“There is freedom on sharing my true self to people”.
I have always thought this statement was not possibly in real life; being vulnerable to others was a very scary thing to do because I would be exposing myself to be rejected, ridiculed or criticized. It was better to be living under the covers of pretension that trying to uncover myself to the killing eyes of the people around me. Different masks became my lifestyle, but the fear to be uncovered was always there. But now everything has changed, I have been able to open up and show my true self to the people around me. For some, this true is so hard to accept because it conflicts with their dogmas and beliefs, and I know I can not convince them otherwise. I know they still love me, but they can not see beyond what they have believed for many years. Yesterday I had the opportunity to practice vulnerability with a good friend that went away from a year and is back in Cookevile. I spent 3 hours talking, undressing my heart and showing her every detail of my life; there were moments full of surprises, a couple of laughs, even some tears started to show off in the corner of her eyes. At the end, and after words were shared, I really sensed that our friendship grew stronger because I was able to show her the meaning of my true freedom. Thich Nhat Hanh the acclaimed Buddhist teacher and poet in his book No Death, No Fear says: “Freedom is above all else freedom from our own notions and concepts. If we get caught in our notions and concepts, we can make ourselves suffer and we can also make those we love suffer.” I also know that my friend was able to liberate herself of any preconceived notion of the subject we discussed and in a sense; she also found the freedom to be herself. For some being vulnerable is a threat, for me, I would like to be a lifestyle; because by the way, it is not what we do, but who we are. An international student told me a good story that I would like to share with you:
“There was in a small town two people. One was a man of god who prayed all the time, in all places, and who he considered himself a true follower of the rules to become a godly man. The second one was a married man who was unfaithful to his wife, an adulterous. The godly man kept praying all his life, while the other man kept being unfaithful to his wife. When death was approaching to both men, the godly man kept praying every hour, every day until he died. The unfaithful man realized of the wrong things he did in life and decided to give away all his possessions to people in need. When they arrived before God, the prayerful man was send to eternal damnation while the unfaithful one was send to paradise. The prayerful man got really upset and started to question god about his decision. He could not believe that he prayed all his life and he was not sent to heaven, while the ugly one, the one who did a terrible life was in heaven? God said to him: all your life you lived for yourself and you died. This unfaithful man lived also for himself but at the end he realized of his selfishness and gave all his possessions to the needy.”
He ended the story, while smoking a cigarette, saying that we needed to have a good heart and good mind. You know,I could do so many stuff to be good, I could go and pray all day so I could feel closer to god, I could read all holly books, all anointing prayers, and sing only songs for my god. I can show the world that I am a godly man but still not having a good heart and mind. Then everything I do is just an empty sound. It just a whisper. This is exactly what uncomplicated spirituality has been all about, finding my true self in the midst of my imperfections so it is not just an empty sound or quite whisper; but a loud cry to be real, vulnerable and open to others.