By Terry R. Minion
Love is not the least bit easy to define. The word love is used in so many ways that it is difficult to understand what it is, and yet we all experience love in its many facets throughout our lives. Still, we may not really understand it. We know we want it and from time to time we may not be sure how to have it. We like to give it and sometimes we may be a bit fearful that it may not be received as intended. Love is like a whole bunch of feelings all jumbled together.
I have studied love for just over 70 years now. I’ve tested it, examined it, felt it, shared it, and then became it. This treatise is my effort to explain what I have come to understand about love and its many facets in case it may have meaning to others. Maybe I can save you some time and trouble on your path. Maybe not. I cannot think in your experience, so I will simply share mine in case you may relate and benefit from my life-long study.
Some people learn what their life’s purpose is early, I was a late bloomer in that. It has only recently become clear to me what my life’s purpose is and why I am here at this time. I have come to learn about love, experience, and examine the shades of love and finally, and most gloriously to embody love and share that experience in various ways. I have done this all my life without realizing this is what I have been doing. It has only recently become crystal clear to me, and for this, I am a very grateful man.
Let us begin.
First, I could break down love into so many types of love, such as parental love, romantic love, brotherly love, loving objects or things, love as an endearment, and many, many more. We think that love is a feeling because we feel love, but what love really is is a frequency. And so, based on my lifelong study, it comes down to only two kinds of love. There is conditional love and unconditional love. Unconditional love is the frequency of love and holds all other forms of love within it. Love without any conditions attached to it is the love of our Creator, it is a love that is always there. Indeed, ultimately, it is who we are at our core. All of our other experiences in love and life will eventually lead us back to this core love. I like to call it love with a capital ‘L’ to set it apart from the many-faceted kinds of love we typically experience and share with one another. Just to be clearer in this writing, I will use the capital ‘L’ when I am referring to Unconditional Love.
Conditional love is everywhere, all around us, and we experience it and share it all our lives in many ways. All it means is that that love exists only while circumstances are conducive to that love thriving. When the circumstances change, the love goes missing. All of the love that I experienced in my family seemed to me quite conditional. As long as I was ‘good’ I was loved and when I was not, I was not loved. I got quite adept at manipulating circumstances to draw out the love that I craved from my parents. These attempts were successful often enough that I kept doing them until I left home.
I learned that circumstances could change the feeling of love. I learned that a wide variety of emotions such as anger, fear, disappointment, revenge, and many more negative emotions trumped love. When my parents would fight or argue I could see that in action. Later on, they ‘made up’ and let their conditional love return. But, eventually, these changes in tone and circumstances were cause for not making up and resulted in a divorce or permanent separation. I saw several of these in my childhood, and they showed me that love comes, and love goes, that love is, and then it is not, that people fall in and out of love, and the list goes on. Popular songs remind us of this trauma as if it is meant to be a part of our lives. TV shows depicted similar scenes, as did movies, and books told the story whether it was a true story or fiction. History reflected the present, and the present reflected history. We were and so many still are tethered to history in this way. The old saying goes, “those who don’t pay attention to history are destined to repeat it," but what is more real is that we repeat it whether we are paying attention to it or not. And, even more real than this, is Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity of “doing the same things and then expecting a different result." That is history in a repetitive loop. For things to change, we must change our thinking and how we relate to history so that we may transform it and not simply change it.
I watched my parents go from being in love and adoring each other to putting up with each other and occasionally loving each other, to despising one another and conniving and plotting against each other and dragging we kids into that arena. It appeared to me that love could not only go away but that it could change into hate, disgust, revenge, depression, and even powerlessness. I say appeared because I know that love cannot do that. It cannot become those things as they are incongruent with one another. They are completely different vibrations. Since frequency determines what a thing is, love and those other negative emotions are not a frequency match and not even close. So, after several of these breakups and divorces, I knew that I would never get divorced. Little did I know… but continually observing, learning, expanding, and becoming. That is the journey after all.
