Is it OK to Be Vulnerable?

by Christopher Lovejoy on January 18, 2020

Advisory: I plumb the collective human shadow for insights, drawing on countless observations from life to produce a snapshot of the human condition, generating what is by no means a quick and easy read, one that will likely be too deep, dark, and dense for most readers. Reader discretion is respectfully advised.

O where shall rest be found,
Rest for the weary soul?
’Twere vain the ocean’s depths to sound,
Or pierce to either pole.

The world can never give
The bliss for which we sigh;
’Tis not the whole of life to live,
Nor all of death to die.

Beyond this vale of tears,
There is a life above,
Unmeasured by the flight of years,
And all that life is love.

There is a death, whose pang
Outlasts the fleeting breath:
O what eternal horrors hang
Around the second death!

Lord God of truth and grace,
Teach us that death to shun;
Lest we be banished from Thy face,
And evermore undone.

Here would we end our quest:
Alone are found in Thee,
The life of perfect love—the rest
Of immortality.

~ James Montgomery (1771-1854)

The stream of humanity that I faced, and felt, was immense. In no small part because of its rush to get home from work, this stream was no ordinary stream; it was quicker and thicker than anything I had ever experienced, and quite long, confined to an indoor passageway.

This tide of humanity oozed a simmering vibe of mistrust.

Feeling vulnerable, I summoned a sense of invincibility with insouciance, with a faith that would have me find my way through without getting hit or hurt, but as I quickened my pace, I met with an impalpable resistance that swirled all around me, generating a resonance of opposition.

I could see, in these wary eyes of humanity, an implacable glint.

Nevertheless, I made it through without so much as provoking a peep of protest.

At least none that I was aware.

What a relief.

Is it okay to be vulnerable? I admit from the outset that this question seems rather odd, but I suppose this is only because it contains a word whose connotations are so mixed up that it beggars belief.

Is it okay to be … vulnerable?

Can you hear the gut reactions to this question? “Of course it’s not okay to be vulnerable. Of course it’s not. Why even pose the question? I mean, who needs or wants to be, become, or be seen as vulnerable in any sense of the word? Comfortable, yes, but vulnerable?”

But then, might there be a positive note to be struck for vulnerability?

Maybe.

Let’s find out, shall we?

Vulnerable: Yes? No? Maybe?

Some favor vulnerability: they say vulnerability is good for the heart, allowing access to heartfelt appreciation with a sense of belonging that brings love and joy, but the purveyors of anti-fragility say that vulnerability is not so good for the gut, as it opens up the protective lining.

Is it really okay to be vulnerable?

When I search the depths of my heart for an answer, I find myself coming up with a response that is both not comfortable and not expected. That is to say, uncomfortable and unexpected ~ a heartfelt response that has me both resisting and intent on releasing the resistance.

Is it really okay to be vulnerable?

At first blush, the answer seems easy: yes, and no. Is this a contradiction? Yes, and no. This answer seems a bit confusing, but this is only because vulnerability itself is so confusing without a depth of understanding, which begs these two pithy questions about vulnerability:


(1) am I vulnerable if I feel vulnerable?

(2) what does it mean to be vulnerable?

Let’s address the second question first.

Vulnerability is an absence and a presence: the absence of capability and the presence of susceptibility. If, in view of a threat to my person, I am not able to protect or defend myself, I am vulnerable; and if, in the light of an attempt at deception, I remain susceptible to being controlled or influenced unduly, I am vulnerable. To be vulnerable, then, is to be vulnerable to threat or deceit.

Unduly (adv.): to an undue degree (to a degree not authorized or justified)

In a way, we are all vulnerable by nature, whether we know this or not, and whether we care to know this or not, for who knows what threat lurks in the shadows of our dream worlds; who knows what deceit lies in wait as/when reproductive fitness favors deception over truth.

