All the sacred texts across different religions describe unconditional love, yet we don’t feel it. Out of habit, we focus on all the seeming slights and unfairness of the universe. Our view of ourselves can be so small and limiting.
Start with Little Loves
How to experience unconditional love? My teachers always suggested that we start by focusing on all the little loves in our life. These are the sparks of unconditional love, trying to break through our self-imposed limits. We are not tiny individuals, but a part of a limitless interweaving within a great incomprehensible loving field of awareness. These little sparks of love are helping us wake up.
Even though we have had to endure trauma and heartache, our lives are informed by unconditional love. We wouldn’t be here if someone didn’t feed us when we were an infant, take us to a healer when illness struck or place a blanket on us when it was cold. Mentors in our lives taught us valuable things, perhaps a trade, or enriched our spiritual life.
Create New Habits
Usually, when we try to think of people that have supported us, our mind immediately goes to all the slights, insults and wrongs we have had to endure. This is why we don’t experience the unconditional love of the universe, the unconditional love that is our true nature. Our habits prevent us.
Instead, each day, as soon as you awake, try to recall someone who offered you kindness and care. Write it down. Gradually you’ll get better at it. After a time, no matter how difficult your life has been, you’ll recall more and more people who touched your life with kindness, care and love. They don’t have to have been perfect, but they cared.
These are the sparks of love, that are accumulating, trying to awaken us to our true nature, loving awareness. By remembering them, honoring them, being grateful to them, the universe will gradually reveal itself and the truth of the sacred texts will be ours.
Shine Like the Sun
A Buddha’s compassion radiates limitlessly without bias. When the sun shines, it shines without any notion of “I will shine today”. It is an inherent property of the sun. In the same way, so shines a Buddha’s love.
We have the exact same possibility to radiate love and compassion without partiality. Learning how to enable our compassion to blaze forth is the foundation of becoming a healthy, emotionally well-integrated human-being. This healthy sense of self is an important stepping stone for meaningful spiritual progress. By continuously remembering to ignite little sparks of love, kindness and care in our lives, we create the conditions for our infinite capacity for wisdom imbued with love to be uncovered.
Reflect Again and Again
I try to do this by reflecting again and again on what I wish for. Actions come from intentions, and so, by repeating our aims, our actions are naturally brought into harmony with our wishes. For example, we begin and end our practice sessions with all kinds of aspiration prayers. Our world seems especially chaotic and precarious right now. Perhaps we are at an inflection point, and so our aspirations, and the actions that result, have the possibility to effect great change—in both ourselves and the way our world manifests.
So, right now ignite a little spark of love. Make a loving, compassionate aspiration. Write it down, dare to write it in the comments below, join with others in accumulating many sparks. Reflect on it many times during the next days. And watch how your sparks of love and compassion begin to blaze. And, in so doing, gradually discover how your experience of the world becomes more gentle, more loving and more compassionate.
Upcoming Virtual Retreat
For those of you who are interested in exploring this topic, and others like it, more deeply, please join us for Samye’s very first online retreat, Radically Loving: Transcending Anxiety and Stress led by Erric Solomon. To read more about the retreat program or to register, please click here.