Vulnerability: A Wise Guide Through Tight Spaces & 4 Ways To Cultivate It

In a world of loud, quiet really wakes up the soul.

In a world of fast, slow magnifies power.

In a world of hard hitting, of slamming it, banging it, crushing it, the soft touch can slide through the tight spot with insuperable strength.

Vulnerability can be seen as the synergy of opposites such as rigid and flaccid, tight and loose, hard and soft.

Synergy is the blending of things such that the sum of effects of those blended things is greater than all effects of any one thing going about its business alone.

Vulnerability can be felt in body, heart, and mind. It’s felt as the outcome of blending opposites like rigid and flaccid, tight and loose, tough and weak in good measure such that each half of the pair of opposites tempers the mix with its finest quality.

Part body sensation, part feeling, part mental awareness, vulnerability can present from within as a scary openness at first. If you’re not comfortable with it, even the suggestion to open to your vulnerability can agitate.

Like cracks in a wall that leave you open to frigid blasts and malignant insect attacks, like cracks in communication that leak top secret intelligence, like cracks in an emotional armour that leave you open to getting hurt, vulnerability feels too undefended, too permeable.

Vulnerability might be scary because we’re not used to the soft-hard art of allowing.

In many martial arts, in the yogas, in the training of hunters and gatherers, in the long apprenticeship of a magician or medicine person, in the cultivating of a master artist, the intimate practice of vulnerability keeps the initiate open in a tight spot, ready to flow in any direction, poised for a leap or a roll, positioned for opportunity.

Vulnerability might be scary because deep in the ancestral language centres of our collective awareness we hauntingly remember that vulnerable comes from words that mean to wound, to maim, to injure, to pluck, to tear, to strike. That’s scary!

But today, vulnerability means an intimacy with body, heart, head, and soul in such a manner that you could no longer hurt yourself or others intentionally.

In The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes this power of yoga: When you are steadfast in your abstention of thoughts of harm towards others or yourself, all living creatures will cease to feel fear in your presence. (sutra 2:35)

That might be called vulnerability in extremis and vulnerability in extasis.

Vulnerability, then, might be described as the taming of the fear reflex and the absence of a blame and shame conditioning.

Vulnerability could be called the necessary angel, to borrow Wallace Stevens’s phrase, of empathy. Now, that’s a beautiful thing.

Invite your vulnerability to guide you and hold you. It has beauty, courage, and magic in it.

4 Actions To Invite Vulnerability:

  1. Tune in to your senses and sensations. Walk in a safe place in nature. Sit quietly, close your eyes, breathe, and practice developing eyes in the back of your head. Walk gently, sense the earth beneath your feet, and practice developing ears in the soles of your feet. Smell as if every pore of skin were a nose. Taste with your fingertips. Open to the subtlety of sensation.
  2. Acknowledge reactivity. You can develop a practice of tuning in to the tight place in the body that’s attached to a reactive trigger; then identify an emotion that goes with the trigger; then observe any meanings, ie, conclusions, perceptions, thoughts attached to that trigger.
  3. Simply sit and allow yourself to embody sensation, emotion, thought, without reaction. Just let it flow through. No judgement. No blame.
  4. Daily, track triggers, emotions, feelings, thoughts, behaviours through tight spots and tender spots. If any of those are uncomfortable, if they hurt you or someone else even in thought, write yourself into a next best perception or meaning. Write about the beautiful, helpful, good, blessed boons in your life even when going through trial. Stretch yourself. Notice something that has a deep and encouraging beauty to it in spite of any anguish or confusion. Focus there.

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Relaxed~Yoga’s Middle Way Between Limp & Rigid

In yoga, relaxed and rigid are not opposites. Limp and rigid are opposites. Relaxed is the middle way.

Relaxedness arises as the breath eases, the head clears, and the heart opens. Relaxedness is a result of discipline. Discipline is the way to liberation.

Dancers know that the dedicated practice of technique frees the body to leap as if gravity didn’t exist. A great pianist practices daily scales, knowing that years of repeating scales is the ground from which flights of improv soar.

