Vulnerability and Meditation: Love and Surrender Yoga & Meditation

Vulnerability and Meditation: Love and Surrender

“I remember my first visit with my guru. He had shown that he read my mind. So I looked at the grass and I thought, My god, he’s going to know all the things I don’t want people to know. I was really embarrassed. Then I looked up and he was looking directly at me with unconditional love.” — Ram Dass

Ram Dass & Neem Karoli Baba

When Ram Dass, creator of Be Here Now and influential modern American yogi, first went to see his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, he introduced his disgrace with him — the issues he didn’t need others to learn about him — fearing that, by exposing his secrets and techniques, he would now not be liked.

We all stay with some extent of disgrace. We all stay with some concern of publicity, the concern that our imperfections, foibles, errors, self-destructive conduct, addictions, neuroses, moments of insanity, weaknesses, and idiocies could also be broadcast to the world and render us shamed, ostracised, despised, and unlovable. We maintain on to our disgrace and it festers as self-loathing, the key issues we don’t need others to learn about us, the issues that don’t slot in with our public picture, with our carefully-crafted persona, laboriously negotiated with colleagues and friends, associates and household, however weak to publicity and assault.

And make no mistake: the weapon of disgrace is alive and nicely in our tradition. In the Puritan colonies we shamed with the shares; as we speak we disgrace with Twitter. Shaming is as highly effective and prevalent a weapon as we speak because it was 300 years in the past.

Unconditional Love

What reworked Ram Dass was the popularity that his guru provided the love that was without circumstances or expectations. Neem Karoli Baba didn’t supply love as a result of he hoped others would love him, too; he merely radiated the love that was at the core of his being. It was a deep, genuine, religious, love mild that shone on anybody and instructed them that they could possibly be precisely what they have been and he would love them simply the identical.

It is that this liberation from his personal disgrace, via the unconditional love of his guru, that allowed Ram Dass to open his heart to the love and devotion that defines his religious practice. And this opening of the heart is, by definition, an act of vulnerability.


The Oxford Dictionary tells us that vulnerability is “The quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” Our disgrace hides the issues that others can use to assault us–our foibles and errors, neuroses and weaknesses–and our vulnerability is the end result.

Yet, as Brene Brown has so compellingly proven in her TED Talks “The Power of Vulnerability”(2010) and “Listening to Shame” (2012), we can’t permit ourselves to cover from vulnerability, as a result of vulnerability is extra than simply the concern of publicity or hurt. Vulnerability can also be a high quality of bravery, a willingness to have interaction with life despite the truth that we are going to undoubtedly and assuredly be harm by doing so. Brown quotes Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic” (1910) to make the purpose that concern and disgrace can’t be the muse of a fantastic life:

It will not be the critic who counts; not the person who factors out how the sturdy man stumbles, or the place the doer of deeds might have performed them higher. The credit score belongs to the person who is definitely within the environment, whose face is marred by mud and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes brief once more and once more, as a result of there isn’t any effort without error and shortcoming; however who does truly attempt to do the deeds; who is aware of nice enthusiasms, the nice devotions; who spends himself in a worthy trigger; who at the perfect is aware of in the long run the triumph of excessive achievement, and who on the worst, if he fails, at the least fails whereas daring vastly, in order that his place shall by no means be with these chilly and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Thus, vulnerability doesn’t simply expose us to ache and struggling; additionally, it is the muse of all that we could obtain, for without the willingness to show ourselves to critics and shamers, trolls and politicos, ideologues and fanatics, we are going to accomplish nothing. Vulnerability can also be behind the bravery that dares vastly.

Vulnerability and Meditation

One of the issues that have grown to be most evident to me, each as a meditation trainer and in my meditation trainer coaching, is that vulnerability comes with the territory. Our religious practice asks us to look deep inside ourselves on the myriad identifications of the ego, on the mental and emotional partitions behind which we cover, on the layers of inauthenticity and concern that characterize our identities, at our disgrace and self-loathing, on the patterns of self-destructive and neurotic conduct that sabotage our efforts in love and life.

