Your Vulnerability Is A True Strength
Vulnerability is the doorway to love, and gives us access to true strength. For many of us, self-protective armor is usually unconsciously erected at a young age. Although we think it will help us, it is actually the cause of much of our adult suffering, because it seems to separate us from the very love we desire. Awareness of it is a big step toward freedom.
I’ve discovered that
letting go of self-armoring
is necessary for happiness and wellbeing. Usually we're trained to think that to be open and vulnerable is a weakness, but it is actually just the opposite. When we open and surrender to the love within, we have access to the true strength of Spirit.
Often, when we are faced with something that feels threatening to us, we unconsciously retreat behind a wall of self-protection. It is the self-protection itself that creates far more suffering than the thing we think we are afraid of. The wall blocks our awareness of the true strength within, where we are actually completely safe.
The Only Real Self-Protection Is Love
I want to be clear that I’m not discouraging you to do what you need to do to take care of yourself if you’re in an environment that could cause you harm. However, the only place where there is true safety is within, in the space between thoughts, where we can experience ourselves as Spirit. This Neutral Observer Meditation can help you know yourself as Spirit.
To allow vulnerability and love, the part that I’m talking about letting down or
letting go of
is the perceptible hardness or resistance that we experience against a person or a situation. On the surface, it seems like it is there to keep harm out. However it actually cuts us off from our own love. When I observe it in myself it is a rigid, clamped-down feeling that is very uncomfortable and confining. The purpose of the armor is to separate from others rather than to join with them in love. It is the separation which perpetuates the experience of pain.
For many of us, to survive the hurts of childhood, this armoring was adopted in the hopes it would help us deal with pain. But as adults, that same armor serves to separate us from our own healing and positive energy as well as our ability to experience love and connection with others.
Awareness of the Need for Vulnerability
To observe this in yourself, think back to the last experience you had where you came away feeling negative towards someone. Replay it in your mind and look for the moment where a thought quickly passed through your mind, you invested the thought with belief, and you felt fear. For most of us, this process gets so quickly covered up by emotion that we’re not even aware of the thought / belief that is creating it.
The irritation or anger is the armoring I’m talking about. It can erect itself in a fraction of a second, making it look like the other person did something horribly wrong, when all that really happened is that we had a flash of a thought, believed it, and felt fear. Then we immediately feel resistance to the person or situation. I have found it extremely valuable to go back to the moment when I felt the fear and in the “replay” allow myself to feel that unprotected feeling – to feel the vulnerability that was there before the “protection” arose. In other words, replay the situation in your mind, but feel the fear without engaging in any kind of self-defense. Then notice what the thought was that created the fear and decline to invest the thought with belief.
Fear is Resistance to Vulnerability
In my daily meditations, I make it a point to find the place of unprotected vulnerability inside myself. Then, by staying with that sensation of surrender, something magical happens. At first I feel fear, then it becomes clear that “fear” is actually a word we assign to the negative feeling that happens when we resist vulnerability! When I don’t label that feeling and just allow it to be here, there is a tremendous feeling of relief and letting go that is quite delicious!
When I let go of the armor, then (and only then) can I become aware of the love that is always here in the background. When it isn't covered up with a negative emotion, we begin to see that we ARE the love in the background.
The problem with armored self-protection is that we think we use it to take care of ourselves, but instead, we block our own love and end up hurting ourselves. When we give up defending ourselves, our own prison walls come down and love floods in.
Once you do this you’ll want to do more of it because the relief is unbelievable!
Try it Out for Yourself
Here is an experiment:
The next time you feel a negative reaction toward someone arising, try this on: “Even though I want to snap at this person to defend myself right now, instead, I’ll stay quiet and still.
I’ll allow the strength of my vulnerability and openness to be here and see what happens!”
When you do this, at first you'll feel an intensity of energy. If you just allow that to be there, observe it, and don't do anything with it, it will pass. Then, if you stay with just observing all that comes into awareness, you'll begin to notice relief. It will feel like a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulders. It is surprising to discover how much armor weighs! If you continue with this process, you'll feel an expansive love and strength.
You'll notice that your ideas of who you thought you were won't be so solid anymore. There will be less rigidity and more availability of yourSelf to yourSelf and to the rest of the world. In feeling the vulnerability, there is an openness. There is freedom to know yourSelf in a new yet familiar way, far beyond the body or self concept. You'll begin to experience yourSelf as pure Spirit.
We First Need to Choose Vulnerability
So to get to this “let go” place, first we need to choose to accept the moment as it is, including everything that we are feeling. The fear is that doing this will just feel really bad and just keep getting worse. However, it is actually the opposite!
A Helpful Trick
So how to accept the moment and what you’re feeling when the old armor starts to take over? A trick that works for me is to completely forget about the story of what happened – the “he-did-this” and “she-said-that” part. Remove any words at all, and keep your attention on what is left: the feelings, the raw energy itself.
Then don’t defend against anything and just let come what comes. Actually surrender to the energy inside you. The feeling will keep changing and transforming as you observe it. You may feel anger, then resentment, sadness, maybe fear or even terror. If you stay with it all the way, keeping your aware attention on the energy/feeling, it will actually transform into love. Everything always reverts back to love eventually.
So Worth the Effort!
This does take some effort – at least for me it does! Changing old patterns usually does. But it’s well worth it. In the process of letting down self-protective armor, a natural healing process occurs naturally. In this state of openness and surrender, residues from past hurts unwind, naturally and gently. As we continue to practice letting vulnerability be here, we feel more of what I would call “self-empowerment,” more self-confidence and true strength. When we know ourselves as Spirit, there is no longer a need for self-protection. It just isn’t relevant any more.
From “Your Vulnerability Is A True Strength”
continue on to
“How To Love Yourself”
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