Love it is! Photo credit: Akshatasushanth
“Can you say to me and I say to you, ‘I love you,’ without either of us feeling uncomfortable, threatened or that something is expected of either of us? Can we love each other, regardless of our age, sex or origin, with pure, understanding love? With unconditional love? The world needs this sort of love. All humanity needs this sort of love. Can we love this way? We can, but it is not something simply to be talked about. It is something to be acted upon, to be experimented with.” — Eileen Caddy
Unconditional love is loving people freely, fully and openly, with no expectations, demands or restrictions. It gives total acceptance and respect and does not criticize or judge. Unconditional love is constant and is not turned on and off as in conditional love.
Conditional love refers to placing restrictions on who or when we are willing to love. It is loving people only when they meet certain conditions we impose upon them and withholding or withdrawing our love when our conditions are not met.
Conditions, Expectations and Demands
As we love—a partner, family member, friend or another—most of us have unmet needs which result in our making certain demands of others. The less we are able to get our needs met in healthy, appropriate ways, the more demanding we are. We may express our demands quite clearly and directly, or we may hold on to them silently within ourself. We consider our demands valid, reasonable and necessary requirements before we open ourself to love.
How about you? Do you have any of the following expectations, conditions or demands about loving yourself and others?
I Will Love You Only If You…
* Accept and respect me just as I am.
* Acknowledge, encourage and understand me.
* Adore me, consider me attractive, capable, intelligent, responsible, wonderful.
* Agree with me and allow me to have my own way.
* Amuse me, entertain me and keep me from being bored.
* Are faithful to me, good to me, loyal to me and true to me.
* Are absolutely perfect and live up to all my expectations.
* Communicate honestly and openly with me.
* Do things for me (errands/favours/chores).
* Give me what I want from you (babies/money/sex/trinkets).
* Have things in common with me, share my beliefs, interests and values.
* Listen to me, follow my advice and do what I tell you to do.
* Love me in return.
* Make me feel good, happy, needed, secure and special.
* Prove to me you deserve my love and trust.
* Provide me with companionship and keep me from being lonely.
* Put me first in your life.
* Satisfy me and fulfil all my needs.
* Take care of me and protect me.
* Treat me as an adult and as an equal.
* Do not annoy or irritate me.
* Do not ask me to make commitments.
* Do not expect me to take unwanted responsibility.
* Do not cause me problems or trouble.
* Do not condemn, criticize, demean or judge me.
* Do not hurt me or cause me pain.
* Do not lie to me.
* Do not question or challenge me.
* Do not reject me or walk out on me.
* Do not take me for granted.
* Do not try to change me or ask me to change.
* Do not manipulate, use or abuse me.
* Do not make any such demands on me!
How do you give your love—with conditions or without them? Be honest but avoid judging either yourself or the ideal of unconditional love.
Conditional and Unconditional Love
Some people give their love to others only when such conditions are met. They withdraw their love when these conditions are unmet or violated. They choose very carefully whom they love. Their love is conditional.
Others give their love freely, fully and openly without such conditions, expectations or demands tied to it. They do not withdraw their love because of who others may be or what they may do. They do not choose whom to love, but keep their love flowing out to everyone equally. Their love is unconditional.
To take stock of how we relate to unconditional love in all our relationships, we can ask ourself the following questions:
* Can I be myself at all times?
* Can I allow others to be themselves without criticizing, judging or condemning them?
* Can I love and love and go on loving someone, asking nothing in return?
* Can I love someone with the same depth, and to the same degree, regardless of whether we are together or apart?
* Can I still love someone when I do not like or approve of something that person has said or done?
* Can I love someone enough that I can cease helping that person because I know if I go on helping, I will hold up that person’s growth and evolution?
* Can I love someone enough that I can let that person go to grow and mature?
* Can I love someone enough that I can accept that person leaving me for someone else and hold no bitterness, resentment or jealousy?
* Can I love everyone equally, acknowledging our unity and interconnectedness?
We all have a tremendous job to do. It is the silent task of creating more and more unconditional love in the world. It is like the yeast in a lump of bread dough which does its job very quietly and silently without any fuss. Yet without it the bread would be a solid lump. As we begin to love unconditionally, so will the heaviness in our own life be lightened.
But if we love solely from the emotional level, then we are expecting something in return. Our love is then conditional, and is often possessive, indulgent, needy or sentimental. As long as we function principally from the emotional level, we are slaves to our emotions, puppets on the strings of our emotions, in one melodrama or soap opera after another.
Unconditional love does not come all at once. It starts in small ways and then grows one step at a time. Its benefits are enormous. Life is more abundant and fulfilling when we choose unconditional love as the primary principle which guides us. It is a deliberate choice we can make, one which serves us, everyone around us and the very planet Earth itself. We transform the world as we transform ourself with the power of unconditional love.
Where to Begin?
The place to begin is here. The time to begin is now. The way to begin is to choose to give unconditional love a high priority in our life.
More and more we are shown that life on our planet is one vast interconnected whole. The farthest person from us on Earth is only a telephone call away, a computer link away, a text, a twitter, a satellite radio or television transmission away.
The billions of us who inhabit planet Earth are now inextricably interconnected by technology. But we have always been interconnected by other ‘inner technology’ as well: the farthest person is also only a kind and loving thought away, a quiet meditation away, a simple prayer away, a creative visualization away.
