The Gift of Vulnerability

It’s been a while since my last post, and I didn’t decide to come here because there was a piece inside me in need of expression. I am here just to challenge myself, to sit down to write in spite of having nothing to say. And perhaps something will come out of nothing.

It’s been a very illuminating year this year. A lot of good things happened on the outside, but also a lot of changes began on the inside. The inside job was a matter opening of the heart that followed the painful realization of its being closed all these years.

It took the hard knock of love and its much delayed echo to become aware of the darkened soul and a hardened heart. Up until this past year, I had been amusing myself by much talk of philosophy and spirituality and little walking or even standing up spiritually. Juggling metaphysical principles was fun, but a voice inside me kept having itself heard over the past few years, and it took a burst of my eardrums to hear it well: “it’s all about love, about being open and vulnerable so that the living love can flow.”

So, I haven’t read much intellectual stuff over the past year, not even spiritual literature. As if I was done with hearing and assimilating ideas; stuffed by lofty ideas about truth, god, and consciousness, I started suffering from a sort of mental obesity, from the unbearable weight of big fat ego with a superiority complex sitting on the chest of a soul with inferiority complex.

Yes, it took the voice of love to awaken me to a much simpler truth: that I am just as human as everyone else, holding inside myself probably a scared, wounded child. That in spite of my spiritual knowledge and experiences, in spite of the books I swallowed without proper digestion, I too am afraid, sometimes more than many others. I too feel jealous of my friends and peers, feel insecure and not good enough, feel ashamed of my outdated behavior and coping strategies. In spite of my life experience and “achievements”, I too, quite often feel I don’t know what the hell I am doing, and that if you really knew me you’d reject me.

I have been plagued by this idea that only if I knew enough I’ll be saved from this human distress, that knowing is the way to my salvation, that enlightenment is the way of our my humanity. But in all this, I had shoved deep into the dungeon of my soul a naked and shamed little child. And on the front, I put this elaborate display of ideas. Behind all this, there’s me, doing my best like everyone else to get by one more day without losing it. Behind this mask, I am possessed with the idea that since I feel this way or that way, then there’s gotta be something fundamentally wrong with me; and for that, I abandoned myself more than anyone else did. I refused to be vulnerable, and in doing so I refused myself.

Where was the compassion? The acceptance? The surrender? A life without these living principles applied to the best of our abilities, is only a vulgar show, a story that goes nowhere. Not to beat myself up though; I did have these feelings quite often, more so when I was younger. I was a very loving child and friend, abundant with love and sensitivity. But I managed to shut them out of my consciousness by an excessive indulgence in the abstract world of science and philosophy, the safest world I knew in which only concepts existed, where I couldn’t be hurt anymore. After all, logic never hurt me; the quadratic formula never hurt me. People did, for hurt people hurt people. But no one is to be blamed for the ache that I have dragged along, for they knew not what they did.

My new task has been the process of facing myself, my shadows and all that I have disowned, of reclaiming the abandoned body. Yes, the body that I left behind every time at the dawn of uncomfortable sensations, the churning stomach, the fatigued legs, the hole in the gut. To all these disturbances I had attached a label and a story to justify my departure. I left the body and lived in the head, in the drama, for at least being the choreographer of my own drama gave me a sense of being in control. At least for me, the more I resisted the uncomfortable sensations in my body, the louder became the commentary in my heard! As if the energies we refuse to be open to and process at the bodily level, are channeled into the mind and calcified into stories, into dramas maintained by the idea that “something is wrong with us and around us, that there’s some threat we have to avoid.” And hence follows all of our avoidant strategies such as obsessions and compulsions and addictions.

Our lives is often an out-of-body experience. At the slightest hint of any vulnerability and “unwanted” sensations and feelings, we shun the body and run into the stories in our head where the victim persona is manufactured and thrives. This tendency brings to my mind the image of a man who, overwhelmed by the beauty and at once daunting task of owning and maintaining his mansion, moves up into the attic and ignores the many calls of his treasure. Little does he know that he’s not immune to the stench and ruin that will befall him sooner or later. His is the most painful fall when things fall apart.

But now it’s time to leave the attic and embrace the vulnerability that’s been awaiting me in the most immediate sensations. I am returning to the body like Zarathustra returned to the city, for that’s where life happens. I don’t like the attic anymore. The attic is the reign of the uptight and punishing god of the old testament. I yearn for loving Christ of the new testament, for the holy grail that’s the body. I have outgrown the fatal seriousness of the head. It is the body that like the Earth holds the uproar of life, the ugly and the beautiful at once. It’s ok to be embodied again, to be electrified by a rush of fear or abandonment; it’s ok to feel lost and clueless; it’s ok to feel whatever arises. It’s ok not to be ok.

To being vulnerable, where love finds its flow

10 thoughts on “The Gift of Vulnerability

  1. “I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at, and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing. I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness, love; you may give it any name you like. Love says “I am everything.” Wisdom says “I am nothing.” Between the two, my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.” – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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  2. Tomaji I enjoyed reading your article .What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful as well!
    I resonate with some of your emotions specially in my youth. Now I am seventy five with all life’s experiences both good and bad as life’s lessons.

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  3. Narayana namaskaram Pranam.
    This article is amalgamation of AdiSankara who lived 32years being consciousness itself Ana Acharya Ramanuja who lived 120 years being a simple human but knowing what this universe is made up of .
    Jesus to left this world hurriedly may be he couldn’t bear the upheavals of human life.


  4. You have covered the ‘uncovering of a life’ in a few paragraphs. It is the curse of the intellect to confront fear, and withholding all that fear can bring us – ultimately to love and a new life.
    with Ego there is loss. We are brothers in this, be assured. All is revealed in Compassion, Acceptance, Surrender, yet how we fight it.

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