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Category Archives: Self

Why do we feel vulnerable? How did vulnerability evolve? Questioning beyond Brené Brown’s TED talk

Brené Browns talk on vulnerability now has over 3.5 million hits, making it one of the most frequently viewed talks on TED.

One of my passions for years has been trying to understand what it is that is actually open to being ‘hurt’ when we are emotionally ‘vulnerable’. Its clearly not our physical bodies we are talking about – so WHAT is it?

Many psychologists say its our ‘self-image’ that is hurt in these situations. But think about that a second. How can you HURT an ‘abstract’ concept like a ‘self-image’?

“People are so accustomed to reacting to threats to their self-image that they rarely stop to consider how odd it is to regard their mental image of themselves as something that can be damaged by another person’s inconsiderate behavior or disparaging remark.” (Mark Leary – The Analogue-I and the Analogue-me, 2009)

It seems that somehow during evolution or during our childhood years we learned to experience emotional ‘hurt’ to our self-image, almost as if it were physical hurt to our body. How might this have happened? (Some speculations here.)

When this realisation is made – that our ‘selves’ are NOT a solid body but rather a very much ‘unsolid’ abstract thing – then perhaps we can experience emotional ‘hurt’ in a different type of way e.g.:

“Someone says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way you become invulnerable” (Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now, 1997).

Synopsis of TED Talk by Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

TEDxKC talk synopsis: In our anxious world, we often protect ourselves by closing off parts of our lives that leave us feeling most vulnerable. Yet invulnerability has a price. When we knowingly or unknowingly numb ourselves to what we sense threatens us, we sacrifice an essential tool for navigating uncertain times — joy. This talk will explore how and why fear and collective scarcity has profoundly dangerous consequences on how we live, love, parent, work and engage in relationships — and how simple acts can restore our sense of purpose and meaning.

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Non-dual spirituality non-self vs Atheist non-self

When you believe* in the spiritual concept of ‘liberation’ i.e. a recognition/realisation of the delusion of a separate self, but you don’t have ‘life after death’ beliefs e.g. a belief in heaven, reincarnation etc. – then ‘liberation’ amounts to this:

1) either ‘dying’ when you die i.e. the concept of a separate self dies when your body dies – as for most people

2) or ‘dying’ a few years before you die i.e. the concept of a separate self dies and one’s own experience is transformed into ‘life experiencing life’

Given that for these people liberation only amounts to a few years of changed experience (often quite joyful) … does ‘liberation’ actually amount to much anyway? Is it actually such a ‘big deal’?

Presumably this is ‘something’ like the way Sam Harris (an atheist philosopher) and Tony Parsons (a ‘liberated’ ‘person’) experience the world (at least sometimes during meditation in the case of the former, permanently in the case of the later).

Since neither ‘believe’ in free-will, do they both doubt that you can ‘do’ anything about the outcome either?

* Strictly speaking – perhaps its not appropriate to refer to spiritual teachers as ‘believing’ certain words such as those written here – since they would say that this is the way they ‘experience’ reality – not a set of beliefs they have ‘about’ reality.

Sam Harris:

http://www.bigquestionsonline.com/blogs/heather-wax/sam-harris-already-has-his-next-book-planned

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/consciousness-without-faith

Tony Parsons:

http://vimeo.com/25376402

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUSGiWV0kqE

 

Two types of people:

1 People who like people who like them back

2 Those who don’t give a damn

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Self, Social connection

 

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An 8-year old girl, pointing to her arm asks: “Daddy, where is my ‘self’? Is it in my arm?”

 

Its mostly people close to you – family, lovers (and friends to a certain extent) – that push your buttons. What would it be like to have no buttons to push? Would you still be you?

 

‘Being Clever’ as a description vs. an ‘identity’. Fight Club scene

If you invest your ‘identity’ in ‘being clever’ (or stake your self-esteem on ‘being clever’), you feel good when you appear clever, but bad when you fail to appear clever. On the other hand, if you don’t identify with ‘being clever’ – it doesn’t matter so much what happens.

(about 50 seconds in)

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Ego, Ego-threat, Self, Self-esteem

 

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Belief in a separate self is the hardest religion to leave. Its much easier just to become an atheist.

 

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