A video worth watching – This is a report on some thought provoking research – listed as one of the top 20 on TED TALKS.  Vulnerability and  shame go hand in hand common to all humans. An exception to this is those pathological states where the damage is so great that it destroys a sense of vulnerability/shame.  The consequence of such pathologies is  a total inability to have compassion.  Whole-hearted, connecting well  humans have embraced their  personal vulnerability/shame.  This  embracing of our humanness and the imperfection of our children is  the first and primary requirement for healthy connection with others  and a sense of living well.

Dysfunctional individuals spend a life time guarding against  vulnerability through various devious devices.  Such things as  religion, addictions, obsessions etc are some of the barriers or  guards humanity uses to deal with and try to destroy a sense of vulnerability.


An  illustration of vulnerability and its use of fundamentalism as a barrier to living in a way that makes peace with vulnerability. A point here taken one step further – fundamentalism is to say “NO” to life.

The fundamentalist mindset reminds me of the health reform advocate who said, “I will stick to my health reform principles even if they kill me.”

In real life I have found that the most frustrating forms of fundamentalism exists with government bureaucrats, especially the ones in local councils where I have had quite a bit of experience.

I wonder whether the main thing that motives the bureaucrat (especially those in the planning/development department) are most motivated by the safety principle of reluctance to approve anything unless they can help it due to the fear that if anything goes wrong, they will be blamed for approving it – so the safest thing to do is to keep saying N0  if there is the slightest reason for saying No.  Or is it because psychologically speaking the man who says NON ( like de Gaulle when he refused Great Britain’s entry into Europe) is considered more powerful that the man who says Yes.  It is the weak person who says Yes; but the stronger person says No.   It struck me that the greatest vulnerability is that of the ultimate good.  Through incarnation in the human race the great mind of the universe took on vulnerability on an infinite scale.

It stands that God hid his might in vulnerability in the swaddling clothes of infants, his greatness in weakness, his all wisdom in ignorance, his power in fragility, his eternity in corruptibility and infinity in the finite.  What picture of vulnerability could be greater than that?  In his image we hold “this treasure” in earthen vessels, the consciousness of the mind beyond all minds enters meat.  Therefore it follows that God lives with ultimate vulnerability and so must we. This I see as the paradox; in accepting that this is our human condition we overcome the fear of vulnerability (the fear of death). In the same way the law is a jailer that locks us up to bondage (Paul) is nullified by a free mode of living (Jesus), vulnerability becomes impotent by appreciating its origin and as Hank and Wendell have said, to recognize it for what it is and live in a mode of freedom, a freedom that is claimed by kicking against the pricks of vulnerability which is the struggle that each human infant is wired for. Or the struggle that each human infant is enabled by the incarnation of the ultimate consciousness. The non-human animal has no such struggle, no guilt, no free options to be more than instinct permits.  Death must be the ultimate vulnerability and the embracing of it brings an end to all vulnerability or separation.

Henry Hasse (Dec 4, 2014)

Wondering if our feelings of vulnerability have been imposed upon us by the barriers of religion, education, society, and family.  Are the results of such value impositions fear and shame?  And are our fears and feelings of shame really authentic?  Or are they false feelings holding us back from developing into better humans?

Bottom line, do our feelings of vulnerability and shame for not “measuring up” to the expectations of others keep us from accepting and loving ourselves? And if we cannot accept and love ourselves, how is it possible to accept and love others?

Is not our real purpose in life to become wholesome individuals who eventually mirror our Creator?

If so, then the barriers mentioned above have it all wrong! We did NOT fall from a perfect state, nor are we headed for punishment and destruction. And there never was any need for an atonement that must be believed in order to be saved from a delusional destruction.

Things are not getting worse. Things are getting better as rational intelligence continues to develop within humanity and as false value impositions are questioned and discarded.  Fears and vulnerability/shame are beginning to be seen as hindrances to humane advancement.

We are beginning to learn that we are “stardust” and will eventually return to another realm of existence . We have an inner consciousness that cannot be destroyed because it is part of an eternal vision!  And that comforting knowledge will have a positive effect on our existence within humanity here and now.

So live, love, and laugh at vulnerability/shame! And fear not! Clear your mind for creativity! Your accomplishments can be limitless! Enjoy this life of yours in spite of your mistakes, challenges, and even suffering and pain which are all meant to be learning experiences to help you grow into a better person that others will take notice of and learn from.

Robert D. Brinsmead

Related to vulnerability and shame and fear is the fear of failure, and this causes us to act like the fellow in the parable who went and buried his talent in the ground for fear of losing what he had. Too many of us humans are like the old Scotch divine who prayed as he thought about theology, Lord don’t let me come to any wrong conclusions because you know that if I do, I will never change my mind.”  Sometimes it helps to poke fun at our fear of stepping out into the great blue yonder.  Of course we will make mistakes.  Of course we will run up some dry gullies. We must dare to challenge our own assumptions. We must dare to blaspheme and dare to be free.