It is a constant work in progress, this digging out all the places we don’t love ourselves.
Lately, I have been feeling like a miner moving through my interior layers, finding grains of shame and layers of hate.
Every time we think we have found all the dirt and nastiness from our past and cleaned it out forever, it generally means we are about to find something else that doesn’t feel good and needs some healing attention.
This is why we need unconditional love so badly.
Sometimes you hear people say that the word “unconditional” in front of “love” is redundant. That love is just, well, love. It doesn’t need any justifiers in front of it.
But from my standpoint, in our world love is definitely not just love.
Instead, it seems many people feel that some people deserve our love and others don’t. And somehow we are all allowed, and actually have to love our biological families and our intimate partners, but it is weird if we want to love our neighbors or feel love for strangers on the street.
But before we can challenge this view, that some things and people are deserving of love and some things and people aren’t, and really embody universal love, we need to investigate our own relationships of unconditional love toward ourselves.
This self-investigation is important. It is important because the way we treat others, and the planet as a whole, stems from how we treat ourselves. Therefore, answering the call of suffering around the planet depends on each of us working with our own relationship to unconditional love.
At the first meditation retreat I ever attended, we were instructed to do a walking meditation where we sent love to ourselves.
This was so painful for me.
Every time I thought the words, “I love myself,” there was a “but” or a “when” or an “if” attached.
I love myself but only when I do a good job.
I will love myself when I am more successful.
I will love myself when I lose weight.
So to help myself with this self-love walking practice, I added the word “unconditional” in front of the love message.
“I unconditionally love myself,” I said over and over again as I walked back and forth, outside on that warm spring day.
The word unconditional seemed to keep the critical voice away, and although this intentional choice to love myself felt new and awkward, I knew it was taking me in the right direction.
Putting the term “unconditional” in front of love, when dealing with our own self-love journey, is an opportunity to come into the moment.
All the reasons we think we can’t be lovable lie in the future and the past.
We think we aren’t lovable for things we have done to ourselves and others when we were younger—even five minutes younger. And we think we aren’t lovable for things that might happen in the future, or things that might not happen. So many of us are so scared that we won’t reach our potential, we just assume we suck now and will suck for always. But as we start dropping these fictitious messages from the ego—that we are supposed to be something and go somewhere and make something out of this life—we can make the choice to come more into the here and now.
In the here and now, we can feel the sensual texture of this exact moment in our bodies, spirits, minds and energetic systems, which is necessary, because unconditional love is not a mental activity.
We are not trying to intellectually rationalize why we might be lovable. Unconditional love is not a checklist of how we have done good. Rather, unconditional love is the feeling quality of the moment, a feeling quality always available.
Each of us can make a choice to start steering in this direction.
The mind starts to make up stories, but we don’t need to give these stories our attention. We can choose instead to steer back to the moment, and the feeling quality of the moment and the inner vibration that is always there. We can start to identify this warmth and tingling as love—as in unbreakable divine love always available to us and everyone else.
The more time we spend aligned with this always available love, the more it starts to feel like the real us, and the less our thoughts of scarcity make any sense.
This is what we call sanity.
Unconditional love is the sanity of knowing that we are all vibration, we are all love and the more we align with this reality the more good we can bring to the world.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Katia Romanova/Flickr