An absence of capability is registered in the gut, but only if it perceives a threat, whereas the presence of susceptibility is registered in the heart, but only if it can discern attempts at deception. It might be okay (acceptable) to be vulnerable if no threat is perceived by the gut, but it might not be okay (agreeable) to be vulnerable if an attempt at deception is registered by the heart.

In this situation, can I stand up in the face of a threat to my gut? Maybe. If no, I have reason to feel vulnerable. If yes, I have less reason to feel vulnerable, and here, one might argue that there is much to be said for feigning invulnerability, as we tend to attract what we are.

In this interaction, am I ready, willing, and able to stand up ~ align head, heart, and gut ~ in the face of a devious attempt to fool my heart? Maybe. If no, I have reason to feel vulnerable. If yes, I have less reason to feel vulnerable, and maybe reason to feign invulnerability.

In making these scenarios plain and obvious, it becomes evident that a threat to the gut alerts the heart to a potential for deception, whereas an attempt at fooling the heart opens up threats to the the gut, and the head can only do so much to rationalize such threats and attempts.

To be sure, this entangled existential coupling is a cold and sober reality, one that recalls the evolutionary burden of the human collective ~ a burden that has plagued humanity since the dawn of consensus reality ~ and one that lends perspective to the question that follows …

Am I vulnerable if I feel vulnerable? Here, matters are not so black and white as yes and no.

Yes, I am vulnerable if I have good reason to feel vulnerable. No, I am not vulnerable, or not so vulnerable, if I can play at being more or less vulnerable, or to play at being invulnerable; and maybe I am vulnerable if I feel vulnerable, even without a good reason for feeling so.

In relating to so many people unlike ourselves, whether such relating is done in view of others, it’s typically “masks all the way down.” Actually, even relating to those we think we know and like, whether such relating is done in view of others, it’s usually “masks all the way down.”

But what if I simply cannot pinpoint a good reason for feeling vulnerable? Am I vulnerable? In the absence of a good reason, one that would be acceptable and agreeable to authority or consensus reality, is it better to play at being more or less vulnerable, or not at all vulnerable?

In raising these questions, it becomes obvious why most people prefer to rely mostly on instinct and intuition in the face of real or apparent threats or in the face of real or perceived attempts at deception (sadly, not just in the face of such, but in anticipation of such), than to slog through any emotional process that would assign good reasons to why they feel what they feel.

Perhaps a fitness advantage accrues to those who do not insist on assigning good reasons to feelings of vulnerability. If so, what could it possibly mean to be oblivious to assigning good reasons for why we feel what we feel, especially as and when we feel vulnerable?

Instinct, Intuition, Insight, and … Reason?

Consider this declaration of personal sovereignty:


I am … invincible, yet vulnerable, appearing invulnerable

invincible: incapable of being overcome or subdued (absolute)
invulnerable: able to withstand being overcome or subdued (relative, situational)

Note the difference between invincible and invulnerable.

In light of this difference, the most impressive heroes in fiction are invincible, whereas the most impressive people in life appear infallible and invulnerable (not that they ever are), and so, if it’s your aim in life to be heroic, then it’s also your aim in life to come across as invincible.

But what about being vulnerable?

From an evolutionary point of view, vulnerability seems rather lowly by comparison. Think about this in first person for a moment: if I spend most if not all of my time dealing with real or perceived threats and deceptions like a ninja, am I going to have time to be vulnerable?

More to the point, would I ever wish to make time to be vulnerable?

Absent threat or deceit, wherein lies the value of being vulnerable?

Consider: at the core of who I am, I remain invincible in accordance with the first law of creation, as follows: I exist, and in some form, I will always exist, with this as a corollary: even if I lose this body or the use of this body, my spirit will exist, persist, and endure forever. Knowing this deep down inside, does it make it any sense to think about being vulnerable or invulnerable?

Consider: beyond the core of who I am, I am a spirit in human form, having a human experience with a whole lot of evolutionary baggage that engenders all manner of fear, which includes negotiating and navigating this duality in humanity: feeling vulnerable, appearing invulnerable.

