As I sit by my window, snowbound in New England, I have been thinking about love.
We have moved past the frenetic holiday rush and settled into the steadiness of winter, watching each day lengthen into more daylight (not dark ’til 5 now), bringing the promise of Spring. Eventually. Meanwhile, love beckons.
What is love? What is its true meaning? How can we each best express love in this short, sweet life? What does it mean to love unconditionally?
Love is the expression outward from your center of your expanded self, your soul, your spirit, the unique spark of life and creativity that IS YOU in your full-Selfness.
This love might be called “One Love”– love that is original, of Source. It is ineffable, indescribable in quality, as it is greater than our human experience. But you can catch a glimpse of it through your feeling sense of its signature qualities: certain comfort and contentment, peace, well-being beyond compare, fixed and sure.
Giving, freely, is love’s natural expression.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross put it this way (in The Wheel of Life, Scribner 1998):
“I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame of that heats our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other.”
When you give with no expectation of something in return, then you have the opportunity for incarnational transcendence!
Think about this: giving with no need for acknowledgment, no thanks, no “credit” in any way, whether from another or from yourself. Giving without wanting or needing anything from the recipient.
Of course we feel joy in giving; and gratitude is always welcome and surely appropriate. I am suggesting going a step further, and in the process achieving freedom through the expression of love towards another–with no wish or need for recognition, reciprocation or approval.
Try this: abandon ego–if only briefly–and the emotions it drives and experience the feeling of giving unconditional love in some way, however small. That feeling is one of freedom.
I worked for some time with a man who seemed often non-responsive in the face of my contributions to a joint project. At times I would find myself feeling unappreciated or unacknowledged. I had a range of emotions around this, many of them not love! Then I realized that the burden I felt around this was indicative of a lapse on my part: I had unwittingly established conditions around my contributions. I had attached conditions to my giving, and these conditions did not serve me or the work. Once I changed my thinking, and feeling, about this, the result was a visceral, palpable and deep sense of freedom–and joy–for me. The conditional aspect of my giving, though unintentional, was constraining me as well as the recipient of my time.
Think about examples in your own day to day life and ask yourself: Does this gift from me originate in my open heart and is it free?
Love freely given is no burden; there is no sense of obligation and there is no resistance.