‘You’ are the pure being that allows all experience to be, without condition. Vulnerability is a beautiful quality of being. Being is endless, infinite. Vulnerability allows a sharing and celebration of the depths of that ocean of being, the currents of which are generally hidden from view by the defence and role play of the separate self.
A human being who experiences him or herself as separate from life is generally busy with preserving the status quo. It is counter intuitive, but this tendency of the personality of course limits love, makes it inaccessible. If you consider that you are separate and need to ‘relate’, what happens if there is a risk taken, a daring to reveal so that the aliveness behind the screen of personality is seen and felt? Let the ‘real’ life happen, simple, innocent of the desire to manipulate or even affect ‘the other’. Don’t be who you think you should be, ever. This requires the true courage, the heart, needed to simply show up. To be seen and heard. To not edit what you think may be unacceptable. To risk judgment or the other’s withdrawal. Only if you do this, without hiding anything, will you ever be able to let in that you are truly loved, truly receiving. The language of vulnerability is very simple. Eg. I feel, Eg. I am wondering….without consideration, without trying to ‘get’ something back. In vulnerability, there is no hiding behind posturing or behind conditioned should and oughts.
It is possible with practice and the support of those around you, to cultivate and increase your willingness to be seen and heard in ordinary human beingness, realness. This transparency allows intimacy.
Woman 1: I want to come towards you, and I suppose I’m waiting for your permission, and I feel rooted – like I can’t move –
Joy: What do you feel inside, R, when she says that?
Woman 2: I don’t know how I could make that happen. I feel touched by it, I feel warm inside, but I feel like – there’s all this space in between us…..
… and I don’t know how to make that happen. And actually, there is something like that with my daughters – I would like to hug them but they don’t like being hugged, they go ‘erggh’, and it’s very difficult to cross that space..
Joy; That’s not how it looked.
Woman 2: How did it look?
Joy: like this. (gestures to the stark dynamic and gap between R and K) When K just said that she’d like to come towards you, you honestly, had this ‘am I bothered?’ look on your face – you know, it’s a look that’s there quite often and it’s very amusing and gorgeous, yet it does repel informality and so what I’m hearing is that you long to be loved and to be recognised and important to others, and your whole demeanour is that ‘I don’t need anything’ and when you say ‘I don’t know how to make it happen’, it’s really simple. You could say to her ; ‘come here, I’d like you to come here – or can I come to you?’ – that’s it. (laughter)
Woman 2; Yes. It is that simple. (laughter) But it seems so unimaginably bizarre.(laughter)
Woman 1: And weirdly, you remind me of my daughter.
Woman 2: Because – I’m just so used to looking after myself – it’s difficult to accept.
Woman 1; I want you – (kick/stamps feet)
Woman 2; Would you like me to come there then?
Joy: She’s not protesting that she’s got to come over, she’s protesting because she can’t –(pause)
Joy; There’s a repelling effect – of the personality. The learned defences, the learned protection, that’s all. It’s not real. So when you’re actually fully present to your own wants and desires and wishes, to what’s happening in the K-ness, what is a true response?
Woman 2; It would be really nice to come over – with K.
Joy: Wriggle your way over there!
Woman 1: There is so much love here for you – absolutely mountains of it. Look we’re matching, you’ve got the bottom, I’ve got the top.
Joy; So is your intention that you go over to K?
Woman 2; Yes. I’m working myself up to it.
Joy ; Really feel it every step of the way, feel the personality and what’s actually happening, feel how the personality wants to clamp down what’s happening. Genuine human tenderness, need.
Woman 2: Terrible. terrible
Joy: Oh the Buddhist ideology b*sh*t (R referred to being a good Buddhist earlier). Buddha wasn’t like that. It’s just the ideology of it, that you’re not supposed to be human – it’s very damaging.
Woman 2: I can force myself, but that’s not, you know… I can make my body go over here – but I –
Joy; What is it that you’d like instead?
Woman 2; I don’t know how to let it in.
Joy; Trust your nature. Follow the longing.
Woman 2; I feel like – there are other people you could love – if you wanted to love someone else that would be fine. I can look after myself –
Woman 1; You’re the only one I see right now, I don’t see anyone else.
Joy: It’s safe to let go and be held, R.
Woman 2 (weeps) She is embraced by Woman 1. Then the y lie down and relax together
Joy; This is how we change the dream we are dreaming – by being willing to be transparent in what we long for, and by risking the unknown, and by hearing a voice that may (sometimes or all the time) be smaller than the personality’s but is more truth, and following it, despite the fight with conditioned mind that it may set up. There’s only ever love underneath all the defence mechanisms and apparent pain, there’s just love.
Vulnerability is beautiful. Its human beingness can dissolve any chasm.