If your body is limp or rigid, check your mental stance, check your feeling stance. The body is a reflection of thinking and feeling.

A rigid body reflects rigid thinking and rigid feeling, a stiffening of the authentic, fluid vitality of being into a very narrow artery of clog.

A limp body reflects limp thinking and limp feeling, a puddling of your authentic, vital, alive, and magnificently wild self into shapeless, shallow pools of blah.

The spacious silent abode of yoga mind liberates us from a rigid resistance or limp resignation to the frustrating finitudes of life. Relaxed is the transcendent third, the middle way, the balancing agent, the springboard into radiant possibility.

Relaxed synergizes the good fortitude of the rigid stance and the good softness of the limp stance into an energetic powerhouse of magnetized potential. Rigid becomes flexible with softness loosening it. Limp becomes resilience with fortitude strengthening it.

A daily practice in yoga mind enhances our energetic radiance and liberates us into the infinite potentialities of the relaxed, non-attached awareness.

The relaxed, non-attached awareness frees our wild potentialities into useable energy and useful attraction action that helps dreams come true.

 

Karma & Will: Dedicated Focus Brings Radiant Results

Gandhi understood will. He understood the vibrant vibratory power of an insuperable will dedicated to a higher purpose. Many of us might not call our own will power insuperable, but dedicating our focus in that direction strengthens will and extends our vibrational oomph.

Gandhi combined the great traditions of Western secular law and Eastern spiritual law in his practice of Soul Force. Soul Force is non-violent ceaseless persistence of a group will in a common liberating purpose—in partnership with the cosmic dynamo of organizing élan.

Gandhi inspired the peaceful liberation of India from British rule. The emotional magnetism of soul force was unstoppable. Ultimately, he was murdered for his devotion to non-violence and liberation.

His path wasn’t easy. His death was messy, tragic, iconic. His legacy—unshakeable. How did he sustain the mental focus and strength of devotion to hold to the course of destiny? Firstly, he knew that he had to be the change within himself that he desired for his beloved India. He had to align with the liberating force of the All Soul. So, in his daily life, he rested his mind in meditation and his heart upon The Bhagavad Gita.[i]

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the sacred Hindu and world scriptures. The title means “the song of god.” The Gita was Gandhi’s bible. It’s a gorgeous poem about karma yoga—the yoga of dedicated action—and union with The All Soul. It’s a Book of Wisdom, a Book of Power, a book of super power definitions and practices.

If this text were a book of power in a fantasy story, it would be the much thumbed, used and worn, scraggly little leather bound pocket book that a Glinda, Gandalf, Yoda, or Dumbledore might carry deep in a secret fold of a luminous skirt or roughspun cloak. But The Gita is not fantasy, though the powers it describes as available to the devoted heart and insuperable will are indeed fantastic.

The Gita describes the laws of yoga that liberate us from conditioned living to creative living, from ignorance to enlightenment, from mediocrity into majesty. It focusses much discussion on the relationship between karma and will.

In yoga, tapas is a synonym for will. Tapa means self-governing. B.K.S Iyengar describes tapas as a fervent, unwavering, disciplined devotion to practice.[ii] And that takes will power.

Literally, tapas means fire. Figuratively, it can mean austerity. Poetically, it’s the fire and focus of the awakened, liberating will. Tapas is the practice of dedicated attention and intention toward a desired path. In yoga, such dedication of willing practice leads to union with the divine esprit of limitless manifesting power.

Gandhi was determined in devotion and devoted to his determined path. Caring, committed, and co-operative in soul force, he didn’t budge, he wasn’t budged. He had an insuperable will.

While reading The Gita fed his soul, daily meditation focussed his mind and strengthened his will. Any meditation that trains your attention to focus on one thing is a primary practice to develop will power—our power of creative choice.