If I allow myself to be vulnerable, is this an act of bravery or an act of stupidity?

Bravery is the face of invulnerability, a quality of the invincible spirit that enables it (alone) to face danger or pain without showing fear. Note well the qualification: without showing fear ~ not: without feeling fear. Fearlessness in the face of danger or pain is only ever apparent. And let us never forget that such danger or pain can be emotional, mental, spiritual, as well as physical.

But if I know deep down, without a doubt, that my spirit is invincible, why fear at all? Who am I without fear? Who am I without attachment to what I fear? For a spirit in human form having a human experience, life on Earth offers many catalysts for growth, and one need only peruse the following list of common fears to get a feeling for the nature and origin of these challenges:

* a fear of missing out and a fear of losing out
* a fear of overwhelm and a fear of underwhelm
* a fear of appearing weak and a fear of being weak

* a fear of too much success and a fear of too little success
* a fear of having too much and a fear of having too little
* a fear of causing trouble and a fear of becoming a burden

* a fear of appearing to cause trouble and a fear of being a burden
* a fear of being vulnerable and a fear of appearing invulnerable
* a fear of being entitled and a fear of being abandoned

* a fear of losing control and a fear of being controlled
* a fear of being neglected and a fear of being abused
* a fear of neglecting another and a fear of abusing another

* a fear of being rejected and a fear of being humiliated
* a fear of rejecting another and a fear of humiliating another
* a fear of becoming incapacitated and a fear of becoming terminally ill

* a fear of living an unfulfilled life and a fear of living an unfulfilled dream
* a fear of the unknown and a fear of the unknowable
* a fear of getting old and a fear of dying alone

If this list is anything to go by, one might wonder how it is that humanity has been able to survive this long. As problems the world over continue to mount, one might even wonder if humanity has a future that includes a decent quality of life. One might also wonder about the current quality of life on Earth for much of humanity, and whether it can be sustained, at least into the foreseeable future.

Some of these fears appear as fleeting as shooting stars; others feel much more entrenched. Some of these more entrenched fears might resolve with a change in circumstance, with new fears rising to take their place. Some of these fears are subject to emotional contagion.

In light of these fears, is it any wonder that the temptation to play it small or safe, in one way or another, is so strong? Is it any wonder that giving way to this temptation to play it small or safe comes with emotional attachments that make the webs of fate seem so sticky?

And then we wonder, as human lives shrink into playing it small or safe …

(1) why do we find it so hard to trust those who appear odd ~ or behave oddly?
(2) why do we find it so hard to deal with obsession, compulsion, or impulsivity?
(3) why do we find it so hard to cope with feeling tired, stressed, or burned out?
(4) why do we find it so hard to get up in the morning to do anything productive?
(5) why do we feel so disappointed, disheartened, or disillusioned by setbacks?

Entire stacks of volumes could be written about the sources and drivers of these tendencies. In point of fact, would these volumes, if written, not tell a complicated story of humanity weaving its very own karmic web of fateful consequence as it moves through space and time?

Is it any wonder that human doings have become so good at acting? Is it any wonder that human doings have become so good at appearing invulnerable? However, beneath the shiny plastic surfaces of pride, pretense, prejudice, and presumption, trouble continues to brew …

The trouble with mistrust is that it breeds ever more mistrust; the trouble with impulse control is that relatively few are the ways to channel the impulses; the trouble with low energy is that relatively many are the ways in which energy can be sapped or drained; the trouble with setbacks and letdowns is that they can’t be navigated with grace and ease without energy, focus, and trust.

Yes, of course, we do have options. At least some of us do. Collectively, the first step to freedom is a proclamation: “as a race, this is our challenge, and so we are well advised to prioritize and put our attention on doing this first ~ and then this, and then this, and then this.”

Easier said than done, as I’m sure you well know, but there it is.

The greater temptation, however, is to go it alone, to face palm a world full of troubles, trials, and tribulations, to appear invulnerable, all the while having to bear this state of being in human form called feeling vulnerable, that is, appearing invulnerable while feeling vulnerable.

