Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
Home | About Dr. Phillips | Forest Garden Office | Reading Room | Advice Line Articles | "Office Staff" | Other Services | Psych-mobile | Choosing a Therapist | Affordable Therapy or Life Coaching | Dedication

The Age of Aquarius? Unconditional Love

                                  The Age of Aquarius? Unconditional Love 


You probably remember the words singing in your head, "… Peace will guide the planets, And love will steer the stars... Harmony and understanding, Sympathy and trust abounding, No more falsehoods or derisions… And the mind’s true liberation. Aquarius!"  The dawning occurred in the 60s, so we've been waiting a long time, but spiritualists tell us that the new age is imminent. Although we have one more year of unrest before the great shift, they reassure us that the future holds great promise. Many of us are weary and stressed and in no mood for what appear to be empty promises. But during this time we can take steps to improve our lives and the social and emotional health of mankind. The great spiritualists and religious leaders of the past have assured us that love is the answer, loving thy neighbor as thyself: unconditional love. Interestingly enough, modern-day research is finding that the state of unconditional love improves health and welfare as well as happiness. I'll be telling you about a spiritual and research-based approach to this goal which we can use immediately to get us through the difficult year of 2012. In this article and future columns I will be bringing you information from several sources, including the new book "Love for No Reason; Seven Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love" by Marci Shimoff and Carol Klein, Free Press, 2010.

 

Unconditional Love can also be called Higher Love. According to Kübler-Ross, "You feel it in your heart. It is a common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit, and supplies passion to our lives." We're talking here about cosmic love, not romantic love. In Christianity the purest form of love is "agape", in Hebrew it is "ahavat chinam," or love of humanity, in Buddhism it is "metta" or loving kindness, and Hinduism it is "parama prema" or supreme love. In religious, cultural and spiritual traditions this love is related to the love of the Divinity which is shared with all humanity and the natural world. Because this love is universal, it is present within all of us; we can find if there in our hearts and souls. Access to this higher love is often not taught and can certainly be blocked by negativity such as stress, anger and fear. You've all had moments of unconditional love: a beautiful sunset, soaring music, a baby’s smile, special moments when your heart wells up and your mind floats away on waves of happiness. When you feel unconditional love you will f experience warmth radiating from your heart all around you. As the sunset or music dims, you will continue to feel buoyant, joyful and happy. We are used to loving something or someone. However unconditional love is a heart-based state independent of loving a specific object.  Conditional love will wane but unconditional love will continue on after the object goes away.

 

Shimoff describes unconditional love as "love for no reason," an innate state of pure love in order to contrast it with love for bad or good reasons.  She feels that "love for bad reasons" is primarily the need to be loved to escape feelings of internal emptiness including addictions, affairs and codependency. While Shimoff indicates that "love for good reasons" is healthy, the problem is that the reasons could change, leaving you without love or you may feel overly dependent on the object of your love. "Love for no reason" is actually an experience from the inside out, where you bring love to your experiences rather than looking for love outside yourself.

 

As previously mentioned there is a scientific basis to unconditional love. Different parts of the brain are activated than in conditional or romantic love. The brain region involved in empathy is also involved in unconditional love. The hormone oxytocin transmits unconditional and maternal love. While all parts of the body are involved in unconditional love, the heart is seen as central and more important than the brain. I've written before about the HeartMath program research which shows that the heart is actually more influential than the brain in many respects. We also need to consider quantum physics and the role of energy in and around our bodies. From this point of view, everything is vibrating at different frequencies, with the frequency of love being a high energetic vibration. There are two basic forms of emotion, love and fear, with unconditional love being the highest positive energetic vibration, expansive and uplifting. The vibrations of fear, including anger and depression, constrict you into a negative state. Both subjective and objective measures show the difference. For example immune functioning improves when people feel loving compassion while it is suppressed for hours after episodes of fear and frustration.

 

You can start now to increase your unconditional love without waiting for advice in future articles. Expose yourself to peak incidents of higher love, noticing the warm feelings radiating from your heart. Then practice. Conjure up the images, sensations or feelings and let the love well up in your heart. You might use an object such as a crystal or piece of jewelry or simply post it notes to remind you to practice unconditional love. A beautiful experience is to silently project blessings onto people as you encounter them in your daily life. And whenever you look at yourself in the mirror, send unconditional love!