Yesterday, we said our farewells to our late uncle aged 55 years old as we gathered for the day that marked his funeral; 30th November 2017. He was born with what I call the ‘gift’ of Down Syndrome. Often gifts are concealed in such a way that their true meaning and beauty is only recognised when the person receiving the gift looks through a lens of love and gratitude and not their ego. The true essence of the gift can go unnoticed if the ego is present. The ego alters perception and sets expectations.
Our uncles gift, was that of unconditional love; a love where there is no expectation, no ego, no judgment and in essence this is true love. It is not based on the material world, it is not valued by a price tag, it is not proved through quantity but purely through quality. This is the true love we all seek, deep down. It is the love of pure acceptance. The love that does not demand change for it’s own gain.
One of the biggest challenges of humanity is to realise that we ultimately are beings of love. This love is contagious -it creates a powerful energetic vibrational wave, which spreads everywhere. It has the ability to clear negativity. It has power to heal people and situations. It is not just the love for ‘hippies’; prejudice views that are often used to dismiss that love belongs in you too. It is the love, that can change the world, overide the corruption we live in.
‘Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive’ Dalai Lama
The problem is love can be seen as a ‘weak’ thing, yet it is the most powerful. Love is therefore judged, by the very own people who have been given this gift. It is misused, misunderstood (attachment and co-dependency) and almost feared, yet it is what is fundamentally seeked by all. Such a paradox.
My uncle, was not given language to communicate, yet he found a way. He did not have a voice, but spoke through his eyes, his actions and his behaviours towards others; this was the language of unconditional love and this was reinforced throughout our conversations during our gatherings around his death.
I stand in great honor to have had him in my life. We had a very close connection witnessed by many, which I never labelled but now realise that we were engaged in unconditional love; the most powerful when it is in the mutual flow of ‘giving and receiving’.
When two people love each other unconditionally, despite the relationship label (parent to child, spouse to spouse, friend to friend) it is experienced most powerfully. It is your true essence and their true essence. It is your soul and their soul. This is true love.
Today, it is the first day of the last month of 2017. As the year draws closer, I invite you to reflect on the concept of love and how it has played a part, or been absent in your life during these past eleven months.
- RESPONDING WITH LOVE; In order to respond with true love and compassion means letting go off ego.
How often did you respond with love in 2017? How often did you react from anger and frustration? How many times did you chose a price tag over a gesture? Did you set expectations on others for your own gain? Do you deep down believe that you own the people in your life, just because you are defined by a relationship by blood or by law? This is ego, not love.
‘Love never claims, it ever gives. Love ever suffers, never resents, never revenges itself.’ ‘Mahatma Ghandi
Have you found it hard to respond to someone with love because of the way they have treated you? I went to my first ‘compassion’ meditation retreat a couple of years ago where we looked at exactly this; seeing and responding to everyone from the eyes of love and compassion. Trust me this was hard! How can you respond to someone with love when they have treated you in a way, or judged you in a way that has made loving them the very last thing you want to do!
This takes a lot of self growth and shedding of the ego which allows you to not take it personally, which ultimately helped me on my journey and supported me to make decisions in my life. Understand that some ‘suffering’ sits underneath the other person’s behaviour. It’s not about you. It’s about them. If you react to their drama you make it about you (which allows them to ‘dump’ their stuff on you, which means they get to ignore it!). You go round in circles and get nowhere. If you simply respond with love and compassion you shift the vibration between you. They are left ‘carrying’ their issue rather than ‘dumping’ it on you and you carrying it for them. You give them the opportunity to deal with what belongs to them. It is then their choice whether they do or not, not yours.
This is an act of ‘self love’. It is only when you do this, that you start to gain clarity over the whole situation. You can detangle your ‘stuff’, from theirs and see your own true feelings more clearly. So in turn, by responding to them with love you are also showing love to yourself.
- LOVE YOURSELF FIRST; This might mean ‘Loving yourself back to life’.
How have you loved yourself in the past year? How often have you taken time out for yourself? Have your internal world and external world been a bit of a mismatch? Like you were smiling on the outside, but not feeling the joy on the inside?
The only way to true happiness is by loving and accepting yourself. Not by expecting someone else to make you happy. Not by projecting your own fears and insecurities onto the other and not by becoming a martyr for someone else.
Has it been hard to love yourself? Have you felt others deserve happiness but you don’t? Have you avoided being alone with yourself? Perhaps worried what might happen if you stop!? Like opening a can of worms? Or it’s just such an unnatural thing to do as you have always looked after others?
The thing is either way can take it’s toll – but one way is the healthy way, and the other is destructive. Realise that both ways can be painful; facing ourselves and avoiding ourselves, but it is only when you go inward (face yourself) you will actually find long lasting happiness. This is self love which forms the basis of unconditional love; for yourself and subsequently for others.
If you continue to search for happiness through others, then sadly that happiness will only be temporary.
‘Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes’ Carl Jung.
In tribute to my uncle, who by taking his last breath, communicated such a strong message, I with such privilege share with you the reminder of unconditional love.
I hope that somewhere in you, something resonates and perhaps even sparks either as confirmation that you are on the right track or that something in your life needs some attention or perhaps even some change.
I hope it empowers you to know that only you can make these changes. The first step is to look within yourself. Find the love in you, for you before you can truly love someone else.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
With much love (of course!),