By infocityzen, Aug 14 2013 09:45AM
What is it like to experience love without ending?
I was recently very blessed to volunteer supporting the Buddhist Relic Tour on a brief stop in Germany (http://www.maitreyarelictour.com). During this time I had what was for me, the most tangible experience I have ever had of unconditional, pure love. And this is what it has taught me.
It’s very easy to describe any loving experience as ‘unconditional’ because genuine love always feels open, expansive and flowing (as if it will never end). However for most of us, even sometimes small changes in the conditions we find ourselves in can shut down the feelings completely (a moment of ‘rejection’, a moment of ‘ingratitude’, a few careless words…). Of course, when by behaviour and deed, we still hold the posture of love (listening to, caring for…), we are ‘acting’ as if we still had the feeling. In that way we are still ‘loving’. And this is very good and very beneficial. But infinite love, unconditional love is so much more.
One of my volunteer assignments was to touch a relic of Shakymuni Buddha to the crown of anybody wishing to receive a blessing. In essence this meant that I spent several hours each day meditating on the relic and the transmission of a blessing through the relic. Often I would feel a pleasurable warmth towards those that came forward, and it was lovely to ‘bless them’. But sometimes that warmth would disappear. Through my limited and judgemental mind I might experience the person’s (and my projected) insecurities, obsessions, selfishness, defilements (what they were ashamed of) etc. Instead of wanting to help there was the impulse to reject. This could be anything from experiencing a mild dislike all the way up to disgust. My particular triggers were around being ‘greedy’ (always wanting more, more, more) or making too much drama. But when I tuned into what was happening through the relic it was always the same quality of giving. It did not matter who was there, what their motivation was or what they were doing. The blessing through the relic always had the same intention – give, give, give, give, give…. inexhaustibly, unconditionally. I firmly believe this intention to bless and keep blessing, would not discriminate between the worst exploiter or cruellest persecutor, and the most divine saint. I am not like this (purely unconditional) even in my most loving and ‘enlightened’ of moments. Yet through the blessing of this project, I had an impression of what pure unconditional love can be like.
What makes love ‘unconditional’ is not how expansive it feels at the time, but how endurable that experience is to changes in conditions. Yogi Bhajan once spoke of being impersonally personal. As people we have personalities and egos (likes, dislikes, beliefs, understandings, identities, opinions, desires, aversions, aspirations etc.). Our reference points are based on these for most of the time. To shift to unconditional love our reference point needs to be beyond anything personal. The personal still exists (how else?), but this is not where ‘our’ love is coming from. It is literally no longer ‘our ‘ love, but LOVE itself. As soon as LOVE becomes ‘our’ love, it is in the realm of the personal and therefore limited to what we love and how much we love. The reference point of pure unconditional love has to be beyond any condition, beyond anything personal. It is like energy, like a force of nature, like the sun. Its very nature is simply to shine. It makes no difference who is there to be shined on. If we want unconditional love in our lives then we too must aspire to move beyond the personal. And to do so is the greatest blessing for us.
It is incredibly healing to witness love shine no matter what idiot comes along. Why? Because sometimes that ‘idiot’ is us. And whenever we realise we being an ‘idiot’, we find it hard to love or forgive ourselves or others. We add to our mistakes and shortcomings with judgements, self-persecution and (often resulting from the pain of this) more mistakes and shortcomings. If unconditional love is real for any fool out there treading any self-obsessed path, with any amount of self-aggrandisement and selfishness…. then it is there for us too. And this is such a relief, such a burden lifted.
Love is not earned.
Love is not withdrawn.
Love is always there.
All we have to do is turn towards it.
The biggest obstacle to experiencing this is our own biases and grasping or clinging. The making everything 'mine', my love, my pain, my hope, my belief, my feeling, my thought, my experience... my my my my my. This makes our space small. Whenever we say 'mine' we pull towards ourselves and hold on. We contract. We even ‘hold’ or ‘cling’ to what we are ashamed of (what we don’t want others to know about). We hope that by doing this we will hide it from others, from the Divine or maybe even from ourselves. To hold something down though, to push it out of the way and keep it hidden, we have to first grasp it. And that grasping is the problem. All this does is really make it ‘ours’. We identity with it because we carry it with us. Out of fear of exposure we often hold it closer to ourselves than any of our virtues. That’s why deep inside we may have such dread of being exposed as the wretches we really are. It’s all an illusion. We only make ourselves wretches by clinging to what we find wretched. This in turn increases our self rejection and loathing and reinforces our sense of wretchedness. Focus on something beyond instead. Relax. Let go. Let be. Accept everything, but keep the focus beyond. Everything can change. If we stop ‘clinging’, ‘hiding’ or ‘holding’ within ourselves (we don’t need to broadcast to others, just to stop to tying/pretending to be other than we are), then our inner space opens and the love (which is always there) shines in irrespective of what we think or feel or desire.