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  • Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
    To melt and be like a running brook that
    sings its melody to the night. To wake at
    dawn with a winged heart and give thanks
    for another day of loving.

    Kahlil Gibran





    You ask about unconditional love, as we sit in Plato’s cave, watching the dance of shadows on the wall, and wondering about this idea of unconditional love, mulling it over, intellectualizing it, twisting and turning it in our minds.

    We have come in from a long day of fishing in the small bay, our nets empty, and we ask ourselves over and over, what is unconditional love? Why are our nets empty? Day after day, we throw our nets of selfhood out into the world, and catch nothing.

    No one, it seems, will love us unconditionally. Why is this? Surely there is a secret to it, the same way there is a secret to knowing where the schools of fish are, the same way there is a secret of secrets to knowing how to find and live this thing called unconditional love.

    Yesterday I took a long ride through the backcountry, north of the city. There were old ranches, weathered barns, groves of bright gold lemons and deep green trees full of shiny jade avocados. There were stands of eucalyptus trees stirring in the wind, small ponds, cows and horses grazing in green spring pastures.

    I thought about how I love you unconditionally, and how full the net of our friendship is, when I draw it up out of the deep turquoise sea. Perhaps the hawks know this secret, but they float high overhead on silent wings. I think the hawks have known for a thousand years, and if we listen, they will tell us. The hawks fly free.

    Back in Plato’s Cave again, writing these words, I realize that unconditional love has to do with practice more than possession, with peace more than prohibitions, with letting go rather than fearful holding on. Would there be war, or famine, or poverty if the world lived within a matrix of unconditional love? What is it that happens when we know we are loved without strings, obligations, requirements, boundaries or demands?

    “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Surely, this is when the nets of our souls fill up with an abundance of joy, confidence, enthusiasm, strength. Surely, this is when we know we can live our dreams and attain our highest potentials.

    We love unconditionally because we can, because it is the right thing to do, and because this is the most direct way to experience and share the great love of God. We love in this ultimate way because it is a path of joy, and because we are the ultimate beneficiaries. Where, then, do we start in this practice?

    We start where we are, here and now, around the fire in this shadowy cave, honoring the freedom and identity and unique selfhood of those we love. We let them go. We have no expectations. We put no limits on our love. We do not say, as most of the world does: “I will love you only if…” We say instead: “ I let you and those I love fly free, and watch you soar, and ask for your blessing for my own flight.”

    And in this new found freedom to fly, we are at last able to leave this shadowy cave of the past, step by trusting step. We are able to leave behind our doubts, fears, limitations and ignorance. We realize that those whom we love most are the ones who most need our blessing of freedom. A favorite poet puts it well: “It’s that I care more for you, than for my feeling for you.” Such is unconditional love. Welcome to the sky.
    intellectualizing it, twisting and turning it in our minds.

    We have come in from a long day of fishing in the small bay, our nets empty, and we ask ourselves over and over, what is unconditional love? Why are our nets empty? Day after day, we throw our nets of selfhood out into the world, and catch nothing.

    No one, it seems, will love us unconditionally. Why is this? Surely there is a secret to it, the same way there is a secret to knowing where the schools of fish are, the same way there is a secret of secrets to knowing how to find and live this thing called unconditional love.

    Yesterday I took a long ride through the backcountry, north of the city. There were old ranches, weathered barns, groves of bright gold lemons and deep green trees full of shiny jade avocados. There were stands of eucalyptus trees stirring in the wind, small ponds, cows and horses grazing in green spring pastures.

    I thought about how I love you unconditionally, and how full the net of our friendship is, when I draw it up out of the deep turquoise sea. Perhaps the hawks know this secret, but they float high overhead on silent wings. I think the hawks have known for a thousand years, and if we listen, they will tell us. The hawks fly free.

    Back in Plato’s Cave again, writing these words, I realize that unconditional love has to do with practice more than possession, with peace more than prohibitions, with letting go rather than fearful holding on. Would there be war, or famine, or poverty if the world lived within a matrix of unconditional love? What is it that happens when we know we are loved without strings, obligations, requirements, boundaries or demands?

    “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Surely, this is when the nets of our souls fill up with an abundance of joy, confidence, enthusiasm, strength. Surely, this is when we know we can live our dreams and attain our highest potentials.

    We love unconditionally because we can, because it is the right thing to do, and because this is the most direct way to experience and share the great love of God. We love in this ultimate way because it is a path of joy, and because we are the ultimate beneficiaries. Where, then, do we start in this practice?

    We start where we are, here and now, around the fire in this shadowy cave, honoring the freedom and identity and unique selfhood of those we love. We let them go. We have no expectations. We put no limits on our love. We do not say, as most of the world does: “I will love you only if…” We say instead: “ I let you and those I love fly free, and watch you soar, and ask for your blessing for my own flight.”

    And in this new found freedom to fly, we are at last able to leave this shadowy cave of the past, step by trusting step. We are able to leave behind our doubts, fears, limitations and ignorance. We realize that those whom we love most are the ones who most need our blessing of freedom. A favorite poet puts it well: “It’s that I care more for you, than for my feeling for you.” Such is unconditional love. Welcome to the sky.






    (Photograph by Alex at Buddha Center Hot Springs, in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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