My dear friends...
Our topic today is, quite appropriate Valentine’s Day...LOVE.
On Valentine’s Day (do not forget to memorialize this day if you are in a committed or important relationship!), I thought it might be helpful for us to look at this business of love as it is seen in the eyes of God, from what I have come to understand as a result of the Conversations with God dialogues.
Let me tell you the first thing God taught me about Love. God taught me not to look at what Love IS, but to look at what it’s NOT.
So that’s what I’m going to do today. Let’s begin our examination of this wonderful topic by looking at what Love is Not.
And the first thing it’s not is a FEELING. Nor is it a REACTION to a feeling. Nor is Love to be confused with NEED. Nor is love based on CONDITIONS. Nor does love ever FORGIVE.
Nothing at all.
So if you think you are being loving when you are being forgiving, think again.
So yes, there is much to explore, much to discuss about this topic called LOVE.
Let’s begin here...
Love is a DECISION. It is a CHOICE. It is an ACTION. It is what we decide to do and the direction we choose to take whenever we reach the Critical Crossroads in our life --- which we do nearly once a day throughout our lives.
The Critical Crossroads are what Conversations with God also calls the Choice Points in our lives. These are the moments in which we decide Who We Are and Who We Choose to Be.
We can make those choices Consciously or Unconsciously. Most of us make them, most of them time, Unconsciously. Spiritual Evolution is the process by which we shift to making these choices Consciously.
Conversations with God told me: “Every act is an act of self-definition.”
This means that every single thing we think, say, or do defines ourselves, and announces to ourselves --- and to anyone else who happens to be watching --- Who We Are.
The fascinating aspect of this process of Evolution is that we can make this decision ahead of time. That is, self-definition does not have to be a REACTION, it can be a REFLECTION on a choice previously made.
When we decide that Who We Are is LOVE, that choice --- made in advance of moments, events, situations, and circumstances in our life --- dramatically affects, shapes, and creates the decisions we make about the thoughts, words, and actions we embrace as we move through our lives.
So LOVE is not a FEELING, nor is it a REACTION to a feeling...it is an ACTION.
Now, in romantic relationships there almost always --- not always, but almost always, has to be a certain feeling that gets things started.
We sometimes call this feeling “attraction,” or “chemistry.” But chemistry should never be confused with love. “Attraction” or “Chemistry” is not the meal that is cooked over the fire. It is the fire, but not the meal. People who confuse the two often trade being nourished for being burned.
So we know now that LOVE is not a feeling, but a decision. Yet what is that decision based on? It had better not be based on NEED, or you will also get burned.
Conversations with God warned me in no uncertain terms against what it calls Need-Based Relationships.
I’ve talked about this here before. These are relationships based on what we think we LACK --- rather than what we HAVE.
True love chooses to share all that we HAVE and all that we ARE with another. False love chooses to get all that we LACK and all that we are NOT from another.
Of course, we lack NOTHING, and there is NOTHING we are not...but our imagination would have it otherwise...and so we go out into the world seeking to fill the gaps in our experience of ourselves.
This is what happens when we enter into Need-Based relationships. We wind up forming Trade Relationships with our partners.
Nations form trade relationships “You give me this and I’ll give you that.” When people form such relationships we start thinking in terms of whether what we're getting is sufficient to balance what we're giving.
And we run around ahead of Valentine’s Day looking for just the right greeting card: Dearest, Beloved Other....I trade you very much. And I will Trade You until the end of time.
. . . that is, unless YOU stop trading ME. Then the deal is off. The relationship is over. Because it was BASED on what we are TRADING.
The good news is that even relationships that BEGIN this way . . . do not have to STAY this way.
We can shift the focus of our relationships from what we need to what we share. This is when we make the movement from False Love to True Love; from Imperfect Love to Perfect Love.
Perfect Love is the kind of Love God has for us. This is a love that is not based on CONDITIONS.
Love that is conditional is a love that says,”I love you IF...” But there is no IF in God’s love...and there is no IF in OUR love when we offer to others the kind of Love God offers to us.
Yet the problem is, we can’t or don’t believe that God offers us this kind of love.
Let me quote directly from CWG-Book One:
“For thousands of years people have disbelieved the promises of God for the most extraordinary reason: they were too good to be true. So you have chosen a lesser promise --- a lesser love.
“For the highest promise of God proceeds from the highest love. Yet you cannot conceive of a perfect love, and so a perfect promise is also inconceivable. As is a perfect person.
“Therefore you cannot believe even in your Self. ?
“Failing to believe in any of this means failure to believe in God. For belief in God produces belief in God’s greatest gift --- unconditional love --- and God’s greatest promise: unlimited potential.”
From these messages in the CWG text I have inferred that we all have the potential to express and experience a love that is unlimited. Or, if you please, unconditional.
And now, as I enter the final portion of my time on Earth, having reached the age of 71, this is the great goal of my life. I want to express and experience more of this.
I’ve expressed sending unconditional love to others before in my life, as have all of us. I’ve experienced it with newborn babies, and with my parents (especially when they were older), and with certain other people in my life --- my children, my dearest friends... sometimes even my life partners, although here it’s been a bigger challenge . . .
