Love vs. Acceptance Part 1

October 16, 2008

Yesterday we talked about unconditional love.  Acceptance is another concept that is closely associated with unconditional love.  Now we will look at the difference between accepting someone and loving them.

 

The thought process

Over the years I have found the idea of being accepting much more difficult to grasp and achieve than the idea of being loving.  Why is that, you ask?  My experience tells me that most people easily identify themselves with the image that they are loving people, but fewer look at the idea that they are accepting of everyone and everything in their life.

 

In this, I have come to see that being an accepting person is much more difficult to achieve than being a loving person.  Over the next two days I will attempt to illustrate why it is much more important for our spiritual growth to strive to be accepting rather than loving people.

 

The experience

As I consciously began the journey of my spiritual path, I was fortunate to have a very wise teacher.  He rarely used the word “love”.  I never thought about it at the time, but looking back nearly thirty years to those days, I think I am starting to understand.

 

The fact that the word “love” was rarely used did not bother me at the time.  I was in my mid-twenties and had not found much good use for that word.  If I told someone I loved them it was either because I thought I “should” say that or because they were expecting me to say it.  I observed that the word love seemed to have a different meaning for everyone who used it.

 

My teacher constantly talked about “accepting”.  Accept yourself.  Accept those around you.  Accept the situation you were in.  Accept everything that has happened in your life.  My remembrance of the reason he said these things was so that through acceptance we could begin to master ourself and thereby master the situation around us.  According to him, when we are not accepting of ourself and the situation we are in, we are in denial.  When we are in denial we cannot fix, resolve, or change anything to our benefit.

 

Putting it into practice

That was a great explanation for the time.  I was just barely aware that there was such a thing as a spiritual path.  I had no idea that by accepting what was around me that I could learn to master myself and the situation around me.

 

Learning acceptance became one of the greatest tools in my little box of things that I used to fix my life.  Over the years, when I encountered a “problem” I learned to look to myself and find that it was because I was not accepting of the situation.  In reviewing my lack of acceptance within a situation, it almost always came back to an attachment that I had to what the situation “should be”.  I next reviewed the lessons that my teacher drilled into my head about attachments causing pain.  Gradually I understood that lack of acceptance is caused by attachments and attachments always lead to pain.  Eventually I started living a much more pain free, nonattached, and accepting life.

 

OK – what now?

So what does this have to do with love?  I am getting there, just hold your horses.

 

Within a few years of beginning my association with this wise teacher, I started hanging out with members of the “New Age Movement” in Arizona.  My teacher said that there was nothing “new” about it, and it was not “moving” anywhere.  Being new to all this stuff I filed this remark.  My teacher encouraged me to expose myself to the ideas of the new age groups.  He wanted me to learn for myself and make my own decisions.  He pointed me where to go, but I had to learn to travel my own path.

 

I noticed that the new age people used the terms “love” and “light” a lot.  Everything would be just fine “some day” when we become “loving beings and we are filled with light”.  However, there was no agreement on how to achieve this lofty goal.

 

Some said it was meditation.  Some said it was diet.  Others swore (I am not making this up) by drinking your own urine.  Others said that it was all in the Urantia Bible.  Others waited to be beamed bodily into “mother ships”.  This last reminds me of the description of the rapture that is currently being postulated by fundamental Christians.  Also, I was not surprised when the Heaven’s Gate Cult mass suicide was publicized.

 

I gradually moved along my own path and away from these groups and their ideas.  I immersed myself in the corporate world for twenty years and worked on my little mantra.  “Pain comes from attachment and attachment indicates lack of acceptance.”  I worked on acceptance and never gave a thought to the idea of becoming a loving person.

 

Summary

Today we have gradually worked through the evolution of my thoughts regarding acceptance.  As I was learning to be accepting I was unknowingly learning to understand unconditional love.  Tomorrow we will look at how I finalized my understanding of the difference between acceptance, our normal use of the word “love”, and unconditional love.

 

Until tomorrow –

 

Es kava turen hai

We work towards an identical goal.

 

 

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Sacrifice Is Our Definition of Love

October 15, 2008

Have you ever noticed that we define love by the sacrifice involved?  Think about someone who says “After all I did for you!” in an angry manner.  Today we will explore how false self frequently defines love as sacrifice.

