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Be vulnerable

When you are innocent, you are vulnerable to everything that Existence wants to teach you! If you are closed, you create a wall around you. The wall neither allows fresh breeze to touch your being nor does it allow you to step out and touch the cool breeze. Vulnerability is breaking the wall and inviting the cool breeze to touch your very being every time it blows.

Vulnerability is allowing everything to touch your being. The entire cosmos comes to you when you are vulnerable.

Vulnerability is not weakness. The wall when broken will not cause you danger. The wall itself was built out of a deep fear of exposing your reality. Your reality is your vulnerability and you are so afraid of opening it to the cosmos. You know deep down that if you let go and open up, you will simply be swept away in innocence. So you close yourself up. But it is suffocating to be in there because it is the same air that is circulating. You experience the same patterns that the mind knows. Then of what use is the wall? When the wall is broken, you will realize that nothing leaves you. Instead, you only gain one thing, freshness of life.

Two astrologers met on the road on a beautiful autumn day. One of them commented, ‘Beautiful autumn. It is something we have never seen earlier.’

The other replied, ‘True. I am reminded of the autumn of 2070.’

When you are vulnerable, you experience everything at the being level. Otherwise, it becomes an experience through the head. The being is poetry, the head is prose. And poetry is life.

One night a wife found her husband standing over their baby’s crib.

As he stood looking down upon the baby in the cradle, she saw his face assuming a mixture of emotions of disbelief, awe, skepticism, doubt, amazement and what not.

She slowly went up to him, put her arm around him and said, ‘A penny for your thoughts.’

The husband replied, ‘It’s amazing. I can’t imagine how anyone can make a crib like that for just 45 dollars!’

With the head you cannot be vulnerable! When you are not vulnerable, you are sitting behind the great wall of your house. Life has not yet started. Life happens with vulnerability.

With vulnerability you move towards the truth in a different path, in a joyful path because every moment you are receiving directly from Existence. Existence is able to give you because you are vulnerable and ready to receive it! Existence has its own ethics. Enlightened masters have their own ethics. When there is vulnerability, they can simply shower on you. When there is a wall, it becomes difficult. Their ethics does not permit them to penetrate. So they wait for the wall to break.

When you become vulnerable, you are saying a ‘yes’ to Existence. Existence is the greatest mystery and the eternal teacher. When you say yes to it, your energy starts moving in a new direction. It moves from the head to the heart and you start receiving the teachings for your very being. Whatever you said ‘no’ to earlier will start becoming a ‘yes’. Then you will see that the world is very different from what you thought.

Once you start saying yes, you start expressing love, which is the language of the heart. Love can never be known through logic. It can be known by saying ‘yes’ to the other, by welcoming the other, not for any utility but for the sake of love. It can be known through a deep trust on the other. When you are vulnerable, you have great trust on the other.

People ask me how to ‘be’ in my presence. Just be completely vulnerable and innocent. With openness, you can receive the truth directly in your being. The master is a pure expression of Existence. By allowing him, you are allowing Existence to enter into you. When Existence enters it leaves an impression of the truth in your being. With every darshan or touch from the master, the impression becomes deeper. This impression is greater than any teaching he can impart to you.

Buddha’s disciple once asked him, ‘Master, you have not as yet answered our questions about whether the world is eternal or not, whether it is finite or infinite, whether the soul and body are the same or different.’

Buddha looked at him and asked, ‘Did I make any promise that I would be answering these questions?’

The disciple said no.

Then Buddha asked him, ‘Suppose there is a man with an arrow in his chest, and when you are about to remove it for him, he says to wait saying unless he knows the caste of the man who shot the arrow, his height, weight, his family background, where he comes from, and what wood he made the bow out of, he will not allow you to remove the arrow, what would you think of him?’

The disciple said with a shameful face, ‘He would be a fool, master. His questions have nothing to do with the arrow and he would die before the answers were revealed.’

Buddha said, ‘You are right. In the same way, I do not teach about whether the world is eternal or not, whether it is finite or infinite, whether the soul and body are the same or different. I teach straightaway to remove the arrow because the arrow is the root of your suffering, which is ignorance.’

