When I broke up with my Beloved and spoke openly about my pain, I was surprised by one comment from a friend (and fellow tantra teacher) that I should consider relating from a place of “conditional” as opposed to “unconditional” love.
This totally threw me, as I have lived as an aspiring unconditional lover for many years, mindfully measuring my progress towards that elusive target and praying that one day I may attain that blissful state permanently in a moment of Great Awakening!
Heck, I have even dedicated myself as a Priestess of Love in the town (Glastonbury) that is the heart chakra of the world, no less. That’s how serious I am about it ;-)
And Mother-Father God knows, the value of unconditional love is so normalised in spiritual circles, I even feel a little guilty and tentative to question it or propose another way of looking at things.
And yet…. I could really see in that moment what my friend (who is herself a huge-hearted tantrika with a very clear consciousness) meant.
As is so often the case for us spiritual aspirants and empaths, we can, if we’re not careful, take these lofty ideals and impose them upon ourselves to the point that we are not, actually, being loving to ourselves (and therefore anybody else) at all.
You see, we are divine sparks having a human experience. And, so long as we are wearing these body-suits, we have very real needs, sensitivities, preferences and feelings that require honouring for us to feel both safe and optimally self-expressed.
Indeed, it is only in the compassionate honouring of our proclivities, that we can hope to grow into an ever greater merger of self with Self. It is in that merger that aspects of our wounding and ego identification will melt away, but… BUT… this still does not necessarily mean that we lose all sense of separate identity.
We are still human beings living on earth and, in fact, another outcome of living in ever greater flow with Source is that we make more inner space for our divine uniqueness and gifts to shine through.
Awakening does not mean we become characterless neutrals saying yes to everything because we’ve realised all is ONE. In many ways, we become more dazzlingly distinct.
Does Matt Kahn prefer raw chocolate brownies or lemon drizzle cake, I wonder?
Does Amma need 2 hours of sleep or 10?
Does Bernie Prior have a favourite pair of jeans, perhaps?
Does Snatam Kaur crank up the heavy metal or ambient house when she’s chilling ?
Imagine trying to force chicken stew down the throat of a vegetarian …. Or consistently waking somebody up from their deepest slumber, when they’ve told you they like to lie in. Imagine asking your partner to wear clothes they feel really uncomfortable in, or taking your highly strung grandmother to a Stones & Roses concert.
Would you? Really?
And if you wouldn’t do it to somebody else, why on earth would you do something that is energetically similar, to yourself?
Putting conditions on love might mean saying no to being in relationship with someone who smokes or eats meat. It might mean stating that you only want a polyamorous or monogamous union. It might mean insisting on a mutually agreed relationship code. Or perhaps, for you, it might be about your need for a certain kind of touch or to meet your Beloved x number of times a week.
This does not mean you cannot simultaneously hold the other in fullest compassionate love in your heart. It simply means you are also loving and honouring the very real needs and differences you have as a human being. And if your boundaries and needs cannot be met, then being willing to draw a line and say “no – this is not for me.”
As I stated in a recent Facebook live transmission (I’m posting daily on my Shakti Sundari Fan page), saying a heartfelt no IS LOVE.
One of the greatest lessons of tantra for me has been that of navigating life from my inner yes/no compass and understanding that not does not make me a bad person (Oh, so much people-pleasing conditioning to overcome !!!), but actually a much better one: clearer, truer, more real and more loving.
Yes, saying no can trigger others. But saying an insincere yes, is also bloody confusing for all concerned. And, remember, love – wherever it is on the unconditional measure-metre – is not about being responsible for the feelings of others. There’s a huge difference between compassion and co-dependence. But that’s a topic for another blog.
My bottom line is: listen in. Always always always honour your deepest truth and knowing. It’s a still, quiet place of eternal self-love and fullness. Navigate from that place. Dare to say yes or no. Dare to state your conditions, ask for what you need and walk away (with gratitude and respect for the lesson in self-love learned) from what is not serving your YOU.