I was thinking about what unconditional means because my painting friends and I are going to do a group show and I was trying to think of a unifying theme and 'unconditional' kept popping into my head. This is because when we paint together, it's so freeing. We're supportive and loving, and we eat and chat and work and there's a sense of belonging and acceptance that is fuel for getting through other pieces of our life where this free condition does not seem to exist. And yet, we do offer advice and support to each other on our drawings and our lives. It's just that it's non-judgmental.
But it's non-judgmental because it doesn't have to be. We've been together so long, over 30 years, that we have worked into this relationship. We've created our own safety zone. We have created our own ideal conditions.
The major forces in our lives -- love, honor, respect, attraction -- all manifest themselves in some conditional way. Initial attractions -- with your friends, your job, your spouse, your town, your house, your kids, whatever -- usually seem ideal and they are spontaneous, so they have no time, no conditions. Over time however, conditions arise. That initial attraction is a powerful force that keeps you interested, but then the real relationship begins. There are points that seem perfect, points that make you question your initial attraction, and points that just exist because they are part of the trajectory path. However, the immense power of those major life forces -- love, honor, respect, attraction -- will build up over time and bring us to a higher level that has the depth of time, knowledge and experience. And at that point, you transcend conditions.
Conditions are of course transitory. They don't last forever. So I believe I have actually been inspired by my lake visits. I've been learning to appreciate the condition whatever it is, as a manifestation of underlying forces.
I have been reading Emerson this year, and I found a passage (from an essay on The Method of Nature) where I believe he's commenting on this same phenomenon.
"But let me discriminate what is precious herein. There is in each of these works an act of invention, an intellectual step, or short series of steps taken; that act or step is the spiritual act; all the rest is mere repetition of the same a thousand times."What I'm calling "life forces" are Emerson's "the precious herein." The only dispute I'd have with Emerson on this subject is that the rest is not "mere repetition". We need the conditions, the repetitions, to be able to perceive the spiritual. And when we do we transcend them to exist in the pleasurable state of the unconditional.