conditions. In our human-ness, though, we tend to complicate things.
Seems as though it would be a given...spouses, children, friends. But how many of us have the best intentions to love someone but if we look into the furthest recesses of our hearts, we’ll find conditions lurking there? For example, I love my husband dearly, but there are certain things I will and won’t tolerate. Is that a condition? If he does something that shatters my heart to pieces, will I withdraw some portions of my love from him? Or all of it...depending upon how deep the wound is?
Let’s swing left.
I’ll start with the three particular stages of consciousness.
The first stage is I am UN-conscious. This is where we move through life with no particular awareness that we are not just legs, hands, hair, thoughts, emotions or that your being-ness stretches much further beyond what you are able to see, hear, smell and taste. People at this stage are simply here to experience life. At this level you either haven’t realized the full nature of your being yet or don’t particularly care to know. Valid.
The second stage is I am conscious.
This is where life gets juicy. You start to get the stirring that there’s more to human existence. You start to notice certain patterns about life, yourself, possibly others. You may have a closer connection to God or begin diving deeper (I like that term, Lol) into your spirituality. You begin to notice you have a very active thought life and start to realize that’s not the real you...at least not all of you anyway...AND THANK GOD 🙂.
Then there’s level three. I am conscious-NESS.
Transcendence starts happening at this level. You’re starting to gain the awareness that you are both fully God or spiritual, and both fully man or human. The Christian discipline exemplifies this in the embodiment of Jesus, The Christ. He always maintained he was God and man and reminded us we were the same. We differ only by degree. What was possible for him is possible for us. To the extent we move further into the understanding that we are consciousness, meaning we have a much broader perspective of who we are and what life really is, our power increases; our ability to transcend the bounds of our day-to-day experience becomes more readily available to us. It’s also at this level of awareness you begin to understand your connectedness and oneness with all of creation...it starts to whittle away and dissolve certain judgements, predispositions etc. People condemn, hate, simply because they lack awareness. The scripture judge not lest ye be judged feels to me like Jesus was reminding us of the concept of oneness. If I am that, when I judge that, I judge myself. We’re really deep here, aren’t we?
A google search will turn up the most highly educated and well-paid scholars pondering the question of consciousness...what it is, where’s it located...blah, blah, blah. They keep coming back to the brain, and the brain is a projection of our consciousness, but because it is human for us to see our human-ness as the basis of everything, they’re looking for consciousness through the lens of being human. What they don’t understand is that consciousness contains our human form. It doesn’t reside within us, we reside within it. Consciousness is the awareness that you are human but who and what you are extends far beyond that. We are both God and man or both spiritual and material.
Now that we’ve laid some groundwork, let’s swing back to the topic of unconditional love and how it looks at each stage.
When you are unconscious you really aren’t concerned with the deeper connotations of your life experience. It is what it is...it ain’t what it ain’t. And while it’s a valid state of being, unconditional love is sometimes difficult to achieve at this level. We tend to see the world and everything in it through the lens of ourself and how everything affects us. At this stage we are often quick to cut people off and rarely extend grace to others. Again, there are exceptions but at this level hate, rage, violence/violent speech, retaliations are often the default mood.
At the I am conscious level and when we have the understanding there’s something beyond us, the desire to love unconditionally becomes easier. Why is that? Because to extend love is our natural state. We’re moving closer to the concept of our ideal self. Withholding love starts to feel unnatural. Anger starts to feel unnatural. When we’ve wronged someone we feel it deeply. We are repentant and want to apologize or make amends. But at this stage we still see people through our own lens and from the standpoint of our own emotions, experiences and biases. Our offering of love is still somewhat tainted. And because the ego loves something to do so that it can offer judgements of I’m doing well or not well, we tell ourselves, "I must love this person unconditionally." We're still keeping score and viewing the person as needing something that we must give or provide to them. Feels a little uppity doesn’t it? In a sense, it’s still somewhat about us.
At the third level I mentioned above, the level of I am consciousness, unconditional love just is. Divine grace just is. It exists in spite of and requires no effort. At this level of transcendence, the act of unconditional love is done not in performance or as a gift you give to someone (which is still a noble and effective gesture). Instead, we accomplish unconditional love by looking only at ourselves which is all we can control anyway, and by removing all of the barriers to it...our own thoughts, behaviors, egos, judgements, and biases. When we do the work at this level, unconditional love is easier. It’s not something that we do, it’s that once we remove all barriers to it, we find that it is there. Always has been for each and every thing, even what we may "deem" unlovable.
When we kill the tape the mind constantly plays of “I don’t like that” or “this person does this” or “I don’t like them because they (fill in the blank), but I must love them anyway,” and when a new tape plays of people have the right to the validity of their own experience. Who and what they are is their business. They are a part of creation just like I am. From where I sit, I have no concept of what’s going on in the totality of their experience. When we silence the noise and stop viewing others from the standpoint of who and what we are, we find that love is already there. In other words, when we can get to a place of I am God and so are you, even though you may not recognize it, unconditional love is a natural by product of that awareness.
Doesn’t mean we condone behavior that is less than people’s best, in fact unconditional love is the opposite. We want the highest and best for all human beings. But if we can judge a little less, be comfortable with another’s right to choose for themselves even though we disagree, and understand that our humanity is only a part of our divine nature and that that is true for all human beings...when we do our own work, which is our only responsibility, of working to remove our own prejudices and biases so that more unconditional love can be realized and experienced, we contribute to the whole of it—ever expanding consciousness; which is what we all are a part of.
Love is a tenet of almost every religion and all the great sages have reminded us of this simple truth...as human beings we are all a part of all that is, this magnificent creation, some of it known to us but most of it far beyond our understanding. We should have respect, reverence and appreciation for all of it. In that sense we love unconditionally, just as Jesus and all the great sages have.
Allow people the right to choose their own path and make their own choices, knowing there's something far greater going on. We can be an example of truth, but anything
beyond that is out of our control. Curtail judgements about it and allow grace, love and mercy to be there.
And the most important piece to all of this? When you snatch your attention from other people’s lives and stop fretting or being upset over what they’re doing or the choices they make, peace floods into your experience.