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I grew up in a situation that taught me in a very extreme way that I needed to numb emotions and never be vulnerable; I've spent my adulthood slowly backing out of that insanity. So this interview was, as they say, relevant to my interests.

One thing I wish had been pursued in greater depth, however, was the exact nature of the difference between those who are wholehearted/vulnerable, and those who are fearful/shamed. In a couple of places in the interview, this difference was alluded to, but what I'm thinking of wasn't exactly named.

This is what I mean: to be wholehearted is to be, in one's inner self, simple, unified, direct. It means having a peaceful awareness of one's core being, and acting out of that peace. Shame and fear are the opposite -- to live that way is to be divided. It means we project an image of ourselves, believe that image is our "true" self, and judge it as if from the outside. To do this is to treat oneself as an object in a world of objects -- but who is the self actually doing this? Who is the one doing the judging? "I" see, evaluate, judge, and condemn "myself." But who am "I"? We forget that "I" completely; we believe we are the object of our own judgment.

This is a logical contradiction. Stepping into wholeheartedness means we see that the self we think we are actually doesn't exist; it's a false self, a really bad game we learned to play in order to try somehow to win the love we need and want. (It's what the Bible calls "double-mindedness.")

So I think Brene Brown's ideas about vulnerability point to what is essentially a spiritual truth. Although language can never capture that truth completely, the language I tend to use is that this true self, the self who becomes willing to be vulnerable, is intimately and indissolubly present to God - - completely and always, whether we're aware of it or not; "faith" is perceiving and assenting to this reality. As such the self is actually completely invulnerable, since it isn't subject to the world of experience: it's "hid with Christ in God." But since it's an embodied self, its invulnerability as the beloved of God gives it the capacity to be radically vulnerable -- wholehearted -- in the world of experience.

And the spiritual path is simply learning to disbelieve in the false self (in Christian terms, this is "askesis"), and to believe in the true self, and live accordingly.