To Be Open, Or Not To Be Open?

Vulnerability.  A client posed the question to me recently around the idea of connection and openness.  She asked if it wise to always be open, to always be connected to those around us?  She felt that there was a safety issue at hand and that always remaining open may lead us into places that we can be emotionally hurt.

In considering this question, I had to look at what this idea of safety really means to me.  Safety feels to me to be a place where I’m protected from potential hurt, pain and the unknown.  Safety is a place of predictability, reliability and security.  It’s a sanctuary or refuge for us. 

How dreadfully boring. 

I’m sure you can imagine all the stock quotes around living life fearlessly, taking risks, going boldly forth and so on.  Well, I feel that there’s great wisdom in these clichés about moving beyond safety into the realms of unpredictability, novelty and potentially pain. 

Growth tends to happen in this space outside of our comfort zone, outside of our security and safety.  And to me, growth is the name of the game.  If there’s not some form of learning, growing or understanding being attained then entropy begins to accelerate in all levels of our being and we’ll grow old, in body and mind. 

Show me a person without purpose, without desire, without curiosity, and I’ll show you a dying person. 

When we heed the deeper calling of our hearts and not the safety craving, controlling aspects of mind, then we may be inevitably led to the very lessons that will hold the greatest opportunities for growth.  And yes, this may be an unsafe, potentially painful lesson. 

When we are open and vulnerable, we are effectively keeping the inner doors to our very own heart open so that we can have access to the deeper truths that reside within. 

Another important consideration is who are we remaining open and vulnerable for?  Is it for our loved ones?  Our friends? Our community?  I believe it is primarily for ourself. 

The assertion that we are being open for the benefit of those around us deprives us of the journey into accepting and loving ourselves.  I believe that we can only be as open and vulnerable with others to the very degree that we are open and vulnerable with our own self.  Our intimacy with our own heart, our acceptance and love for that precious being that is 'me', is the exact measure of our capacity to love and accept others.  It is the gauge as to how intimate we can be with the world.   

Being truly open and connected all the time is a call to action to embrace our fears of the unknown, our inner shadows and the risk of hurt and/or harm.  It’s a call to action to a deeper level of surrender, to an aspect of our self that holds wisdom and knowing that is beyond our egoic mind’s capacity to understand. 

It is the journey into the hidden secrets of you. 

This is not a practice for the timid and weak of heart.  Just sayin’.