Living in Bliss:
How to Experience Unconditional Love For Yourself and Others
BY HAROLD W. BECKER
unconditional love knows no bounds and no obstacles. photo: ondrej supitar
To experience unconditional love, we must understand its nature and possibilities. By turning our attention to the inner realm of thoughts and feelings, we can explore our personal notions and ideas of love. Only then, do welearn how to evolve it into its highest expression of unconditional love. Let us begin looking at how we currently may be viewing love.
The Power of LoveThe qualities of love are endless and the expressions are infinite. Yet, without recognizing our ability to understand and use the higher aspects of unconditional love, we have trained ourselves to know only a very narrow band of humanly qualified love. We categorize and label it according to the sensory experiences encountered with it. For example, the activity of sex is frequently the only aspect of love some people identify with as a genuine expression of the state. They perceive that the physical action equates to love, while it is often merely no more than succumbing to a physiological release. The physical senses become the definition and total understanding of what they perceive it to be. Focusing solely on outer physical conditions and responses, we confine love and limit its infinite true expression.
“Everything we do has a deeper unconscious pursuit to experience love.”
For others, the idea of love is a verbal description of our emotion. In an attempt to feel it more fully, we label our outer experiences with the word and not the meaning. We equate love with an experience we think we are supposed to be having with our relationships, friends and family. Out of a sense of duty or obligation, we feel required to use the term to state and show our connection with others, even if we don’t really feel it. Similarly, people misappropriate love as a power struggle and use it to wield strength or weakness in an attempt to receive affection and attention. For example, we may say, “I love you,” yet, our motives are for personal gratification or recognition. This actually reveals a deeper personal insecurity and attempt to bind our self to another for validation or acceptance. Our intent does not have the heartfelt quality and depth of feeling found in unconditional love.
“I love my job” or “I love my house,” are also examples of the descriptive and frequently intellectual use of the term love. What does “love” mean to us in this way? We learned to use the word without ever really questioning its meaning or effect on our lives. Ironically, we constantly seek its deeper manifestation in our lives. Our endless daily pursuits have an underlying desire to find love in every fiber of our existence. Everything we do has a deeper unconscious pursuit to experience unconditional love. Whether seeking personal or material success, engaging in friendships or relationships, or even pursuing addictive and destructive habits, love or the lack of it, drives us.
It is amazing how we go to great lengths to shield ourselves from really experiencing love. A focus on external love lacks the understanding and inner commitment known with real unconditional love. It is often felt as a safer way to experience it by removing the need for intimacy or vulnerability. We allow our love to be experienced only at the surface level and shy away from genuine expressions of unconditional love thinking we may somehow be hurt or rejected. This superficial expression misses out on the deeper levels of honesty and truth which are the reward for these actions of intimacy.
photo: danka & peter
Through many protective approaches, we limit our understanding and experience of love to the literal word and a few basic feelings. When it is missing, pain and suffering appear. We, in turn, accept the pain as truth, instead of pursuing a higher expression of love. The more we focus on painful situations and experiences, the greater the separation from love and the harder it is to understand and embrace love. As you can begin to see, with love itself being such a challenge to grasp and experience, unconditional love must be a notion beyond the reach of anyone, so why pursue it?Love is the natural and divine part in each of us and resides within the heart. With it, we flourish, prosper and unfold our unlimited potential. When we know and understand love, we share this energy with every particle of life. It gives purpose and meaning to our existence and provides the foundation for every thought, feeling, and action. It is always within us whether we recognize it or not.
Without it we cease to function and exist on this physical plane. The weight of doubt and negativity weigh heavily upon us, often backing us into perceived corners where we lash out with destructive energy. Over time, the absence of love causes us to slowly wither away as we feel further removed from our light and sustenance. The illusion of life without love often becomes the excuse to dismiss it even more. Only when suffering becomes too great, do we rise up and call to be released. This call, once made, is our decree to return to the reality of unconditional love. It never needs to come to this level of extreme suffering since we have the choice to cultivate and use love here and now.
“Love in its higher expressions goes beyond the common ideas of being involved in romance, desires, sexual gratification, friendship and other physical pursuits.”
Love in its higher expressions goes beyond the common ideas of being involved in romance, desires, sexual gratification, friendship and other physical pursuits. Real, unconditional love is within these and all other experiences and also transcends the momentary physical reality with an eternal connection to the pure spirit of love itself. This true spirit of unconditional love involves qualities that are ceaseless and ever available within.