 

I did so much for you

Today’s post comes from an idea that was discussed at a meeting I attended last week.  As I thought about the idea I realized that it ties in very well with many of the aspects of false self and relationships that we looked at recently.

 

How many times have we heard a parent declare to a child how great a sacrifice they have made for the child?  Let’s take a look at what is going on here.  First, the parent is attempting to make the child feel guilty.  This comes from their false self.  The parent wants the child to be hurt because the parent is feeling hurt by the child.  Remember, only false self can be hurt.

 

The false self of the parent in our example wants to make the child obligated to the parent.  We have learned that true self sees everyone as equal.  The false self of the parent wants the child to be docile and subservient so it shames the child’s false self into being grateful to the parent.  The unfortunate thing here is that the child is still learning to train their false self and this situation has not encouraged the child to train the false self properly.

 

After the parent has dominated the child through the intimidation described above this type of interaction is described as love.  The child is taught that if they love their parents they must make sacrifices for them.

 

The damage is done

This is very damaging on several levels.  First, the child learns that love is not an equal relationship.  The parent has taught the child that in a love relationship one person must be dominant and the other must accept that dominance through sacrifice.  This idea is at the base of our earlier discussion of functional and non-functional families. 

 

Sometimes the child decides to become the dominant one in the relationship.  They learn to think that if someone loves them that person will do what they want.  At its base, this is encouraging the child to think that people exist to do what the child wants them to.

 

Other times the child learns that if they want people to like them then they must sacrifice for those people.  This can lead to very self destructive behavior as the child tries harder and harder to get people to like them.

 

Eventually what seems to happen is that the people who want to dominate the relationship find someone who wants to sacrifice in the relationship.  This is clearly false self behavior from both people.  As we have said before, false self always wants to put itself above or below other people.  In the relationship described here both people are behaving in this manner.  It is no wonder that we have so many problems with our relationships.

 

A range of healthiness

Most relationships are not totally dominated by one person while the other offers up their sacrifice.  Usually what happens is that one individual is dominant in a few areas of the relationship.  They balance this by sacrificing in other areas.

 

As the relationship evolves, the two individuals develop a somewhat balanced relationship.  The problem here is that the underlying dominant/sacrificial aspects have not been resolved.  They are only balanced.  Any stress on the relationship can cause this balance to collapse and threaten the relationship.  This type of relationship is relatively common and would be called moderately unhealthy.

 

A very unhealthy relationship would be one in which one person is extremely dominant and the other is totally sacrificial.  Although this might appear to be balanced what is really happening is very self destructive.

 

This self destruction is especially true for the person who is sacrificial.  They keep trying harder and harder by sacrificing more and more.  Eventually they become very self destructive and can give no more.  The dominant person does not realize that the other person can no longer give and the relationship ends.

 

A realistic picture?

Have I painted a realistic picture here?  Ask yourself what your idea of love is.  If it starts with doing for someone else then that idea of love involves sacrifice. 

 

How many of us have been upset when someone did not return the love we thought we were giving them?  Once again this is sacrifice.  We sacrifice ourselves and mistake it for love.  Then we are hurt when that sacrifice is not acknowledged and returned in a way we think is appropriate.

 

Unconditional love

Love is freely given because we choose to give it.  If we expect something in return then it is not love.  We love because it is what we want to do.  Love is unconditional.  When we expect something back then it is no longer unconditional.

 

Unconditional love is very hard for most of us.  We are so enmeshed in our false self ideas that we mistake many different things for unconditional love.  Here is one way that might help show the difference between the two.

 

Unconditional love feels good.  Many times we do not even recognize that we feel good.  Unconditional love is so natural that we just do it and do not recognize that we have done so.

 

Conditional love is always tinged with fear and uncertainty.  Many times we ask ourselves “if I love this person what will I get back?”  This is a sure sign of conditional love.

 

There is another aspect to unconditional love called acceptance.  Unfortunately we have run out of space for today.  That will have to be the subject of a future posting.

 

Until tomorrow –

 

Es kava turen hai

We work towards an identical goal.

 

 

Discuss & Comment

We do not want this blog to be a fountain of words from one view point.  We welcome comments and questions.  Please feel free to ask a question or make a comment when the mood strikes you.

 

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Copyright

© Copyright 2008 by KanDu Associates, LLC 

 

The content of this blog is copyrighted by KanDu Associates.  All rights are reserved by the owner.  For reprint information please email:

 

noahnow@yahoo.com