I have been thinking about love some more the last few days. I have been looking at the differences between the love I described in my last post (the love I have for my child in the first couple years of their life) and the love I have for an adult. The difference is that one is selfless, the other is tainted by the Self.
When I shower love on my very young child, there are NO expectations, not even of reciprocation, and there are NO conditions. There is nothing my very young child could do to turn away my love- NOTHING. There is no subjective moral code I project onto their behaviors as a condition of my love, no transaction of them loving me so I give them something in return.
My relationships with adults, even the most superficial or temporary relationships, must satisfy certain conditions and expectations- MY conditions and expectations. When I love an adult in any way, there are things they can do that will cause them to lose my love. If they are not a ‘deserving’ sort of person, or if they don’t treat me right, if they are not loving themselves… I will either have a hard time loving them, or decide myself to stop loving them.
When I think of God/the Divine, and my relationship with Him/Her, I realize that they continue to shower me with blessings DAILY, no matter how much I offend against them, and no matter what kind of person I’ve been. My relationship with the Divine is deficient in so many ways, and I’m sure I do countless things everyday to offend against God. Even the synthetic fiber shirt on my back today is an offense against the earth and probably against a whole factory of God’s underpaid and overworked children… Yet the Divine still showers me with love every day.
Lao Tzu’s sage worked to save every human so there were no wasted people, and worked to improve both the good and the bad. Jesus kept company with sinners and brought light and hope even to them, and He points out how God causes the sun to rise and the rain to pour on the good and the bad. There were no conditions or expectations to the provision of love with these two exemplars. The conditions and expectations were theirs- to see to it that all beings were the benefactor of their works.
Both the Tao Te Ching and the New Testament show goodness (loving others) to be analogous to water- it benefits EVERYONE, and you will find it in the lowest places. I have found myself drawn to that model and now I am going to embrace it completely.
When I go out to feed people in the streets, I don’t exploit the chance to proselytize in any way- not even to tell them life off the streets is better. I just give. That is the point. If I exploit the opportunity, then it is not giving. It becomes a transaction- my food for their time.
When I deny a beggar in the street, when I have the means, the reason is invariably because I wanted some transaction to take place- I wanted them to meet MY condition (get off the streets, get sober, look less scruffy, beg out of sight…) before I met their request.
I am going to practice giving without conditions or expectations whenever I have the time or the means today.