Sunday, August 28, 2016

8/29/16—Practicing Unconditional Love

This is a classic post, but the phenomena has repeated itself over and over again in my life since. So pay attention. ;) 

The other day I mentioned that a stranger smiled at me when I was on the verge "having a moment" in the drug store, and it made me feel like things were going to be all right. She had no way of knowing how I felt. She just smiled from her heart.

Later that day I saw a little girl in a restaurant. She seemed transfixed on me. Children of a certain age range, say birth to 5 or 6, tend to see something in me. I flatter myself by thinking they see a lovely aura or that they see guides around me. Anyway, she had that look. And as her mother walked her out of the restaurant, I smiled at the little girl as she walked past. Then she made a monster face at me and disappeared through the door.

I was sitting near the window, so as they walked by me again, I made a monster face back to her and she laughed. We were simpatico. I knew she was playing and she knew I was playing. And we had a secret little moment that her mother was completely unaware of. I imagine both of us relished it.

Then today I was having really bad day. Just exhausted to the point that just sitting here writing was almost more energy than I had to expend. I've been on the verge of sleep and tears all day, but had deadlines to meet, so I soldiered on. Then I got an email from a friend saying wonderful things to me and giving me permission to feel exhausted without feeling guilty about dogs that need walks or anything else.

These little, seemingly mundane moments are far more important than they seem. The stranger in the drug store defused the emotion welling up in me. The little girl removed any lingering trace of negative feelings within me. The friend affirmed that I don't always have to do it all. 

Helping others doesn't have to cost money, it doesn't take an elaborate plan, it doesn't even require that you know the person or sense distress. It just means walking through life with an open heart, an encouraging smile or a kind gesture or word. You'll never know if your smile fell on deaf eyes or saved a life. And it doesn't matter. All it takes is to develop a practice of kindness and love within yourself, regardless of the other person and whether or not they mean anything to you.

One of the hardest and most rewarding spiritual lessons is unconditional love. Hard, because it requires you to love those society deems unlovable. Rewarding because it literally sets you free and transforms you spiritually. And it all starts with simple, kind shows of love like I described above. 

A smile alone can transform and even save a life. You very well may be the one bright light in someone's day. You don't have to always be the smiler. Sometimes you'll be the smilee. But either way, recognizing and appreciating you're part of a beautiful transaction can move you further down the path toward achieving universal unconditional love.

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