We often do this to get that and this way of thinking and acting has become our habit. We might work for money and eat for health. We might spend time with our children so that they might feel loved. We might even listen while we think about how we’ll respond so that they can eventually hear our own point of view on the topic our hear what we have to say about something related (or often, unrelated). In short we do many things in order to get something unrelated to the activity. This is “conditional thinking.”
When we act in non-conditional ways we often find great satisfaction in both the activity and also the outcome. When we listen to ourselves and others just to listen, what a relief that can be! When we cook a meal, and just enjoy the cooking process with attention, we often can find great joy.
Conditional thinking most often results in non-satisfactory outcomes. For example, I listen to you but you don’t listen to me, so I don’t want to listen. Or I do a job for money but I don’t get enough money, so I feel disconnected and unappreciated.
Do non-conditional actions mean we are willing to live with abuse or being taken advantage of? Absolutely not. In fact just the opposite. When we “put up” with something that is harmful we often do so through conditional thinking. We convince ourselves that we have to put up with things because we need something provided by the abuser. Letting go of the condition allows us to embrace ourselves with compassion and let go of those things that cause us pain and suffering.
I had a friend that once told me he was loyal to his wife because she was loyal to him. When I asked, “What happens if she ever is not loyal to you?” His answer was that he’d not be loyal, too. How strange. What if we acted in non-conditional ways even for just a few moments a day? Listen to listen. Cook to cook. Be loyal to be loyal. Love to love. Play to play. Create to create.
Letting go of the condition and embracing the action unconditionally can change your life and open up a whole new relationship with those around you. Don’t believe me? My answer? Try it for yourself and see what you think.