Love, Love, Love, …

by Christopher Lovejoy on August 19, 2012

Love … love … love …

For the saints of love among us, this is an unspoken imperative.

If I were to translate it into actionable items, it might read like this …

Do not resist, do not react, do not resent – in that order.

It’s the perfect prescription for the rise of tyranny.

Or is it?

What if we all just opened our hearts to love, to the warmth of love, to the joy of love, and let it flow without resistance, without reactivity, without resentment?

In fact, “everything is perfectly fine just the way it is right now”, and so “let’s all get lovey-dovey and make the world a better place, shall we?”

If only it were that simple.

I don’t mean to sound cynical (although I must admit that a good and ready dose of Cynicism with a capital C does have its place in this world), but how many face palms can you see in your mind’s eye going up all around the globe in response to the admonition to “love, love, love”?

And then to love, love, love some more?

Love, love, love: it sounds good, doesn’t it? Source is love, and Source wants me, you, and everyone else in this world to love, and then to love some more, and then to love some more.

Now, you might be thinking … “Christopher, your resistance to ‘love, love, love’ is a resistance to the authentic love of Self; to the patient, kindly love of others; to the mighty, merciful love of Source.”

Is it though?

Just How Far Are You Willing to Go?

There’s no doubt in my mind heart that love is beautiful, that love is powerful, but is it wise, in and of and by itself?

This is a question we would do well to ask ourselves before insisting on love, love, love, and more love.

And here, we’re not talking about the conditional forms of love that rely heavily on the appearance of health, youth, and beauty, or on the appearance of wealth, strength, and power.

No, we’re talking about unconditional love – absolute love – for anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

We’re talking about absolute love for a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger – the kind of love that does not judge by appearance alone, the kind of love that is given and received freely and easily, regardless of merit, conduct, or convictions, beliefs, and opinions held.

I would go further. Unconditional love cannot, by definition, judge. Period.

To be sure, discernment is as much a form of judgment as condemnation.

Some years ago, I attended a varsity Christian fellowship meeting as an impartial observer and listened to a pastor talk about something he witnessed that made me wonder about the limits of love.

A homeless man in a homeless shelter is walking around with the zipper of his pants open. A young woman approaches him, informing him of his  situation. In response, the man drops his pants to the floor. The woman crouches down and lifts up his pants, presumably as an act of selfless love.

Could this be a most unusual version of beauty and the beast?

Or a needless act of sacrifice?

Without knowing the details of this interaction, can we know for sure if she went too far? For those who preach the blessings of unconditional love, just how far would you be willing to go?

Love: The Most Meaningful Lesson?

Having read, heard, and seen countless accounts of near-death experience, I know that many experiencers of near death have claimed that love ranks as the most important feature of a life lived well in the eyes of creation.

I need you there more than I need you here
~ Jesus Christ (to a man who died, went to heaven, and came back to tell the tale)

In her memoir, Dying to Be Me, Anita Moorjani has this to say about love …

The most meaningful lesson I learned from being at death’s door is that unless I love myself, nothing else in my life can function at its best. The amount of depth, meaning, and joy I experience in my life is in direct proportion to how much love I have for myself.

For the most part, this passage rings true for me, although, for myself, from my current perspective, I would qualify it as follows: “one very important meaningful lesson I learned from being at death’s door is that …

She goes on to say …

The amount of love, kindness, patience I have for others is also directly proportional to how much love, patience and kindness I have for myself, because we cannot give others what we ourselves do not have. And, unsurprisingly, the amount of love, respect, support, and compassion I receive from others is also in direct proportion to how much of the same I have for myself.

Again, these words of love ring true for me, but I sense that something vital is missing.

Blessing myself and others with absolute love is synonymous with being tolerant, patient, understanding, warm, kind, gentle, caring, respectful, merciful, dignified, accepting, forbearing, forgiving, supportive, empathetic, sympathetic, and compassionate.

In other words, with being a saint of love.

Given the nature of the human body and the state of this world, however, who among us can persist in being a saint of divine love in human form, in a world that has obviously fallen from grace?

Not too many of us, unless you live in a convent or a monastery (or have made a vow of chastity).

Certainly, at the very least, it would mean giving up any and all forms of conditional love.

Resistance, Reactivity, Resentment

Speaking calmly and most assuredly … “I command you now: do not resist, do not react, do not resent. Let me do with you as I will.”

Sounds a tad presumptuous, doesn’t it.

Yes, but only if you think love must be conditional.

Otherwise, if you’re a saint of absolute love, you’ll keep your silence, and you’ll indulge me with a warm and kindly smile, quite possibly with a knowing twinkle in your eye.

The most fundamental way (perhaps the only way) that a spirit in human form can get away with being a saint of love in this world is to forgo the pursuit of carnal pleasures, of worldly desires, of fiery passions, the indulgence of which sets you up for all manner of resistance, reactivity, and resentment in your relations.

Or am I just speaking from ignorance?

The purveyors of unconditional love would rejoin thus: “just do the best you can”.

With a saintly emphasis on “do”.

Feelings are fluid things, fleeting and often unpredictable. Feelings come and go in relationship, but the more positive the feelings, the more positive we perceive the relationship.

Feelings are conditional jolts of energy. If you make me laugh, and then laugh some more, this draws me closer to you. You’re a friend to my sense of humor. “I like you, I wanna be with you.”

However, if you have to be a certain way to keep making me laugh, then maybe one day you can’t be that way, no matter how hard you try or how much you want to be that certain way.

You fall flat. I’m disappointed. Maybe I don’t want to be your friend anymore. Why are you being so serious? Why can’t you make me laugh? Was it something I said? Something I did?

This goes on all the time. The conditionality of relationship is everywhere present.