There is another thing about conditional love that is very important to express and that is that it lacks effective communication. There is a whole lot of assumptions being made and this makes the love quite a moving target and creates circumstances that interfere with love while we are unaware that this is happening. We don’t talk about how we are feeling with the other listening and not talking on either side. Instead, we feel hurt, unloved, angry, and more, when we could have stayed in love by understanding each other and appreciating each other and how they are feeling. If this were done, it gives love a chance to expand rather than contract. In this again we are influenced by history and popular communications that remind us that these problems are universal, common and that we are as Einstein stated, insane.
In fact, this idea of effective communication was the problem that I saw in my family and that I experienced in my own relationships. Albeit, I learned it after the fact. In my second marriage, at one point we went to a Marriage Encounter event which was mostly based on learning to communicate with each other without judgment. It was a powerful learning experience for me. My insanity kept me from making that a habit, however. Still tethered.
Now that I’ve mentioned a second marriage, I have to admit that even though as a teenager I said it would never happen to me, it did. I got a divorce. However, by this time I had learned so much and the divorce ended so amicably that we signed papers and then went and had lunch together. No hate. No revenge. No negative emotions. It was Love that stayed Love, but we chose not to continue living together after 16 years. That was in 1986 and it is still Love today.
Here’s the single most important thing that I learned about love and my going through a divorce. Love does not change into hate or any other negative emotion. Love is love. If it is not love, then it never was love. I’ll repeat that because it was so profound to me once I got it. Love is always love. If it is not love now, then it never was love. It was something else. Love does not morph into pain, hate, revenge, or any other negative emotion. Love always remains Love if it was love, to begin with. If I Loved her, how in the world could I do harm to her? Hurt her? Pour out negative emotions on her? I could not. I loved her. I truly Loved her. And, as I said, I still truly Love her. That will never change because Love is always Love. It does not become something else. It remains Love. Period.
I only experienced one divorce. My second marriage lasted 26 years and ended with the death of my wife in 2013. Does love end with death? Of course not. Love is always love. In fact, love can continue to expand after separation. There is no diminishing of love, but there certainly can be expansion. Maybe a better way to say that is more allowing. There also seems to be a natural tendency in being away from interactions with another to remember more of the positive aspects of them than anything that was not so positive.
According to Abraham, Esther Hicks, “all relationships are eternal." I have come to understand this even before I read or heard that phrase. This is why love always is. Love is eternal. And even more than this, Love is who we are at our core.
Conditional love essentially says that I will love you as long as you don’t do something I disapprove of. I will love you as long as you love me back. I will love you as long as you don’t cheat on me. I will love you until… I will love you if… I will love you when… I will love you only… and such. Now, if this was actually communicated this way verbally then the relationship would be smoother than without this communication and making assumptions instead. At least we would know where we stand and then also realize clearly that this is a love that is based on certain conditions. When the conditions are acceptable and complimentary love thrives and when conditions change beyond the set parameters love is withdrawn. Is this even love at all then? Conditional love is the rule and not the exception. There is evidence of this all around us every day. As long as the insanity remains the paradigm, love will be loaded with conditions.
To reach out to the higher vibration of Unconditional Love, we must change the insanity, paradigm, and our thinking and actions. Fortunately, I have learned that this is far easier than it may seem to be at first. It is not an action as in making a decision and then acting on it with intent. It is more a release of what is holding us apart from that Love that is at our core, the Love of our Creator, God, or whatever name you like to use. I’ve found that this idea applies to so many things in my life. The real effort if you even want to call it that is to let go of the rope as in a tug-o-war game and that is it. The effort is opening your hands and letting the rope fall to the ground. No more struggle. No more resistance. No more pain or stress or anxiety. Letting go is an action of peace. Allowing is another way of letting go because we let go of the things and thoughts that have kept us from allowing or being in the state of allowing. It is the same with our True Love, Unconditional Love, pure acceptance. It is not something to find or reach out to. It is something to allow. It is already there. We only need to allow it to be reflected in our thoughts and actions.
