I believe that all humans crave to experience unconditional love. We all are conditioned to react to words and acts of love differently, depending on our own childhood and past experiences. Our first experience with love probably was from our parents (with their own notion of love), which we most likely experienced as “conditional love”. Conditional love was most likely used to control our behavior “for our own good”. The concept that we are lovable only if we do something to conform was probably re-enforced by our belief systems on what God expected us to do in order to receive his love. As a result, most likely our notion of what love is, is something we have to do in order to deserve to receive love.
In the context of Tending to Your Garden Within, the flowers and fruit trees in our garden within, irrespective of their color, smell, and size need to receive the same basic care and love from us. One flower may need more sun light and another may need more water or nutrients. The type of care for a flower or a fruit tree may be different, but every plant in our garden within needs to receive the basic needed care to thrive and grow unconditionally.
It is very important that we “unlearn”, or at least question, our concept of love, especially unconditional love. At the same time, we need to be able to recognize unconditional love in our daily life and bring it into our consciousness by experiencing it. Most of us can experience flakes of unconditional love through our pets, which some skeptics say is their means of getting food (I disagree). Some can experience unconditional love through mediation (being open to receiving) or wandering in nature. Perhaps that is why we enjoy being in nature where we can experience the concept of unconditional love freely, from animals, plants, and the elements. The poem below illustrates how we may remember to recognize and integrate unconditional love in our daily life.