Unconditional love

November 11, 2012

I’ve never quite been sure I understand the particular emotion to which people are referring when they talk of unconditional love.  Not that it doesn’t exist or even that I haven’t felt it or expressed it, just that I’m not sure which subset of “love” they’re talking about.

I don’t experience intimacy as having a subset of loneliness — for me, loneliness is related to loss, mine or somebody else’s, and how I am powerless to make up for it.  Intimacy with my husband, spiritual intimacy, even love for friends, relatives, acquaintances, when I’m loving with no reservation there’s no loneliness, in fact it leaves me feeling quite at peace with myself and the universe.

If I had to speculate, I’d say the piece that may be at issue is what we call altruism — loving regardless of outcome, feedback, efficacy, recompense, reciprocity, etc.  By itself, hitting that note provides the internal sense of balance and peace — loving fully is its own reward, provides its own reward.  When you love fully, you feel equally good as the beloved, I think.

There are all kinds of other loves, and I can still get caught up in them.  Some of them seem to help in certain situations, others seem to lead to difficulties.  I’ve wondered, having hit that note of unconditional love, whether I will express that kind of love more frequently and not get caught up in the other kinds so often.  I honestly don’t know, and to try to decide what would be preferable I think would be doctrinaire of me — I don’t know what expression of love by me serves the greater good.  Maybe it’s the altruistic kind, maybe it’s not.

For me, at the end of the day, all I ever have is my willingness — that’s my touchstone.  It’s a touchstone I can always get back to, I think, and once there, I can await what’s next.   (I am working on learning to do the waiting more patiently, which includes not predicating the patience on there being a particular outcome to the wait.)  As I’ve probably said before, I do at times get swamped by other people’s ways of navigating — people who don’t navigate through willingness.  But I can clean the decks and relocate my willingness after these encounters.

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