I can be the invincible spirit that I am, going about my day oblivious to danger or pain, and then end up in a morgue the very next day, or, I can come to terms with feeling vulnerable in human form while being conscious and mindful of the common tendency to appear invulnerable.

You see, it’s not just about feeling deliciously or uncomfortably vulnerable in human form with an invincible spirit. It’s also about tapping this invincible spirit to dress up or down, donning all make and manner of masks to play and switch and drop our roles at breakneck speeds.

Is it really okay to be vulnerable? In the face of an actual threat, no, not acceptable. In the face of a deception that poses a threat? No, not agreeable. Not okay to be vulnerable. But is there nevertheless any value at all, in some other context, in being and feeling vulnerable?

In what way might it be valuable and desirable to be and feel vulnerable? Would it make any sense at all to speak of having a robust sense of vulnerability, one that remains resilient enough so as to prevail in the face of adversity, challenge, or difficulty? If so, how would this feel?

A Robust Sense of Vulnerability?

Consider this expanded version of my initial statement of personal sovereignty:


I am … invincible, yet fallible and vulnerable, appearing infallible and invulnerable.

invincible: incapable of being overcome or subdued (absolute)
infallible: incapable of failure or error (absolute)
invulnerable: able to withstand being overcome or subdued (relative, situational)

As a spirit, I am invincible. As a spirit in human form, I am fallible and vulnerable ~ capable of failure and error, capable of being overcome or subdued, and yet …, as a spirit in human form, in any position of authority, I must be capable of appearing infallible and invulnerable.

There’s no way around this, if I am to be taken seriously in a position of authority, and so, in light of this evolutionary imperative, in what way might it be valuable and desirable to be and feel vulnerable?

Let’s put it this way: can a human male in any position of authority afford to be and feel fallible and vulnerable even for a moment? Can a father appear weak to his children without question or consequence? Can a husband appear weak to his wife without question or consequence?

Can a human male in any leadership position, in any position of authority, afford to appear weak to his flock or followers without question or consequence? In what way, and in what role, if any, might it be okay (acceptable, agreeable) for a human male to be and feel vulnerable?

There’s no way that a male in a position of authority, or a male who aspires to a position of authority, can risk appearing fallible and vulnerable for very long, but is there nevertheless some way in which it might be valuable and desirable for such a male to be and feel vulnerable?

Maybe.

Maybe if he finds himself in a position of trust, but then, such positions have traditionally been reserved for the female. This, however, is the question: is there any way at all in which it might be valuable and desirable for males in positions of authority to be and feel vulnerable?

And let’s not be too quick to exclude females from this line of questioning: is there a way in which it might be valuable and desirable for females in positions of authority to be and feel vulnerable? And, extending this further, for anyone in a position of authority to be and feel vulnerable?

Certainly, there are justifiable moments, in any position of authority, to give the appearance of being and feeling vulnerable, but again, the question is: is there any way in which it might be valuable and desirable for anyone in a position of authority to be and feel vulnerable?

And the answer, of course, is no, absolutely not. Not now, not ever. For authorities to be trusted without question, said authorities, regardless of gender, must be capable of appearing infallible and invulnerable. Otherwise, credibility and credentials must be called into question.

But let’s not stop there.

Can someone in a position of authority take off the masks of infallibility and invulnerability when they get home? Not if they have a spouse to support and children to feed. But surely, there must be some way in which an authority figure can be, feel, and express vulnerability without consequence in the home, yes? To be clear, we’re not talking about the freedom to appear fallible and vulnerable.

That’s easy. Almost anyone can do that; almost anyone can play the part.

Now, if there’s no room for those in positions of authority to be and feel vulnerable in societies led and run by said authorities, where does that leave the rest of society ~ that is, those in positions of trust and support. Can they be permitted to have the freedom to be fallible and express vulnerability without question or consequence? The answer, again, unfortunately, is no, absolutely not.

