Unconditional love

Some may teach the concept of unconditional love, but you can bet that few achieve it.

by Gwen Farrell — 

A few months ago, over lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, a friend and fellow truth seeker raised the subject of unconditional love. I do not know what it is about Mexican food that seems to inspire metaphysical discussions, but in my experience, it does. Or maybe it is the margaritas.

After we spent a respectable amount of time pondering the subject of unconditional love, my friend and I came to a very important conclusion — which was that we needed another bowl of chips. Eventually, we did come to a real conclusion — about unconditional love.

Unconditional love is a beautiful concept. We all want it, and many people believe they should be able to have it. But for most humans, unconditional love — received or given — is an unachievable goal. This may not be a concern for those of us pedaling as fast as we can, simply to keep body and soul together, or for those individuals who do not have unreasonably high self-expectations. But for anyone engaged in a serious metaphysical examination of themselves and the Universe, the idea of unconditional love cannot be avoided.

Nearly every session with spirit guides or ascended masters concludes with the exhortation to bless those who persecute us, turn the other cheek and love unconditionally. It seems that for those who aspire to spiritual growth and enlightenment, the ability to love unconditionally is a prerequisite, but also a source of frustration. My friend had the audacity and honesty to declare her belief that unconditional love is impossible, and I concurred. I know, I know … for seekers of truth, this is heresy, but so be it.

Some may teach the concept of unconditional love, but you can bet that few achieve it. Even our spiritual betters have trouble with it. According to the Bible, Jesus, in his physical incarnation, taught unconditional love. But he knew none of us could be successful at it, so he forgave us all in advance, then gave up the ghost and went home.

The Quran teaches that Allah loves only the righteous. So there is no unconditional love from the god of Islam. What about Angels? They seem so loving, but basically they are messengers, servants and hired thugs. They may be able to walk through walls and rain down fire from heaven, but they do not love unconditionally either. And of course, neither do the Greek, Roman and pagan deities.

Some people think Buddha taught unconditional love. Not so. The teachings are about compassion, which is often confused with love. Buddha did teach that compassion is necessary for enlightenment. But compassion, as he saw it, is not the same as human love, unconditional or otherwise. Buddha’s compassion is the desire to alleviate suffering wherever it appears. Love doesn’t need to be involved at all — only action.

What about Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi, you may ask? Both had compassion, strength of will and super-human physical stamina. But, unconditional love? Being clothed in the same cloth as the rest of us, I think not. Spirit guides and ascended masters are the only beings who seem capable of pulling off unconditional love. Unfortunately, they do not live here.

Aren’t parents supposed to love their children unconditionally? Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, parents are only human, and again, the answer is no. Trust me, the Universe does not require us to love our offspring, parents, spouses, friends or gods without condition. We are, after all, merely naked apes scrambling up the tree toward the sweet, ripe bananas at the top. Try as we might, we are limited by ourselves, and the tree.

On this side of the veil, unconditional love is a lot like the perfect piecrust. You can try every recipe in your cookbook, take classes at Le Cordon Bleu, or use a Pillsbury® crust, but do not be surprised when the perfect pastry does not manifest. It is an unattainable goal — just like unconditional love.

So if unconditional love is impossible to achieve, why the metaphysical exhortations to do so from our spiritual betters? Well, that depends on who you think our spiritual betters are and their agendas. If you believe that they are beneficent beings with humanity’s best interests at heart, then you probably think they are doing it to give us something to strive for; a level of higher consciousness to aspire to. (Like we do not already have enough on Earth to keep us busy.)

If you think they are super-human beings who enjoy setting impossible goals and enjoy watching us fall flat, then you are probably resistant to all pronouncements from on high, including to love unconditionally. And if you do not care one way or another, then you probably think it is just a load of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo and have better things to do.

I have already stated my position on the subject. But lest I sound like a bitter, hateful, naked ape, let me say that I am part of the group who believes our spiritual higher-ups give us the goal of unconditional love as a boost up the tree toward the ultimate banana (otherwise known as pie in the sky or heaven). They do not actually expect us to get there, but they do expect us to try. I do not know what is awaiting us there, but I expect unconditional love to be somewhere in the room.

If we really make an effort to care about our fellow inhabitants of this beautiful blue zoo, whether we grab the magic bananas or not, really does not matter. Our everyday efforts in this direction make life more palatable, and that is what matters. Unconditional love is so delicious that all we need is just a little taste now and then to make life here worthwhile. And each one of us can pull that off on occasion.

So if sometimes you find it impossible to dredge up more than a modicum of affection for your offspring, parent, spouse or friend, do not worry about it. Just keep working your way up the tree with as much kindness and patience as you can muster at the time. There are sweet, ripe bananas all along the way and all the unconditional love you can stomach at the top.


Gwen Farrell, CHt, is a hypnotherapist in general practice with Southwest HypnoTherapy Group in Phoenix. 602-954-0962, activateyourmind@aol.com or www.etcontactgroup.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 2, April/May 2010.

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