Sally Durgananda Kempton on In/Vulnerability


The most open person I have ever met was my teacher, Swami Muktananda. When you looked into his eyes, you seemed to meet no barriers at all; he would meet you at the deepest place you were willing to go. At the same time, I’ve never met anyone with such strong boundaries and such a take-no-prisoners attitude toward challenging situations. He embodied the lines of the 17th-century poet-saint Tukaram Maharaj: “We servants of God are softer than butter, but we can cut diamond.” His softness, paradoxically, was made possible by his hardness. The energetic strength he had attained through yogic discipline and his skill at containing his energies and turning them inward had created a vessel of absolute protection.

The spiritual journey often looks like a dance between the two distinct poles of vulnerability and boundaries. It’s a continuing dialogue between the impulse to soften and open and the impulse to contain and protect. The two apparent opposites turn out to be equal partners in the process of embodying spirit and heart.

As you surrender to the radical openness of your divine Self, as you settle into the openness that you might experience through meditation, or through opening to nature, or through an acute recognition of the pain in the world, you start to discover that this open spaciousness is invulnerable. Nothing can touch or take away the spaciousness that is most deeply you, just as nothing can take away the love that comes from those depths. So, by reclaiming and occupying your vulnerability, by letting yourself truly feel it, going down to the depths of it, you come to the place where you are truly invulnerable.

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