How does one change a paradigm? Practice. Even though we are Love at our core, and even as we drop the rope and become allowers, there is a whole lot of insanity all around us, so we need to practice. We need to practice allowing. Expand our knowing through practice. Align with Love through practice. And practice is just reminding ourselves who we are at our core. It is reminding us that we are already Unconditional Love and that we have been trained and manipulated to accept and know conditional love as the norm. It is only the norm because of insanity. We see our government do it, people around us, media communications, and much more. We see the insane idea of doing the same things and hoping for things to change. Or, we try to change the circumstances to create a more harmonious outcome. Einstein also said that “we cannot find the solution with the same thinking that caused the problem." Letting go of the rope is a change in thinking and this is why there is no effort. It takes no effort to think. However, we cannot keep thinking the same way and have things turn out differently. We must change our thinking first and then circumstances will line up with that change.
So, we cannot hang onto conditional love and embody Unconditional Love. We need to change our thinking and thereby allow Unconditional Love to rule. I say rule because it is already our core, our home. We are simply returning to it or allowing it to be our guide–to rule, or to be in charge. Now whatever relationship we partake in is expressed by us in an Unconditional way. If it doesn’t work out, there is no pain, no negative emotions, no bad feelings, and it is still Love because all relationships are eternal, and Love does not change. It is the love of God or our Creator and we are an aspect of our Creator and so we, at our core, are that same Love. The love of God or the Creator Loves always and all-ways. This is who we are as well. A drop of water from the ocean is still part of the ocean, and even if that drop were taken a long distance from the ocean, it would still be part of the ocean from which it came.
By practicing this new thinking and awareness of who we really are, we will find as I have found that we Love so many people regardless of any disparity in choices or beliefs. We simply and truly Love them without any conditions or in spite of any conditions. As we practice, this expands very easily to the entire world. All people. Everywhere. It even includes people that in our conditional love we might hate and want to eliminate from the world. Unconditional Love sees none of that and embraces each person as an aspect of the divine as I am an aspect of the divine in the same way that the Divine would do. In this way, we are the Love of God, we embody that Love, and we see and share that Love wherever we go and whatever we are doing. We no longer find faults, look for potholes, or push against anything at all. We become full-fledged allowers. We become Lovers. We Love. We are Love.
This is how you can Love someone that you may otherwise have considered evil. This is how you can Love Hitler, or any hated world leader dead or alive. You transform them by seeing them differently. Unconditional Love has no conditions. No conditions. You might say, well, I could never love those people. They are evil and they should be eliminated. Fine. You are stuck in conditional love then. Unconditional Love has no conditions. It sees these people as an aspect of the Creator or God just as it sees you in that way. Fear is something man created in its many forms and the word evil is another word for fear. Fear will never be love or Love. It feeds on itself and expands by producing more fear. You can easily see this in the news whether in a respected newspaper or anywhere online. It is pervasive and yet it is more than this. It is a choice. If you look for potholes, you will surely find them and there will always be more to find. Yet, the really good news here is that Love is the same way in that once you allow it, fear cannot be in there with it and Love will rule. Unconditional Love is at our core and it is who we are. We are not fear. We may have created fear in order to attempt to control others, but we are not fear. We are Love. The only difference is in the allowing, the letting go, the acceptance of who we really are, and the rest will no longer rule in your experience. I have found this to be absolutely true. This doesn’t mean fear won’t peak inside from time to time, but it will never again rule. Practice will make fear peak in less and less until it is nonexistent.
This last paragraph is where some may pick the rope back up and continue the struggle. So be it. I think it is one of the most important paragraphs in this piece because it is controversial. Controversy is, of course, an aspect of fear or at least conditional love or conditional acceptance. It is pushing against. There is none of that in Unconditional Love. Love allows. Love accepts. Love accepts all conditions because Love sees beyond conditions. Love doesn’t keep score. Love doesn’t differentiate. Love is in all. Love is all.