And all of this painful self-examination is completely important to clear the religious path in order that we stumble and delude ourselves much less as we make our means via. To acknowledge our personal struggles and neurosis (whereas not wallowing in them and changing into recognized with them) is exactly the trail of bravery we require to develop as yogis. The apparent vulnerability of letting down our defenses as we have interaction on this self-examination signifies that we’re relying on the compassionate response of our friends, which is a primary facet of the religious fellowship we’d like in any surroundings through which we’re instructing meditation.

Eckhart Tolle reminds us in The Power of Now that “The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.” We are deeply recognized with issues that aren’t us. We are deeply recognized with beliefs and a way of self which might be imprinted on us by mother and father and associates, faculties and tv, preachers and professors, psychologists and medical doctors, newspapers and speaking heads, karma and DNA… And but, none of that is actually who we’re.

We are usually not these identifications of ego, that are the product of our attachment to passing and impermanent issues. The essence of our being, within the custom of Yoga, is equivalent with the Soul, the Self that’s previous to any of the attachments and aversions which might be created by our sense of separateness from Spirit. The Bhagavad Gita tells us, poetically, that the Self is:

That which can’t be moist with water

Or blown by the wind

Or struck with a stick

Or burned by hearth.

The Self is neither born nor dies, is aware of nor judges. The Self is past the love that our common selves anticipate; it radiates the deepest, most primordial, Love, that may presumably exist. “Unconditional love really exists in each of us,” says Ram Dass. “It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not ‘I love you’ for this or that reason, not ‘I love you if you love me.’ It’s love for no reason, love without an object.”

And this Love is the companion to our vulnerability. We make the (rash and fraught) choice in our religious practice to hurdle over the ego-protections we’ve got constructed up in a lifetime of coping with the disgrace, judgement, criticism, bullying, and passive-aggressive assaults to which we’re routinely uncovered in society, and launch ourselves into the unknown, unprotected and weak, however holding tight to the transformational experiences of our meditation practice through which we found these deeper energies that shimmer within the shadow of our egos and radiate the Love we rely on to assist us.

“The ultimate act of power is surrender,” because the kirtan wallah Krishna Das says, and it’s the give up to our sense that Love is extra highly effective than the psychological defenses that offer us the power to make the leap into that Self we’ve got intuited in suits and begins, however not totally inhabited as our true self. We attempt to climb out of the tales we inform about ourselves and to be conscious that, once we brood on the previous or fear concerning the future, we’re lacking out on the life we’ve got within the current. And what’s that life? “Accepting means you permit your self to really feel no matter it’s you feel at that second. It is a part of the isness of the Now. You can’t argue with what’s. Well, you possibly can, however in the event you do, you undergo. (Eckhart Tolle)

It Is What It Is

It is what it’s. This phrase, taken up by mass society to imply “Dude, you possibly can’t do something about this shit!” (Bummer!), is definitely a metaphysical assertion. Arguing with what’s is a type of madness. Being misplaced in disgrace and concern locations us firmly in that insanity of storytelling instead of residing, misplaced in our ideas once we need to be opening ourselves to the facility of what’s, residing and respiratory and increasing into the Self.

And at the core of this willingness to stay within the Now is the acceptance of vulnerability. It is what it’s. Don’t argue with what’s: Leap now into the ocean of Love and you’ll be reworked! But it’s a must to leap earlier than you possibly can reap these loving advantages…

Brene Brown will not be the primary individual to debate vulnerability and disgrace, after all. The Christian creator C. S. Lewis had a deal with on love and vulnerability lengthy earlier than TED started to speak to us:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

We should embrace vulnerability in our religious paths, not run from it, and we should additionally embrace the unconditional love on the core of our being in order that our vulnerability is ready to shelter there from the proverbial slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

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