Vulnerability by Rabiem22
Vulnerability by Rabiem22

The third chakra or power center in our upper belly shows up in several ways.

In the first style, it operates in a mode of forced protection. We seek to control, to influence others, to compete or dominate, to get what I want, to be the fittest, and so forth. We grasp at what we want and resist and suppress what we don’t want.

In the second style, we fall into a more passive protection. We feel powerless, submissive, and have difficulty making choices. We seek others to help us but they are often the first type who victimize us instead. This type resists and suppresses more.

Both styles drive suffering rather than protection. Resistance to our experience amplifies what we don’t want. And it creates unresolved experiences that burden our system. Yet because we know nothing else, we resist away.

There is another style unfamiliar to many people. This is a mode of openness. Openness requires inner balance and integrity, with sufficient trust and vulnerability.

Counter-intuitively, if we’re open, we become transparent energetically and any attempt to control or attack us on that level just dissipates.

More significantly, when we step out of defense, it allows us to tune into the flows of nature and gain access to universal power. This is far greater than throwing our personal weight around. The power of the universe fills our sails. No force required.

But this requires healing. Opening ourselves up when we’re still feeling defensive just creates another conflict. We need to wind down our points of reactivity so we can open without jumping into defense.

Are you willing to be truly seen, to be honest, to be humble?

The third chakra is also the ground of clairsentience, also known as gut feelings. This becomes available when this arena opens. Unlike the more subtle intuition, the gut is attuned to our personal life.

The vulnerability of surrender can be especially challenging for men. We’re taught to be “strong” and not show weakness. “Real men don’t cry.” And yet that strength is just physical. That power depends on others being weaker rather than true inner strength.

Most of us have energetic connections to subtle protectionist structures. We’re wired into that mode of being. It ties us to the wheel of karma also, unable to escape the flow of unresolved experiences back into our life. Yet when we defend against these experiences, they cycle back again.

To be vulnerable in the face of others pain, we want to be grounded in unchanging being. Then we have the rock within. As the Bhagavad Gita (2:23) puts it, “Weapons cannot cleave him, nor fire burn him; water cannot wet him, nor wind dry him away.”

Vulnerability is where true strength lies.

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  1. K

    I agree with everything you say. I was in the first mode and needed to control (not so much other people but outcomes and impressions). So I would double check everything and be hypervigilant and try to do everything myself. I also spent time in the second mode. Now I am more open – I do not feel vulnerable though – I did feel vulnerable in the first two states. Now when I express the truth – I understand that people may form an impression of me good or bad. I do not need to control that impression. So I don’t need to do as much impression and outcome management and am just able to say the truth. So if I am afraid someone many mess up something on my project – instead of worrying and contorting and trying to do it myself – I am able to express that I am worried that they may do things incorrectly. So state the truth without fear of consequences. And also I don’t see things as consequences – it is just flow to the next step. Sometimes I find myself thinking “from hope and fear set free”. I read that phrase as a child and it stuck with me. Not fully there but I know what it feels like.

    1. Hi K
      OK – I guess we have different values of “vulnerable” here. There is a vulnerable related to fear, of being exposed, losing control, etc. And there is a vulnerable related to courage, a willingness to be seen, releasing control, etc. The second can cause fear, such as the start of a new intimate relationship. But it’s not driven by fear. The first is. It’s a good point.
      We could say one is a contraction, the other an opening.
      And yeah, you can’t control others impressions of you, no matter how hard you try. They have their own weight of life experiences, notions, and contractions they process the world with. It’s not personal. All you can do is your best.
      We’re all works in progress. 🙂

  2. herwig

    “We’re all works in progress.”

    I have had this only recently with my (adult) son. All the ancient shit boilt up that a father and son can assemble in decades. Yesterday I decided to drop the draw bridge and stop trying to convince him. After that everything relaxed.

    I do have a lot of experience though with this kind of thing, was a vocational high school teacher for 30 years (like “Teacher Man” by Frank McCourt, if you know what I mean).
    However it is still hard work sometimes. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Literally. It requires energy. Opening up and healing simultaneously.

    Roller-coaster ride. Great fun and horror close together.

    Have a nice day.

