by Dr. Guy Pettit
It is the exploration of what this might be that we do from now on in this seminar - and in life after the seminar! Its mystery and depth cannot be explained. Yet we all recognize its presence and its magic. It reveals itself through joy, which can even increase in adversity. We can learn to see ourselves as moving towards becoming able to express it ever more fully. We can learn the steps in developing this quality, which is still in the process of evolving or revealing itself.
Unconditional love is enlarging the self, and an act of will. It is not a feeling or an emotional reaction. Think of the difference between falling in love, and growing in love through all difficulties and conflicts. Unconditional love is an act of mental and spiritual will, it cannot and does not take place upon the emotional level, which is where the problems first register. Unconditional love is extending oneself in the service of the spiritual growth of oneself and/or another, independently of reward or the behavior of others.
To truly love in this way could include:
· To call forth a sense of responsibility, and a capacity to make wise choices.
· To point out weaknesses people have, - but very caringly so that the best in the person is drawn forth in response, rather than resistance.
· To challenge people to strive and attain, and discover their true selves..
· To help people work on their habits and weaknesses so that they become stronger. To show them how to use their will correctly.
· To help people learn to cooperate, and thus to overcome their little egos.
· To engage people in working for humanity.
· To teach people how to overcome their prejudices, resentments, separative tendencies, vanities, illusions, and other blocks to their own joy.
To truly love in this way does NOT mean:
· To surrender to weakness.
· To accept things that are harmful.
· To encourage weakness or irresponsibility.
· To accept dirt or ugliness in thought, feeling or action.
· To exploit or use people.
· To put people into sleep.
· To tolerate laziness.
Unconditional love causes you to see what has really caused a situation and to see through the outer appearances to the true needs or yourself and others, without criticism of yourself or others . It causes you to see the basic good in yourself and other(s).
Unconditionally loving people see their own errors and joyfully self-correct them .
They love themselves, others and the Source of Life, and therefore the whole of life. In particular, they are inclusive, and can maintain love and goodwill towards both the apparent "victim" and "oppressor" in a situation.
They seek to radiate their inner harmony and joy, peace and healing into any situation - without conditions or expectation of reward, and independently of the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others.
They are group conscious and do not react by immediately taking sides.
They serve the cause of peace and goodwill, and can often find ways to a fair solution of conflict that are not available to emotionally charged people. Gandhi taught the use of ahimsa and satyagraha, which is the willingness to cooperate harmlessly with the good intentions of the other for the true benefit of both.
The Forgiveness Process can be seen to be a process which moves us towards this goal of unconditional love.