By Chitra Jha
Unconditional love is the capacity to accept, not judge
As I spontaneously regressed into a past life during one of my meditations in 2004, I understood my unique purpose on Planet Earth ‘to be more loving.’ It was the life of a ferocious tomcat, who had not learnt to love anyone. As I heard the message, delivered to me in my reverie, I knew what I had to do. As often happens on this path, this message was followed by an entry of all the tools that I needed at that time, such as books on love (Path To Love by Deepak Chopra, The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach), older married couples in love (at times I used to wonder if they were real!), and an unearthing of my own resistance to love. I was all set to fulfil the purpose of my life.
The next couple of years saw a tremendous growth in all areas of my life – from a homemaker to a professional life coach; from an avid reader to a prolific writer. I was on a high, going higher! That was also the time when the children left home, and I embarked upon the discovery of the self. My love scene improved gradually (there was a lot of muck hiding deep within that had to be released), but by 2006 I felt like a newly-wed, deeply in love! I thought I had arrived! But that was just the beginning.
If 2004-06 were about growth, 2007-09 were about scaling the Everest! I was unstoppable. Insights after insights unfolded themselves. I made friends with the best in the business of spirituality. The learning curve was at its peak, but somewhere down the line I started missing something. Attending spiritual retreats was not as rewarding as before. I started looking at chinks in the armour of spiritual giants. Adulation of devoted disciples bored me. I wanted to scream at them, “Stop quoting your masters. What about you? Speak about your own experiences. Don’t be a mouthpiece for scriptures or gurus. They are following their own path; why must we follow their path? Scriptures were for the people of ancient times; similarly the gurus’ paths were for them. Even the present day gurus tread their chosen paths. Why must we follow others’ paths? Why don’t we ‘make’ our own paths?’’
These questions made me doubt my progress. Was I stuck in my ego? Why couldn’t I surrender to a master/guru the way the others did? Even my 21-year-old son had chosen to follow a master, with full-time devotion. If he could be in surrender at such a young age, what was wrong with me? Was I being ‘holier than thou?’
Even as these ques t ions assailed my peace, I stuck to my guns. I knew that my mind may deceive me, but my body couldn’t lie. I started connecting more with my body, and its sensations. Contemplating upon every sensation/feeling that came up in any given moment – “What am I feeling now,” was my new contemplation trigger. Deep contemplation brought up my issue as a ‘lack of unconditional love.’
Ah, unconditional love! It seemed like a solution to all my problems. I told myself, “This is where I am stuck. I need to develop unconditional love. I need to see God in everyone/ everything.” I ventured upon this new mission with missionary zeal. Living in Ladakh was a boon as it was easy to fall in love with everything there!
My definition of unconditional love was developing the kind of love that I have for my sons, for all of creation. Seeing the divine in everyone/everything was ‘literal’ too! Soon I realised that I wasn’t really succeeding in reaching the high goals that I had set for myself. It was true that I was accepting more of everything in my life; I was less critical of things; I reserved my opinions about people/situations; I didn’t really enjoy ridiculing the politicians; topics of corruption and terrorism didn’t make me spew venom; I was definitely more at peace with my surroundings but I was not in unconditional love.
I was restless. Why was I not succeeding in reaching my goal? I started writing affirmations, visualising loving scenes, breathing in love, filling my heart chakra, breathing out love and what have you. ‘I love you’ was a mantra I kept repeating in my mind most of my waking hours. To be fair to myself, I was enjoying all of this and I did feel more loving; but there were still moments of judgment, envy, and resistance. I wasn’t there as yet.
2010 brought in new people into my life. These people personified unconditional love. Father Prashant Olalekar of ‘Inter-play,’ and Dr Vedashini of ANNI made a deep impact upon me, but the icing on the cake was Divyaa Kumaar, an enlightened master from Mumbai.
While I was resisting gurus, I yearned for someone who had been there, done that, and literally walked the talk; but who was accessible as a friend, who was real as opposed to someone who had been placed on a pedestal! Divyaa filled that gap. Her understandings on surrender, detachment, and unconditional love came like ‘Eureka moments’ for me.
She wrote (yes, I have never met this master, we are cyber friends), “As you expand your personal energy field, surrender, detachment and unconditional love just happen. It is an automatic process. If your focus is on love, you are expanding your personal energy field. Now everything else will just happen. Your love for self will evolve into unconditional love.
“Unconditional love does not mean that you will feel ‘love the emotion’ for everyone, but you will move into ‘acceptance and allowance for each one and their life stories just the way they are. You will understand that each one
|Deep contemplation brought up my issue as a lack of unconditional love|
has come with their own roles/ learning, and thus have different desires/fears/ experiences and blueprints. You will rest in this acceptance and an unconditional embrace will happen! You don’t have to worry about its timing, just enjoy the journey!”
Ah! The r e lay the cat ch! Unconditional love is not about ‘love’ as I understood it (and hence des i red), i t was onl y about acceptance, just a universal embrace! It was as simple as the message, ‘live and let live’.
Seeing the divine in everyone/ everything meant to accept each life story as an essential piece of the larger story.
I wonder why we get lost in semantics!! Why do we make the spiritual path such a big deal? Just live and let live, and all will fall in place. As Forrest Gump would say, “Shit happens………” All we have to do is let it happen.
Now I feel free to just be and let life happen.
Kashmir valley is resonating with my new found freedom. The winter is giving way to spring. Wild yellow flowers are peeking out of their hiding ground, creating a carpet of sunshine on earth. Tulip bulbs are throwing up leaves, pansies are smiling, and roses are covering up their thorns! Hundreds of almond trees in our compound are awash with buds, ready to bloom. Soon the white of snow will be replaced by the white of almond blooms, and then sprinkled by the pinks of plum, cherry, and apple blossoms!! The master artist is ready with his palette of ‘love’ colours, each more beautiful than the other and each unique in its own beauty!!
In 2010, I have been brought to this beautiful, but terror-torn valley to spread unconditional love which means to accept, to be non- judgmental , and to let everyone be.
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