2007-10-05 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

Commentary by Marilyn Gelfand

What does unconditional love mean? It is a term that we hear often and it is something that we want for ourselves, but what does it mean? I often have heard that people love Shel Silverstein's children's book "The Giving Tree" because it is the story of a tree who loved a boy so much she gave and gave no matter what he asked for until the tree became a stump for the boy (who became an old man) to sit on.

In our society, which is known for its attraction to outlaws, conmen, political hucksters and movie stars, it is hard to know how and to whom to love. No one wants to be someone else's doormat to be used.

So, how can a person be loving all the time?

Spiritually speaking, when one's heart is open, it is filled with love. It needs no object to focus on, rather it becomes a state of being. I can be filled with love in my heart as I go through my day thinking of nothing in particular. The key is that it feels so good to have an open heart, so that when it is closed, it actually causes pain to the person who has shut down. I feel my spiritual connection, and the love flows from that connection.

If someone does something nasty to me, I need not close my heart as I do not want that person to control my energy. I can react to the actions of another with my own energy intact. I can be tough, say no, not speak to another person ever again, etc. with my heart detached enough to continuing flowing with love. No matter what happens on earth, the spiritual connection is always there for me. I can feel the love while I take any necessary action.

If I choose to love another person, I can still feel my love flowing.

I can choose to stay or go based on how that person treats me, but the source of love is always from God/ Universe. Our relationship is based on two whole people coming together and enjoying each other's company, not to fill in the gaps of what I don't have. It is different than Hollywood that makes us believe we are incomplete without another.

Rather it is two independent spirits that join in happiness and harmony because it is their free will to do so.

The love we feel towards our parents or children is based on what we are given as our life situation. As we grow and realize that we do not control the others in our family, acceptance of who they are becomes easier. Unless there is malice, it is often necessary to step back and see why they are making certain choices. The choices may not be the ones we would have made, but the person has his reasons. Acceptance that the other has a right to live his or her way, can again bring in the ability to create two whole, rather than dependent, people in a relationship. When we realize there is no control, we can accept what those we love do much more easily. I needn't bend just to make them happy either.

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