The Unconditionals is YOUR personal code, the 9 ingredients which are essential to your personal evolution: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, without limitation or restraint. They are listed below as the 9 Unconditionals and are essential to honouring your inner you.
Even as a mother
protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish
all living beings.
Sutta Nipata 1.8
What It is: Love without limitations or boundaries. It is complete and whole, and often seen in practiconers of Buddhist traditions who meditate on loving kindness. Unconditional Love is different from Romantic Love which triggers the same areas of the brain that those who withdraw from drugs trigger. Romantic love is involved with attachment, meeting needs, and conditions. Unconditional Love however activates a different part of the brain and does not have the same associated pain that those who experience conditional love have. Unconditional love exists without expecting anything in return and is rarely seen in today’s world where relationships follow a market value based pattern.
When Unconditional Love is present it contains: Compassion, Empathy, Kindness.
What It isn’t: Is not condoning or tolerating the mistreatment of your or someone elses physical or emotional body. Allowing or permitting someone to harm you, or you to hurt another is called enabling and is not love, but crippling the other person as it allows them to continue hurting others and consequently themselves. It is loving them and yourself enough to say it cannot go on.
It is also not someone being or remaining in a relationship that makes them happy simply because it is what one person wants.
How to Cultivate it:
- Practice Loving-Kindness (Metta) Meditation or Tonglen. This is an exercise that purposely focuses on expanding. Great teachers on this include Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, and Thich nhat hanh.
- Practice Mindfulness Meditation (also called Vipassana or Zen) or another type of meditation like Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga or martial arts (self-discipline)
- Start wherever you are and Practice various acts of kindness ranging in size based on what you are able to give at the time, do this without asking or expecting anything in return from the person you give to. Let those acts build up. Do this knowing that what ever you send out into the universe in large and/or small doses will eventually be returned to you in one way or another, in a form that you least expect.
- Meditate or Focus on seeing the beauty in people beneath the parts you think you dislike.
- Rather than blaming. Focus inward on why you feel the way you do when people cause harm to you and then focus on healing the wounds and limited beliefs that keep you from expanding unconditional love. People represent a reflection of ourselves, nothing is personal. When you take something personal examine what limited beliefs or underlying wounds that still have a hold over you that the persons actions brought up, thank them for showing you areas where you still need work, and focus on those areas within yourself.
Love can only exist in freedom. The true lover seeks the good of his beloved which requires especially the liberation of the beloved from the lover.
-Anthony De Mello, The Way to Love
What It is: Freedom is less about the external world and more about our inner world. True freedom is the ability to be liberated from our limited beliefs, opinions and mind, in order to expand into an infinite and ever-expanding universe. It is undoing the programming of our culture, of our society, of our parents and friends, and embracing ourselves and what is beyond ourselves.
It is freeing yourself from the confines and constraints of your mind and its limitations and allowing others to be free to be themselves. It is the most essential ingredient, many people will not allow others to be authentic or free, and consider it noble to sacrifice happiness, and equally we consider it ok as a society to ask our partners to love us with constraints.
It is loving others without attachment and being loved deeply and truly enough that we are allowed to be whole, to expand and go beyond ourselves, to really explore who we are or are not according to what labels those who may love us place on us. It is not being constrained to a portrait on somebodies all, or a limited belief system. It’s freedom to soar into a limitless sky, freedom to love and be loved.
What It isn’t: Contrary to popular beliefs, Freedom is not rebellion and anarchy, and it’s certainly not the freedom to do whatever you want to others without concern for the consequences. It’s not harming another person, but it’s also not enabling a person which is what we do when we hold off true and genuine happiness to fill the images, roles and confines of what other people ask of us to prove that we love them. True freedom requires some emotional tact and finesse in a world where being free and true to yourself, authentic is seen as an act of disrespect.
Freedom from all attachments and constraints should never be confused with non-caring. On the contrary to love and live in freedom is to care and care deeply for the world around you, without letting the world weigh you down and without the restrictions put upon us that teach us who we can and can’t love and the limitations and laws placed on that. It is the freedom to let people be as they are, pursue their dreams, even if those dreams aren’t with you or are with another.
