I regularly read “positivethoughtsforyou.com and today Mr. Stephen Levine wrote about unconditional love. Here’s an excerpt:
“When we say love we usually mean some emotion, some deep feeling for an object or person, that momentarily allows us to open to another. But in such emotional love, self-protection is never very far away. Still there is “business” to the relationship: clouds of jealousy, possessiveness, guilt, intentional and unintentional manipulation, separateness, and the shadow of all previous “loves” darkens the light of oneness.
But what I mean by love is not an emotion, it is a state of being. True love has no object. Many speak of their unconditional love for another. Unconditional love is the experience of being; there is no “I” and “other,” and anyone or anything it touches is experienced in love. You cannot unconditionally love someone. You can only be unconditional love. It is not a dualistic emotion. It is a sense of oneness with all that is. The experience of love arises when we surrender our separateness into the universal. It is a feeling of unity. You don’t love another, you are another. There is no fear because there is no separation”.
My understanding of this is if we feel love on an emotional level there are conditions, desires, expectations. With conditions, desires and expectations there is the risk of squeezing the life out of relationships.
When we have unconditional love it is not a feeling but a state of mind of openness and accepting everything as it is. No conditions no desires no expectations create unlimited possibilities in relationships.
That works for me.
How about you?
I’ve always disagreed with the expression ” Have no expectations of anyone and you won’t be disappointed” because it sounds so strange. It doesn’t make sense. How can you not have expectations of anyone? That expression would mean never expect the bank teller to get your deposit right. Or not expecting to trust a doctor with your health. But I have recently changed my mind because now I understand the expression a little more deeply. This expression means not to have any expectation of a person to be anything but themselves.
For example, let’s say you know someone who is a thief and a liar. You leave this person alone with your purse and your wallet disappears. You ask where your wallet is and this person lies saying that he/she doesn’t know where your wallet is. Here’s where the expectation comes in. You expected this person to be trustworthy when you knew, on some level, that this person is not trustworthy. This is where disappointment comes in. You forgot the true character of this person. This person is a thief and liar. Unless by some miracle this person changes his/her character all actions will remain that of a thief and liar.
Simply put, don’t expect others to be anything other than who they are and you won’t be disappointed.
It’s good to be hopeful that people are basically good and well intentioned because you can expect the the bank teller and doctor will do their best for you. However, some people are not. It takes time to really get to know who you are dealing with. It’s safer to be detached and slowly get to know the other person.
There is no magic formula to protect yourself from those who are untrustworthy. It is risky to trust others. Sometimes we are desperate to trust someone. But using the skills of detachment, objectivity and trusting your gut will help in deciding if someone is trustworthy. And don’t let fear of being taken advantage of stop you from trusting. Most interactions with others are just fine. But the minute you see or feel something is not right, get out of the situation quickly. Trust yourself first and you will ultimately find the truth of anything.