The Wound of Vulnerability

In one of my morning hikes this week, I came across this tree  –

Blown down – upended – uprooted. I wonder if this isn’t what we have all felt at times?  I know I have.

None of us over this past year, can have escaped feeling vulnerable. COVID19 has seen to that. 

But if we look deeper, this sense of vulnerability has many well-trodden paths.  The vulnerability of being seen less than; systemic racism, ageism, sexism, oppression, homophobia, xenophobia.

A path is open, even though the way is uncertain, to look at all the ways we overtly and covertly, intentionally, and unintentionally, add to this suffering and vulnerability. 

“All is uncertain.  If you look for certainty in that which is uncertain, you are bound to suffer.”  Ajahn Chah.  Kittisaro & Thanissara. Listening to the Heart (2014) p. 131.

Vulnerability lives with uncertainty.  The two challenge the status quo, that nothing lasts forever. 

It is difficult to acknowledge the truthfulness of uncertainty in our lives.  Uncertainty is not a comfortable feeling, largely because we seek comfort. There is nothing wrong with wanting ease and relaxation.  But if we look to the external world for this, it is unsustainable. The winds of change see to that.

When we face up to, stand still, and look into the winds of change, it is possible to sense moments of illumination, to stand at the edge of something, that reveals a vast and open landscape – one of possibility. This landscape beckons us forward, the paths revealing themselves.    

Walking into these landscapes, sometimes alone, sometimes collectively, we will encounter challenges and difficulties, crises.  We meet loss, grief, a sense of being uprooted, as well as the possibility of letting go what is no longer useful, be released.

When we divest ourselves of behaviors no longer ethical, we change the landscape.  New friends can then be met on the way with different ideas and different experiences. We are richer for it.

The work of change is not always easy and begins with each one of us. 

To learn this we must seek aloneness.  Meditation practice can help here.  We sit with ourselves, seeking this solitary place.  This place is one where we can watch the winds and storms of the mind and heart. We experience this, many times.  We are uprooted, upended, blown down. We learn this is no personal drama, it is one that those who have gone before us and sit beside us now, have trodden. In that we understand our inter-connectedness to life and how we might move towards another who seems not the same as us, answering – what can I do?      

 legacy – rupi kaur 
 i stand 
 on the sacrifices 
 of a million women before me 
 what can i do
 to make this mountain taller
 so that women after me
 can see further