Most of us think of vulnerability as weakness. However, the word vulnerability simply means able to be open. By being open, we can clearly see ourselves and that world around us. This panoramic view gives us the ability and power to grow, heal and be fully engaged in our lives.
We often think that if we are open and vulnerable, we will be attacked. This is something most of us learn early on in life. We come into the world as open and vulnerable babies, unconditionally loving ourselves and the world around us. Then life gets in the way. We feel judged, misunderstood, rejected or abandoned, and little by little that open innocence begins to close. We close a portion of our hearts. We lose our spontaneity, basic aliveness and self-expression out of fear.
The first step of opening to our basic aliveness is becoming aware of the fears and self-beliefs that close our hearts. For me, mindfulness meditation was the key for unlocking my heart.
Through slowing down in meditation, and taking the time to get to know myself, I discovered my fear of being judged as unlovable. I became acutely aware that I had closed myself from my basic aliveness out of fear. Slowing down and breathing into my heart in meditation, I had a direct experience of what felt like ice melting around my heart. I experienced profound sadness and grief for the loss of the open heart and vulnerability I had as a baby and young child. Over time, I was able to let go of the fears that held me back, experience compassion for myself and allow myself to be and be loved, just as I am.
So, I offer this guided meditation to you:
- Sit in a comfortable position, either on a meditation cushion or in a chair with your feet on the floor. Make sure you are sitting upright in a relaxed fashion so your breath can freely move.
- Bring attention to your breath – cool nourishing breaths in, and long slow breaths out, letting go of stress and tension with each out-breath. Allow yourself to slow down. When thoughts come up, simply notice them and return your attention to your breath.
- As you begin to slow down and relax, bring your attention to your heart center. Bring one hand to your heart. Breathe into your heart, noticing the hand touching your heart to rise with each inhale and relax with each exhale.
- Continuing to breathe in this way, experience the sensations around your heart. In order to become familiar with and connect with your heart, ask: If it had a color, what color would it be? Similarly, if it had a size, shape, texture or temperature, what would that be.
- Now, continuing to focus your attention on your heart, notice your emotions. Fear or sadness may arise. Breathe into the emotional experience and allow your emotions to be just as they are, without getting lost in thoughts, judgments or stories.
- End your meditation practice with the aspiration that you grow and heal, and in your growth and healing, may you be of benefit to yourself and all others.
It is my aspiration that this practice will help you understand with compassion the fears that have closed your heart, so that you can grow, heal and open with the power of vulnerability to yourself and your life.
© 2018. Beth S. Patterson. All rights reserved.