Love is not Love without Self-Love.
Becoming an Unconditional Lover requires releasing that which seems to withhold that Love, but there is one requirement that cannot be overlooked or minimized, and that is the Loving of ourselves first. We can move into Self-Love and the Loving of all others at the same time because it is all the same thing. Yet so often, we might find it easy from a habitual standpoint to be critical of ourselves while trying to show Love for others. We have no choice, really. We simply must Love ourselves, and as in Loving others and changing the paradigm, practice is our greatest resource and strength.
I think there is no better resource to learn to Love ourselves be In Love with ourselves than the late Louise Hay of Hay House Publishing. She wrote so many books on this subject and they all are powerful. Some of the titles are How To Love Yourself, Heal Your Body, Love Your Body, Mirror Work, Life Loves You, You Can Heal Your Life and many more. I learned so much about Loving myself in her book, Love Your Body. Many of us have a tendency when looking in the mirror or looking at a photo of ourselves to look for the potholes. We know them from the inside, so we seek recognition of them on the outside. Look at those bags under my eyes, my eyelids are so droopy, those pores are so big, that whitehead shouldn’t be there, and I want it gone, and this list is virtually endless. Louise taught me to begin praising myself and the individual parts of me until now as I walk by a mirror, I find joy and send Loving thoughts back at my reflection along with gratitude for that which I am in my physical body.
Our bodies are such amazing creations. The size of our body changes all the time. Sometimes the changes are small, and everything fits as it has and other times, we have alternate sized clothing standing by to handle the changes. We may delight in eating to the point of having added some inches and pounds and yet the body knows what to do with that excess. It stores it for future needs in the form of fat. We rarely notice the feeling of an added 10 lbs. or more because it is stored throughout the body and our body adapts to that new environment pretty easily. So instead of condemning ourselves for eating too much or of having gained some pounds, we can praise our body for how brilliantly it handles the additional load we have given it. The body didn’t gain weight on its own. It was our choices that brought this on; however, there is no value whatsoever in belittling ourselves, berating ourselves, seeing ourselves in a negative light. Praise, acceptance and Loving will change all of that. Begin immediately and allow this new attitude of what you look like to yourself to change you for the better. Now you can Love yourself no matter what. Remember that Love has no conditions. It does not care about any conditions. It simply Loves and always Loves.
Loving your body is only part of Self-Love. It is time to become aware of the self-talk and how often it is negative in tone. We’ve got this voice in our head going on all day long. Begin to catch it mid-sentence and transform the current talk to that with positive, uplifting tones. I am as I am. I am perfect the way I am. I am an aspect of the Creator. I am Loved. I am a Lover. I Love myself. I Love others. I am in joy. I love the feeling of being in joy. I am confident. I am whole. I am in need of nothing. I may desire all that I choose to but I am not in need. I am in joy. My reality is constantly improving. I am building the most magical life for myself. I am of benefit to myself. I am of benefit to so many others. My joyful being is the example of my life to myself and to others. I know how to take control. I am so joyful that I have become aware and that I can change my thoughts to thoughts that are pleasing and that are building instead of tearing down. I am such a powerful being and I love feeling that power. There were times I felt unloved and even powerless, but I turned all of that around and now I find myself reeling in joy. I had no idea that joy was this big. Joy is huge because joy is the same vibrations as Unconditional Love. I Love myself. I Love my body. I Love my awareness. I Love my ability to pay attention and guide myself to my joy in any moment and at any moment. And, because I Love myself without conditions, I Love all others without conditions. It is the most natural thing in the world to be In Love and to Love all of creation.
Being in a romantic love relationship as Unconditional Love.
