You have said that
there is power in the
vulnerability inherent in major life transitions but I have a hard time
understanding how that is possible. Would you explain this more?
think most of us do not really understand the true nature of
vulnerability. Most of us think that avoiding being vulnerable is the
right course of action and we feel justified in doing whatever we need
to do to keep ourselves from feeling vulnerable. Naturally, there are
situations where we should take any action necessary to keep ourselves
from being hurt – such as when we are actually physically attacked.
But, most of the time we are engaged in social interactions where our
definitions of vulnerability are less dramatic than in situations where
our physical safety is at stake.
In such interactions, being
vulnerable often involves feeling defenseless against actions others
might take toward us. Those actions might involve another person
determining whether or not we get a job we want or whether we get to go
out on a date with the person we are attracted to. We fear others will
keep us from having what we want. Then, we start feeling vulnerable and
we start defending against anything that might keep us from getting
what we want or keeping what we want. Under these conditions,
vulnerability becomes defined as the uncertainty of being able to have
or achieve what we want.
When this happens, we start fearing
one kind of change and start craving another kind of change. We don’t
want change to happen when it might mean being out of control of
getting what we want. We want change to happen only when it increases
the likelihood of our getting what we want.
And there's a
persistent fear of the kind of change that would prevent us from having
what we want, because some change is still required in order to have
more of what we want. And it is in the moment of change that we feel
most vulnerable and afraid.
This fear is unfortunate, because
it is precisely in the moment of change when we are most vulnerable
that we are also the most powerful. When the old structures that have
created our definitions of who we are in relation to others dissolve,
have the power to create new ones. This is actually exciting. But most
of us are terrorized by the idea that some aspect of our hard-won
definitions of what we want might disappear. This is because we spend
so much time trying to make ourselves feel secure through defining
ourselves by what we want and how good a job we do at getting what we
If we could allow the process of change, and feel the
possibilities of defining ourselves in new ways, we could rest in the
moment where we feel most terrified: the moment of potential. The
moment of potential is filled with power. If we can set about learning
what we need to change within ourselves – which usually means creating
a dramatic shift in the way we direct our will – we can begin to
embrace the power of vulnerability.
Once we stop trying to
make ourselves more solid by getting everything we want, we start
seeing the moment of change and the vulnerability it brings as an
opportunity. Change is no longer something to fear. Vulnerability is no
longer something to fear.
By embracing the vulnerability in change, we
direct the power of potential in our own experience. As we
do this, we become more courageous and better able to participate fully
in the dance of change the universe presents us in every moment.
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Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the
Foundation of the Sacred Stream and the primary teacher for the
Foundation's programs in Depth Hypnosis, Applied Shamanism, Buddhist
Psychology, Integrated Energy Medicine, Transpersonal Studies, and