I first read this quote in the agonizing midst of the most painful relationship experience in my life. I was dating a woman I deeply loved more than any other before her, and yet what we created together … well, I can only best describe it as wildly passionate chaos.
We were so madly in love that we were both truly “mad”. In retrospect, most of what we acted out towards each other could hardly be described as “love”. We were both acting out that beautifully human drama I like to call “I love you just the way I wish you were”.
As a result, we were both terribly caught up in wishing the other would act differently than either of us seemed capable of acting at the time. It’s only recently dawned on me how ironic it was, waking up next to each other with a sweet “I love you” just moments before launching attacks in our ongoing war about who had to change more so the relationship could work (meaning I / she could be happy).
I’ve since come to appreciate that Love asks for nothing. Love simply loves. Whatever is, Love just loves it. Personalities want things, and some personalities want more things than others. But Love, without actively condoning anything, embraces everything.
Love is always “unconditional”. And you might think that unrealistic or idealistic. But I suggest you consider that there’s no other kind of love than the unconditional kind, just as there’s no such thing as “99% committed”. Sure, there are impediments to the full experience of Love, particularly personalities and belief systems. Just as there are impediments to the full experience of Light, like dimmer switches, fog and eyelids. But light either is present … or it is not present. As with Love.
Where there is a genuine experience of love, it exists simply, completely, wholly without condition. Every other kind of so-called “love” is simply the residue of either miraculous chemistry – who doesn’t love the tingly rush of sweet romance! – or a clever ego manipulating the world around it, often very subtly, to get what it wants.
Now, you might object as I did during that painful relationship, that to love “unconditionally” really is unreasonable, the sweet dream of a foolish idealist, because it must mean that I accept even my partner’s toxic behaviors – verbal or physical abuse, lying, manipulation, etc. Surely “unconditional love” would never leave someone.
You can unconditionally love and accept your partner as you confidently walk out the door. You can even unconditionally love and accept your partner as you’re dialing the police to come protect you and take him or her to jail (women can also be dangerously abusive, fellas). Leaving your partner might even turn out to be the most loving gift you could ever give them!!
Because while Love doesn’t ask anything, it sure knows how to move!!! Love is like water flowing and dancing down a river. Embracing everything it encounters, it flows smoothly around jagged rocks, finding its way brilliantly into and through the tiniest openings of any obstacle; it never stresses itself to flow uphill or fight against its own perfectly natural way; and sometimes, when amassed in significant strength, the immense force of its own pure nature completely obliterates everything in its path!
When I brought this awareness to my relationship at the time, I immediately felt incredible peace in my body … because I could finally see the genuine, complete experience of love inside me that fully embraced her no matter how she showed up every day. In truly opening to love her, all I could see was her as a complete expression of Love! It was exhilarating!!!
I did eventually leave the relationship, but not because I wanted her to be different anymore; actually it was the opposite. In finally accepting her completely (as completely as I could, anyway), I simply had to accept that I was not likely to experience the truly magical, vulnerable conversations I wanted to have with my partner. So I blessed her deeply within my own heart, truly in love with the actual her more than ever before, and left in gratitude to allow other possibilities.
Who or what are you insisting be different?
I challenge you to examine who and what in life you are asking – or insisting – be different than it is. That includes yourself. Are you insisting you be different than you are? This questioning doesn’t condone detrimental behaviors. It’s simply an invitation to reflect on how your personality – your likes and dislikes, your memories, your hopes and dreams – works like a child playing doctor to “treat” the so-called trouble spots in your life. Notice your thoughts about how you would be fulfilled, happy, etc. if only these things were different.
Now bring the “experience of Love” into your reflection. Allow yourself to mentally embrace this thing you believe responsible for your pain. Just for a moment. Get a sense of how pure, unfiltered Love – independent of your personality, with no dimmer switch – would experience this person or situation.
Notice how your body relaxes.
Notice how new possibilities may even open up for you. For love, like water, always chooses the most delicious path according to its nature. Sometimes it waits patiently while the world around it shifts, and sometimes it surges forth in full uninhibited raging expression of its wondrous, dancing self.
I’d love to know what happens for you when you bring the experience of Love, even for just a few moments, to your thoughts about a difficult person or situation.