Why? Because this freedom would indirectly undermine or undercut those in positions of authority.

Yet, those in positions of authority (no less) tell us that vulnerability is where love, a sense of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity are born. Also, without being and feeling vulnerable in the real, how could one possibly know where and when to appear invulnerable?

So, yes, being and feeling vulnerable do appear to offer some value, not only for those who appear invulnerable, but those who would be and feel vulnerable for the sake of humanity by way of love, a sense of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It’s just that no one in this emotionally tight world can do this openly, or do this openly for long, without question or consequence.

So, yes, behind a veil of shame, it would seem that vulnerability brings some measure of value.

Might it be possible to eliminate any and all positions of authority and replace them with consensus? As far as those in positions of authority are concerned, they know all too well that this has been tried (or is being tried), and it didn’t work out so well (or isn’t working out so well).

Besides, those in positions of authority, if they have been able to acquire and sustain them, are mostly comfortable remaining there. For them, toggling between being and feeling vulnerable (in secret) and appearing infallible and invulnerable has become almost second nature.

But what about the rest of us, those who find value in being fallible and vulnerable, who enjoy the sense of discovery that comes with having a beginner’s mind and a heart open to novel and varied exploration and expression? What about us? Do we have a say in how things go?

Maybe, and if yes, only up to a point, and so, do we dare push past this point? And if so, how?

Word on the street has it that no one can be trusted; the only one you can trust is yourself, and even here, this is never assured in a world of constant change teetering on the brink with so much uncertainty, as those in authority simply cannot afford to let their guards down.

In such a world, is there any room for simplicity and sensitivity ~ for fallibility and vulnerability?

Again …

In what way might it be valuable and desirable to be and feel vulnerable? Would it make any sense at all to speak of having a robust sense of vulnerability, one that remains resilient enough so as to prevail in the face of adversity, challenge, or difficulty? If so, how would this feel?

As a vital lifeline of reference, let us recall that …


vulnerability is where love, a sense of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity are born

If those in positions of authority are too busy appearing infallible and invulnerable, and if no one on the mean streets can be trusted, and if the very culture itself is bent on broadcasting infallibility through the media, invulnerability in fashion, invincibility in sport (to name but a few), what hope is there is for vulnerability born of love, a sense of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity?

The answer is obvious ~ not much, if any ~ but is there a way to navigate through a civilization that insists on breeding and raising would-be androids living under the protective armor of infallibility, invulnerability, and invincibility, while they tighten up and close down emotionally?

Maybe.

Let’s find out, shall we?

A Picture of Vulnerability?

What follows is a modest attempt to paint a picture of vulnerability with broad brushstrokes, to envision the presence, promise, purpose, and power of vulnerability at the heart of soul for the sake of spirit.

Let’s start here: why would anyone in this all-too-cynical world tighten up and close down emotionally behind an increasingly rigid mask of infallibility and invulnerability? Certainly, trust is at issue here, but who are they not trusting? What are they not trusting? Any ideas?

We have heard it said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. If this is true, then whose intentions can we trust? Might we also stoop so low as to say that the road to Hell is paved with good judgments? If goodness cannot be trusted, then what, if anything, can?

If one concedes that to err is human, to forgive divine, then, in a sense, no one can be trusted absolutely, everywhere and everywhen with everyone, not even ourselves, and there is a very real sense where there is absolutely no shame in admitting or conceding this premise.

If no one can be trusted absolutely, but only relatively, that’s a lot of energy devoted to acting as if one can be trusted, especially in light of the fact that acting on the surface takes its toll, correlated with burnout, lower job satisfaction, as well as increases in anxiety and depression.

Might this world, for all sorts of reasons, be laboring under a crisis of trust? If so, what to do?

Who to be?

Vulnerable?

Vulnerability is where love, a sense of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity are born. Mothers the world over know what this sort of birth requires, but as birth rates the world over plummet, so too do primal opportunities to care about love, a sense of belonging, and joy.