Exercise: Loving Unconditionally
Therefore, we present an exercise to give you an inner experience of unconditional love. We suggest that you pre-record this exercise. Give yourself at least 20 minutes to complete it. Avoid rushing through it. Take your time.
Find a comfortable position, sitting up straight … Close your eyes …
Take several slow, deep breaths … Continue to breathe slowly and deeply …
Observe your body … Do whatever is necessary to be completely free and relaxed physically …
Observe your emotions … Whatever feelings you may be experiencing, pleasant or unpleasant, simply release them for the moment …
They are your reactions to whatever is happening in your life, and you will not need them for this visualization … Do whatever is necessary to be completely free and relaxed emotionally …
Observe your mind … Do the same with any thoughts you may be thinking … Release them as well … You do not need your intellect and its analytical and critical nature to distract you … Do whatever is necessary to be completely free and relaxed intellectually … Release, relax and let go …
When you are ready, focus your attention inside your body to where your heart is … For a moment put your hand over your heart and feel it beating … Within your heart is the seed of divine love, of unconditional love … Experience it now for yourself by imagining what it is like … Perhaps for you it is a colour … A feeling … A radiance … A vibration … A warmth … A wave …
At first experience it on its own, unrelated to anyone or anything … Allow pure love to be with you now …
Whatever you are experiencing now, no matter how subtle or indistinct it may be, imagine it as love … Sense it as love … Trust it as love … Accept it as love … Take it as your own inner experience of love … Use it for now as your personal reference of what unconditional love is for you …
Accept it for what it truly is: divine love, all-embracing love, universal vitalizing, nurturing love … Love which expects nothing in return …
Love which gives compassionate acceptance and respect to everyone and everything …
Allow this unconditional love within you to radiate slowly throughout your whole being … Feel it filling you … Feel it enfolding you … Feel loving yourself unconditionally … Accepting yourself … Trusting yourself … Forgiving yourself … Appreciating yourself … Feel this unconditional love healing … Balancing … And making whole every part of your being …
Sense this unconditional love gradually expanding outward beyond yourself, until it fills the entire room where you are now … As you do, expand your awareness with it … Move with it … Grow with it … Feel being part of it … Experience this unconditional love overflowing into the entire building, and then beyond it …
Love is given to us so we may share it with others, so begin to sense this unconditional love radiating into your community … Sense it filling and enfolding all those you love … Your family … Your friends … Sense it filling and enfolding anyone you may dislike or are having problems with at this time … Allow unconditional love to come back to you from each person as well … Feel the healing power of unconditional love bringing you together in unity with everyone and everything …
Sense all these separate streams coming together into a single flow of love … As you do, experience unconditional love being both unique and universal … Sense this unconditional love expanding and radiating to the whole country … As you do, feel connected with it …
Sense this unconditional love expanding and radiating to the whole planet … As you do, feel and accept your oneness with it …
Sense this unconditional love expanding and radiating to the whole universe … As you do, feel and accept your wholeness …
Sense this unconditional love expanding and radiating to the whole cosmic creation … As you do, feel and accept your perfection …
Sense this unconditional love expanding and radiating to embrace the whole heart and mind of God … As you do, feel and accept your own divine essence …
Slowly bring your attention back to your own presence … As you do, experience the unconditional love you have been feeling as being entirely within your heart, where, in fact, it has always been centered, and will always be … Know that wherever you may be or whatever is happening to you, this love remains within your heart, ready to bring you the peace you are feeling right now …
Be aware also that you may draw upon its limitless supply any time you want, simply by choosing to do so … Trust that you may repeat as often as you like this experience of linking up on the inner planes of Spirit with everyone and everything with unconditional love …
In your own time, open your eyes, and as you do, bring the unconditional love you are feeling now with you … Bring it out … Externalize it … Continue to experience it fully… Accept it as an expression of who you are at the very centre of your being, and who everyone else is as well… As you feel this unconditional love within you now, know also that you are feeling the God within you, for God is love…
©1993, 2004, 2018 by Eileen Caddy and David Earl Platts.
All Rights Reserved. Publisher: Findhorn Press, an imprint of
Inner Traditions Intl. www.innertraditions.com
Learning to Love
by Eileen Caddy and David Earl Platts.
In this simple yet insightful guide, Eileen Caddy and David Earl Platts detail the down-to-earth practicalities of exploring feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and past experiences that block us from loving and from receiving love. They show how bringing more love into our lives is not a mystery but often a journey back to ourselves and our core values. The authors examine the feelings of acceptance, trust, forgiveness, respect, opening up, and taking risks, among others, within a framework of compassionate understanding and non-judgment. Deceptively simple yet profound exercises, meditations, and visualizations support the reader in examining their inner world and implementing these vital concepts into their lives.
About the Authors
Eileen Caddy, MBE (1917-2006), was the co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation, a thriving spiritual community in the North of Scotland. For more than 50 years, Eileen listened to and shared her inner guidance, inspiring millions around the world. David Earl Platts, Ph.D., a former consultant, trainer, writer, and psychosynthesis counsellor, lived at Findhorn for many years where he worked extensively with Eileen.
David Earl Platts, Ph.D., a former consultant, trainer, writer, and psychosynthesis counsellor, lived at Findhorn for many years where he worked extensively with Eileen Caddy.