When you have no relationship to another person, you are automatically thrown back upon yourself. The feelings that come out have no basis in what you need or want from others – they simply come out.
If I get bumped in the street and feel angry, the emotion arises spontaneously. I may feel guilty about it the next moment, but in that split second it was the only choice my self could make. My level of awareness did not offer me a better response.
The rishis speak of unconditional love, in fact, as a transcendental quality that becomes infused into the mind during meditation. When the mind goes beyond normal waking awareness, the transcending process brings one in contact with unconditional love in its silent, unmanifest state.
“Unmanifest” means that this love is not directed at anything; it simply vibrates within the nature of the silent witness, like a radio signal silently waiting for a radio to pick it up. At the end of meditation, the person returns to the waking state bringing some of this transcendental quality into his everyday consciousness. A new vibration has been added that alters, however subtly, the person’s former awareness.
This explanation is a twist on the usual understanding of unconditional love. By definition, you can love someone unconditionally only if your love does not alter no matter what the other person does. This aspect of “no matter what” implies a superhuman effort to will. For all its apparent goodness, this situation smacks of self-denial and even masochism.
The rishi’s version of unconditional love contains no effort at all. A person who feels love “no matter what” is simply following his nature. In truth, that is all that can be asked of anyone. Acting according to your own level of awareness is inescapable.
Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).