There is a profound difference between intimate love and unconditional love. The first is like trying to hit a flee sized moving target with a peanut fired out of a straw. It can be done and if we’re lucky, happens from time to time out of shear probability.
The second, unconditional love, is a slow motion movie taken on an iPhone. Everything makes sense and in fact, can move so slow that we get restless, even agitated.
When I put the image of the Buddha sitting with a female companion on the front cover of Sacred Love, there was an outcry of different opinions. Some angry, some not, “oh, it looks like a tantric sex book” or “omg you’ll turn people off.” But in a sense that’s what I wanted to describe in the book: the difference between what one person calls love and what another person calls love.
My Dad would say “I love you Chris, and here’s a beating to prove it.” Strange ways to express love! He didn’t think it was strange. He thought that by beating me he was showing me right from wrong, which in his flawed religious Christianity was heaven over hell.
Love can be so complex. Love, or lust, or need, or fear, or guilt or obligation, or morality, or dogma can inflict the greatest cruelty, and at the same time, cause great benefit.
It is therefore a great exploration in life to understand the difference between Unconditional love and Emotional Love.
Let me simply define Unconditional Love and leave emotional love and the pain it can generate to your well honed experiences.
- Unconditional love has no ambition. It is therefore condition-less. Unconditional love is therefore a non action action love. It simply is.
- Unconditional love has no expectation. One does not say “if you do this or that I will stop loving you.” Unconditional love therefore transcends relationship, life, death, pleasure, pain, together or apart. We experience unconditional love as a form of detachment.
- Unconditional love is timeless. Therefore, whether a person is with you today or gone from this earth, in a cave or on the moon or with another lover, we feel the same toward them. This is a great acid test for true unconditional love. To be happy for someone whether they do what you want or not.
- Unconditional love never falters. Healing is the instantaneous recognition of unconditional love .. that a crisis is a blessing or a blessing is a crisis. Hence, we can call unconditional love a helicopter view of life and others in it.
- Unconditional love is not sustainable. This is a very important knowledge. Unconditional love is more like a truth that we must continually search for, explore and find. A parallel might be a “base camp” on a mountain climb.
Applying the Principles to Your Relationship, Family and Self
Comparing unconditional love to snow skiing might be a long bow, but for me it’s a perfect parallel. At least 20 times in my life, unconditional love has saved my life. Just like knowing how to arrest a fall on a mountain slope or stop half way down an icy ski slope can save your bacon in snow skiing.
Unconditional love is the process of letting go when something you are holding onto turns toxic. A relationship that fails to go the distance, a business that bottoms out, a global financial collapse that sweeps you off your feet, a defeat in a sporting event you might have banked your career on… the death of a loved one, the loss of a dream, the failure of something to return your investment, even a child who decides you are unworthy of their love… unconditional love is the “go to” solution.
In Zen we sit and stare at a wall. The teaching is simple. All reaction is an emotion. All reaction can therefore be managed. But how? Zen is easy sitting on a cushion but what happens when you feel down, sick, depressed, broken hearted? The pathway back to the “wall” isn’t always so simple as sitting on a cushion. Sometimes there’s mathematics needed, a process to arrive.
Healing for example is the application of Unconditional Love to health. Emotion is the enemy of healing. Emotion is not the enemy to relationships or business or hopes or dreams but when disaster strikes, Unconditional love is the solution.
I therefore think that learning how to “go to” unconditional love is very powerful tool for business leaders, artists and healers but most importantly, for self. We can’t give what we haven’t got, and i think, all that must start with a solid platform of realism.
Unconditional love is that.
This harmonious statue depicts Buddha and Shakti in intimate embrace. Their union evokes balance between the active, masculine figure of compassion (karuna) and skillful method (upaya), and the passive, feminine figure of wisdom (prajna). According to Tibetan Buddhism, these qualities are essential to attain enlightenment by seeing beyond the veils of illusion (maya).
- Buddha and Shakti tantric embrace statue
- United principles of male (compassion) and female (wisdom)
The Sacred Marriage of Lady and Lord, depicts a condition of enlightenment where male and female human principles, anima and animus, yin and yang, are perfectly combined in a balanced way. In the image, the union of vajradhara and Shakti expresses the sacredness of sexuality as a path to spiritual union.
Vajradhara (Hindu Shiva) represents the original, primordial Buddha, the one absolute power which creates itself, with no beginning and no end.
This sculpture shows a position of sexual union known as Yab-Yum (literally Father-Mother) in Tibetan. This depiction represents a fundamental concept of Buddhism, the union of the male representing compassion with the female representing wisdom, this marriage leading to enlightenment. Shiva is seated in a meditation pose wearing a crown on his head.
He holds a thunderbolt (Vajra) in his right hand representing the male aspect of skillful means and method. In his left hand, he holds a bell (Ghanta) representing the female aspect of supreme wisdom, the two together symbolizes the union of the male and female aspects which leads to liberation and enlightenment.
Shakti holds a ritual curved knife (Kartika) in her right hand symbolizing the severance of ignorance and all material and worldly things. In her left hand, she holds a skull cup (Kapala), used in tantric rituals for tantric rituals for offering sacrificial meat or blood to protective deities.