************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Unconditional Love

I’ve been reading “The Five Levels of Attachment,” by don Miguel Ruiz, Jr. At the same time, I’ve been working to understand the concept of “unconditional love”.

My understanding of the message from the book is that our attachments to our beliefs get in the way of our following our own, best path. The more strongly we are attached to a belief, the less likely we are to challenge it, even if it becomes almost impossible to make that belief work with what we see around us.

People kill and die because of their beliefs. That belief may be that only their religion is right, that their country is the best, or that their physical body’s shape, size, or color is somehow better than another.

The Dalai Lama, the well-known Tibetan Buddhist teacher, explains the difference between attachment and unconditional love:  “Attachment and love are similar in that both of them draw us to the other person. But in fact, these two emotions are quite different. When we’re attached we’re drawn to someone because he or she meets our needs.[…] On the other hand, the love we’re generating on the Dharma path is unconditional. We simply want others to have happiness and the causes of happiness without any strings attached...” He neither accepts nor denies that unconditional love is possible, but he does explain it quite clearly.

People harm each other because of attachments to a belief that there is a limited way to love. I’d bet on the fact that you know someone who believes it is wrong to love outside of your race, your religion, or to love someone of the same gender. Those same people may tell you that God doesn’t want you to love in the ways they believe are wrong—and they may also tell you that God loves unconditionally. 

Perhaps they explain this as a paradox—that God loves unconditionally, but with a few conditions.

A Yoruba priest, Kalila Borhgini says, “God’s love is unconditional, but God also has expectations and requirements.” She accepts this and, a little later, calls it a paradox.

Baptist Rev. John Piper writes, “There is such a thing as unconditional love in God, but it’s not [...] for everybody. Else everybody would be saved, since they would not have to meet any conditions, not even faith.” What I get from this is that God loves us unconditionally, only if we have faith—which is of course, a condition.

I don’t believe in paradox. My feeling is that when we see something as paradox, it’s because we are seeing part of the equation incorrectly. 

2+3 will never equal 4. No matter how attached I am to the number three, as long as I hold it in that part of the equation, I am going to come up with a paradox because the only thing that logically fits, is another two.

Consider this statement: God is everywhere. 

At first, I took that to mean that God was here with us, all the time—that God was always present, right along with everything else. In time, I considered the possibility that God was neither another dimension superimposed over what we see and feel, nor a presence far away that was somehow aware of everything else.

Maybe God isn't here WITH everything, but AS everything. Maybe God’s presence “everywhere” really means that everything and everyone is God. 

Einstein and other physicists tell us that all matter is actually energy. Slow down energy's vibration and you get what we call matter. This means everything we see, feel, know or imagine is energy. Our thoughts and feelings, our movement through space, and even our bodies. 

Everything is energy. God is everything. Therefore God is energy.
 This equation makes sense to me. 

Perhaps God slowed down bits of that energy in order to experience what we think of as the physical realm. 

In the Law of Attraction teachings (also called the teachings of Abraham) it says, “Unconditional love is staying in the vibration of Source regardless of the condition.” To me, this says that we can only love unconditionally if we are in alignment with the vibration of the Universe (God). In a way, this is saying the same thing as the Baptist Reverend--that faith(or alignment with God) is a condition of unconditional love. 

One could look at it to mean that only God can love unconditionally, but if we did accept the premise that God is all, then God is us, and we are God and therefore, we should be able to achieve unconditional love.

I will make mistakes and you will make mistakes, yet God is perfect. If we are God, then mistakes do not take away from our perfection. How can that be? 

If I am God and you are God, then the concept of ‘loving thy neighbor as thyself’ has a different flavor. Thy neighbor IS thyself and both of us are God. We are meant to love ourselves and others and God constantly and equally, because they are one and the same and Divine—and therefore perfect. It’s like saying God has unconditional love for us because we are Divine and perfect aspects of God. That equation seems to ring as true as 2+2=4. Both sides are equal and the same. 

Catholic Fr. Vincent Serpa writes, “God does love us unconditionally in that he loves us even in our sins. But he cannot love our sins.” This is the “love the person not their actions” version of “unconditional” love. It represents an attachment to the “good and evil” concept. 

But maybe the way we choose to manipulate the energy around us (the way we choose to live our lives) is not good or bad. Maybe that judgment is irrelevant to God. Maybe God does not have any expectation of how we will use our time in this physical realm, but instead, has a knowledge that all aspects of God will always be aspects of God regardless of how we shift that energy—that no matter what we do, we are still perfect.