The truth is when we cultivate true inner peace and wisdom and Freedom with Love, we have no need or desire to hurt or wound others because we are perfectly complete and whole and have the freedom to explore ourselves. We are like children at heart and we need the freedom to explore who we are, who our identities are, the freedom to be happy without other people who want our happiness bound to them. Our society teaches us that we cannot have happiness without another persons love, that we are incomplete and need other people and or objects to expand and enhance us. We have an easier time giving Freedom to those we hate and dislike and want nothing to do with than we do giving freedom to those we claim to really love.
Why Cultivate it: One of the barriers to unconditional love, is that we’re not given the freedom to love ourselves or others as we truly are. We also don’t give ourselves the freedom to move beyond our limited belief systems and question everything we know or think we know, or why. We live blindly following what we think we know or have been told. We never even question what truth is, where those beliefs questions and why those who came before us and told us are right.
To truly connect to what is infinite and divine, and beyond us, that space of unconditional love; we have to be willing to move beyond our attachments to all that is not real, not us, that has been learned, freedom to unlearn to find who we are. These are our chains, and consist of our perceptions, limited beliefs, and so on. Can a bird fly if it is kept in a cage? Can a person learn to be creative or problem solve if they never think outside the box, ask questions and go beyond themselves?
How to Cultivate it:
Exercise #1: Think of a situation where someone you love does something you don’t want them to do because you’ve given them the power of your happiness and freedom, this person controls you and if they continue doing something, or do something it would hurt you deeply. It could be something that inspires the feeling of jealousy. Figure out why, what insecurity it brings up, the fear of abandonment, loneliness? Then ask yourself what you can do to regain your freedom, happiness and joy separate from that person so that they themselves can be free. Ask yourself what limited belief in your mind exists that keep you from needing people to be and act a certain way to fulfill your need for happiness. Practice relinquishing control, deal with the feelings that arise from that.
Exercise #2: Alternatively, think of something that your heart really wants to do but feels it cannot. Explore those reasons and figure out what it would take to be able to follow your heart; who it would hurt and how to follow it with tenderness and care.
” In saying those words you have set yourself free. You are now ready to love. For when you cling, what you offer the other is not love but a chain by which both you and your beloved are bound.”
-Anthony De Mello
Exercise #3: Look to someone you love and say the following, “I leave you free to be yourself, to think your thoughts, to indulge your taste, follow your inclinations, behave in ways that you decide are to your liking.”
Exercise #4: Love is an Open Palm. When you feel yourself trying to control something, someone, or a situation, or wanting someone to be a certain way to make you happy, visualize your hand closing and constricting around them like a fist. Picture them a small bird in your hand, and your hand closing in around them smothering them. The more intense the emotion, the more tighter the fist. Now visualize releasing your palm, loosening it so that the bird can breathe, stretch it’s wings, and fly.
- Khalil Gibran – The Prophet
- The Way To Love – Anthony De Mello
- Love, Freedom & Aloneness – Osho
- The Book of Secrets: 12 Meditations – Osho
- A Path with Heart – Jack Kornfield
What It is: The ability to commit to and persevere no matter how hard it gets in the face of mounting pressure and challenges. Additionally effortless perseverance is the ability to quiet and center the mind, while developing endurance to proceed.
What It isn’t: It’s not optimism and it doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help or that you have to do everything on your own, tough it out and not cry.
Synonymous with or also contains or requires: Effort, Balance, Stillness of mind, Mental fortitude and endurance.
Why Cultivate it: Without perseverance the ability to remain on course even when times get tough
How to Cultivate it:
Exercise #1: Think of a goal, or something to focus on, a vision of yourself in the future, a reminder of why you’re doing this. It could be something emotionally pact that reminds you, that fuels you, this is your passion. Focus in on it. Get an object, a marble, a picture, something to remind you so you don’t forget and can get back up.
Exercise #2: My Martial Arts teacher Eric Sbarge often says, “The mind often quits before the body”, the mind will always want to mutiny when you go against its conditioning. You have to unlearn, retrain, and recondition the mind, by emptying it of all thoughts and surrendering into the pain of that moment. This mental fortitude takes effort, persistence and discipline, and in a feedback loop enhances and strengthens our persistence by equipping us with what we need to endure.
Exercise #3: Develop Mental Toughness, also known as Mental Strength Training.
Exercise #4: Develop self-discipline through mind-body interventions like Meditation, Yoga, or Physical Fitness, specifically take a class if you can or find a buddy where you are held accountable; gardening or getting a potted plant and committing to water it daily as though your life depended on it.
