Postscript on vulnerability

First, I want to assure you that I am quite well! The experience I shared in the last post was a wonderful opening for me, not something I am upset about or wish had been different. Not at all. It was exactly the teaching I needed at exactly the right time. Isn’t it always?

Second, I want to say how incredibly privileged I feel to have people who aren’t just reading what I’m writing here, but are thinking about it, reflecting on their own experience, sharing and dialoguing, and just generally being supportive–allowing this to be much more than one meditator’s personal narrative. It’s really a testament to the ability of our current technology and this particular manifestation of “sangha” to build authentic community. One which is coming and going, continually evolving, and discovering its various strengths and weaknesses. So, thank you, thank you so much.

I shared what I did in the last post for whatever reason I did. Part of what this blogging practice is about for me is accepting that I don’t know. It certainly wasn’t because I wanted consoling or defending. It wasn’t really even about me or the guy interviewing me or that particular experience. It was intended as more of a genuine exploration, as a part of the inquiry. So I guess I was a little surprised that a number of people were concerned about my wellbeing and felt I was being “too hard on myself”. I applaud Nathan for not only saying maybe I shouldn’t be too soft on myself, but for taking what I had shared and expanding upon it, applying it to his own daily life and practice and emphasizing the importance of “paying attention to patterns of disconnection and avoidance…even if it’s just little incidents.”

I wonder if you noticed how you felt reading the post? How did the heart react to my vulnerability? Did it make you uncomfortable? Did you respond in the way you did because it was what you believed I needed to hear or because it was what you needed to hear? What might you be projecting about the story, about me? Were you identifying in some way? And to pick up on K’s comment, re the immediacy of this mode of communication, did you sense any desire or aversion motivating your action? Whether it was stopping reading mid-post, or commenting on the post, or whatever? Because it happens right here, right now. Nowhere else. This closing and opening of the heart. And it’s absolutely no one else’s responsibility. As Aly said, in the end, “it doesn’t matter what he/she was or wasn’t projecting–just use it!”

And a last word on the crucial need for flow between the inner and outer aspects of practice, from Nathan:

“[R]egardless of form, whether long retreat, ‘practice intensive,’ or just a daily sitting practice or sutra study – none of it necessarily leads to being a more open, vulnerable, and alive person. The threads often need to be deliberately teased out, so that the introspective insights are translated into awakened relationships based on love, vulnerability, and wisdom.”

Yes. And here’s to that awakening, that awakening to deeper and deeper love…

Leave a comment


  1. alywaibel

     /  February 5, 2011

    Thank you, again, Sharanam. Great follow-up post. Lately I’ve been sharing a lot of quotes by teachers on my blog, and not really saying much myself. Now I feel inspired to share more of openly about my daily experience, because it’s really helpful to read your perspective as a fellow student, to feel the sense of community and support that is possible in this venue :)

  2. Thanks for this. Forgive me for not paying full attention to taking the trouble to really understand your last two postings. Instead, I was indulging my ego and using your postings as an outlet for my views. I realise the general need within to pay more attention or listen more deeply to others and myself, my true self, and aspire to do so. Attention is a form of love as Tinytruths recently pointed out on Tumblr.
    As the old adage goes “we live and learn” :-)

    • Nothing to be sorry for. It’s just as (if not more) likely that I was communicating ineffectively. Yes, hopefully we’re all learning here.

  3. nathan

     /  February 6, 2011

    Just want to say I enjoyed this post. I love the way you continued the questions and questioning. Thank you.

  4. ebe

     /  February 7, 2011

    Thank you for both posts. I do think that you can only deal one at a time. I mean, asking your self: “Am I… this or that” might not be helpful, since the answer is yes! you were this or that, but it was a week ago, and it was only the opinion of another person. What are you now?

    People around me feel sometimes that I’m not pleasent. At that moment, I’m “this”. In the next moment, I’m full of regret. Am I “that” now?

    Along the path I found out that I need to be much more humble, that “enlighment” is a word that is being used too often, and although I can sing the factors of enlighntment in my dreams, sometimes I must admit I understand fully nothing. NULL!

    I also found out that darkness cannot be defeated. Only light can be increased. Once there is light, there is no darkness. Once there is no “remembering” darkness comes back. Or maybe this model is totally dual, and lightness as well as darkness are sides of the same coin, and Nibana is not darkness, however, not lightness as well.

    Since I admit I do not really understand, I just try to be humble. Not by being humble intellectually, but by trying to accept the fact that things need not be according to my opinion. Sometimes it is really hard. Although I fall back many times, that is the spiritual way I chose.

    • EBE, yes, humility is so important in this practice. I’m just reading an essay on the Bahiya Sutta (which I will share subsequently) and realize how much a part of that story being humble is. You are absolutely correct in saying that recollection is not the same as direct knowing, and those questions, the kind of inquiry I’m suggesting, is best done in the moment. Reflecting on it is better than nothing, however!

  5. Cassy

     /  February 9, 2011

    I was very interested to read everyone’s posts. I am new to this
    site and was directed toward it by a friend of mine, Terry (thanks).
    I totally agree that to be open and thus allowing ourselves to be vulnerable can be immensely difficult. In my own life I feel I can talk the talk and walk the walk, but this is not living the love. Knowing ‘how I should live and be’ is a good start, and we have scripture and wise teachers to help us, but I agree with the thoughts that have gone before, that we now have to live it and be awake enough to see ‘how we are’ (through being awake in the moment and through reflection) with others as well as with ourselves so that we can truly live our vocation – ‘to love more deeply’ and this will be lived out differently and interpreted differently by all of us. So my question is then ,‘how are we going to continually live our love more deeply?’
    Little that I know, my meditation and eyes, ears and heart open toward my Lord asking always for is His guidance, is part of my learning, healing and ongoing salvation. And in receiving (for which I am eternally grateful) all I have to do is live it! as living proof. Doh!! I just wanted it to be easy, lol !!


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