In true vulnerability, a profoundly important key in creating intimacy, there is no past so it frees the one who speaks and those around too. And it is always a risk. Things are seen or felt or expressed when they can be seen or felt or expressed. Doors open then. And light never leaves that aspect of being again.
Transparency is clarity and awakeness. The communication is utterly vulnerable and reflects the present moment, it does not create a mask of story and assumed identity. Vulnerable communication is always of the present, unknowing. Manipulation is absent because we communicate the love of being what is, whatever it is, rather than in order to influence or affect another. Vulnerability is agenda-free.
This, from a man in a Joyful Loving circle, ‘I feel a crushing hurt when I am not accepted for who I am. Why do you want a different me? What is wrong with me as I am? I love you yet you want me to be different. Why cannot you accept me for being me? This leaves me bewildered and I freeze inside and shut down and retreat into the safe place that I built for myself. When I had to make up my own emotional structure without the right information coming in. Sometimes when I feel this crushing defeated hurt I want to lash out and hurt back’.
is equally beautiful. It’s true and vulnerable. This is the kind of sharing or transparency that creates movement, not story, not ‘they did this to me and it’s their fault’
Verbalising who am I? where am I in this present moment? What am I moved to say or ask now? regardless of what the other might say or do, not trying to get anything.
Another woman writes in a forum about her insights and learnings about vulnerability
’I have been terrified of saying the wrong thing, and unable to voice anything I felt uncomfortable about.…I am writing this in the past tense, because tonight something changed, I realised it was safe to be vunerable and share when something doesnt feel great. …..I shared at the takeaway that I was tired because Id skipped breakfast and it had put me out of sync, and he smiled and connected, and said, ‘ah yes, you need the energy!’ it was a connection where before there would have been a secret tiredness, taken home alone. The connection was nice, and I felt less tired. This evening, I shared that I had listened enough, when someone was talking to me about something they had struggled with, and I needed a moment to be with myself, I felt safe enough, and I expanded inside, it was amazing. After a very brief moment, I was able to reconnect from a really great place and be really present to the other person again. Usually when I get to that place I either struggle on in acute discomfort, or split and need a long time on my own.
I am feeling into who I have been being in Secret Garden. I feel like a lot of the time, I have also hid this part of me behind a door here too. in the last module, I had a very powerful process, with S., in a paired structure, which I brought to the circle afterwards. It was the first time that I had connected with the incredibly deep pain of suppressed discomfort, previously hidden even from myself. Up until then I had felt annoyance, fear, frustration, but it is only recently that I have been able to release my attachment to the numbness, my protection, and get to the raw feelings underneath.
I have used my intellect to protect me, and have often been defensive. These are skills that have protected me from feeling all of my pain. They have also created their own pain. Pain, pain, pain.
I think this is why Im writing tonight, to say, I have been in so much pain. I’m sorry it has caused me to contract, to judge, to punish and push you away. I am writing to say, In my inability to express my discomforts, I have isolated myself, when I could have shared and connected. This sharing is the only place to start. I can feel more shock coming out now.
(a female ongoing group participant) xxx
Vulnerability takes courage, clarity, commitment, totality, self-love and humility. This is too much for any personality, that made-up self of thoughts and feelings that resists what is present and seeks what is not present, and defends itself to prevent self fm being hurt. Its mantra is ‘I can’t bear it’, ‘I don’t like this experience’ Vulnerability can’t be harmed hurt or violated because in the absence of contraction, no experience can leave a trace. No defence from the current experience in being is ‘necessary.’ Beingness always remains pristine, sensitive embrace of what is happening.
To be transparent is to burn through your fears about ‘Dare I say this? Dare I take this action and stand behind it?’ And so live a life without consideration (which, by the way, if we are truly natural, healed and whole, is never uncaring).
Vulnerability is wholly free of blame. It is subjective and innocent. For this reason, vulnerable communication is more likely to be received, without triggering a conditioned response in the ‘other’.
Vulnerability is realness in flow and without reference or assumption. It is an accepting of life’s invitation, its always present gift -the power and beauty of simply being. Consciously alive, endlessly open vulnerability. There is no closed offness or resistance to any experience. Simply sensitivity and availability living as an empty yes to all experience. Being lives this way.
There is nothing ‘you’ need to do or stop doing, in truth you already are this openness, it can’t become more. Still, you can apparently learn in circles & through your home practice how to embrace all the feelings and resistances of the the awakening Cauldron that is absolutely inevitable in any intimate connection. And remember that if you choose to live alone, that cauldron and its potential gifts are still relevant to you because you have to go through it in your awakening journey and anyone you meet can be your invitation into a deeper love.
Intimacy is always happening when vulnerability is present, but cannot be known, planned, learned or reached for in the way the conscious mind loves to do. Those things create a missing of the Most Intimate. That Most Intimate that is always here, beyond, below, above, around, the mind, yet in no place and owned by no-one. Vulnerabilit can be one gateway.