The Power of Vulnerability


Emotions are not well understood. In the world of psychology they are seen as a chemical reaction and a function of the brain. They are often thought to be something that can be overcome with behavioural training. In social circles they are seen as something that gets in the way of ambition, drive and other more important things in life. If people are too emotional, they are teased, called names and they seem weak and small. Many habits and social patterns are in place to keep people from being too emotional: "putting on a brave face" and "not showing your vulnerability". As our society becomes more repressed and held in, the louder the drama in mainstream media becomes. Societal view on emotions is mixed up. When it does seep out, no one quite knows what to do with it. They send emotional people off to specialists for help because no one knows how to listen anymore. Really listen. And even there, with the specialists, there is more fear of emotions than is warranted.

The importance of emotions

Emotions are however more important than we think. From my meditations, my readings of great spiritual teachers and spiritual texts, one thing I have realised is that everything has a higher reality. Behind everything here on earth you find divine forces. If you take a rock, an ocean, or a flower and meditate on it, you will be taken to an archetype of the rock or flower, a blueprint that is way more magnificent than the imperfect physical object you see on earth. The rock on earth is so much more gross and imperfect than it's archetype but this does not mean the one on earth should be ignored or belittled. It should be seen for what it is. It is a manifestation of the glorious.

The same is true for emotions. Behind emotions are higher realities that need to be understood. Because our mental framework can be complicated, sticky and easy to get lost in, our emotions need to be given time and space to be seen for what they truely are. It is fascinating just how powerful the act of seeing can be and how a profound realisation can unblock something deep inside your being. I have been seeing clients in therapy sessions for many years and know that once you start going deep inside someone's psyche it is possible to see that we started developing patterns to manage our emotions from the time we were very young. Some people are better at managing these patterns than others. Some are able to build a very capable persona that gives the impression of incredible competence but you don't have to go too deep to see shaky foundations.

Looking beyond the surface

Once you look beyond the surface, what is the most obvious thing? Once the emotions and stories have stilled, what is left behind? Vulnerability. Vulnerable to feeling cold, to being hurt, to being alone, to being empty, to death or simply just vulnerability. If you really stop to think it through, so much of life is about avoiding this vulnerability. When I went away to meditate for a few weeks on my own, the first day was spent setting up the room so I knew where everything was. I immediately saw that I had prepared a whole set of rules that would make me feel safe. Instead, I chose to throw out the rules and just see where I landed. Just seeing this pattern and opening myself up to other possibilities was the start of some very powerful experiences. My mental framework stopped controlling my meditation and from then on my practices were profound.

It often takes someone with no where else to turn to want to face this vulnerability. Consider what would happen, or what you THINK would happen, if you stopped avoiding this vulnerability? If you sat with it and faced it? Alone, it can seem so intense and too much to bare - like you might go crazy. It can also just feel like a nagging pain at the centre of your being calling out, making you restless or uneasy or sad or however it manifests in your life. It might seem like there is a risk to go there and listen, but in reality there is none. Stopping to listen is the path of the brave soul - to push past the attitude that vulnerability is weak. In fact, when my clients reach this point, they are often surprised at what is there for them - nothing like they expected.

Experiences of vulnerability

One of my clients, after many sessions of looking at emotions, suddenly stopped and everything went quiet. For a moment he saw this vulnerability inside and tears started pouring down his face. Without planning or thought, he had opened to this part (for him it was in his heart) and something deep inside was touched. At that moment, he shone. Through his skin, his hair, his whole being. He was lifted to a place he had never been and he was grateful. He had a new perspective on the issue he had been looking at. This experience was not something I could have told him would happen and in fact it is different for everyone, but this vulnerability is in everyone. Vulnerability is definitely not a failing and once you go there you realise that there is so much more of us here than we ever realised. The alternative is bleak. A wall of protection, eternal darkness, rage and agitation, the feeling of being forever unsafe and the constant patterns and behaviours we set up around us to avoid it. They can go on and on for ever. 


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