I have been baffled by this question for ages and wished to address it at some point in my life. My moment of clarity emerged when I chanced to visit another meditation class in the Brahmi Kumari center in the City.
For many of us, the application of love comes with its set of terms and conditions, the range of which can be more shallow than the next.
Is she beautiful enough to be my trophy wife?
Does he earn well enough to support my material needs?
If we were given a choice between a partner who was attractive, financially secure, and healthy as compared to an individual who was lacking in those departments, we would naturally vie for the former. The dynamics change once you are deeply in love as we become enlightened enough to overlook some of our partner’s trivial shortcomings. However, ignoring certain flaws may prove to be detrimental, especially if it is related to suffering through a partner’s abuse or a life-threatening addiction.
In general, we are all flawed in some respect or another and looking past a beloved’s imperfections is a positive quality for all of humanity.
Take the example of the wonderfully inspiring Nick Vujicic and his beautiful family.
Intuitively, our set conditions about wealth, health, and beauty shape the way we react to another person. Hence, it has the significant possibility of making or breaking a marriage.
When it comes to the latter, men are not as emotionally receptive as women; therefore, they have trouble fitting the traditional caregiver roles when their spouse is ill.
A 2009 study published in the journal Cancer found that a married woman diagnosed with a serious disease is six times more likely to be divorced or separated than a man with a similar diagnosis. Among study participants, the divorce rate was 21 percent for seriously ill women and 3 percent for seriously ill men. If disease makes husbands more likely to split, it makes wives more likely to stay. This difficult job grows even tougher in the absence of emotional support. While women turn to friends, counselors, or groups for the help they need, men don’t. A man typically relies on his spouse as his main confidant, and when that spouse is sick, he can find himself in a downward spiral of isolation.
Even then, many couples have emerged from painful struggles and managed to remain in a blissful union.
Take the example of Rachelle Friedman, who became paralyzed from the neck down, just four weeks before her marriage. The husband still chose to stay by her side.
Such varying outcomes prompted me to wonder what is the psychological reasoning behind the conditional and unconditional instances of love that partners place on each other.
The answer lies in the human body. Our bodies are material, whereas our soul is imperishable.
As I learned in my meditation class: The more body-conscious we become, the more conditions we set.
Is he good-looking enough?
Will she be great in bed?
Will he be wealthy enough to take me on expensive vacations?
Will her family put that property in my name?
However, the more we shift our body-consciousness to soul-consciousness, the more unconditional our love becomes. This is not a moment of self-introspection at any given point in time; rather, it needs to be honed and absorbed with regular practice.
I will be there for her in sickness and in health.
I will take care of him at every step of success and failure.
It is a fact that we all require the three basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter to sustain our bodies. However, love that is dependent on fulfilling more bodily needs than spiritual needs will be abounding with conditions.
Very few of us are capable of loving unconditionally because very few of us are capable of transcending body-consciousness. Those individuals who have overcome significant setbacks in their lives and learned to hone their consciousness on their inner self (rather than the outer self) can love other souls without pre-set notions and restrictions.
To achieve unconditional acceptance of another person, you have to realize your own flaws and imperfections. Then you can better focus on the amicable traits of your partner’s personality and nature. Of course, this is easier said than done. If your current lifestyle involves a fair share of social outings focused on appearance and wealth, then your conditions on finding a partner will reflect accordingly. But if you have suffered great adversity, you will be able to appreciate that person for their wonderful soul, first and foremost.
Even if you find one person who supports you equally at your best and at your worst, do give back the same essence of unwavering, unconditional love to them for they are the most prized gift you can hold in your life. Most people experience such love from their parents, best friends, and even pets, but it is with great fortune that we find a mate who does the same.
Even if you feel that there is no one in this overly populated world who loves you unconditionally, there is one person who always will. As cheesy as this sounds, that person or entity is God. I am purely spiritual in faith so I don’t intend to preach any complicated sermon on this platform. You are free to believe as you wish and even if you don’t believe in anything, that is also a belief in and of itself. God is said to reside within us, around us, and he/she is omipresent and omnipotent in nature. So how can God love us unconditionally? The answer lies in the human body once again. God has no body. We are mortal in that we have bodily needs and hence, conditions, whereas God has no such limitations. Personally, this understanding has been phenomenal for me. We need not ever feel alone. We are always loved unconditionally 🙂