We’ve all heard the rumor that Love is the biggest of all possible big deals. All our religious and spiritual heroes, even the big lights from philosophy and psychology, throughout the ages have made the point that Love is the be all and end all of human existence. And we’ve all noticed that along with its other stellar qualities, love sells. From what we feed our kids for breakfast to the car that we drive, Love is what we’re going for. After all, it’s easy to love a Subaru.
We need it, we want it, we seek it, we agonize over it. We have to get it, have it, earn it, keep it, deserve it. It’s the key to our wellbeing. It’s place, belonging. It’s security. It’s essential.
And, it’s confusing. How can we do what we need to do and be how we need to be to get and keep what is critical for survival? This is a conundrum most of us have struggled with for longer than we can remember.
Oh, sure, in lots of cases tiny people can do no wrong—at first. Perfect. Adorable. Lovable. But then something starts to slide. Just being doesn’t seem to be so adorable. Suddenly, there are standards and they aren’t being met. There’s a way we should be and we’re not being that way.
Fortunately, what happened to us—to all of us, nothing personal in any of it—missed the point utterly. Ignorance borne of delusion passed down through generation after generation found its way to us as it has to pretty much every human being. (We say “pretty much” because there may have been someone who came through childhood unscathed, though we have never heard of them.)
What the Buddha taught, as have many others who have seen clearly what’s going on, is that we each have one person to save. We each have available to us around the clock, every day of our lives, one human being on whom we can practice Loving Unconditionally.
As we know, what we practice is what we have. What we do is what we get. Additionally, the quality of our lives is determined by the focus of our attention. Whew. That’s a lot to know! And, the marvelous payoff for not only knowing but also practicing that is this: If we want love we have to love. If I want to “get” love, I have to “give” love. If I want to “feel” love I have to “be” love.
The very practical application, not to mention the saving grace, is that it is not possible to Love Unconditionally conditionally. I cannot let egocentric karmic conditioning self-hate withhold love from one person—me—while I practice the Unconditional Love that will “save all beings.” Blessedly, it just won’t work.
What that amounts to is that if I am not able to have Unconditional Love for the one human being I know best, I will never be able truly to love anyone or anything else. That is ego’s dream come true!
Where does this leave us? We have to find the courage and willingness to lose all interest in anything ego has to say about what we do and who we are. We have to choose what we want, and we have to choose it for everyone, starting with ourselves. We have to trust that the wisdom, love, and compassion that is us has a better understanding and a greater capacity to guide us home to “itself” than ego does. We “know” it; now we get to practice it. Moment by moment by moment.
For as we have been told repeatedly, “Love conquers all!”