Without such opportunities, why exercise courage, empathy, and creativity at all?

The solution for many, in the face of declining birth rates, whether they know this or not, whether they care to know this or not, is to start by seeking and finding their own love, sense of belonging, and joy with and within themselves, allowing ample time and space for all three.

In so doing, we now have as many senses of entitlement in this world as we do individuals ready, willing, and able to be so entitled. In general terms, then, how would such a sense of entitlement look and feel?

Well, for one, it would involve having a robust sense of vulnerability, one that is resilient enough to face adversity, challenge, or difficulty, and for two, it would involve many subcultures of entitlement devoted to lending support to all sorts of people to feel a sense of vulnerability.

But how would this feel? In a word? Edgy.

Now let’s bring out the canvas, tools, brushes, and paints to see why.

Cultivating and preserving a robust sense of fallibility and vulnerability …

1) requires awareness to exercise sensitivity vis à vis susceptibility

Note these distinctions between sensitive and susceptible in tandem:


sensitive: readily affected; willingly affected; easily affected emotionally

susceptible: yields readily; yields willingly; easily impressed emotionally

I invite you to chew on these distinctions for a while with a view towards giving yourself permission to feel and to be vulnerable for the sake of love, a sense of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity, while taking note of how quickly sensitivity can morph into susceptibility. In my experience with the stream of humanity, I walked a mighty fine line between sensitivity and susceptibility.

2) requires a beginner’s mind to face uncertainty in response to change

A beginner’s mind is usefully described as the attitude of being open to learning what is new and different, of wearing the vest of expectations lightly, of seeing the world through fresh eyes with few if any preconceived notions. Such a mind is receptive, flexible, and adaptable.

Such a mind can deal with the uncertainty of sudden or constant change fallibly and vulnerably, while giving the appearance of infallibility and invulnerability their due as and when they seem called for in those situations or interactions that seem to require such an appearance.

3) requires a store of wisdom to tap and tune invincibility with vulnerability

Recall the expanded, revised statement of personal sovereignty offered above:

I am … invincible, yet fallible and vulnerable, appearing infallible and invulnerable.

Each is a spirit with a mind tapped and tuned into a heart and soul behind a persona ~ an invincible spirit with a fallible mind tapped and tuned into a vulnerable heart and soul behind a robust persona that must always appear infallible and invulnerable if it is to be taken seriously.

Not unlike a tooth with its (invincible) root, its (vulnerable) pulp, and its (invulnerable) enamel, one remain open to being fallible and vulnerable at the heart of soul with the assurance of an invincible spirit, navigating a course in life behind a mask that is by turns flexible and inflexible.

4) requires understanding of the following main throughways of choice in life

The main throughways of choice in life can be usefully distinguished in tandem:


STO: evoke, offer, advocate / persuade, encourage, accept / influence, support

STS: provoke, tempt, obligate / deceive, seduce, control / manipulate and exploit

Legend: where STO = service to other, 51%+, and STS = service to self, 95%+

Q: are all acts of service created equal? or are some more significant than others?

Q: how many acts of STO are required to compensate for one serious act of STS?
Q: how many acts of STS are required to compensate for one serious act of STO?

Q: how might I serve myself by not serving myself?
Q: how might I serve others by not serving others?

Reference: Let’s Be Clear About Service

A willingness to be fallible in the midst of uncertainty dovetails nicely with an orientation of being in service to other. Such willingness helps to loosen any grip within the persona to appear infallible through an obsessive or compulsive need to know, lust to know, or right to know.

A willingness to be vulnerable in the midst of change also dovetails with an orientation of being in service to other. Such a willingness helps to loosen any grip inside the persona to appear invulnerable with an obsessive or compulsive need to have, lust to have, or right to have.

Overall, such willingness transmutes judgmental energy into preferential energy.