Meditation is a great tool to help with this because it trains the mind to focus longer and longer, to quiet itself and center amidst chaos; Physical Fitness also helps. Develop a spiritual (or) mental/emotional fitness program.
Exercise #5: Practice visualization.
Exercise #6: If possible Delegate a task that you find overwhelming on whatever project you’re working on.
People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and it’s totally true. And the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up. And that’s what happens to most people, actually. If you really look at the ones that ended up being “successful” in the eyes of the society and the ones that didn’t, oftentimes it’s the ones [who] were successful loved what they did, so they could persevere when it got really tough. And the ones that didn’t love it quit because they’re sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don’t love it? So it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a lot of worrying constantly and if you don’t love it, you’re going to fail. – Steve Jobs
What It is: Your Passion, your drive to move towards a goal, that motivation triggered by a catalyst. Passion is an absolute requirement to perseverance, these two are interlinked so closely that it’s hard to have one without the other if not near impossible. It’s literally just the fuel to keep you going.
What It isn’t: It’s not whimsical, selfish, or enough in and of its own unless you develop and put it to good use.
What it’s similar to: Your Life’s Purpose, Your Calling, Your Motivation, Your Goals, Focus, Catalyst.
Why Cultivate it: If you don’t have passion, a fuel, a motivator then you simply can’t go. Practicing the path of love, being the disciple of Love and even just focusing on letting go of bad habits cultivating good habits and more positive emotions is hard. Without a reason, or a reminder
How to Cultivate it:
Exercise #1: If you don’t have a passion. Passion isn’t something you can just cultivate. It’s a seed, something you have to find, uncover and plant, and then you have to nurture it to keep it going. It’s very easy to lose momentum and lose the passion or the drive. You have to go out and find it, explore, try new things.
Exercise #2: If you do have a passion, but are in a rut, reconnecting with that passion is the way to go. To reconnect with your passion, try looking at pictures, magazines, or listening to inspiring speeches. Think about anything or anyone who is in that field or does that thing, even if it’s motherhood or business and read about them.
Ask yourself and remind yourself why you wanted to do this, what it meant to you at a time, if it still does.
Exercise #3: Go outside and reflect, reconnect with yourself. If you were to die today right now what would people say, what would you like them to say, and how does your passion relate to that?
Exercise #4: What excites you the most when you think about it?
What It is: The passion for learning and the willingness to keep on learning. It requires flexibility, the ability to unlearn, to investigate, and keep learning more. A barrier to learning is being given the freedom to learn more and go beyond our minds, to explore the world.
What It isn’t: It’s not what you get from a book, but what you get from going beyond the book.
Why Cultivate it: “Curiosity killed the cat” is a common saying often used as a deterrent to stop people from learning more, but our minds are built to expand and only through our willingness to question and go beyond ourselves can we truly be both free and grow to be beyond ourselves.
How to Cultivate it:
Exercise #1: Empty your cup and unlearn everything you think you know.
Exercise #2: Investigate and question something you truly believe is true, a fact. Go off and read different people’s opinions and facts and question your own. Why is yours the real, one truth, why do you choose to believe it, is it the only one? What new things did you learn about this.
Exercise #3: Explore a fear that keeps you from allowing yourself to learn more or to experience something new that would allow you to learn more.
Exercise #4: Discover and research your learning style, figure out if you are a whole picture person or a detailed ground up type of person, and develop an IEP (Individualized education program) that caters towards your learning style, apply this to anything you want to learn more of.
- How Children Fail – John Holt
- How Children Learn – John Holt
- The Book Of Secrets: Unlocking The Hidden Dimesnions of Your Life – Deepak Chopra
What It is: In many ways it is a symbolic death and rebirth. The willingness to learn and unlearn in order to grow into and be something old. To let go and sacrifice all that you are today to become all that you will become tomorrow; and to rebuild and expand yourself again and again. Yesterday is gone, thousands of cells in your body have died and been reborn. You are not the same you that you were. Growth is a constant transformation, a work in progress, an expansion. Just like the universe is always expanding so must we expand in an ever-changing impermanent world where what we knew yesterday is different today even in ways we are unaware.
What It isn’t: It’s not suicide, it’s rebirth and it is metaphorical. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t throw away everything from the past, but rather think about the lessons it had to serve you and then learn and incorporate those lessons into your new and changing expanding self. Letting go of old habits and transforming it into wisdom.
