Unconditional love is the kind of love you share with someone when there are no strings attached. Your love for the other person or pet or whatever never depends on their state of mind, their actions, or their words. You love them unconditionally. You saw an example of this in Micah’s Story from chapter 1.
Another example of unconditional love is in the movie, Breathe. The movie tells the true story of Robin Cavendish, an Englishman born in 1930. At the age of 28, he married Diana Blacker and they had a wonderful life together in England and in Kenya with friends and family. In 1960 or thereabouts Diana became pregnant and Robin became paralyzed from the neck down from Polio. He was on a respirator for the rest of his life.
The couple returned to England and Robin was placed in a hospital for disabled people. After baby Jonathan was born, Diana began a campaign to get Robin out of the hospital so that she could take care of him at home, along with Jonathan. Her care for him for the next thirty-three or thirty-four years was a stunning example of unconditional love.
One of their friends built a wheel chair for Robin with a portable respirator so he could go outside, visit other polio victims he had become familiar with in the hospital, and actually travel to different parts of continental Europe in a specially designed vehicle that would carry the chair. On one occasion, they were traveling in Spain and the portable chair needed to be recharged. One of the traveling companions plugged the respirator in the wrong socket and it blew up. They pulled of the side of the road and were unsuccessful in fixing the portable respirator. While everyone took turns using the manual respirator to keep Robin alive, the inventor of the chair was sent for to repair the portable respirator. In the meantime, a party developed around them that lasted through the night and into the next morning when the inventor showed up. He fixed the respirator and they carried on. Robin and the inventor became advocates for disabled people and many other portable respirators were distributed to other polio victims.
In 1994, Robin’s lungs had become so inflamed that it was time to let him go. They had a “going away” party for him and he died in the summer. He became a medical phenomenon as one of the longest-living survivors of his type of polio. It was said that to know Robin was to know the personification of courage. I would say that to know Robin, Diana and Jonathan is to know the personification of unconditional love. In honor of the unconditional love they all shared, Jonathan produced the movie and his mother, now in her eighties, attended the opening.
Unconditional love is an important component of successful Mindfulness Breaks. When you do a Mindfulness Break with unconditional love in your heart, the chances of it coming true are increased one thousand fold. This is based on my personal experience as well as the Zen teachings of Father Eli. I would say that every time I practiced a Mindfulness Break in the state of unconditional love, what I was visualizing came true. Remember, no one, other than me, thought that Micah would survive.
[Excerpt from Mindfulness Breaks: The Zen Teachings of Father Eli.]