Imagine if you had never seen the sun or felt its warmth on your skin. Imagine if you had never felt what it was like to swim in the ocean; never experienced the feeling of aliveness and motion, immersed within a vast body of liquid energy. These things have to be experienced to be known.
And so it is with Unconditional Love.
The love most of us experienced as a child was conditional. If we were ‘good’ we would feel the our parents lovingness, but if we ‘misbehaved’ the love was often replaced by anger. Sometimes, even being ‘good’ did not bring us the lovingness we wished for.
And so, understanding the healing power of Unconditional Love is challenging for many people because they have not really experienced it. Even in our loving relationships with our partners, there is often reaction or intolerance to some degree, big or small.
The one place you will find unconditional love is in the eyes of your child, if you are fortunate enough to have not yet taught your child how to be ‘conditional’ with their love. To be a parent is one of the greatest gifts we are given, because much of the time we are reminded so clearly of what unconditional love is. And as we see the love in the eyes of our child, it reminds us that we too were once an innocent child, eager to be loved by our parents, desperate to please them and gain their approval. If we are aware enough, we will see that that child is still within us, still eager to please those whom we look up to, still yearning for he unconditional love which is but a vague memory from our formative years. The truth is, we all need to experience a kind of love that is ever-present, never in danger of being withdrawn, because it is where our true sense of security in this world comes from.
When unconditional love is absent we experience an inner division that only love is capable of healing. This division is between what we learned (as a child) were our ‘good’ characteristics and our ‘bad’ characteristics, and they are forever in opposition to one another until they are resolved. This is what creates our inner conflict. Our mind tells us “you are bad” or “this is not good behaviour” or “you did wrong”. So we become divided between the goodness and innocence we know is in our heart (our essence) and the ‘badness’ which our mind tells us is also present within us. But ‘the badness’ is not really there. It is simply a feeling that results from thoughts of self-judgement and condemnation, the consequences of which being that we replicate the same course of action that was experienced so many times through our childhood when we were ‘bad’: We Deny Ourselves Love.
Within our self, on a very innocent level, we believe that this is how life works, that only ‘good’ people deserve Love. We were taught this by the behaviour of our parents, as their lovingness disappeared when we behaved “incorrectly”. So what is correct behaviour?
Look at society, look at people and you will see the world is filled with people who are trying to live correctly. From a very innocent place, people are trying to do the right thing (sometimes on a superficial level, if we believe we must appear or act a certain way). The underlying belief, deeply entrenched from our earliest years on the planet, is that LOVE COMES THROUGH CORRECT BEHAVIOUR. If our behaviour is correct, we are allowed to feel love, but if out behaviour is incorrect, love must be withdrawn. This is conditional Love.
As adults, we are the only ones who can withhold Love from ourselves. So how do we do this?
Well, how did it occur when we were young children? When a ‘loving’ parent shouted at us and became angry or cold towards us, what happened with us? It is simple. Our heart contracted.
Unless we have successfully healed our heart, this is what happens in our lives to this very day.
How on earth can love flow through our heart when it is held tight, like a fist? How can such a heart be full of happiness? It is very difficult, and of course the tighter our heart is held in contraction, the less love and happiness we are capable of experiencing. There comes a point where the heart is so tight in fear of being hurt that it cannot function properly anymore, and heart problems occur. Is this not the number one human disease on the planet: heart disease? Look at those words: Heart dis-ease.
Is your heart at ease in this moment?
If something is not at ease, then there is dis-ease. When we are not at ease with ourselves, this is the root, the beginning of all sorts of problems, and until that fundamental sense of ‘ease’ is restored, nothing else we try will bring us what we all need.
What we need in our life now is the same as what we needed as a child. We need to feel free. We need to experience the simple happiness and joy that life is all about, in an environment of love and safety. We are designed for this, to share joy and happiness in a creative and playful way, like so many other beautiful creatures do on this wondrous and magnificent planet.
So, how on earth do we address this underlying sense of ‘dis-ease’ with our selves, within our heart?
It is simple: Relax. Where there is tension, bring relaxation. Relaxation is the undoing of tension. It creates space where there was no space, it allows flow where there was no flow, it enables conscious awareness where before there was none.
We all understand the need for relaxation, and many people now find relaxation is a very natural and conscious part of their daily lives. It is essential in fact. So how do we relax?
Well, it is relatively simple to relax the outer extremities of our body: for example: our hands, our feet, our face, our arms and so on. But how do we relax a part of us that we don’t even usually feel?
Can you, for example, feel your stomach? Can you relax your stomach? Can you feel your lungs, and relax them also, as you breathe?
How about your heart? Can you feel it in your chest? Do you know how to relax your heart?
Take a few moments now to simply become aware of your heart’s presence in your body, and feel the wondrous central role it plays in your human vehicle. Take your time just to see what is happening in there…
It helps to relax the arms and shoulders first. Let them become heavy and limp, as if after a physically strenuous day. Now, with each breath, allow your chest to relax and feel more at ease; more open and expansive. If it helps, place your left hand on your heart as you breathe, and feel your heart beating… Make sure you are breathing into your belly and not just into your lungs, with full, steady breaths. As you do so, allow your breathing to slow down a little. You will notice almost immediately that your heart-beat slows down also.
Did you know that the giant tortoise, one of the longest-living animals on the planet, has one of the slowest heart-beats in the animal kingdom? This is not a coincidence!
As the heart-beat slows, the physiology of the entire body changes. Messages are sent to every part of your body that it is safe to relax, that there is no danger. The more the heart relaxes, the more at ease we feel in this present moment and the more we can enjoy just being here, without the need for distraction or stimulation. Peace emerges..
It is one of the most important things to understand: when there is tension in the heart, we cannot be at ease in this moment, so we will look externally for all kinds of things to help us feel at ease. When there is no ease in the heart, we become consumerist, looking to alleviate this inner sense of lack through external means, which can never work. Many things work temporarily to make us feel happy, excited, peaceful and so on, but it is just like a drug – an external substance creating an internal feeling that wears off sooner or later.
We need nothing externally to experience inner Peace. All we need is relaxation in the heart, so that we can feel at ease and at peace with this moment, with ourselves and with life.