Ultimately, the insuperable will is surrender of ego, of the Me-centre. It’s a surrender into the limitless I AM—what I sometimes call the cosmic orchestrating élan of everything. It’s the paradox of giving and receiving: giving over everything gains everything.

A willing discipline leads to willing surrender. And surrender leads to liberation. Tapas, that animated joyful devotion to a particular practice, opens a path for your wild and singular destiny to blaze its way through your heart and into your life.

A practice of daily living fuelled by a deep driving desire, guided by dedicated will, and supported by action, may not always be easy. A disciplined devotion may not be easy at first; but dedicated focus brings radiant results.

If you want your wild and singular life magnetized by the liberating blaze of living flow between finitude and infinity, practice a willing devotion to disciplined attention. It leads to a willing surrender of ego unto trust—a trust in the vibrant vibratory source of everything. Then destiny is yours.

[i] Stephen Mitchell, (2000). The Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita. New York: Three Rivers Press.

[ii] Iyengar, B.K.S. (1996). Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali. London: Thorsons. p. 30-31.

A Karmic Kiss or Karmic Carom?

Holding on to revenge is a karmic slap in the face—our own face.

Replacing revenge with reverence is a karmic kiss on the cheek.

Revenge doesn’t have to be a big intention or even a conscious intention, nor a full out moral or ideological war on anyone or anything.

Our little daily dismays, pet peeves, closet inadequacies, secret shames are breeding grounds for pocket revenge—that little nag of narrow mindedness or small heartedness that needs to feel bigger, so it reduces someone or something else.

Our pocket revenge tactics are often unconscious and habitual actions: sarcasm, passive-aggressiveness, cold shoulder, interrupting. Nothing major.

But the karmic carom niggles its way back into our own lives, someday, some way through The Universal Law of Returns.

An antidote to revenge is reverence.

A wise reverent rapport with ourselves leads to more conscious awareness and more intentional action. And that always liberates kindness into our living flow.

A karmic slap in the face or a karmic kiss on the cheek comes to us or through us in many forms. We have a choice which cheek to turn, so to speak. We have a powerful influence now on the immediate and future outcome of actions.

We could choose reverence.

Times of dire reverence like ours now, where big and little acts of revenge and rapacity are devouring beauty everywhere, call for a karmic kiss of deepest respect from all our intentions and actions. That kiss is the karmic catalyst for more liberating kindness in the world.

 

Soul Force

Gandhi understood will power. He understood the vibrant vibratory power of insuperable will dedicated to a higher purpose. Many of us might not call our own will power insuperable, but dedicating our focus in that direction strengthens will and extends our vibrational oomph.

Gandhi combined the great traditions of Western secular law and Eastern spiritual law in his practice of Soul Force. Soul Force is non-violent ceaseless persistence by a group will toward a common liberating purpose—in partnership with the cosmic dynamo of organizing élan.

In yoga, tapas means self-governing. It’s a synonym for will. B.K.S Iyengar describes tapas as a fervent, unwavering, disciplined devotion to practice.[i] That takes will power.

Literally, tapas means fire. Figuratively, it can mean austerity. Poetically, it’s the fire and focus of the awakened will. Tapas is the practice of dedicated attention and intention toward a desired path. In yoga, such dedication of willing practice leads to union with the cosmic dynamo of organizing élan.

Gandhi was determined in devotion and devoted to his determination. Caring and co-operative in soul force, he didn’t budge, he wasn’t budged. He had an insuperable will.

The Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu song of the lord, was Gandhi’s bible. The Bhagavad Gita describes the insuperable will as surrender of our little ego willfulness, the Me-centre, into the limitless I AM, the Great Will of The Infinite.

A disciplined devotion may not be easy; but dedicated focus brings radiant results.

If you want your wild and singular life magnetized by a living flow between finitude and infinity, practice a willing devotion to disciplined attention. The liberating blaze of discipline leads to a willing surrender of ego unto trust—a trust in the vibrant vibratory source of everything. Then, destiny is yours.

[i] Iyengar, B.K.S. (1996). Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali. London: Thorsons. p. 30-31.