And not just with a sense of humor. One day, you might not be smart enough, wise enough, fast enough, cute enough, sexy enough. You no longer make enough money, or have enough status.

“You’re just not good enough for me anymore,” goes the ubiquitous, unspoken judgment. He’s not good enough for her, she’s not good enough for him, and they’re not good enough for us.

Round and round and round it goes.

It’s the perfect circular environment for the infestation of resistance, reactivity, and resentment.

Is there a way off this less-than-merry go-round?

Six (Saintly) Tips for Finding Fulfillment in “Love, Love, Love”

You could say that love is absolute when it endures despite unfavorable circumstances, but … here comes your multiple-choice question for the day …

Should your love and your loving be unconditional …

a) some of the time,

b) much of the time,

c) most of the time, or

d) all of the time?

A spectrum of conditionality (from wholly conditional to wholly unconditional) lies below the surface of every relationship involving the promise of positive regard between spirits in human form.

Love that is wholly conditional lasts only as long as the condition is satisfied: “As long as you remain smart enough, witty enough, charming enough, or savvy enough for me, I’m a happy camper, but woe unto you if you begin slipping” (or so goes the reasoning).

At the other end of the spectrum, love that is wholly unconditional (with anyone, consistently, without fail) lasts regardless of what conditions are satisfied or not satisfied. You can be wholly without wit, charm, grace, or beauty, and “I’ll still love ya” (goes the reasoning).

Needless to say, most of us oscillate on a continuum between the poles of this spectrum on a wide variety of characteristics. Knowing this, is it safe to say that ending up at the pole of unconditional love is the most favored ideal?

Here is what the saints of love say about becoming and/or remaining souls of unconditional love:

1. Love is an act of generosity. When I heal my inner child and stop depending on you to make me feel good, I can then switch my focus to feeling good when I act in generous ways toward you. I can then continue to act in this way, regardless of what you think, how you feel, or how you behave.

Love is never true love unless and until it becomes a wisely chosen act of generosity. Good feelings never last, but they can always be replenished with fresh acts of generosity, wisely chosen.

2. Love is fluid and flexible. Everyone is different. Every relationship is different. Every situation is different. Where the giving of unconditional love is concerned, “no one size fits all”. An act of love might be generous for one person but keep another from getting ever closer to being truly happy.

Love requires fresh decisions in each and every situation. Perhaps the most difficult question you can ever answer is this: “what is the most loving thing I can do for this person in this moment?”

Following the wisdom of Anita Moorjani, “what is the most loving thing I can do for myself in this moment?”

3. Love is a friend to growth. In my generosity, if I do everything in my power to make sure you’re safe and comfortable, what am I really doing? I’m shielding you from the slings and arrows of common misfortune; I’m depriving you of opportunities to learn and grow into gaining skill and wisdom.

Putting and/or keeping a physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual shield around someone might be one of the most unloving things you can do. If you confuse loving someone with making her comfortable at every turn, satisfying her every desire, protecting her from any and all pain, there’s no room for her to grow (up).

4. Be your own best friend. Have you ever met a “people pleaser”? People pleasers go out of their way to cater to your every need (“would you like fries with that?”), to bend ass over backwards to satisfy your every desire, to paint fake smiles on their faces even when they feel like wringing your neck.

Unconditional love, for the saints of love, is not a one-way street. Such love by definition is given freely to everyone, but it can also be given freely to yourself, as Anita Moorjani found out from her sojourn into the Great Beyond. Sometimes, doing what’s best for you will be out of sync with someone else.

5. Forgive, forgive, forgive. This could very well be the mantra of saints of love everywhere.

Even if someone doesn’t apologize for stealing your cookies, it still pays to thwart your reactivity about it by being mindful of your resistance to it while releasing your resentment over it. Why?

Well, for one thing, doing so enhances your ability to think clearly about who did what and why. For another, it allows you to deal with the situation without a black cloud hanging over your head.

The saints counsel thus: don’t do forgiving; be forgiving.

From one point of view, this is a positively selfish state of mind with a positively selfish intention, which recognizes that a willingness to forgive is  not the same as letting others walk all over you like a doormat.

You’re forgiving for the sake of your own peace of mind, especially years after an “unforgivable” act has occurred.

6. Keep tabs on how you feel. There’s a quick and easy way to know whether you’ve been true to the practice of unconditional love. How do you feel after you committed an act of unconditional love?

Whether your act of unconditional love is deliberate or spontaneous, you’ll know you’re spot on when you feel energized and liberated (not like a drained and burdened slave to love).

Some Reflections on “Love, Love, Love”

As you can see, being a saint of love is hugely complicated – if you’re mired in conditional forms of loving – or simple beyond belief (if you’re not). Given the human propensity for seeking endless pleasure, desire, and passion, it also doesn’t come naturally.

At least not for me. I still enjoy my pleasures, desires, and passions (and I sincerely hope you do, too).

The temptation to be conditional in your loving remains ever present, especially in the arena of romantic love, although we must admit that couples who have been happily married for fifty years have figured out the secret:

“My beloved, you are so precious to me. I can see how wonderful you are. The areas where you fail to excel are so insignificant to me that I find no sense in dwelling on them.”

Loving (at its best) simply means wishing others happy.

Love is more about what we give than what we get. Keep giving, and eventually, sooner or later, the giving gets turned back into receiving (if you’re open to it, and you are open to it, yes?).

Just for today, make a point of Being. Try this on for size: stop doing and just be loving, be generous, be forgiving – wisely, prudently, flexibly – without expecting anything in return and without expecting anyone to know about it.

Just because you know you can.

This religion remains inside you:
When you know the time is right,
Stay calm, stay warm, stay light;
Give love; give, live, and let live.

~ Yours truly

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