    Excellent timing of this post. 😉

    1. Hi Herwig
      Yes, it’s remarkable how relationships can change when we stop trying to control them. So often, we have a program running we’re not even conscious of. We step into the role the story demands and they react accordingly. We play roles instead of relating.
      Sometimes, when we stop there is great relief and a more direct relationship can unfold. But occasionally, someone is very committed to their role and balks when we change.
      Family members can be the most challenging as the habits run deep and long. But it’s such a relief when we put down the masks.
      We so want kids not to make the same mistakes we did or to follow a good path. But really all we can do is be there for them and offer advice when (rarely) requested. They learn much more from how we are than what we say. 🙂
      I don’t envy you your role. But teachers do occasionally make a huge impact on someones life. Help make something happen, open doors they didn’t see, etc.
      You’re welcome. 🙂

      1. herwig

        Thank you.

        I am retired now. Vanaprastha on a quiiet island. Between mountains,forest and the Atlantic. All’s well. The son is a PhD and researcher.
        But we still have our little quarrels online.
        I get surprised at myself how quickly one falls back into old pattern even though I am aware of them.
        I always find my way back to the Self, but it is the lack of patience that makes it difficult.
        As you say, “offer advice when (rarely) requested”.

        And only when requested.

        I watched this one yesterday:

        It always works with me. I’m sure you know it. Sound quality coud be better, but it is wonderful.

        Let Mother do the job.
        Thanks for the answer.

        1. Nice, Herwig
          I’m in a river valley on an island in the Pacific.
          Yes, the programs run from the subconscious which is much faster and more automatic than the conscious mind. Often, they kick in before we even notice.
          Thanks. Yes, I heard it some time ago.

  3. Jim

    Good stuff – Thanks, David! Yes, the dynamic between vulnerability and personal expression is fascinating, vexing, and satisfying at the same time.
    “There is a vulnerable related to fear, of being exposed, losing control, etc. And there is a vulnerable related to courage, a willingness to be seen, releasing control, etc. The second can cause fear, such as the start of a new intimate relationship. But it’s not driven by fear. The first is.”
    Yep. So true.

  4. It’s also worth noting that the third chakra is strongly associated with digestion and through that, body health.
    Element fire = Agni, the digestive fire.
    Further, this digestion is not just food but includes emotions and thoughts.

  5. This touched me. The last year or so, I’ve begun to revisit embracing my masculinity. I’ve previously “rejected it” due to not having a lot of trust and respect for the father figures in my life, a mother who was a “woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle t-shirt wearer” hence I wanted to be … something else… But the complication has been that I’m always trying to be the rock, the oak in the wind now, and holy mackeral, it’s exhausting. I’ve got ADHD and one of the ways this manifests itself with me is by “vomiting” how I feel in the moment. The benefit is that I’m 53 and never been angry at anyone more than an hour. (I’m sure that’s an exaggeration but not by much!).

    But this particular article brought me back to my Neale Donald Walsh & Deepak Chopra reading days. Surrendering…allowing. I then connected it with something that Zan Perrion (an author) said, “Being vulnerable is actually very masculine. You’re saying that “Hey, I’m 100% confident in myself, secure. I am willing put myself out there, weaknesses and all, and say, ‘Hey, take me or leave me. I don’t care.'”

    And so my dance continues, as I misinterpret, grapple with, then finally “allow” the lessons to sink in. I did write a brief “blessing” based on the lesson in your article (I hope I got it right!)

    “May your heart always be in such a state that God’s breath can fill your sails…”

    1. Hi Ken
      I have another article coming up that touches on a few of these points. While the “unbalanced” masculine has been fading, it’s taking the roles and patterns with it. That’s a good thing but what replaces it? What is appropriate now?
      (laughs) Yeah, I had a strong provider meme. It can be an attempt to prop up our sense of worthiness, as Brene explores in the video in the opening comment. (Top 5 on TED for popularity, which gives you an idea of how common this is.)
      On anger, it’s useful to understand that if we allow a rising emotion and let it fully express and be digested, it will come and fade. It’s complete. But often, especially with “spiritual” people, anger fades as it’s suppressed. It’s not completing, it’s adding to the pile. That leads to outbursts, health problems and other side effects of repression.
      And yes on vulnerability being masculine – and attractive as a woman can connect with us. But I’d beware of 100% anything. Self-accepting does mean allowing ourselves as we are. But it also means realizing we’re not 100%. We just have to be enough to put ourselves out there.
      🙂 It’s your blessing so of course it’s right. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Jim

    “Further, this digestion is not just food but includes emotions and thoughts.”

    Yep, and in time as our identity parameters change, not just our own. I eat a lot of different stuff. 🙂

  7. A comment on the topic from Dorothy Rowe:
    “Under the right circumstances, vulnerability helps one to feel deeply and to refine awareness. However, vulnerability without a foundation of inner strength and stability acts like a magnet for abusive and exploitative energies in the environment.”

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