26 February 2015

A few thoughts on vulnerability

As earthly creatures continually subject to relative disappointment, pain, and loss, we cannot avoid feeling vulnerable. Yet as an open channel through which great love enters this world, the human heart remains invincible. Being wholly and genuinely human means standing firmly planted in both dimensions, celebrating that we are both vulnerable and indestructible at the same time. Here at this crossroads where yes and no, limitless love and human limitation, intersect, we discover the essential human calling: progressively unveiling the sun in our heart, that it may embrace the whole of ourselves and the whole of creation within the sphere of its radiant warmth.
-John Welwood

* * * * *

But, of course, putting yourself out there takes vulnerability. Vulnerability is hard, and we, as a rule, tend to go for what’s easy; by that logic, closing ourselves off is the easiest thing in the world. We quote the words of others to do our talking for us, send each other links to articles and stories in lieu of actual conversation, post pretty pictures to adequately convey our current state of mind, all to avoid having to proffer a single identifiable human emotion.  We keep in touch with relatives by emailing them mawkishly inspirational chain letters once in a while. We regurgitate memes to approximate the feeling of being in the loop.
-Phil Roland

* * * * *

Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability:  it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable:  quake and shake in your boots with it. The new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.
-Stephen Russell
Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao:
A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior


 Quotes and passages on vulnerability

15 February 2015

If you always attach positive emotions to the things you want, and never
attach negative emotions to the things you don't, then that which
you desire most will invariably come your way.

Matt D. Miller

A Lack of Abundance

I often wonder just how much of my own struggling I've created myself.  How much of the lack in my life has come about because I simply haven't known what it means to create positive abundance in my life?  I don't blame myself for this, if it's true, for I definitely am a product of my environment in many ways--as life goes on, I meet many, many people who have learned lessons early that took me decades to learn.  The major difference has been that they've had people in their lives who have been willing and able to teach them these lessons, whereas I've done a lot of stumbling around trying to learn the lessons on my own, having come from a family in which my parents had never learned most of the positive lessons themselves yet.

I have been learning, though, that the more positive I am about things that I truly want, the more likely they are to happen.  And while I don't really feel the need to "want" material goods, I know that this principle applies to them, also.  I've spent most of my life thinking about things that I want in the following ways:  "That's something that other people can have, but I never will"; "That's too good (or expensive) for me, so I'll settle for something less"; "I'll have to wait to get something on clearance, because I could never afford it new."  Even with people, I've thought things like "I enjoy being with that person, but s/he doesn't really like being with me."

This is a very destructive way of thinking, one that doesn't contribute a bit to my life.  I've learned to turn my thinking around, though, and I find that it's very helpful--I don't feel that I don't "deserve" certain things any more, and I don't attach negative thoughts to them.  If I were to feel that I needed a new car, then I would start thinking positively about just the car I need, and then I would wait until the right conditions came about (price, timing, payments, etc.), and then I would buy it.  I'm not rich by any means, but I live in a society in which it's possible to do such things, and they become impossible only when I make them impossible through my thinking.

Positive thinking includes visualization.  Thinking about what I want or need in positive ways--as if it definitely will be a part of my life soon--helps us greatly to move on to better and nicer things in our lives.  If I want to live in a new place, then I visualize what I need and want, including size and location, and then I patiently wait for the right conditions--while still actively searching.  I used to take the first thing that came along in any area of life out of fear that I wouldn't get another chance at it, and that lack of patience hurt me more than once.

Do you want something?  Then think about it as yours.  Think about it in your hands, or in your living room, or in your life.  Think positive thoughts about it:  "When I have this, it will be nice."  (And remember, positive thoughts do NOT include "When I have this, then I'll be happy."  Happiness does not depend on outer circumstances.)  Visualize yourself walking onto the porch of your new house, or carrying your new item.  And don't let the negative thoughts creep in--if they do, remind yourself that that was how you used to think, but now you think in much more positive ways.

Your life IS in your hands in so many ways.  Your abundance IS up to you.  Some are born with great wealth or have it thrust upon them, but wealth is not abundance.  Open your eyes to the amazing abundance you already have, enjoy it fully, and prepare yourself for more with the thoughts that you think.

An abundance mentality springs from internal security, not from
external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations.

Stephen R. Covey