Shining your light or being vulnerable?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
This powerful quote often attributed to Nelson Mandela is actually from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love. It speaks volumes to the title of this blog.
The question of ‘Shining your light or being vulnerable?’ comes up a lot in personal spiritual growth.
Much is said about the need to accept vulnerability, to let it show and being comfortable with that.
Today, quite unexpectedly, the name Monica Lewinsky appeared in my consciousness. It was a surprise and when I get these awarenesses I’ve learnt to listen. Something was brewing and then zing I opened an email referencing a very recent talk on TED www.ted.com (Ideas Worth Spreading) from Monica. I was hooked. There was a message here to be listened to.
It is well worth listening to Monica’s talk and you can do so here. Her central message was this: You can survive your past indeed:
You can insist on a different ending to your story!
Perhaps hers is one of the most powerful cases of personal vulnerability that is in the world’s consciousness not only because of the protagonists in the story but also because it was the first example of the internet viral sharing of the story ahead of traditional news outlets. What Monica was then subjected to was a media and social media frenzy of judgement without any defence or jury. It’s a matter of record she was tried and judged many times.
Yet now she speaks out and shares the message above.
Who hasn’t made a mistake they regret? Who hasn’t got a private fear that makes them feel vulnerable. Who hasn’t been judged at some point in time?
Was Monica showing her vulnerability in this talk? Yes and No.
Yes in the sense that it’s easy to see she, more than most, would understandably have much to feel vulnerable about given the treatment she received back in 1998 and no doubt a good bit since.
No in that it is absolutely clear that it took tremendous courage and strength to stand in front of the worldwide TED forum and deliver her message.
How can these polar opposites exist in the same space? In truth they don’t. What was allowing this event to unfold was a deeper strength that is more far more powerful than any vulnerability based on fear.
It was, in truth, her inner light. She had made the conscious choice to let it shine and share a powerful message.
“You can insist on a different ending to your story!”
Yes you can!
She received a standing ovation. Perfect.
You are NOT YOUR STORY.
Monica, in her own words, is not who she was back in 1998. None of us are.
Does Marianne’s quote apply any less or more to Monica? Does it apply any more or less to you? How could it? It just does not make sense when looked at in that profound light. That light from which we all emerged.
It is clear it applies equally to all. It just resonates truth.
If you identify with your story. You will suffer no matter how good or bad it is. You will be vulnerable. Take a closer look at any person traditionally classified as ‘successful’ in the world and you will see they have all suffered. Suffered to get where they are, suffered where they are, suffered to stay there, suffered if it comes to an abrupt ending.
It’s the same for all us. The Buddha said life is suffering. What he meant was this: suffering comes from identification in life with something less than the truth of who we are (see my blog: A case of mistaken identity.) When you release the identification the suffering melts and your truth shines.
Vulnerability or the idea of it comes from identification with something less than the truth or totality of you. Your past, your body, your job, your status, your salary, your house, your car – the list is endless. These are all ‘temporal’ and temporary things.
What you are though, in truth, is permanent, powerful and everlasting.
You are child of the Universe/God expressing yourself in human form. The form is not you. It is a beautiful vehicle you have been given to experience life in the physical. (See my blog: “We are children of the Ocean.”)
When you go about shining your light you may find some fear or vulnerability surfaces. You may well be judged too.
Why does the fear surface? Because you are still identified with it. You can, however, take it as a positive message from the Universe, look it in the face and let go of it. Just like Monica!
You will get a standing ovation from the Universe!
One step into your light is one massive invitation to the light in you to shine through you more brightly. The more you do it the more the identification melts and the light shines ever more brightly. This is how it works.
Eventually the vulnerability melts and you are in your full spiritual power. Then there are no questions only your TRUTH SHINING ALL AROUND.
It is as Marianne puts it:
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.