Yes. My life isn’t one of pristine, spirituality or rationalism, unleavened by emotion or superstition. It’s been quite a journey and slow process of self forgiveness and acceptance. Through that fog I am only really now realizing at this late time in life that a sense of vulnerability has always been at the heart of my consciousness, accompanied for most part with an intense desire and effort to anethisize myself from it. I can’t help but wonder how prevalent this is in the rearing and conditioning of others and of our children, even today. I was instructed from an early age as others were, that this experience of feeling vulnerable was an indication of weakness and that something of my self must be fortified in response to it. In hind sight I now see that my conventional responses to this sense of vulnerability and aversion to it continued to be a major influence in my behaviour, habits and in my life in general, however unaware I was.
From that, I created something of my self , that could never cope honestly and directly with those feelings of being vulnerable. Whenever it would appear a sense of helplessness accompanied it along with other emotions such as shame and anxiety and in turn a response fuelled by an intense need to dispel it. I adopted many conventional ways to do this; covering it over with a self that I aspired to be and numbing myself to it in various ways. I engaged in diversions and distractions and at times succumbed to the pain of feeling the self doubt and inadequacy that at times accompanied it; however, it is clearer now that whatever I did to remove, ignore or however I hid from it, that sense of vulnerability remained a powerful unconscious influence in my life.
I am now realizing that the sense of feeling vulnerable that I was so much averse to has nothing to do with weakness as I was taught to believe, nor was it helpful to attempt to remove or ignore it. Rather suddenly one day I realized that it was not something that I should be separated from and I began, in response, to open and befriend it and in time to intimately move into it. And despite my dull faculties and primitive comprehension of the impenetrable mysteries of existence I realized that in my effort to stay present to what is directly arising in my experience of life, prior to extreme intellectual intervention a more honest comprehension can arise.
In that stripping away of old and fixed ideals of a self and in further examination of what is innate and more true of myself I am discovering that, there, underneath mistaken beliefs and ideals, is presence and in that lay the secret of who I truly am. In awareness of the vulnerability and temporality, something else of life and my self, that I have not known, is revealed. As John O”donohue writes, “one of the deepest longings of the human heart is for real presence. Real presence is the goal of truth, the ideal of love.”