A book I recently finished had a chapter near the end that touched on the idea of unconditional love. It tied this love that we are all capable of and that most of us have experienced at some time or another to the idea of inner divinity. We have often heard from spiritual or religious texts that we all contain a godly essence, a spark of the divine. This book suggests that we are experiencing a direct connection with that higher self when we feel such deep love. That in fact, this god or higher consciousness or whatever it might be, is this love.
While I don’t particularly believe in any religion or in a deity of any kind, I thought this was a beautiful and profound sentiment. There is certainly something transcendent about those moments when we lose ourselves in that feeling of unconditional love. It’s as if nothing else in the world matters. There is a sense of peace and clarity in our hearts and minds. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to always be able to feel that way? To always love with our entire being in every moment? To look at everyone you meet with the tenderness and compassion that you would look at your own child? It is an intoxicating idea. How different life would be!
Many teachers and texts have suggested that it is indeed possible to reach that state. Perhaps we’ve even walked among those who have. This made me wonder what it is that keeps me from feeling that love all the time. What is holding me back? Eventually the answer I came to rest upon was fear. It is scary to love. To love that deeply, one must allow themselves to be vulnerable. And being vulnerable can be quite difficult. To be vulnerable is to accept the possibility, perhaps even the inevitability, that you will get hurt.
Logically my mind agrees that this is a worthwhile risk. After all, love is what matters most in this life. The benefits of giving love freely far outweigh the risks in my opinion. However, my heart is still fearful. It shrinks away from the pain of loss, of rejection. I always beat myself up when I feel I have squandered my love on someone who doesn’t appreciate it. I tell myself that I was a fool, that my love has no value, that it has been wasted, that I should have expected such an outcome from the beginning.
In reality, the negative self-talk that follows is more hurtful than any loss or rejection could ever be on its own. I’d like to work on changing my internal dialogue so that I am able to strengthen my connection to that divine love within. There is nothing to fear. There is no shame in unrequited love. It doesn’t have to hurt. It is the ego that recoils in pain. It says what is wrong with me? Am I not good enough? Does my love not matter? Am I not worth loving in return? But none of these things really matter. I can work on shifting my focus from those questions to the experience of love itself. It feels so good to love. That feeling is enough. I don’t need to be loved in return in order to experience the pleasure of giving love.
Each moment of life seems as though it would be sheer ecstasy with a heart that open. I don’t want to keep myself from that any longer. Especially because of fear. I have been given this beautiful gift of life, and to show my gratitude for that fact, I want to give love endlessly. It is this grateful heart that can carry me through anything if I just let it.