Is unconditional love between people really possible, or do we all place conditions on our love?
All close relationships begin with loving, open-hearted feelings flowing freely between people. Time passes, events happen, people disappoint each other and the love lessens. In some cases, it just grows a little dimmer, but sometimes it can turn to strong feelings of dislike or disdain.
We have all experienced this hardening of our hearts, shutting down in an effort to protect ourselves. Even though it doesn’t necessarily feel good, we find ourselves slipping into this place where we set limits on how much love we will show to another. Sometimes we want to define this closing of our hearts as setting healthy boundaries.
Of course we all need to set appropriate boundaries with a variety of people in our lives. Setting boundaries doesn’t have to mean harboring anger, resentment or bitterness towards another being, even if they hurt us directly. Great beings in history have already set this example for us.
We can release hard feelings and enjoy a more neutral relationship even with the most difficult people in our lives. This is the first step on the path to healing. We can hold our hearts open unconditionally in a loving way even with those whom which we choose not to spend time.
What happens to your heart when we shut down a part of it that used to be open to another? Do we suffer from hardening of the heart in a similar way to the pain and dis-ease we experience from hardening of the arteries?
Regardless of our philosophical beliefs, the fact remains that we are born and we die. During the time in between, we get to choose whether or not we want to keep our hearts open fully to all beings, past and present, and enjoy the experience of living joyfully.
We gain nothing by choosing to shut down. Even if we believe that the other person doesn’t deserve our kindness or good will, there is a way to release fear and negativity. We think that it gives us a bit of control over the situation to hold back our lovingkindness, when in fact, we have just surrendered our own power to an idea. If we have closed our heart to even one other person, we are the ones who ultimately suffer.
We can set our intention to keep our hearts open regardless of the actions of others or the events of our life or our world. We can process fully our negative feelings and then choose love, forgiveness and happiness. We can make it a practice and get better and faster at doing it.
In my travels, I have been fortunate to hear all kinds of stories and what I have learned is that people are the same all over the world. There are definitely cultural differences, but in our hearts, we all feel similar things. Everywhere I go I see that people are waking up to this possibility that a shift of heart is necessary. Grace moves so much more freely through people who have learned how to open the doors of their hearts towards others.
Our spiritual work is learning to live ever more skillfully in a way that helps us to manage negative stress, fear or melodrama more gracefully. I am grateful to have become connected to all of you who read this newsletter. You have touched me, I have grown. I am proud to be associated with you and will continue to support your expansion, unconditionally.