Do you Have an Unconditioned Self?

Hint: We All Do!

When you pay attention to a baby, you notice how naked he or she is. Babies haven’t put anything on themselves yet. They have no masks, no personas, no armor, and no dark glasses. They are still wearing what Zen Buddhists call the Original Face. They aren’t putting on a face for the world to see. What you are witnessing is their true nature. They aren’t trying to be some-one, to be nice, to look good, or to be interesting. There are no pretenses. There is no deceit. There is no attempt to create a pleasing image. They aren’t trying to be loveable; they just are.

“Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness.” — Galway Kinell

Babies are still close to the Unconditioned Self, which is the name I give for our true self. They haven’t yet learned to identify with gender. They don’t know if they are American or Chinese. They don’t care if they are black or white. They aren’t interested in what religion their parents follow. They haven’t had time yet to make up a story to tell about how elusive love is, or how difficult love is, or how worthy or unworthy they are of love. They don’t judge themselves. They carry no grievances. They are not cynical yet. Have you ever met a cynical baby?

Babies embody the basic truth about us, which is that we are all loveable. When you look at a baby, you can see what St. Francis of Assisi called our “eternal loveliness.

You see this eternal loveliness because you are looking with your heart, not just your physical eyes. At the same time, babies mirror your own eternal loveliness back to you. They show you your original face. Their eternal loveliness is a reflection of your Unconditioned Self.

St. Francis of Assisi taught us that everyone is an expression of God’s eternal loveliness. Moreover, he recognized that every animal, every plant, and every form of life is an expression of love.

God extended himself in love, and we are all expressions of this love. This is the Original Blessing we share with each other. There are no exceptions to this. None.

The basic truth about you is “I am loveable.” Everybody’s basic truth is “I am loveable.”

This is true whether you remember or forget it. It is also true whether you believe it or not.

Our Unconditioned Self is a consciousness of love that extends from the heart of God into the body of all creation. The word love and the word God are both pointing toward the same thing. They are both pointing at each of us.

The Original Blessing cannot be undone. Your eternal loveliness has no end. “You were created to be completely loved and completely loveable for your whole life,” says Deepak Chopra in his book The Path to Love. This is all true.

However, as the baby grows and takes on the conditioning of this world, it is possible to forget about love. A learned self takes the place of the Unconditioned Self. This learned self is just a shadow; it is not real. However, when you identify with this learned self, you forget the basic truth “I am loveable.”

In this forgetting, the basic fear “I am not loveable” takes hold. And so, as Galway Kinnell wrote in his poem Saint Francis and the Sow, “sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness.”

Excerpted from my book, Loveability.


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