Before continuing with this post, I suggest that you put aside everything that you know about love. You are familiar with the society’s definition of love from the TV shows and the magazines. But love can not be packaged or categorized. So what is the meaning of love in its purest form?
People generally associate love with the feelings of pleasure. Such as a pleasure from meeting someone you like. Pleasure from romance, pleasure from recognition, pleasure from lust. Pleasure from seeing a cute baby or a puppy. Pleasure from the satisfaction that things are going the way you want them to go.
What Love is Not
Life is in a constant state of flux. And just like everything else, these types of pleasures are only temporary. We’re all familiar with our “love” turning to hate or indifference. With pleasure replaced by suffering when the outcome is no longer the one that we seek.
So what’s wrong? What happened to the love we had, and why is it so temporary? The fundamental answer is that pleasure isn’t love. In fact, in its purest form love isn’t any of the feelings we experience.
The real answer is that the purest love is unconditional love. What is the meaning of unconditional love? It is love that is not based on our desires for self fulfillment. It is not based on desires for pleasure or gain. In fact, unconditional love is desire-less love. It is the love of pure, unconditional acceptance.
What is unconditional acceptance? As it pertains to love between people, unconditional acceptance means loving someone exactly as they are. Irregardless of what they were in the past, or may be in the future. It means not imposing your values on them. Not expecting their love in return.
It’s love without the emotions of jealousy, anger, possessiveness, lust or pleasure. It is love without ownership. We do not own anyone! How often have we experienced this kind of love? Not very often, I’m afraid. One example of unconditional love, is our love for God, or the Higher Power. This is probably love in its purest form.
Spiritual love. Love that is not restricted by our judgments, by origins, blood lines or family ties. These are all but illusions that keep us grounded from seeing the truth. Spiritual love knows none of these boundaries, as it’s a manifestation of joy that is the Higher Power itself.
Ways to Practice
How to practice unconditional love? A good place to start is to remove yourself from the equation. Why? Because it’s not about you. If it was about you, it would not be unconditional. That’s because as human beings, our mind tends to place conditions and expectations on everything. The ego needs to be satisfied.
So we work at removing our ego. We accomplish this, through practices such as meditation and contemplation. We attempt to quiet the mind to allow ourselves to see life as it really is. That is, without imposing our own judgement. Without measuring life by our likes and dislikes.
We practice friendly detachment. By detachment, I am referring to being detached from our emotions. By being detached, we let true, unconditional love unfold within. We no longer struggle to conform this love to our needs.
We work at it. We are not guaranteed to fully succeed. But by making the effort, we are guaranteed to get a bit closer to our goal. There is a beauty that exists in the unconditional love, that’s worth pursuing. It is a freedom from the bondage of ourselves. It’s the practice of letting go of temporary in order to find what has always been here – the infinite.
Live well. Vlad