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 those opposites in good measure such that each half of the pair of opposites tempers the mix with its finest qualities and creates something that didn’t exist before, something that only the union of these things could create.

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. And that’s a scary openness to the uninitiated.

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, that is, the reflex to hurt self or another.

Vulnerability could be called the necessary angel, to borrow Wallace Stevens’s phrase, of empathy.

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. Next, walk gently, sense the earth beneath your feet, imagine ears in the soles of your feet. Or smell as if every pore of skin were a nose. Taste with your fingertips. Open to the subtlety of sensation.
  2. Acknowledge reactivity. 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. Simply notice. Be open. from there you can shift the harmful to the helpful.
  3. Meditate. Simply sit and allow yourself to embody sensation, emotion, thought, without reaction. Just let it flow through. No judgement. No blame.
  4. Journal. 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. Notice something that has a deep and encouraging beauty to it. Focus there.

Kimberly Ananda

 

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.

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.

 

The Old Bugaboo Doesn’t Have To Bug You Forever (or Believe It To Achieve It)

girl dandelion

Have you ever wondered: why people who actively desire to make good changes in their thoughts, feelings, habits, and actions don’t succeed in the long run? why people don’t believe in themselves or in their innate capacity for deep change? why counselling doesn’t always stick? why intention or affirmation practice alone doesn’t seem to fulfill its promise of big change? why we stay stuck in the mud, caught in the fence, treading the same old pattern pathways over and over?

The answer comes down to subconscious belief and the locus of deep change. Our subconscious beliefs guide our choices and actions. The locus of change is the subconscious beliefs. A deep change practice has to reach through the mind clutter and touch the subconscious.

Thinking Isn’t Enough

Thought alone doesn’t reach deeply enough to shift an old defunct pattern. Thinking alone doesn’t cavern into the place where the old patterns live inside you.

Therapy helps. Counselling helps. Positive self-talk helps. But talk therapy and positive affirmation don’t touch the neural grooves in the brain that represent the hidden beliefs in the subconscious.

It’s those hidden beliefs in the subconscious that need to be targeted and bull’s eyed.

So what is this subconscious? And why is it so important in the process of deep transformational change?

The Subconscious

The subconscious is the whole body and all its functions and gifts, instincts and intuitions, illuminations and limitations. It’s the nervous system and neural grooves; it’s the gut, the heart, the head; it’s the deepest operating system and the lifelong companion; it’s the warehouse of daily events and storehouse of memories and memorized patterns. Our learned beliefs and habits live here. The subconscious comprises about 80-90% of us; our conscious self is pretty small in comparison.

Imagine the subconscious to be a magnificent, powerful animal of transport, like a horse. A well-trained horse who trusts its rider and its instincts blends with the movements and guiding directions of a rider who respects its horse and trusts its horse’s power.

Imagine the subconscious to be like a work ox of old, attached to the arm that turns the grinding wheel, walking round and round all day doing its work faithfully, entirely limited by harness and ingrained habit. An oxen who has always moved like this will always move like this, harnessed or not.

The subconscious is a magnificent evolutionary survival mechanism, filled with all the inherited codes of our DNA and imprinted with the learned behaviours of our lives. The deepest learned behaviours, and often the ones that hold us back the most, are the earliest ones learned. Our deep patterning, housed in our subconscious and reflected in neural pathways, unconscious beliefs, repeated thoughts and emotions and behaviours, governs most of what we do and how we behave. We like to think that our conscious waking mind is in charge. It’s usually not. The subconscious deep patterning is in charge, making our choices from learned patterns that became entrenched over the years and through repetition.

The subconscious isn’t trying to be the boss. The subconscious isn’t trying to be subversive. The subconscious isn’t trying to trip you up. It’s a loyal companion, a faithful friend, doing what it was told to do over and over and through many repetitions.

For example, most of us were taught to look both ways before crossing a road. It’s automatic. The behaviour was taught, we do it without thinking. It’s a very good pattern to have had set into us from the earliest years of our lives.

Conversely, some of us were taught that another way of thinking or believing is wrong. That teaching gets in deep, too. And we react to that foreign way as if it were actually wrong and not just a different way.

Learned Belief

Three core beliefs—deeply entrenched neural patterns that represent deeply held convictions—are: hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. And most of us got stuck with some dose of at least one of these, and some of us got dosed more heavily in one or more of those self-beliefs. We subsequently live without believing in our abilities, dreams, selves.

We learn to believe what we were taught. The belief gets set into the neural structure which means that our entire psycho-social-physical-spiritual self is governed by beliefs we may not even know we have. You can’t see a belief. But you can experience its results.

How often have you looked at your reactions and behaviours and choices that trip you up; acknowledge they’re not healthy or helpful; but feel powerless to change them? No amount of thinking about them helps. Positive thinking helps a bit. Talk therapy helps a bit. But mostly, the old bugaboo keeps bugging you.

The Way Out

But the old bugaboo doesn’t have to keep bugging you.

The old sacred wisdom and the new scientific understanding about the subconscious, the neural patternings, the power of core belief, and the way out of the cul de sac of I-Can’t-Change now align. There is a way out of the dark psychological alley. The old psychologies provided tools and techniques to get free. The new scientific psychologies have found that these old sacred psychologies work.

Hypnosis, deep meditation, visualization toward a specific target goal, or behaviour, or change all work to change the deeply entrenched faulty beliefs that hold us back. In the yoga psychologies, these old neural grooves are called samskaras. In neuroscience: neural patterns. In psychology: subconscious core beliefs. Whatever the language or tradition, hypnosis, deep meditation, and visualization targeted toward a specific goal work to manifest that change in your deep neural structures and therefore in your beliefs, thoughts, emotions, choices, actions.

An old adage says: You must believe it to achieve it.

Old beliefs that hold you back can be changed. The old bugaboos don’t have to bug you forever. Try these therapeutic techniques: hypnosis, meditation, visualization. Target an old belief and become a new you.

Contact me for information on a 6 session engagement to repattern the old stuck neural grooves and install that new, shining belief. Believe It To Achieve It

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