What is Unconditional Love?
To help us come to a closer understanding and useful definition of unconditional love, we will look at the two words unconditional and love. Let us begin with love. When we say love, we are using more than a descriptive word to characterize our experience of life. Love is energy. It is a power that permeates the universe and at times, we glimpse its immense nature through an experience in our world. It is a process and way of living life. It is an expansion of certain qualities we can feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When we engage it, our experience of life expands and evolves.
Love is a sense of personal peace and joy. It is an expression of kindness, compassion, and understanding. When we comfort and support ourselves and our world, we are tapping into it. To invoke the use of love is to forgive and release the appearances of our experiences. Love trusts, is patient and does not judge or hate.
When we love, we do not fear or doubt. Similarly, we do not blame, shame, use aggression, control or manipulate. Criticism and condemnation dissolve by this infinite power. Love is freedom from the limiting beliefs that encourage our inner hatred, prejudice, anger, and frustration.
Love releases the need to be in control. We allow lack and limitation, guilt and worry to go free into higher expressions of dreams and possibilities. The simple stillness of the experience of it washes over our concerns and sweeps them away, providing new opportunities to experience life in joyous ways. Love is a thought and feeling we hold within.
Love is an attitude we have about life. When we love, we are allowing the highest level of our awareness to permeate the experience of the moment. We are literally vibrating to a higher frequency of energy and allowing that energy to move forth into our world, where it changes and lifts everything it contacts. It is an ever-evolving journey. It is truly a way of being.Now that we have defined some aspects of love, let us turn to our other word, unconditional. To be unconditional, is to be without condition – or limit. To be unconditional is to be unlimited. This means no strings attached, no stipulations, and no expectations.
Simply stated; unconditional love is an unlimited way of being. We are without any limit to our thoughts and feelings in life and can create any reality we choose to focus our attention upon. There are infinite imaginative possibilities when we allow the freedom to go beyond our perceived limits. If we can dream it, we can manifest it. Life, through unconditional love, is a wondrous adventure that excites the very core of our being and lights our path with delight.
“As we expand, the world expands.”
When we love ourselves and everyone around us, we experience the freedom of creativity. We turn within to our imagination and design the constructive lives and experiences we desire and dream of. We allow others to seek their own dreams and fulfill their personal destinies. Listening to our inner guidance and wisdom, we act upon our highest aspirations without hesitation or limitation.
Love is a process, not a goal. Each of us experiences a unique understanding as we encounter new ways of applying it. We change and grow every moment through unconditional love. When we love ourselves without any limit, we release the old beliefs and ideas of life that no longer work. We seek our truth and become it. We honor the truth of others and allow each person the same freedoms we aspire to. As we expand, the world expands.
Love is no longer to be limited as an act of divine province. It is the practical and inherent way to approach and live life. This form of love is the natural expression of our inner divine nature. It is an impersonal love that cares deeply while being detached from the form expressed in the moment. If we desire to live freely, joyfully and in peace, we need only love ourselves and others unconditionally. In this way, we experience it firsthand.
The Art of Forgiveness
The most magical power we have, for cultivating unconditional love and otherwise, is our ability to forgive. It is the exquisite healer in all of us. Forgiveness is the key to releasing any emotional baggage we have continued to carry, our outdated and outmoded perspectives, and any other attachment that keeps us bound to the past and separated from the experience of it. It is the only way to really let go of negative energy we have stored within us. This form of release has no comparison and by using it, we unleash the power of love. When we say “yes!” to forgiving ourselves, another person, place, condition or experience, we are accepting love to guide and fill our lives with infinite joy.No situation in life is beyond the act of forgiveness. Many people think they want to hold on to their traumas and pain to remind them of the past mistaken experiences. They assume that by keeping these memories alive they can somehow insure not to repeat them in the future. This is an unfortunate reasoning process. When we keep negative energy alive within us, we fill our now moment with this energy and create a future moment for the same type of energy to return. The very desire to avoid more hurt by holding on to the past causes us to experience the pain repeatedly. Only forgiveness and release can stop this process permanently and reconnect us with the essence of unconditional love for ourselves and others.
