As many of you know, I’m fond of saying, “Human beings are incredibly vulnerable creatures.” Sometimes you might be inclined to call somebody particularly “sensitive.” Though I may understand that and do it myself from time to time, strictly speaking, I do not believe it’s entirely true. We are all incredibly vulnerable and incredibly sensitive. It’s just that some people show it more readily while others may hide it. Some hold it well while others may hurtfully express it. You would do well to cultivate awareness around your relationship with vulnerability. How do you hold it? How do you express it?
Vulnerability comes in two forms, one with a capital “V” and the other with a small “v.” Vulnerability (“V”) refers to your innermost Divine essence, the place of inner perfection, inner divinity, the unified field. Paradoxically, inner divinity is not only infinite, unbounded, eternal, and unshakable, but is simultaneously infinitely Vulnerable. On that level, you have the ability to feel something so deeply that you actually merge with it, become one with it, know it as a facet of your own being. It is the central core of your being.
Stepping out from that central core, we enter the realm of relativity, the worldly realm. It’s a world built of polar opposites, up and down, good and evil, joy and sorrow, anger and love. Some ancient Masters have referred to it as the field of imperfection. From a practical perspective, your vulnerability on that level carries with it all the impressions of your entire life stored within the heart of your being. Any stresses, strains, hurts, or fears dwell there. This births vulnerability (“v”). It’s on this level where the incredible Vulnerability of your divinity becomes colored.
It’s extremely important to understand that we experience both aspects of vulnerability as one and the same. If another hurts you, it’s very difficult to tell if they hurt your vulnerability (“v”) or your Vulnerability (“V”). In other words, is your hurt a result of your vulnerability (issues, wounds, hurts, distortions, etc.) or your divine Vulnerability? If only we could know. The fact that we can’t tell leads to countless miseries—anger, blame, hostility, and so on. Distinguishing becomes even more complicated in that the two are intermingled. The question is a matter of degree.
By understanding this, you have just acquired a powerful relationship tool. The next time your Vulnerability feels assaulted, consider exploring why. Is it the result of inappropriate action of others or is it the result of the hypersensitivity of your vulnerability (“v”)? Keep in mind, however, that this exploration is not about finding an answer. You’ll never really know, but the exploration is in and of itself a healing.
However, once your vulnerability (“v” or “V”) has been assaulted, it is necessary to first come back into balance. This is true no matter who you are. Assaults to your vulnerability hurt. Some seem to feel that enlightenment means nothing ever hurts. That is a gross misunderstanding that leads to all sorts of confusion. In fact, it could be argued, that in the state of enlightenment the delicacy of your Vulnerability is even more accessible, more palpable, more fully experienced on an ongoing basis. Some refer to that as being undefended. I do not fully agree with that terminology, but it does help to convey the notion. Spiritual Masters are sometimes likened to an exquisite and finely built musical instrument. It is something to be handled carefully and with utmost respect.
On the other hand, when vulnerability (“v”) has been hurt, an incredibly complex web can be triggered. An inner war begins. The instinctive response is to feel you have been seen or treated unfairly. It seems entirely appropriate and justified to lash out. Your truth (“t”) goes to war, with seemingly every fiber of your being that it is your Truth (“T”). You feel entirely justified to react.
Keep in mind that vulnerability (“v”) is raw. It’s like an open wound. It cannot tolerate any insults. Some may say they can’t take a punch. It’s like a kite with no tail. The slightest breeze sets it spinning.
Though Vulnerability (“V”) is felt ever so deeply, the kite still has its tail. There are certainly knee-jerk, first-response reactions, just as a kite with a tail does respond to a sudden gust of wind. Yet, with a tail, the kite has the ability to come back into balance more readily. Though the hurt remains profoundly deep, you can still behave in a mature and responsible manner. Though perhaps bitter, the assault is experienced as bittersweet, like when a child’s actions or words hurt the parent. Though the hurt goes deeper, it is still coddled in a blanket of love and understanding.
Some say this level of life is attained through meditation alone. That is not true. Meditation expands the mind. Mature behavior enlightens it. For “mature behavior,” some would substitute “the intellect.” The problem with that is people too often equate intellect with hard science—strictly mechanical, logical, mathematical thought. In an expanded sense, the intellect becomes ever so much more. It is that which gives integrity, tone, structure, integration, and harmony to all aspects of life, including your behavior. It transcends the domain of thought. It reaches through the realm of reason to embrace and merge with the field of pure feeling. On that level of life, feeling merges with responsible behavior. Your life becomes like a tree, the slightest breeze rustles the leaves while you are still firmly rooted in the Mother Earth of your own Vulnerability (“V”). What this looks like to others, more often than not, goes unnoticed. Attempting to live in a manner that displays equanimity superficially is, though innocent, nevertheless an unintended mockery of true divinity.
As one who has chosen to walk this path, I offer you my deepest respect. I know full well it is not easy. Adi Shankara referred to it as the path of discernment. Discerning between your vulnerability and Vulnerability, between your truth and your Truth. Very few are willing to do that. Even fewer are willing to stick with it through the years. Know it is a path with no finish line. A gold star is not awarded upon completion. Walking the path is not a means to an end—it is a way of life.
© Dr. Michael Mamas, 6/08