Saturday, September 17, 2011

Unconditional Love

“Don’t be so nice to them, they’ll take advantage of you.” People have often told me this. More and more, it seems to me that being considerate, talking to people with a genuine smile, and going that extra mile to help another person are traits that are rare to find. Even when a person displays them, the general perception is that there must be an ulterior motive underlying the nicety. You can’t just want to be nice to someone for the sake of being nice, can you?

In my opinion, the problem arises when we view all of our interactions as “transactions.” The idea being that if I give something to someone, there must be an equal and opposite exchange from that person to me, or it’s an unfair deal. In a world dominated by fear, where we’re always scared that there won’t be enough left over for tomorrow, where we’re made to feel like we don’t even have enough for today so that we go out and buy something new – in such a world, it becomes increasingly difficult to operate from a place of selfless love where there is no expectation of anything in return for what I give. The irony is that this kind of giving – the kind with no expectation of reward or recognition in return - tends to be the most satisfying to the soul of the giver!

“Giving” doesn’t necessarily refer to a monetary gift. We often assume that charity is all about the money, and that only when I have enough money saved up in the future will I be able to “afford” to be charitable. That day, quite obviously, will never come. It will always be one bigger amount away. More often than not, some of the greatest deeds of philanthropy tend to be small acts of kindness that often go unnoticed by the public at large. Acts that require me to step out of my obsession with my own life and do something that might make someone else’s journey a tad smoother.

An incident that took place some hours ago got me thinking about all of this. I had just disembarked from a bus at the Kuala Lumpur airport, and had to wrestle with a luggage trolley to extract it from a train of empty trolleys that were jammed together real tight on the kerb. As I swerved away with my hard-earned trolley, I noticed a lady struggling to pull out a trolley for herself. She had a number of luggage pieces with her, delicately balanced one on top of the other on the ground. I left my own trolley and reached out to offer her a helping hand. She appreciated the gesture, and we exchanged smiles. Once she had her trolley, she was gone. I didn’t know who she was and will probably never see her again in my life. But in that moment of assistance, a vibration of kindness and gratitude was created.

There’s kindness, love, and compassion out there in the Universe. Each time we commit a selfless act, help someone in need, or even send out a genuine prayer for someone we don’t really know personally, we’re pulling forth some of that positive energy from Universal Consciousness and bringing it into our world.

It would be an act of charity to improve the quality of every interaction that we have with others in our world. What can we do to bring forth more positive energy into these interactions, and convert the negative energy pockets into free flowing plumes of unconditional love?

The most powerful force in the world is love. And the purest form of love is the unconditional kind. The kind that we think only a saint or God should have. “I’m just human, you know” is the excuse I often hear. If only we would realise that it is our “human”-ness that makes us capable of transcending the boundaries of instinct and mind to love without condition. To love the kind of love that exists only because the heart overflows with compassion for the other being – and for no other reason!

I have come to realise that it is only when I allow myself to give unconditionally, that I will be able to accept unconditionally as well. When my own actions are motivated purely by the extent of what I will get in return, I begin to view another person’s niceness to me from the prism of my selfish world view and am unable to recognize that person’s love for me as genuine. Therefore, in my desperate need to quantify and measure the exchange, I start to look for the ulterior motive. And it’s always easy to come up with one!

Each one of us is capable of functioning from a place of unconditional love. Does our world really have to be “ruthless” like many describe it as? “It’s a jungle out there” is what I’ve heard as well. The truth is that the jungle functions in perfect balance – just the way nature intended it to. Perhaps we need to create the jungle in our world as well, so that we can begin to live together in perpetual harmony rather than constant discord.

Also posted on my blog.