Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On Unconditional Love

I made a recent post over at Reflections of Beauty having to do with Love. And I've been having a dialog in the comment section with Mr. Anonymous. I thought I'd like to share some of that, since you might not have stumbled upon it. Here is an edited version of the conversation:
Mr. Anon: Now Love - there's a subject. What a power in our lives. Coming upon us unexpectedly, turning our lives over and over again. Takes us out of ourselves and makes us forget ourselves like nothing else can. But what is Love? It is Gift and Mystery - like Life itself. And when Love focuses on someone, it is one of the strongest addictions we can have, and one of the most difficult to deal with.
Thanks for the comment, and yes, I can see that such love as you describe can be a tremendous force -- a powerful emotion -- exhilarating or debilitating, depending on the outcome.

But for the record, I was going for unconditional love -- you've described something else entirely. Unconditional love can include passion, but at the same time, dispassion for the outcome. Detachment, selfless caring for the other's well-being. What say you about that?
Mr. Anon: Well, I guess I did not communicate well because I was talking about unconditional love. When I fall for these women in my life (except for times when I am just playing around, or recreating), it is unconditional, and total. And that is why it is so painful when it ends; these endings usually leave me so totally spent, lost, betrayed, and wandering in an unknown land, and of course, wondering at the meaning of life, and at this mysterious Human Condition that we are enduring. If it was anything less than unconditional, then ou might say, ah! then it does not end, you still have it! Forever, and always in your Heart. And of course, I agree with that. That love is still there. But the object of my love is not longer beside me - and that is the hard part. Not seeing his or her face beside me anymore when I wake up.

[Now you] say you wrote about something entiredly different than I did. That confuses me. I can't understand that comment. Are you confusing unconditional love with compassion? Love always has an object doesn't it? Are you talking about some kind of objectless love? I am pretty clear about the love I am pointing at. Been in and out of it enough times (and everytime is different). But now, I am getting confusing about what it is you are talking about, specially when you "entiredly something else" it throws me for a big loop.

I think many people do not understand what love is, or at least what is can be. Maybe we all make up our own versions of it.
I certainly do not mean to debate with you. And words are such a terrible medium to communicate about such intense feelings.

But when I refer to unconditional love, it is such that you will not have such pain. Do you feel pain when the butterflies migrate south? Do you have pain when your enemy becomes your friend? Do you have pain when your child grows up and begins his own life?

Unconditional love in my mind does not cause pain. You are giving it freely (unconditinoally -- expecting, needing, wanting -- nothing in return). You are happy to give it. So then how can it cause you pain? It has already caused you happiness to give it away?

The love you describe -- to me anyways -- sounds like a different kind of love. One that expects, however gently, to receive love back. For example, you would think I might have unconditional love for my wife, right? How can I offer unconditional love to others, if not my wife?

Becuase I so much want her love in return. It would wound me to the core if she did not love me back.

And that is OK. That's what makes a marriage. Which brings children that we want to let go -- to see grow in their own ways. To evolve to their own future. Which is of course, life itself.
Mr. Anon: Ah so! Your description above of unconditional love as being painless because it needs nothing in return, is interesting. It sounds like a riskless way to love. And you were right - that is not the "unconditional love" that I was talking about.

Actually, the unconditional love that you are talking about seems to me almost like a "state of being."

To my way of thinking, what you are talking about is something that not all of us can experience, but only some very lucky beings among us who happen to be (for some reason or other, maybe genetics) blessed with a state of being so complete, fulfilling, and pleasurable (if not ecstatic).

A great question is: for the many people out there who have no knowledge of this way of being, or for those who know it, but are unable to sustain it - is it possible to enlighten them? Possible to help them reach to that state, and maintain it? Or is it just something that you have, or you don't have (for example, like physical beauty)?
I definitely don't think it is genetic -- except perhaps differently than you imply (that some few have it, and others cannot). If anything, I believe everyone of us is capable of expressing this type of love, and yes, as you say I would describe it something as a state of being.

As for how to come to this realization. Well, I believe the primary action would be to have the intention to be in this state. Once that notion is internalized, I believe it will drive one to invesitgate what path would work best for them to uncover this inherent potentialilty. I suspect the path is different for everyone. Hence all of our religions, our cultures, our squabbles, etc.

I believe the insights, truth, beauty, englightement, call it what you may, exists within. Perhaps that is the "genetic" seed that we all share. Personally, I believe our egos tend to mask this insight, and actually work activtely to oppose it. Why you ask? Beuase, I suspect, of our current state of evolution -- we still carry this baggage of "survival of the fittest", and the ego is our tool to help us to survive and reproduce.

Ultimately, one needs to transcend the ego, and recognize that our individuality is but an illusion. Once there, unconditional love is rather a natural state -- why would you not love another, if that is just a different manifestation of your true Self.

But again -- your path may be different. As Jesus' was -- as Buddha's was -- as Gandhi's was.

I hope this help you understand my thinking; and I hope it is helpful for you as well. Namaste.


Rhea said...

I wanted to say 'hi' from one New Englander (I am in Boston) to another!

Steven Crisp said...

Rhea, thanks for the visit. Feel free to check out my other blogs and let me know if they help to address your ennui at all ;-)

I too am fantisizing about RVing in my future. We were expecting to be lonely because of the price of gas -- but it looks like too many boomers with too much money ;-)