The mistakes of the past are just that, an opportunity that we experienced to learn something about our use of universal energy. When we identify and associate pain, suffering or limitation with a particular experience, we add this negative energy to our mental and emotional memories and carry it within our consciousness. Each time we encounter a similar situation it triggers this energy to come forth and influences our present expression with whatever we are feeling. In reality, whatever is before us is simply a reflection of energy we sent out in our past and if it is less than loving, it is our opportunity to forgive and release the appearance. Only through a complete release can we move forward in freedom towards unconditional love.
The beauty of forgiveness is that we are the ones who can take charge and make the necessary changes in our lives. From the grandest perspective, there really is no one to blame or even to forgive. We use the act of forgiveness to release our hold upon the limitations and painful memories, both personal and societal, that we have become attached to. Forgiveness allows us to release these obsolete and limiting perspectives of past experiences and permits freedom and unconditional love to take their place.
“When we remember that each of us does the very best we can at any particular moment, we are well on our way to forgiving everyone and everything.”
When we remember that each of us does the very best we can at any particular moment, we are well on our way to forgiving everyone and everything and moving into a space of unconditional love. Unconditional love is just that: without condition and so, by its very nature, we must move into a space of authentic forgiveness if we hope to experience unconditional love. If we have anger for example, and lash out at another, it is all we can do at that moment. Hopefully, the next moment the anger will have passed and we can come from a more loving position. We must accept both scenarios as valid even if they produced different reactions. By acknowledging our behaviors, we instantly see how and why others behave the way they do.
Forgiveness is not just a statement of release from our actions; it must be understood and felt as well. We cannot shirk or circumvent our responsibility with a casual glance and vague apology. We are striving for greater personal understanding and healing of our thoughts and feelings that have bound us to a past expression. Forgiveness is a gracious tool when used with genuine intent.
Forgiveness is only effective when we feel it within our hearts as we thoughtfully release the experience, condition, person or event. Our motivation must be true and sincere. Equally, we must be willing to take corrective measures to insure we do not engage this type of energy again. It may take several attempts at forgiveness to thoroughly release the negative limitation and emotional bond. Eventually, hurts and traumas of the past become the learned lessons and joys of self discovery in the present.
The most courageous act we can ever undertake is to love ourselves and life unconditionally. Each moment we have the opportunity to accept it and its perfection as our expression. Shedding the limitations of the ages we can free ourselves to experience life as it was designed to be lived and by listening within and allowing our love to express naturally, we can claim our heritage and unfold our potential. We literally become a blazing light of truth radiating our inner strength and beauty.
Love from an standpoint, insures the energy of life flows through us uninhibited and free of judgment and misqualification. We are the source of our joy, which reminds us we must cultivate the qualities of love to experience them. Each quality of unconditional love, like peace, harmony, trust, or wisdom, for example, comes from our inner awareness and is then expressed in our outer conscious activities. It is a focus of our attention upon the higher and more positive attributes that then become a part of who we are.
Loving ourselves unconditionally is a continuous process, not a goal. Each day we can find greater ways to share the natural love that abides within our hearts. The momentary obstacles we encounter provide the opportunities to reach deeper and surge forth with the grace of love. Traumatic or delightful, each situation is for our growth and is there for our lesson and personal expansion of the feeling.
The personality/ego tries to make the process of self love complicated. It continuously seeks examples of it in the outer world of form. It pursues and accumulates material things and experiences looking for some type of love to be engaged. These relationships with people or things are momentary meetings with aspects and reflections of the self. When they are agreeable, we perceive a closer experience of love. When difficulties arise, we tend to then question and judge the encounters and eventually attempt to discard them in order to avoid the pain associated with them.
“Traumatic or delightful, each situation is for our growth and is there for our lesson and personal expansion of love.”
Loving ourselves unconditionally works the same way. Forgive every past mistake, condition, person, and thing, including yourself and then watch as the new self emerges like the Phoenix out of the fire. Once we release ourselves from the limiting experiences, we are free to create from the heart and it knows only love of the highest nature.
Loving ourselves begins with accepting ourselves right now. We must look at every vestige of limitation as a creation of past thoughts and feelings. Whether it is a personal weight problem, inflated ego, mistaken activities, or engaging in angry and hateful events, we can release all of them. When we are ready and willing to do the work, release the baggage, and move on with life, we leap into the arms of our divine angelic selves.
