"I will never believe that an act of love is rewarded with pain."
– Carolyn Myss’ in Anatomy of the Spirit.
How can this be true? It seems when giving the deepest and unconditional love, the results can be so painful. Why?
As I type, I trip over the word ’unconditional’. Regardless of our actions, we will never receive from outside of ourselves what we don’t possess within. Many of us have heard that we have to love ourselves first. Problem is … how do we really do this? What does this really look like?
The development of any spiritual quality within (love, joy, peace, balance, abundance, harmony, ease, beauty…) can be achieved through the practice of obtaining material objects and/or living experiences that reflect the specific attribute. For instance, it is through a loving relationship that we create the opportunity to feel love. The trick is, when the relationship ends have we grown enough to contain within ourselves that same loving feeling?
The secret to manifesting dreams is to nurture the thoughts and feelings created when contemplating a vision. Perhaps you would like a new car. Take a moment to visualize yourself in the car, cruising down the highway, perhaps a long trip across the province. While you are picturing the outcome of your desire, how do you feel? Beyond the typical response, "Good," I invite you to go deeper. Do you feel safe and free? Does life seem exciting and do you feel content? What are the emotions you are feeling as you picture yourself in your new car? These emotions are attributes of Spirit. Spirit is free, safe and exciting. When we are at one with the truth of who we are, we will feel content.
In this example the car is an important tool to establish these feelings within, BUT it is not where true satisfaction exists. All material objects, all relationships, and all events are temporary. Unless we develop the feeling nature of Spirit that resides within us we will not have moved forward in our own evolution of inner satisfaction. We will be caught in the endless race of consumption, looking for the feeling from the outside in. This is always temporary.
The reason I trip over the words ’unconditional love’ is because I recognize the trap that is easy to fall into. The search for love in a relationship is the search for love from the outside in. Sometimes it feels that others do not love back equally, or their behaviour is hurtful. Who is to say they don’t love back? Why is there such a strong attachment as to how the returned love should look? Pain is not caused from the lack of love received; but rather, in the predetermined expectation of how it should look in return. Any pain suffered is the result of an attachment to the outcome. If we truly are searching for unconditional love, we can get ourselves a dog. The true gift of love is not determined by what we can GET from others but by the love given, no attachments, unconditionally. Perhaps we could practice being more like a dog.
Give love freely and without expectation. My love is yours to have, do with it as you will, for I know the love that exists within is an endless stream of the Universal Love. The real demonstration of how much love we have is measured by the love we GIVE. Know that it is infinite.
Jill Brocklehurst, Pastor at the Island Centre for Positive Living in Campbell River. Visit www.QICPL.org or email info@QICPL.org.