We tend to talk about ‘unconditional love’ in the context of feeling love for other people, or in the context of self-love.
But according to Ram Dass, this type of love is an ‘active emotion’ for an object, which can lead to attachment, even if that object is our selves.
So how might we think of ‘unconditional love’ differently?
The Universe is energy, and the highest vibration of energy is Love.
If we are the Universe — and vice versa — then we are energy, we are Love.
In this case, ‘love’ is simply Being. We are Love if we are simply present in our existence — no object, no attachment, no ‘active’ emotion: just Being.
But I’d like to explore this idea of attachment a little further.
In spiritual discourses, the idea of ‘attachment’ often comes loaded with negative connotations: to be attached to something — a person or an outcome — external to ourselves is to be dependent on it, which is the opposite of freedom and somehow hinders our inner growth.
Too much dependence and not enough independence can be detrimental.
But we have attachments throughout our lives to people ‘out there’ whom we depend on for guidance, support, knowledge, growth, and healing, don’t we?
For example attachments to parents and leaders, teachers and mentors, doctors and healers.
And is it not natural to have some attachment to ideas or beliefs that we live by, such as the idea of love, self-love, and ‘enlightenment’ itself? For example we are on this journey of awakening because we are attached to an idea that awakening is a) possible and b) happening to us. Our attachment to the idea is part of our drive, our passion, our belief.
‘Attachment’ in its pejorative sense is oftentimes synonymous with fear: we attach to something out of fear of our own identity, power, or autonomy.
But isn’t the opposite — a desire for total freedom — also rooted in insecurity and fear: in this case, fear of attachment?
What’s so wrong in relying on others for guidance, support, or even for some degree of love? We need other people to help us through the dark times, sometimes to show us love, to empower us, and show us our own strength.
We walk this road together to share our fears and our dreams, to share our strength and our insights, to offer our support and a guiding light. We are, in our quest for freedom and enlightenment, inextricably dependent on other people: so what is so ‘wrong’ about a feeling of attachment to them, for attachment by definition is a feeling of association and familiarity?
Where things seem to go awry is when the attachment is not reciprocal, or it verges on over-dependency. And the same could be said of it’s ‘opposite’: a desire for freedom can go too far when it is not grounded in mutual respect (ie. can lead to infidelity in an relationship) and verges on over-reliance on the self for everything.
In our desire for freedom from attachment, it is indeed possible to become excessively attached to the Self.
Perhaps the solution lies in a middle ground between attachment and freedom: too much of one or the other is detrimental; for balance is key to inner wholeness and harmony.
So what has this got to do with Love?
If we think of Love as Being, that Love is Being, then ‘love’ is taken out of the context of attachment versus freedom.
Attachments have nothing to do with love for other people. Freedom has nothing to do with Self-Love.
We are free to Be, however we choose to Be. For simply Being, existing in the present, and living by our own truth, is Love.
That Love is ‘unconditional’ in the sense of having no attachment to an object or an outcome; no active emotion directed at a person or invested in an idea; and no judgment of our selves or of others.
By Being ourselves, moment by moment and in the moment, we align with the highest frequency in the Universe, which is Love: the energy of creation, of life, of existence.
We align with Love. We align with the universal power of our own making. We align with Being itself.
So unconditional love exists within each of us, as a state of Being. Indeed it is the very essence of our inner Being.
Being and Love are one and the same thing: we are Being, we are Love.
We are ‘unconditional’ Love.