Far too often, in the course of our daily lives, we can notice if we are honest, that the feeling of love arises only in certain select circumstances, and that too only after a wide set of conditions in our mind are met.
With a child, we feel love when they do something or say something we like, or perhaps we feel love when they've surprised us in some beautiful way beyond our expectations of them, and short of this, far too often, we are engaged in that relationship with our child using our mind. Does this not ring true of your experience?
With a spouse, with a sibling, with a parent, with a family member, with a friend, rare are the times we feel the outpouring of love. Perhaps it is a judgment we have of them, or expectation we have of them, or perhaps it is because we so blinded by our beliefs and thoughts and attachments, that we feel love so rarely.
Love is the experience of intimacy, a complete lack of separation from the other.
Why do we feel separate from all these people who we might called "loved ones", but in fact, we withhold our love from so often? Why is intimacy such a rare experience?
We live in a bubble of our own making. And this bubble is made of our self-image, complete with our beliefs, judgments, resentments, non-forgiveness, attachments, anger, fear, greed and more. And this is not a nice, beautiful bubble that might rise to your imagination now. It is an ugly, wicked, prickly, dangerous-looking bubble that surrounds us, and it fluctuates and changes shape all the time, but almost always this bubble is on.
Everyone else also is in their own bubble like this. Our interactions with each other, even with the so-called "loved ones" is bubble against bubble. Multitudes of experiences might come forth from the friction of rubbing against another one's bubble, and none of those experiences are that of intimacy. Our bubbles are ensuring the separation between us and anyone else.
If this is the case with "loved ones", Lord knows the shape and form of the bubble when encountering "others", especially others we see in the news, come to hear about but haven't met. Worse, what might this bubble look like when it comes to thinking about or interacting with someone we truly don't like!!
Occasionally, this bubble's size is reduced, and shaped not as prickly as normal, and on the rare occasion, the bubble might barely be present ... and it is in these moments, the experience of love can be felt, because without the bubble, intimacy with the other person(s) will arise.
Given all this, what would it mean to love unconditionally?
If this task is given to the mind, it will create a 7-step plan, or 12-step process, or a checklist of 5 things to do to love unconditionally! Don't believe me? Go Google "love unconditionally" and see the plethora of articles that come forth on this.
Loving unconditionally isn't a thing that can be done by your mind. i.e. You cannot do a set of things, the result of which is the experience of loving unconditionally!!! Why? Loving unconditionally isn't something you achieve by doing things.
Unconditional love is who you are. Just like happiness without its opposite is your true nature, pure love is your true nature.
Does this mean that you undertake a process of finding all the things that are in the way of your pure love and letting them go one by one, or even many at a time? Well! This is the pull of "self improvement", the ego's trip, to make a better version of itself. You will surely find improvement in your condition with diligent work, but even in the best outcome, a little bubble will always be around your real nature, and that is your newly improved self-image, the "I am more unconditionally loving than before" person :-).
Just like questing in the world of objects for happiness is a fool's errand, because happiness is your true nature, doing things and changing things about yourself to become a more loving person is ultimately only going to have some relative success, and in that sense, from the standpoint of Truth, that too is a fool's errand!
So what can be done?
When the bubble of your self-image falls, pure love, that is your real nature will shine unhindered, undistorted.
How to make the bubble of your self-image fall? Simply rest in your heart center, withdrawing all attention from the mind, from the senses, from the body. The bubble will fall. Pure love of your true nature will arise.
Ok, that is great, but how can this work in any place other than my meditations, you might ask!! Legitimate question! The more you simply rest in your heart, the more you can readily start from and as the pure love that you are, in meeting the experiences of the world.
The very same "practice" (if you can call this non-doing of resting in your heart as a "practice"), also enables you to be consciously aware, through the experiences you are experiencing in the world. Witnessing your experiences, concurrent with the occurrence of the experiences, brings the opportunity to witness whether you are rising from and as pure love to meet the experiences, and in turn, if you are not rising as pure love, you can take a deep breath and release the resistance and reaction to life's experience in the moment, and rest in the heart and rise from the heart.
Loving unconditionally is nothing more than a calling to abide in and as your True Self!
"Love unconditionally" is just another way of saying "Be Reiki".