. . . because, you see, I WANT SOMETHING from my life partners. So I’ve experienced Unconditional Love, but not always consistently, and not with nearly as many people as I would have liked.
I want to get to a place where I love everybody without limitation. I’m convinced that it is possible for us to rise to this level of loving expression much more often. Perhaps, one day, always, and with everyone.
As CWG says...
“Love is the ultimate reality. It is the only. The all. The feeling of love is your experience of God. In highest Truth, love is all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be.
“When you move into The Absolute, you move into love. The Realm of the Relative was created in order that God might experience Godself. This does not make the Realm of the Relative real. It is a created reality that you and God have devised, and continue to devise --- in order that we may know ourselves experientially.”
And what does God want us to know ourselves as?
As Who We Really Are.
Which is to say, as aspects and individuations of Divinity.
And what is Divinity, in two words? Unconditional Love.
CWG-Book One says, and I quote: “God has produced an environment in which you may choose to BE God, rather than simply be told that you ARE God; in which you may experience God as an act of creation, rather than a conceptualization.”
The Masters who have walked the planet are those who have discovered the secret of the relative world --- and refused to acknowledge its reality.
In short, Masters are those who have chosen only love. In every instance, moment, and circumstance.
Yes, even as they were being killed, they loved their murderers. Even as they were being persecuted, they loved their oppressors.
This is very difficult for most of us to understand, much less to emulate. Nevertheless, it is what every Master has ever done.
It doesn’t matter what the philosophy, tradition, or religion --- it is what every Master has done.
As CWG said...and I quote again:
“This is being laid out so clearly for you. Time and time again, over and over has it been shown to you.
“Through all the ages and through all your lifetimes. The Universe has used every contrivance to place this Truth before you.
“In song and story, in poetry and dance, in words and in motion --- in pictures of motion, which you call motion pictures, and in collections of words, which you call books.
“From the highest mountain it has been shouted, in the lowest place its whisper has been heard. Through the corridors of all human experience has this Truth been echoed: Love is the answer.”
Indeed, Love is all there is.
But then, what of fear? What of anger? What of hatred? What of evil? What of violence and killing? Surely, this can’t be an expression of Love!
But it is. And here is the most unusual, the most striking, the most unexpected message in the Conversations with God series of books: Every expression of Life is an expression of Love.
If you didn’t love something, you couldn’t hate something else. If you didn’t love something desperately, you couldn’t even begin to think of using desperate measures as a means of getting it, keeping it, or protecting it.
If you didn’t love something intensely, you could never be angry about either not having it, or having it taken away from you.
Thieves act out of love. They love something so much that they desperately want to have it, and they know of no other way to get it, so they steal it.
The same is true of people who commit other actions that we call “crimes.” Even the most horrific crimes. Rape. Murder. All are acts of love.
Deeply distorted acts, for sure. Utterly unacceptable acts, without question. Not condoned or approved of or excused in any way by me, by society, or by the explanations in Conversations with God. No, not excused, but understood. And thus, held in a new way.
Nobody does anything that is not an act of love, however distorted and unacceptable that expression may be.
To repeat: if they didn’t love something, they simply wouldn’t have done what they have done.
This is something that God understands completely. God sees us as little children, without the emotional or spiritual maturity to truly understand or care about the impact and the consequence of our actions.
And there is a tiny percentage of us who do things that are ugly beyond measure, totally unacceptable, and from a human point of view, utterly unforgivable.
It would take a saint to forgive some of the things that some people have done . . .
. . . or perhaps, a God who is so saintly that forgiveness is not deemed necessary.
For the message here is not that all things are forgivable from God’s point of view, but that LOVE is NOT DEMONSTRATED by FORGIVENESS --- but with the utter lack of any NEED to Forgive.
Difficult as it may be for us to embrace, all things emerge from a single energy in the universe that, in our language, we call Love, and so are understandable.
And understanding replaces forgiveness in the Divine Mind.
Even in your mind it does. You don’t have to “forgive” a baby for crying at three in the morning, because you understand why the baby is doing so.
You don’t have to “forgive” a small child for knocking over the milk while reaching for the chocolate cake, because you understand the child was simply reaching for something she wanted.
You don’t even have to forgive adults for certain things that they do which may make things awkward or difficult, when you understand why they have acted as they have acted.
God says, in CWG, ”No one does anything inappropriate, given their model of the world”. When you understand “their model of the world” you can understand that you do not need to forgive them.
Again ...understanding replaces the need for forgiveness in the Mind of the Master.
The only reason you would call anything “unforgivable” is that you don’t understand how anyone could do such a thing.
But God does. You see? It is all very simple. God does.
With understanding comes not only the lack of a need for forgiveness, but a remarkable level of awareness that allows us to say: “When we know better, we do better,” in the wonderful words of Maya Angelou.
This Valentine’s Day, and all the days of the rest of your life, I invite you to live into a love that is limitless, total, complete, without requirements, expectations, or conditions of any kind.
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your Beloved Other!
© 2019 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.