The ultimate aim of someone in service to self is to crystalize a veneer of infallibility and invulnerability with an impregnable, indomitable sense of invincibility through manipulating and exploiting others into giving what is required and desired as and when it is required and desired.

The ultimate aim of someone in service to other is to remain open to the mystery of being on the way to becoming, which entails preserving a sense of fallibility and vulnerability in keeping with a sense of invincibility while lending support to others in ways that remain influential.

5) requires affiliation with a subculture that favors a robust sense of vulnerability

A valuable, meaningful subcultural affiliation need not be formal, nor does it need to be interpersonal. One can affiliate from afar, so to speak; one can come into relationship with any number of subcultural movements that complement or supplement values, aims, and interests.

Having strong role models through affiliation, formal or informal, interpersonal or transpersonal, who can demonstrate an adaptable sense of invulnerability with a flexible sense of infallibility is a requirement for those looking to secure a robust sense of fallibility and vulnerability.

6) requires a careful consideration of invisible forces and influences

People often do things for no apparent reason; they also do things for which they themselves can find no good reason, telling others: “I don’t know what came over me; I wasn’t myself when I did this” or “I had a dream where I was on the outside looking in; this was not my dream.”

Am I vulnerable if I feel vulnerable? What does it mean to be vulnerable?

The reason these two questions are so fundamental to having a sense of vulnerability is this: I might be vulnerable if I feel vulnerable, but it isn’t always apparent to the mind if fear is being projected by the imagination or by something else, something deep, dark, and sinister.

Be this as it may, personal sovereignty is by no means a cakewalk.

7) requires a remembrance of the taijitu of vincibility and invincibility

the taijituThe feminine dimension in life and love has, traditionally, and perhaps most naturally, been associated with receptivity to chaos, alerting the masculine propensity to seek and find, have and keep, order, constancy, and stability in its partnerships, families, and communities.

Ordo ab chao: where chaos (chao) is a dark potential for bringing a new or renewed order (ordo), order itself is a container for absorbing the energy of chaos to craft a new or renewed order. In the midst of chaos, there is always a seed to be planted for a new or renewed order. By contrast, there is always a potentially renewing seed of chaos lying dormant in the midst of perfect order.

By way of analogy, the masculine push to appear infallible and invulnerable, to the point of being invincible, being allied as it is with perfect order, is a vibratory match for the feminine pull of vincibility to appear fallible and vulnerable as fair warning for any impending chaos.

The taijitu can apply to the complementary polarities of fallible and infallible, vulnerable and invulnerable, as much as it does to vincible and invincible. This is why a robust sense of vulnerability can feel so edgy, and why a growing sense of invincibility can feel so vulnerable.

Is it okay to be vulnerable? In this world, at this time, the answer is complex, and potentially complicated: no, yes, maybe; it depends. It very much depends on who you are, what you have, where you are, why you do what you do, how you go about your day, and with whom.

Many of us already know this, but it’s nevertheless a vital matter to clarify and elaborate.

A Polished View of Vulnerability

In my view, the gems that I found in this excavation can be polished as follows …

Remaining open to being and feeling fallible (flexible) and vulnerable (adaptable) in any flux of order and chaos dovetails with service, serving to loosen any grip on appearing infallible and invulnerable with a need to know or have, a lust to know or have, or a right to know or have.

Such willingness transmutes the energy of judgment into the energy of preference.

The ultimate aim of those acting in service to others is to remain open to the mystery of being on the way to becoming, while preserving a sense of fallibility and vulnerability in keeping with a sense of invincibility that extends support to others in ways that remain influential.

The invincible taproot of spirit forms and feeds the vulnerable heart of soul while spreading its roots; the vulnerable heart of soul carries a vitality of spirit to the crown of sovereignty, through which the meditative mind can remain a witness to the organic growth of its heart.

This quality and vitality of being is indispensable for approaching and dispatching the monumental task of exposing and disclosing the real reasons why humanity has made such a mess of its story, and why humanity is likely to continue making such a mess of its story.