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Author Topic: Centering exercises?  (Read 2482 times)
schwertlilie
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« Topic Start: May 31, 2011, 10:20:04 pm »

Does anyone have any suggestions for centering that doesn't involve moving your consciousness around your body/the world?


I've started working through Diana Paxson's Trance-Portation because I want to improve my (dismal |D) visualisation & guided meditation skills. Part-way through chapter 2 the author breaks out the centering exercises, and they're the same kind I've seen in other books/sites: "Move your awareness into your solar plexus, etc."

The thing is, I don't grok those kinds of exercises. At all. :/ It hasn't been an issue before, since I ground well with stones and don't do much energy work atm, but I'd like to make sure I have a solid sense of "where" I should come back to before doing any major meditation work.

Thanks muchly!
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« Reply #1: May 31, 2011, 10:38:05 pm »

Does anyone have any suggestions for centering that doesn't involve moving your consciousness around your body/the world?

The trick is - that's what centering is. It's about finding yourself (and the core of yourself) in relationship to the world around you, so that you know what's you, and what's not you, before you start connecting you to not-you. So, not so much moving yourself, but that's what it often feels like, because you're a lot easier to move/adjust than the world around you. (Parallax problem, if that makes any sense.)

(And it's particularly necessary in mediation work, in my opinion, because while you might or might not be moving tons of energy around that requires grounding, you will likely come across things that challenge you, make you ask questions, etc. as you do more meditation. Centering is part of what allows you to say "Hey, is this a thing I want to explore more thoroughly" with a clear sense of self rather than just getting caught up in the moment and carried along into something that might have long-term consequences.)

I've got some examples on one of my webpages that are not *just* about "meditate, and you will find your center" (because, I agree, that's not helpful for people for whom it doesn't work) at http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/centering/

The methods I've found most useful for students who got frustrated by the "Move your attention to your solar plexus" have generally been (bearing in mind that my in-person teaching has been in a group face-to-face context, so we had the opportunity to set up experiences for people that someone working on their own can't do as easily.)

- getting them to pay attention to times they're particularly present in their body and mind (sometimes that happens during massage, during ritual, or - as in the example on the webpage above, banging your hand/knee/elbow/toe into something hard.) Sometimes it takes trying a bunch of different things to find the one that works.

- experimenting with physical center of balance, and then emotional center of balance, and seeing what that teaches about energetic center. Some kinds of physical activity (free-form dance, martial arts, riding a bike, ice skates or roller blades) can help with the physical (as well as the rocking back and forth exercise I describe there), journalling or art that you're entirely focused on can help with the emotional, and then see what that feels like energetically.

And one I've just thought of (and have used in other situations, but haven't suggested for this one before), but that might help - putting yourself in situations where you're somewhat off balance (watching a movie that frustrates you, reading a post online that makes you grit your teeth  - or, alternately, movies, music, etc. that carry you away into another place)

Then consciously try to come back to yourself during the midst of it (pause whatever you're watching/listening to mid event) as you'd want to be at your best, say, before going to something you really care about, where you want to make a good impression. (You want to stop the thing that gets you there midstream, because a lot of art has a build to climax and recovery, and the recovery part is partly about returning you to a moderately centered state.)

What stuff helps? For some people that might be breathing patterns, or how they sit/stand/hold their body. For some people it might be walking through a deliberate tense/relax sequence with the major muscles. For some people it might be running through a calming tune or word-based thing in their head. (prayer, mantra, whatever). Depends on the person.
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