No one can ever do it for you. Unconditionally loving the self is a personal commitment and a lifelong journey. Personal honesty is the foundation and patience is the primer. Believe in yourself enough to listen to your inner wisdom. Know what you know and be who you are. There are many who will come to your side and walk with you during times of need. Lovingly release anyone who discounts or attempts to stifle your growth and expansion. Sift through the old timeworn images and beliefs; retain the ones that still work for you and let go of the rest.
Practices for Experiencing Unconditional Love For Yourself and Others
1. Embodying the Qualities of Unconditional Love
Unconditional Love represents the essence of certain unique qualities. These qualities are within each of us and await our cultivation and use. By focusing on and understanding what they represent to us, we bring them into our personal experience. The following list can give you an idea of what it may mean to you.
Use this list and apply a quality of unconditional love for each day and see what happens. You can start by focusing on a particular quality during your meditation or visualization and then keep yourself reminded of that quality and use throughout the day. Practicing in this way allows the quality to grow and expand in your experience of it. Initially you may find that when you begin to incorporate these loving qualities, the opposite experience may occur in your life. For example, we may focus on harmony for the day and encounter chaos. Through these types experiences we learn how to express the quality in all circumstances.
You may also choose to use the words “I am” before each quality while repeating it to yourself several times. For example, “I am peace, I am peace, I am peace,” allows a more personal and direct connection to the power held within the quality. This will cause a change in your perspectives and experience in life so be prepared to become a new you.
2. Love and the Mirror
Another experience that is very powerful for unconditional love is what I call the mirror experience. Over the years, I have watched people come before the mirror at my workshops and literally dissolve ages of negativity on the spot. It is a moment of truth when we stand before ourselves in loving acceptance and cast aside all judgments and perceptions allowing love to come through.
How many times do you look at yourself in a mirror as you prepare for your day? Yet, do you ever really see your true self? Are you willing to accept all that stands before you in that mirror? Unconditionally? It can be challenging at first to really embrace your total self in this way. The rewards though are fantastic.
1. Find a time and space where you can take a close look at yourself eye to eye in the mirror. Stand before your own self and accept all you have become and all you are becoming. Forgive yourself and everyone else for the past mistakes. Let go and feel the love that wants to express itself through you. Release the judgments, opinions, and beliefs you have about your size, shape, appearance, intelligence, wishes, dreams, and desires. For now, just be. Look deeply into your eyes and see the love looking back. Say aloud, “I love myself unconditionally.”
2. If you do not feel the connection right away, keep at it. Do it each day until you feel you can say “I love myself unconditionally” and really mean it. From then on you can stop for a moment each time you look in a mirror and wink at the angel you see smiling back.
3. Bridge of Light and Forgiveness
Another helpful technique for experiencing unconditional love is the bridge of light. You can use this when experiencing difficult moments with people, places, things or conditions. This form of visualization allows you to connect with and discuss your challenges with someone or something in a safe and loving way.
1. Begin with a meditative approach as previously described. When you are at peace, picture yourself on one side of a bridge of light and the issue or person on the other side. Walk to the center of the bridge as the other person (or concern) comes to meet you in the middle. This process ensures you do not invite negative energy into your personal space and you don’t have to go into theirs.
2. Share whatever you have to say and ask for any messages or response. This is your time to speak from your heart and share everything you would like to discuss in the privacy of this neutral space. Use this as a dialogue to uncover the reflections, motives, intents, etc. You could view this as an aspect of yourself, for example, that is trying to protect you or help you in some way—however misguided, or discordant it may be. Try to forgive, resolve or agree on a higher solution.
3. Close by asking for the highest and best to come from the situation and feel forgiveness and love for each party involved. Walk back to your respective sides and return to your waking state, knowing the situation will resolve itself. You may repeat this if greater clarity is needed or until you feel more inner peace.
This article is excerpted with permission from Unconditional Love—An Unlimited Way of Being by Harold W. Becker.
About The Author
Harold W. Becker has dedicated his life to living and sharing the practical application of unconditional love. Since 1990, his consulting company, Internal Insights, has had its focus to “empower people through self awareness and unconditional love.” In 2000 he founded the globally recognized non-profit, The Love Foundation Inc., with the intent to “inspire people to love unconditionally.” He blends incredible insight and intuition with humor, compassion and kindness for a strong inspirational and motivational vision in all of his endeavors which also include business, writing, speaking and personal guidance. Visit his website: thelovefoundation.com