Why Cultivate it: Without transformation we get stuck in old and negative patterns and habits. These habits that were once good or serve us today become maladaptive and no longer serve us in a new and ever changing world. The willingness to grow and constantly grow keeps us flexible and adaptive. Those who adapt and transform are more likely to succeed than those who refuse to move beyond the traditional structures that they know and conform to it or others.
How to Cultivate it:
Exercise #1: Transformation is a huge process and undertaking when first started, to be developed into a daily habit and ritual we have to acquire reflection and introspection. Finding and having a good counselor can help. Practicing mindfulness meditation is a great place to start because it teaches you to learn to observe your emotions without attaching and clinging to them, and to let them pass on their own.
Exercise #2: Make it a lifestyle change and integrate what you learn into your life. Your Life is a practice, develop rituals that encourage this.
- Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change – Pema Chodron
- The Places That Scare you – Pema Chodron
- Getting Unstuck, Breaking Habitual Patterns and encountering naked Reality – Pema Chodron
Unconditional Unselfish Joy
What It is: Also called “Mudita”, it is the ability to be unconditionally happy for another being. And it comes from a place of abundance, in a place of unconditional by its very definition everything is infinite. Unselfish Joy is the ability to be infinitely happy for someone else even if they have something you think you want. It comes from a place of feeling you are complete, whole and have everything you need, that life is full of abundance not lack and all good things will come to you.
What It Isn’t: Ignoring your feelings and pretending you are not jealous or envious; it’s also not just saying you are happy for another person’s success and requires examining this truth in all areas of your life.
It relates to: Gratitude, Abundance, Genuine Love, and Happiness
Why Cultivate it: The vast majority of our problems are caused by our thoughts and our wounds. It is from a place of lack and a place of these hidden wounds that surface when we seek others or objects to complete us or pursue another that show how much work we need to do.
How to Cultivate it:
Exercise #1: Examine your limited beliefs. What thinking makes you feel like you have to have that object, or that, that object can’t be happy without you, why? And what makes this thinking true. Is it healthy and good for your well-being or only makes you feel good? Once you find your limited beliefs, and the place of lack that this object or person is meant to fulfill reflect on healing that wound or that place of lack.
Exercise #2: Make a list of all the things you are grateful for.
Exercise #3: Practice Loving Kindness Meditation.
Exercise #4: Disconnect from the material world and reconnect with the spiritual (love), focus on the interconnectedness of all things.
- Learning To Find Unselfish Joy
- How to Meditate, Practical Guide to Making Peace with your mind – Pema
What It is: Seeking to understand another person’s perspective and view, to relate. The ability to empathize and put yourself into someone else’s shoes is a positive trait to develop.
What It isn’t: Knowledge, one can learn something and know it, but it’s not knowledge. It’s also not the same as Love. One can love someone deeply but not understand them or how their mind works. It’s also not acceptance, we can understand something but reject it.
Similar To/Related To: Empathy, Wisdom, Fair and Whole Judgment/Investigation, Acceptance
Why Cultivate it: When we understand things without attaching any judgment to it we connect with the divine of another person.
How to Cultivate it: Ask questions, ask why without judgment. Investigate to gather a whole picture of a situation, never assume and always look deeper into a person beyond the words.
What It is: Unconditional Happiness is different from regular Happiness. What most of us know as happiness is dependent on our circumstances and attachment to those circumstances and objects that are extensions of our personal selves.
Happiness can mean many things but when combined with unconditional happiness, it stands for something self-sufficient and whole without needing the middleman. It is achieved primarily through meditation which aid in healing and attitude shifts. By its nature Unconditional Happiness is free of all attachments and yet has everything.
It requires mastering and cultivating all of the previous unconditional traits, and is enhanced by other virtues like focus/concentration and so forth.
What It isn’t: Enlightenment. Happiness can be a byproduct of Enlightenment, but it can also be a byproduct of ignorance.
Coexists with or Byproduct of: Peace, Interconnection, Wholeness, Balance, Equanimity
Why Cultivate it: Being unconditional happiness is self-sufficiency. Is being so happy that no external condition, no prison, no threat can break you. True Peace comes when we can feel whole and secure and centered in a world
How to Cultivate it: Meditation, mental mind training, shifting focus and attitude to a more positive mindset. The mind is a muscle and old habits have to be trained. Practicing Gratitude, reconnect and become aware of the connection to the whole. Analyze, Minimize and reduce our dependency on Ego which feeds off of dependence and security on outside things which are by their nature impermanent.