Imagine for a moment what it would be like to live defenselessly. To not react, protect, prove, rationalize or justify yourself to anyone including your own self. To become so completely transparent that everything moves through you and nothing sticks, lodges or festers away inside of you. To be so open that no longer is any ounce of separation perceivable by you. To no longer be afraid.
We all have a different relationship to defenses. Some of us think we need to have defenses so that we don’t get hurt physically or emotionally. It is after all the job of our defenses to protect us from feeling pain and surviving. Defenses get activated when we feel threat. That threat could be to our physical or emotional survival or to our sense of self in regards to how we both see ourselves and others see us. However this all begs the question as to if there is something more than reacting to survive or to keeping our sense of self fixed, and the exploration of allowing the impact of pain rather than attempting to keep it at bay.
You may wonder why in the world would you allow yourself to feel pain willingly whether it be physically or emotionally. You might ask, what’s the sense in that? Feeling pain when it’s present is the number one catalyst to healing, transformation and self-empowerment. It is also what allows you to come back to into presence and an innerly resourceful, clear state when you feel lost and can’t find home or clarity inside of you. Feeling pain provides the fuel that moves you into the directions where you’ve been too scared to go. Pain, or the perception of pain, lives underneath fear. When we don’t allow the pain that is underneath the fear, then fear runs the show of our lives. Fear reacts. Fear can see only a very limited perspective which includes only itself.
It doesn’t take much of feeling pain to get us either in a state of full acceptance of what is or moving us in a new direction that we must take. Sometimes people have an idea that they have to keep feeling pain over and over and over and just stay in a painful state indefinitely in order to heal. This is not advisable or beneficial. Pain is simply the catalyst or activator into healing and transformation and not what is supposed to become your lived day to day experience. If you find yourself in a perpetual state of experiencing pain then you are mostly likely stuck in your story about pain rather than actually feeling it or you are postponing an action that you must take and not listening to the message of the pain.
Defended vs. Closed
Choosing openness or closedness
Defenses keep things away from us and make us unreceptive, un-influenceable, and un-feeling. This is because a state of defense is a closed, self-contained state of being rather than open and unified. There are times when a closed state is preferable and your capacity to discern when this is appropriate is a key factor in your personal and spiritual development. There is also a difference between a defended state and a purely closed state. The prime difference is choice. In a defended state you are reactionary and not in full choice or conscious of your chosen state of being. Meaning no matter what you try to do you can’t shift from closed back into open and you are often triggered or thrown by what is occurring. Your reactor or survivor is running the show rather than your chooser and you are locked into the pattern. However when you consciously choose a closed state because that is what best serves or is preferably by you in a particular situation there is no difficulty in shifting from open to closed to open again instantly and at will. You are also not triggered or knocked out of your center. This is because you are aware of yourself and not merged with the situation that is occurring. This is true self-empowerment and an important stage of development.
Being defended is the the opposite of growth. What this means is that in order to grow and evolve, both personally and spiritually, you must find your way through your defenses. You cannot learn when you are defended, you can only protect yourself. One of the reasons that we often feel disconnected or that we can’t feel or see what is going on beyond our limited perspective is because we are defended in a closed off state and frequently we don’t even know that we are. This is why learning how to tune into yourself through your body is such a vital resource in discovering your patterns of protection and defense. Rather than speaking through words or thoughts like the mind does, the body speaks through sensation, breath, movement and energy. It is through learning to tune into those aspects of our being that we can begin to discover where we protect, how we avoid and where we are not open or receiving energy or information. Through this discovery of protection we can begin to make contact with fear, and the pain that is underneath that fear. Developing the capacity to be present with the intensity of these sensations and emotions is our gateway into healing, openness and unlimited energy.
Defenselessness is our natural state. Open, vast, receptive, and connected. It is only because we have taken on forms that we have become identified with that we have developed defenses. With this we’ve learned to perceive ourselves as separate from and therefore having something to protect ourselves from. In absolute truth there is no other and on a relative level there is the appearance of other. Don’t be swayed by the multiplicity of forms and the illusion of separateness that they create. Look past appearances and see with the heart. The heart sees but one, feels but one, knows but one. Stop confusing yourself with the form of this body and come to know yourself deep to and beyond the form. Here you will experience the freedom of defenselessness.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado