Many years ago I worked in a juvenile justice detention center as a counselor with teens who were incarcerated for longer periods of time averaging six months to two years due to the crimes they had committed. One time at this detention facility, one of my clients was locked in an isolation cell for an extended period of time because he had brutally assaulted and injured another youth on his unit a few days before. We had a session for about an hour right there in his isolation cell and he described proudly his gang affiliation and described how in his neighborhood his brothers, cousins, uncles and all of his close friends in the neighborhood where he grew up were in his gang together and he talked about how they protected his neighborhood from others who would threaten his family and friends. He described how he was willing to give his life to protect his community and his family and friends. As we talked more, the powerful and profound love he had for his family, friends and neighbors in his community became more and more apparent and regardless of his crimes or his actions, I realized that what motivated this person in front of me was love, pure and simple.
Of course, he had a great deal of anger, rage, trauma and emotional baggage that had caused many problems and consequences in his life, but beneath all that emotional baggage was a person just like you and me that loved his community, family and friends deeply and passionately so much that he was literally willing to risk his life to protect his community.
Over and over again in my counseling practice I see people who are deeply and passionately committed to their values and principles and to the people in their life. No matter their dysfunction, when I sort through the layers of anger, fear, complacency, narcissism, pride, hurt, or whatever ego baggage, I find people who profoundly love their husband, wife or partner, and I experience people who love their children, parents family and friends with a deep abiding love that is always remarkable and astounding. No matter who I talk with, I always find this love at the core of the human experience, and I can’t help but feel the profound unconditional love that unites us in our common humanity. Imagine that.
Imagine what it would be like to live your life from this space of unconditional love regardless of your external circumstances and regardless of the issues facing you in your relationships and in your life situations. Many people often equate love with co-dependent attachment, so to be clear; I don’t mean a co-dependent love with poor boundaries. However, what if it was possible to see through your own and others fears, hurt, anger, pride, narcissism and all forms of emotional baggage to the core of love that resides in the heart of yourself and every person you meet, and begin to live your life from this space of unconditional love?
At the end of the day this love is all that matters. Living from a space of this profound love and joy it is possible, but most of us are too busy pursuing other goals that we think will make us happy, to stop and become fully present in the moment and really see the remarkable and profound beauty within ourselves and others and in the world around us. However, just know that another way of living is possible that is firmly rooted in unconditional love and is grounded in the wisdom of the ages. This love is practical and doesn’t mean you don’t take care of the responsibilities in your life, it just means that you are willing to follow a higher call and become more present to the deeper truth of love that is at the core of your being and hides behind the mask that others wear.
Of course, our fears and ego baggage may continue to hijack our consciousness all the time and I am no exception. My own fears get triggered all the time and then I lose this awareness and sometimes act poorly, but the more I practice returning to this space of profound love, those fears start to release their grip on my conscious mind and then the situations in my life resolve and things begin to work better. I encourage you to practice being more mindful and present in the moment to the profound joy of being alive. Stop blaming others, yourself or your life situation for your emotional baggage and begin to recognize and release your fears as they arise so you can return home to the space of unconditional love that is your nature. The more you practice bringing this unconditional love into focus every day, you may or may not find anything that your ego thought you wanted, but you will find everything that ever really mattered.