Romantic love involves an attraction force that feels like a yearning to come together physically and emotionally. The attraction or desire comes with changes to our thoughts and our body. We may feel our heartbeat rise in tempo, our blood pressure rises, our eyes more focused, tingling and movement in the groin area, in our heart (not the physical heart), and our sensitivity to touch and sensation. These are all wonderful feelings to experience. They may last for a time, but they generally are fairly short-lived. As we delve into this new relationship, we create change. We get to know more about each other, and we may find habits or attributes of the other are strange to us or may even feel off. As time progresses in the relationship familiarity can create a bit of complacency or even pockets of contempt. It may be weeks or months, or maybe the best of the relationship will last for years, and as statistics show, a large percentage of these relationships will end and many may end poorly as in the nasty divorces that I previously mentioned. However, it need not be this way. There is a better way.
The better way is to not to be in love with the other simply through attraction but to be In Love by first Loving the other without any condition. So, no matter what condition may express itself, it will be of no consequence because I am looking at this person as an aspect of God as am I and that we are both individually complete and not in need of desire for completion by the other. We Love ourselves and are In Love with ourselves first and then we can so more fully Love the other, and with the added boost of the rocket fuel called sexual or romantic attraction, our experience of this Love will be off-the-charts good. There will be such joy.
There can be nothing but joy no matter what transpires or however long the relationship may last in its present form. We are not needy and as we are Loving ourselves, we cannot experience the fear of losing the other because this Love is always Love and always will be Love regardless of circumstances or changes in behavior. And, it doesn’t matter that both are feeling that Unconditional Love. It only matters that I do. I am the only one in control of me. I choose and no other may choose for me. None. Not even God. He let go of my rope when He created me. So then, I can be of huge benefit to this relationship by simply being myself and in my Love. The other could do no harm to me because I cannot be harmed. I am In Love and I operate from Love and I enjoy the romance and the exhilaration of this time and if that romance left tomorrow, I would have lost nothing. I would still be In Love and I would still be Loving that person. Once I am Loving that person, that person is being Loved and can do no wrong. In fact, there are no such things as right and wrong. There is only Love and if a problem or problems were to arise, they will be dealt with from the frequency of Love.
From my perspective in this relationship, I cannot un-love. I can only Love. Fear plays no part as it is not in the same vibrational countenance. So, jealousy is never invited. Revenge could never be. There is a song that says we only hurt the ones we love and that would be love with the small ‘l’ or conditional love because we could never ever hurt the ones we Love.
Now there is an important point here regarding this last paragraph. No one can actually hurt us without our permission, and it is more us hurting ourselves than any other projecting hurt onto us. We must own our own feelings. I cannot think for any other regardless of how close the relationship may be and almost all hurt is simply thoughts that cause feelings to be felt. Since it is all thought and since I cannot think for anyone else no matter how hard I try because all have Free Will, I cannot ever hurt anyone else in this way. They can only choose to hurt themselves because of their choice of thought and their beliefs and their history. Even so, as I am In Love, I cannot inflict any negative harm on another. Certainly, I may be In Love in this relationship and the other be in love from a more conditional perspective. But the key here is that we are both in choice always and in all ways. I may only be an influence. I can be a positive influence. But I cannot create in the other. I can only create within myself. So, I choose to be In Love and to act from Love and to be Love in my being as a reflection to benefit myself and my own knowing, and as an example to the other. That is the best that I can do.
Living and Loving without attachment.
The aspect of Love that I want to talk about here is the Living In Love that doesn’t relate except perhaps peripherally to other people, but it has everything to do with Loving ourselves. It is not Self-Love as I discussed earlier, but it has to do with the living of life as it unfolds.
Since I recognize myself as the creator of my experience, the chooser of my own reality, then anything that manifests in my experience was something I attracted by virtue of my vibration. That vibration may be current thoughts or past thoughts gathered into the present and since the Law of Attraction is the vehicle through which things come to me and thoughts are multiplied in me, I am the creator of all my experience whether I am consciously aware of that asking or not.
