LET'S TALK SERIOUSLY ABOUT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Everyone, will you help me (and a fellow seeker) out with this?
A visitor to this page has just asked me whether "unconditional love" means staying in an abusive relationship and learning how to love the person despite how he harms you.
This question makes me want to cry.
Dear one, dear friend, dear heart — the answer to that question is very simple: NO.
No, no, no, no, no, no.
Never, never, never, never, never.
The wisest teaching I've ever heard about this came from a dear monk friend in India who told me, "We must love everyone. That is what God asks of us. But some people can only be loved from a safe distance."
And in regards to some people, that "safe distance" may mean: Never See Them Again. Never Take Their Calls. Never Let Them Near You. Never Let Them Know Where You Live.
Pema Chodron, the great buddhist teacher, has also taught beautifully on this subject. She explains that we should not close our hearts to anyone, but that we must also set healthy and safe boundaries. She urges us not to mistake compassion for compliance. As she said once in a lecture, "Put people in jail, if they are unsafe to others, but do not close your hearts to them."
Being a compassionate person does not mean allowing anyone in the world to treat you (or anyone else) abusively. There is nothing to be "learned" in an abusive relationship (except how to finally leave.) There is no emotional growth waiting for you in an abusive relationship. There are no day-to-day lessons that will make you a more enlightened being if you learn how to bear it, how to endure it. You will not be a better person in any way for staying. On the contrary, it will corrode your soul. Staying with somebody who harms you (in any way) does not mean you are compassionate; it only means you are co-dependent and very likely in psychological, spiritual and/or physical danger.
Will the rest of you please chime in on this? I think it is so important, and I am curious if you all have books, as well, that you can recommend our friend to read on this subject?
This one absolutely breaks my heart, guys.
Please, if somebody is harming you in any way: GO. Today.