It’s probably no wonder that people are wary of allowing themselves to be seen as vulnerable. The dictionary defines being vulnerable as “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” According to that way of looking at vulnerability, you’d have to be mad or masochistic to practice it. Perhaps I am somewhat crazy then, as I do try to cultivate vulnerability and openness. Why? I’ve discovered over time that the effort it takes to keep up defences only serves to make me isolated, inauthentic, and not fully self-expressed. I spent last weekend in the remarkable environment of a Human Awareness Institute residential workshop. The HAI events are so special because the facilitators and organisation create a completely safe space to practice intimacy and vulnerability. As a result, those who participate in the workshops can drop the normal artifices and defences we humans normally erect, and explore who we are in essence. The process is similar to what interests me about yoga practice. Using the limbs of yoga I can explore all the elements of my humanity and move to embrace, or probably more accurately uncover, my divinity. When I’m willing to own where I am causing harm, not being honest, being ungenerous, and so on, I wake myself up to what is required to be congruent with myself and others.
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” Madeleine L’Engle