Detached Unconditional Love

The idea of detached unconditional love seemed like an oxymoron to me for most of my life but I’m starting to realize that it’s the only type of pure love. Love for me used to be characterized by always being there for someone. Being present, and maybe even attached. I would ride each emotional wave with them so they would never be alone. Life has its ups and downs, but as long as I had the support of friends and family, I felt like I could face these challenges. Being alone was scary part.

But when you’re attached to someone, can you really be there for them? If my brother disappeared and I was attached to him, I would become helplessly overwhelmed with emotion and unable to think clearly to create a plan to find him. Detachment is what allows me to remain objective. Detachment doesn’t mean that I’m not loving.

So what is love? Is love simply the positive vibrations that I transmit from my body to someone else? Does love ever require action or do we act only when we’re attached? In meditation we’re able to go deeper when both our minds and our bodies are still. Is love what we observe in this stillness?

I wonder if I’m getting stuck in a game of semantics, simply redefining words until they become what I want. It’s weird to think about love being dissociated from other people, but to be unconditional, doesn’t it need to be? So in order to love anyone unconditionally, I simply need to find pure, detached, unconditional love within myself. This will automatically become love for myself, and then love for others. I guess that’s not that simple. Time to go meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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2 Responses to Detached Unconditional Love

  1. Thanks for your thoughts Ryan. It has just greatly helped me personally in my renewed journey to love unconditionally WITHOUT emotional attachment. You expressed the same issues I’m having in it being an oxymoron while leaving me to feel so alone in detaching myself emotionally. Thanks again fellow traveler..

  2. Great post. I realise you posted it some time ago but if it’s still of interest to you, certainly check out (if you haven’t already) Mark Epstein’s book Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart. In it he discusses the undercurrent of mourning towards impermanence that many people feel in relationships and how by accepting this fragility and impermanence we actually come closer to intimacy.

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