Conditional love of myself would be to squirm and twist and be remorseful of any circumstance or physical manifestation that is not to my liking. It is the thinking that these things are happening to me and that I had nothing to do with it or I may even be blaming others for their arrival in my life so that I may try to feel better that it isn’t my fault. But Love doesn’t do that. Love accepts. All. Love doesn’t find fault. Love doesn’t blame. Love accepts. This includes things that come to be that we unconsciously ordered and might normally be unhappy with. Love is not unhappy with anything. Love accepts and Love finds where the joy is and where the benefits are. Love knows the silver lining in every cloud. Love knows that there are huge benefits in things that may appear chaotic and stormy in a lack-mentality. In Love, there is no lack. There is no need.
Abraham, Esther Hicks uses the term contrast a lot and I absolutely appreciate that word rather than using so many different words that have heavier connotations. We experience contrast, which is something seemingly unwanted or out of order, in order to inspire our desire for what we want or what we may value more. They call this shooting rockets of desire and that is also a wonderful phrase to match this idea. As we shoot off our rockets of desire for an improved situation, our asking is being answered and is always answered and now we need only allow it in. Step one: Ask. Step two: It is done. Step three: Allow it in or receive it. Step one is our part and often comes as a result of contrast causing the asking for an improved situation. Step two is God’s job. Step three is our job. Ask and it is Given is step one and two. Now receive. Allow it in. Step in and become it.
One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read is The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. What I learned from this book is to allow things to flow through me. Don’t block them. Don’t even try to soothe them. Simply experience them, see them for what they are, and then let them continue on their path. This creates a non-resistant state of being. We remain unattached to things that may have typically got stuck in our craw. People may have things stuck for entire lifetimes and they live with this and the pain those blockages cause without relief until they become more aware and are willing to become untethered to all of that stuff, all of those thoughts and previous hurts and a hundred million other things. Love has no attachment to anything. Love has no need for attachment and receives no benefit from attachment. This is why Love cannot be harmed. Everything flows in Love. Everything is released in Love. Love is the ultimate allowing. It is as Michael states in his book, Unconditional Acceptance.
So, when things happen that are not or were not expected, when things seemingly go awry, step back into Love and allow all to be what they are, it is. Let it flow. Look at it with interest but no attachment. See it come and go and feel the joy in the experience of that. If it still feels less than desired, the transformation is really easy. Simply begin praising aspects of it until it is In Love or in the frequency of Love with you. Accept it and bless it and you may end up in such appreciation of it that you found that you wanted it all along and didn’t realize it. Or, it can be seen as contrast that causes a new wanting or new desire to be born. In any case, In Love, it is transformed to be In Love.
There is no need or benefit to complain about anything. Everything is perfect the way it is. My favorite quote of all time is attributed to William Shakespeare where he said that “there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so." So much of our lives are lived from our accumulated history, historical choices, and beliefs, things we were taught as a child or as an adult. We are told what to think, what is right, what is wrong, good and bad, and much of that knowledge is not to guide us and benefit us but to control us and keep us within certain acceptable parameters. Some have said that the greatest fight is just to be ourselves. Well, I used to believe that and do so no longer. It requires no fight. It requires first, awareness, and then it only requires dropping the tug-o-war rope and learning to allow. In Love, there is no stress. There is no need. There is only full and complete acceptance. Moving into Love is the most natural thing any of us can choose to do because it is who we are at our core. Yes, it requires us to choose it. It is already us, but the choosing is the allowing of it. We do this by relaxing and not stressing. We do this by letting go and not holding on.
In a fairly short space, I have shared highlights of my journey in learning about conditional love and Unconditional Love. I have accepted and embraced Unconditional Love, and once here, I cannot imagine a desire to return to the conditional love I used to know. Join me if you have a mind to do so. It is easier than you think and will change your life so dramatically that you may not even recognize who you were before. It is truly the most satisfying place I know of. It now guides my life. I operate in and from the frequency of Unconditional Love. Mine has been a powerful and enlightening journey and I can only wish for you a portion of the joy that is now the example of my life. Injoy your journey!