Vital Vulnerability

by Antonio Dias

I kid you not!

I don’t “make this stuff up!” It occurs to me. That means, as I write, something comes to mind. This is a participation in an act of creation. It is not a commanding or an ownership of creativity. So, as words come into awareness, by writing them down, I can capture things that may or may not prove to be insights. This is a participation in an action. It is not passive, but what it grows out of is anything but a controlling, dominant, or compelling attitude towards how these actions take place.

This description of the process refers and reflects on the topic of this post. The phrase vitality within vulnerability came to mind in the last post. It seems to be a new way of looking at the part vulnerability, and our awareness of our vulnerability, plays in the dynamic surrounding strength versus power. An important and driving segment of this dynamic comes from a habit we have to see vulnerability as a weakness and to hide it, and hide from it. This is a first step in a drive after power. This drive after power then justifies all of our striving after means to achieve ends. This striving saps our strength, making us perceptually – and actually – weaker; and, therefore, hungry for power in a positive feedback loop that leads inevitably to destruction.

As with any such dynamic, it does not help to “fight it!” The way to resolve this situation is to be aware of entrapment and side-step this power-grab all together. Recognizing the inexorable force of gravity we don’t expect to “fight it,” to expect we will learn to fly after jumping from a great height! We avoid, not only jumping, but situations that have a high probability of our falling from that height. The same holds true for the forces and pitfalls we face within the realm of thought. Proprioception extends to recognizing and dealing with these factors instead of continually refusing to recognize them and flailing about at their mercy.

Part of this recognition is related to our relationship to vulnerability. So much of what we label hubris, on one side, or courage, when seen from from another, has to do with denying or overcoming our vulnerability. This process doesn’t ever turn out well. From here the cascade into unintended consequences proliferates and spirals away to create the very chaos we fear.

A related insight has developed from the post Rivers of Blood. This has to do with the way other creatures relate to the world. It appears that what might be seen as indifference or a lack of a “higher” awareness of dangers that impinge on their ability to just be may, in fact, be a greater awareness and another level of courage in which they, shall we say at the risk of sounding hip, embrace their vulnerability. They live within a framework that recognizes that taking one’s eye off the ball of engagement with the present moment is already to have lost all that is worth having. And that in this way they are integrated into the whole in which they belong and so they do not waste any attention or effort on attempting to strive to change it.

Let’s just unpack that last statement. First, it does not mean what it might seem to. We glide past the futility of striving and comfortably rest within the illusion that all evidence to the contrary “our” striving, for once, will be the time when striving will be rewarded. Attempting to strive, to change, is a set of actions devolving from an attitude that insists that one’s illusions are more valuable than any truth. Attempting is not doing. Striving is not accomplishing, and thinking about changing or change is not changing. So, untangling this string of illusions is not to say that we should give up effective action, just that we cannot achieve effective action from within an encircling trap of illusions.

What creatures do works. When it appears to fail them, swimming through an oil slick, or caught between “Jersey Barriers” on a highway, or chewed up by a wind turbine, or smashed against a cell tower; they have not failed. Their world has been interrupted and their part is to hold onto the attitudes required to live life when it is possible. These may require that they die when it is no longer possible. There is no waffling about, no looking for loopholes, for means and ends, for plans and schemes that will do nothing but make matters worse.

Talking about it in this way skirts a scary proximity to the kinds of fears we are accustomed to overplay. But if we can suspend those reactions for a moment we can begin to see the joy and liberation within this lesson.

Here’s another bit to bring to bear. Steve Wheeler in a recent post brings up the way other creatures are in tune with their Qi, their energy. He makes a powerful observation. How is it that an eighty-five pound chimpanzee can overpower a fully-grown well-developed man? What if it is that they have full access to their strength, while we, through a long process of dis-integration have lost access to ours? There are the stories of people accomplishing amazing feats of strength when “the adrenaline kicks in.” Lifting cars off loved ones, that sort of thing. What if it is that a momentary clarity has opened up their access to their full strength without all the blocking impediments we have had conditioned into us thwarting them? The same is true of shamans and masters of martial arts. They are not doing “magic.” They are unblocked.

This seems to be related to this notion of the vitality of our vulnerability. From within a greater integration of our parts and of our selves into our holographic reality we are strong. Not in spite of our vulnerability, but precisely because we have accepted and embraced it.

About these ads