Understand, a master can’t teach you spirituality,

but you can learn by being open and trusting towards him. Spirituality has nothing to do with words. It is an experience. You need to imbibe it by watching the master’s body language, by smelling the enlightenment that radiates from him. You can catch it if you are aware. If you are impatient with questions, the very questions prevent you from catching the truth. If you are patient and you catch the smell of enlightenment, the questions will dissolve. Then even before questions arise, the answers will happen in you. That is the great experience of being around a master. That is why masters take a body and come down from time to time, with the hope that a handful of disciples will catch the smell of enlightenment and awaken.

When you are vulnerable, you are open in your entire response system. You give space for the intelligence of the cosmos to act through you.

A small story:

On the banks of a river there lived a sage in a small plot of land owned by a farmer. The village chief did not like the sage and wanted to buy the piece of land. The farmer would not let go of it.

The village chief was ready to pay any amount of money.

The farmer told him, ‘If I sold the land to you, you will drive the sage away once it becomes yours.’

The village chief angrily said, ‘Why do you call him a saint? Just because he is wearing an orange robe? He must be as ordinary as you and I.’

The farmer said, ‘No Sir, I have seen many signs of a sage in him. For example, I have never seen him getting angry.’

The village chief said, ‘How can you conclude like that? He has probably not had a chance to exhibit his anger, that’s all. Tomorrow come by his hut and I will show you how angry he can get.’

 The next day morning the farmer went near the sage’s hut and watched.

 A boy apparently sent by the village chief approached the sage. The sage was writing something on a palm leaf with his head bent.

 The boy went behind him and spat on him.

The sage looked back, saw that it was the boy who did it, got up and took a dip in the river and came back and sat.

The boy spat again on him. The sage went and had a dip again and came and sat.

The farmer could not bear to see what was happening. The village chief was standing behind a tree and watching as well. He was surprised at the sage’s calmness.

Every time the sage returned from the dip, the boy spat on him. Every time the sage smiled at him, got up and went and dipped.

The boy had spat on the sage a h u n d r e d and seven times. By now, the boy’s face was losing its color. He could not bear it anymore. He fell at the sage’s feet and cried, ‘Please forgive me. I have sinned. I harassed you in this manner only because I was paid to do so. I am afraid that you might curse me now!’

The sage calmly asked him, ‘So you will not spit on me again?’

The boy replied, ‘I would rather die than spit again.’ The sage lifted him up and said, ‘Let me tell you a secret. I should actually thank you for this because many years ago I had taken a vow that I would dip hundred and eight times in this sacred river. Today that has been fulfilled. I have to dip one more time to complete the vow. This time I will pray for you.’

 The sage dipped one more time and when he came out, the village chief was at his feet begging for forgiveness. He said, ‘I am the real sinner. I paid the boy to do this. I wanted to prove that you would get angry.’

The sage laughed and said, ‘Had the boy told me his real mission, I would have got angry quickly and made him receive his reward!’

The village chief became a disciple of the sage.

The sage’s response was neither for nor against. He simply remained open. Automatically the forces of the cosmos came together and fulfilled an old vow through the incident. I am not saying that you should allow someone to spit on you! Understand the importance of being open in your response. When you are open, you create tremendous space for the best to happen to you at that moment. Soon, you can reprogram your entire response system and thereby the very course of your life.

A small Zen story:

Zen teachers train their young pupils to express themselves and leave it at that. One child from a particular Zen temple would meet the child from another Zen temple every morning on his way to buy vegetables.

One day, the first one asked the other, ‘Where are you going?’ ‘I am going wherever my feet go,’ responded the other.

This reply puzzled the first one who went to his teacher for help.

The teacher told him, ‘Tomorrow morning, when you meet that fellow, ask him the same question. He will give you the same answer. Then you ask him, ‘Suppose you have no feet, then where are you going?’ That will fix him.’

The child met the other the next day morning. He asked, ‘Where are you going?’

The other one replied, ‘I am going wherever the wind blows.’

The first one was baffled and went to his teacher again.

The teacher said, ‘Tomorrow, you ask him where he will go if there is no wind.’

The next day the child met the other one on the road and asked, ‘Where are you going?’

The second one replied, ‘I am going to the market to buy vegetables.’ To just express with vulnerability is to be free like a bird, not worried about any past or future, to just be. That is what Zen masters taught their disciples.

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