Jenn Bruer

The path to unconditional love

I want to share with you what has been at the forefront of my journey for some time, the practice of unconditional love. The fact we have yet to perfect something is why we call it a “practice”.

Along my journey to recovery from burnout I have experienced some regressive moments, heart crushing moments that made me want to throw my hands up and say “I give up”. Luckily those were just moments. I think it’s fair to say that for most of us the pandemic has increased these moments, social isolation and all. For me, these moments are usually experienced when I reflect on the ridiculousness we have found ourselves in; the prevailing racism, the political divide, a culture whereby we have stopped listening to one another, the shift of politics into theatrics. When I reflect on how much we have separated ourselves from the earth and how we as a collective, every last one of us, have contributed to the “rape of the earth” with our unrelenting obsession with fossil fuels and our lack of remorse, all in the name of money. We align with science when it suits us and call conspiracy theories when it doesn’t. So much focus on the truth, yet who is determining the truth? In these moments I am left drained and confused, how did we get here and most importantly how the heck do we learn to do better? 

It’s clear we can do better, isn’t it? 

Like all things, I try to make this about ME. No, not in a selfish narcissistic way, but in a way that acknowledges, the only control I ever have is the control over my own mind and by extension my “vibration” and the resulting energy I cast out into the world. 

We can’t control what is happening in the world and we can’t control the behaviours of those around us, but we can and should control how we respond to all of it. By controlling how I respond- my personal goal is to choose unconditional love in all instances, and when I fail to respond in unconditional love, I turn the practice onto myself and extend love and compassion to myself for at least trying. 

It seems clear that the only way out of this mess is to learn how to be unconditionally loving. If I hold a stance of loving unconditionally, and others do the same, maybe enough of us will begin to support laws that reflect less the ego and more the heart center. Various legislation and the distribution of government funds that are centered in love and not greed is surely a step in the right direction. 

But first …love. 

How do we cultivate an unconditional love? I don’t know yet, that’s why it’s a goal of mine, but, I am trying and the following is what I know so far about the practice of unconditional love:

  • In my experience of it, sometimes love is a gift and other times it’s a choice, this practice is about the times when it’s a choice to love 
  • Take it from me, don’t start this practice with politicians, that is for those already at “pro” level *haha*
  • Love is not an action, it’s a stance, it’s a vibration held with intention
  • Actions can be loving, they can reflect love, but an action is not love
  • Being “in” love is just a chemical reaction, that is a whole other discussion- I am not talking about being “in” love with all people (that could get awkward, no?) 
  • Unconditional love has nothing to do with lust- the media’s representation of love has always been falsely defiled by lust. Lust and love are separate don’t assume those two things are connected, these are two separate vibrations.
  • This practice is choosing to see the innate love and light in another human being- outside of and separate from their actions.
  • The intention to hold love in your heart for someone who might have “bad” actions or behaviours is not condoning of their actions
  • Choosing to love someone who’s message or political leanings do not align with our own, does not mean we align with them and their beliefs
  • It is totally safe to extend love to others who believe in a different political party
  • We can love someone and decide not to spend time with them
  • We can love someone and have boundaries about how much time we spend with them
  • It’s always easier to hold love when we understand where a person is coming from. The real challenge is when we can’t understand at all…that’s when unconditional love is most important!
  • We can love someone and forgive someone for any wrong doings and still choose to never spend time with them again
  • Loving unconditionally, starts with first loving ourselves. 
  • We cannot see love and light in another if we aren’t able to see or feel it in ourselves.
  • An awareness of my own love and light always shows up for me in prayer or meditation- prayer and meditation go hand in hand with this practice.
  • Don’t make the mistake of searching for your own love and light in the excellence you have created- IT IS NOT THERE! 
  • This practice must exempt no one, even the person serving coffee at the local cafe is worthy of unconditional love. 
  • When others don’t extend the same practice- Repeat “this person isn’t seeing me as I am meant to be seen” and then continue to love them.
  • If unconditional love feels too daunting, start a little smaller with “compassion”- often the person we are extending the least compassion to…is ourselves. In a world that places more value on excellence and behaviour than the innate goodness that exists in us all, it’s easy to get thrown off course and begin to self-deprecate, to have your mind go on a loop lying to you about how you aren’t good enough. 
  • The voice in your head does not reflect who you really are….ever. The being that is observing that voice is the real you!
  • I heard a joke once and I can’t recall where but it went something like this “I once thought my brain was the smartest of all of my organs and then I realized who was telling me that”- the mind is tricky, don’t believe it. 
  • I try to cultivate this knowing in my children with this analogy; I remind them that if they sat down on a log for the rest of their lives, did or accomplished absolutely nothing from this day forward, they may never experience the joy of “excellence” but their greatness would remain untouched, that is, the love and light of who they really are remains. 
  • To really embody this love for yourself and others, to really drop the “conditions” associated with our love, we must wrap our head around the difference between greatness and excellence. The accomplishments versus the innate love and light that is present in us all. 
  • Be cautious- This life practice isn’t about denial. When someone has acted in a way that isn’t in alignment with the love and light you know exists in them, this isn’t about condoning pour behaviour, this isn’t about being ok with or accepting pour behaviour, this is about illuminating in our mind’s-eye and in our heart’s center- the truth of who and what they are. Holding them to their actions can still be done with love. 
  • When a person leads with pour behaviour it’s because they have forgotten who they really are, that is, they have forgotten the love and light that exists within them, by practicing unconditional love we become the reminder to that person that while they may have forgotten who and what they are, we remember. 
  • Hopefully by seeing the love and light in another, you call if fourth into action– but release any attachment to this, it may or may not be a byproduct of this practice, if it is…celebrate silently.
  • By seeing the light in your fellow human beings, you show them, just with your eyes and heart, that you know who they are. 
  • The only way to cultivate unconditional love is to try, you will stumble (judgement or thoughts that seek to reduce yourself or another to their poor behaviour) keep trying.
  •  Statements that help: “I want to see this person differently” or “I want to see this situation differently” or “I want to see myself as I am meant to be seen” because how we SEE a person or ourselves is merely a choice. 
  • This practice asks me to say and do nothing, it’s about a stance I hold steady to in every day and in every moment I look at or think of another human being. 

A Miracle

Whenever I hold a newborn baby I almost always have the same thought and the same moving response- it starts with a deep breath and ends in the words “what a miracle!”. Likely, I am not alone in this reaction. I wonder why we allow ourselves to lose this natural response when looking at each other? When does a baby stop being a miracle? The truth, as I see it, is that a baby NEVER stops becoming a miracle. You are still that miracle. You could park yourself on a log for the rest of your life and the truth of you being a miracle remains untouched – no matter the excellence you do or do not embody, you are always that miracle. 

Published by Jenn Bruer

Jenn is a youth counsellor and a retired foster parent after eighteen years of service. Jenn is the author of Helping Effortlessly: A Book of Inspiration and Healing, a self-help book based on her personal experience of burnout recovery. She has been on her own path to burnout recovery, health and healing since 2011. Jenn is a Mindfulness and Stress Management workshop provider and public speaker. Jenn has recently partnered with Mindful Reach to help create online learning opportunities to bring Mindfulness Based Practice to the frontlines, Jenn also sits on their advisory board.

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