We would not put the three in the 2+3=5 equation unless we had a really good reason to believe that the three belonged there. If we were to accept that this paradox of expectations and unconditional love is a faulty equation, what attachment would have caused us to create it?

I think it’s an attachment to conditional love that moves me—and others—create the paradoxical equation. 

In my most rational moments, I don't actually believe God loves one person more than another. I accept that everyone and everything is an aspect of God, and that God loves all aspects of the Universe equally. Therefore, what I do here has nothing to do with how much God loves me.

The first time I considered that idea, I was surprised by a wave of fear. Why would that be a scary thought?

As a small child, I wanted to be loved unconditionally but I learned that love was conditional. I believed my parents were not capable of giving me unconditional love because I was not capable of being "good enough". If I believed unconditional love was possible, I also had to accept that my parents chose not to give it to me. This is harder to accept than to believe there’s an unknowable paradox—which would allow me to never have to look at the situation too closely.

In order to imagine this need for unconditional love being fulfilled, I personified God. I gave God the quality of requiring a condition for love, a quality that actually belonged to my parents. Like many (as my examples above display) I developed an attachment to the belief that "unconditional" love would be given to me if I followed a certain set of rules.

An attachment to this belief has several benefits.

For one thing, I can solve the greatest dilemma of my childhood. With God, I can finally be "good enough" to receive “unconditional” love. 

But also, by believing that God’s unconditional love actually has some conditions, it gives me an illusion of power. If I do “God’s will” then surely God will love me more. I will become one of the chosen, the beloved, the saved—whatever name you’d like—by fulfilling the conditions imposed by my belief system.

If I give up the attachment to the concept that I gain God’s love by following certain rules, does that mean I have to believe I can’t gain God’s love?

Yes. That's true. I can’t gain God’s love because I already have it. We can't ever lose it.

If we have to follow rules in order not to lose God’s love, we live fear-driven lives. There is constantly the possibility that I might lose the love I need, so my actions are driven by the set of imposed rules in my belief-system.

If I truly accept that God's love is unconditional, then I am no longer driven by fear of losing that love. It is that fear that seems to hold us to the rules of society—the things our society has decided are "moral” or “right”. Without that fear-driven base, It seems I would no longer be governed by the laws of man. I would be free to act exactly as I'm called to act. The moral "dilemma" would not exist. 

Our attachment to the concept of "good and evil" may be the hardest one to release. How many paradoxes would be wiped out of existence if we saw that this is really a societal concept, not an actual law of the universe? We would not have to hold ourselves (mankind) to a different standard as the rest of nature, for one. We would not have to judge ourselves or others harshly for "making mistakes", for another. We all know we are going to "make mistakes" yet we live in resentment, shame and guilt. 

If we were going to release our attachment to societal morals. We would have to raise our children in an entirely different way. When a toddler first experienced rage and struck out to show it, we would not tell him what he was doing was wrong. Instead, we would teach him that everything and everyone IS God, just as he is, and that when he strikes out against the world, he is striking out against himself. 

Of course he would not understand this as a toddler, but neither does a toddler understand “wrong”. We drive that into children until they believe it and then expect them to accept the "paradox" that God loves unconditionally—with some conditions.


  1. Your post is exactly the conclusion I have come to after studying many ideas about God and the way he loves us. A Course in Miracles is very close to what I feel is true for me.

    We are born with no ideas and everything we know we took from outside ourselves. Having the courage to question our truth isn't easy. It has lead me to a death of sorts that actually needed to be grieved.

    Can I accept and love myself just as I am even if I never do another good deed? Is just my existence enough to warrant love from "God?"

    Yes, is the answer I found but I also found this belief to be a lonely place sometimes with few that take this idea this far.

    I see that if I am kind and loving to myself and reflect that kindness outward then I can see the world with compassion and start to heal what I see. This is what I am here for.

    What a great post.

  2. Many complex issues in this one.

    One approach is whether god is specific in some way. Or whether god means all the cruelty as well as all the beauty in the world?

  3. Thanks, both of you. I had so many thoughts in my head this morning, I had to get them all out. I think the post is a little convoluted. With any luck, I'll get a more graspable version eventually. I was just so excited to begin to see the door opening as far as the unconditional love paradox is concerned. It's been bothering me for years.


Please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.