Excerpt About Defense

A Few Key Points About Defensiveness

Let’s review a few key points about defensiveness and then see what we can understand about the process of its transformation. This process includes encountering the vulnerability that inevitably comes up as we become aware of how we defend ourselves:

* As we practice—which entails inquiring into what is going on, recognizing our experience, being where we are, abiding in it, and learning to be ourselves—we encounter a stance of defensiveness thatwe become more and more conscious of.

* That defensiveness is a barrier against our unconscious, but also against much of our potential, because it is a defense against experience, a defense against the expansion of awareness, a defense against being present, a defense against being real.

* When a defense is pushed against or challenged, it changes from a passive wall to an active resistance against what is arising, a resistance against recognizing what we think is—or could become—dangerous or threatening.

* The defensiveness is a hardening and a thickening of our consciousness, creating walls within us.

* If we recognize those walls and are able to understand them, they begin to transform and start to come down.

* As those defenses gradually dissolve, as those walls come down, we will have the feeling of no protection for a while. Without the walls, when we still do not feel the security of being ourselves, we will experience that as defenselessness. And that defenselessness will feel like a kind of vulnerability, a trembling emotional condition of the heart that makes us feel quite delicate.

* That delicacy, that trembling, means that we are open but we still believe that there is danger. So we are still tentative, a little cautious, a little reactive. That is because as we are approaching the delicacy of being ourselves, the delicacy of intimacy; we are approaching it by letting go of the walls, and we are still not used to being in that openness.

* Our defensiveness at some point becomes a wall against vulnerability. So to learn to be real, to learn to be ourselves, we need to come to
terms with our vulnerability.

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