Tag Archive | Centering

On Centering 2

Nowhere can you find a more peaceful retreat than in your own soul. Treat yourself often to this retreat and be renewed. (Marcus Aurelius)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize Centering?”

“Make it deeply meaningful.

Make it the most important practice of your life. A deep ritual of reconnection with your Self/BodyMind. 

Think/Feel it as an inner journey into a safe sacred space. The most beautiful place in the whole world. Your Inner Sanctuary. Home…

Think/Feel it as renewal.

Increase its density by integrating multiple practices into it. (Stacking)

Memento Mori: Remember that there is an end.

Deep Breathing + Alignment: Breathe deeply, and as you inhale, stand tall (Posture). 

Loving Gratitude: Express Love and Gratitude for your Self and your many Gifts. Feel your Heart expand, and smile.

Awareness: Savor the beauty of Awareness by running a quick inventory of all your senses (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory), and of your BodyMind (Body Scan).

Embodiment: Make the practice embodied by creating a physical stance for it. It can be placing a hand on your heart, or an expansive power pose, or something else.

Resetting + Relaxation: Let go, and relax…

Let go of the past. Every moment is a fresh beginning.
Let go of desires.
Let go of expectations.
Let go of judgments.
Let go of assumptions.
Let go of tension.

On Centering

The ancestor of every action is a thought. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize my centering practice?”

“You initiate and guide your practice with thoughts expressed as meaningful words – I call them word-thoughts

In attempting to optimize the process, you’re essentially asking:

When centering, what do I want to think?

You’re creating an optimal sequence of word-thoughts.”

“I have a tendency to overcomplicate it and create too long a sequence.”

“Make simplicity your mantra. Make the process three steps at most.

I call the first item of the sequence, the access-point. Make the access-point something deeply meaningful to you. Your highest value, your Center.

What is your Center?”

“Love.”

“That is your access-point.

Whenever you initiate the centering practice, think Love.

Let’s make it a three-step process.

What do you want the next two steps to be?”

“Breathing, and a body check.”

“So we have a sequence:

Love
Breathing
Body Check

This is the macro-sequence. Every item of the sequence can itself be a micro-sequence.

For instance, you can just breathe. But you can make it more powerful by smiling as you breathe and thinking ‘Peace’ –  the beautiful practice you’ve learned from Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Se we have a micro-sequence:

(Conscious) Breathing
– Smile
– Peace

What are the key aspects of the body check?”

“Noticing and adjusting my posture, noticing tension, accepting, and letting go.”

“So we have another micro-sequence:

Body Check
– Posture
– Tension
— Accept
— Let go

Visually, the process looks something like this:

Breathing, body check, posture and tension are essentially self-awareness practice.”

On Magic and Implementation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize Implementation?”

“One of the keys to improving Thinking is the capacity to retrieve the information stored in your mind. I call this accessing. To a large extent, accessing depends on organization, how the information is structured in your mind.

How the information is structured globally, that is, how interconnected the information is. (Interconnectedness)
How the information is structured locally, that is, how much information can be retrieved at once. (Chunking)”

“What has this got to do with Implementation?”

“Implementation also depends on information retrieval. Whatever you want to implement is essentially a sequence of steps – an algorithm

Let’s take Centering as an example. What are the components of your practice?”

“Connecting with myself, Breathing, Aligning (Posture), Opening / Expanding, Relaxing, Smiling… and I can think of a few more.”

“Which are the most important? Think 80/20.”

“The first two.”

“So breathing, and feeling your[self as the] BodyMind.

Chunking essentially means meaningfully condensing information. You could reduce the practice to just two steps.

Breathe / Expand
Feel / Let go

As you breathe in, you naturally expand. This is a beautiful embodied reminder
A reminder to physically expand vertically, to stand tall, extend your spine.
A reminder to physically expand in all directions, to take up more space, adopt an expansive (power) pose.
A reminder to expand your Awareness, to your entire field of vision, and to use all senses.
A reminder to expand metaphorically, to open your MindHeart, be more receptive.

As you lovingly feel your beautiful BodyMind, you’ll naturally notice tension. This is a beautiful embodied reminder to let go. As you let go of tension (what I call detensing), relaxation and smiling naturally follow.

This is chunking in action. I’ve condensed the algorithm to only two meaningful steps.

Besides the algorithm, Implementation has another component: representations [<link; medium length]. How you mentally represent the practice to yourself. This makes it more meaningful. For instance you might represent the Centering practice as Homecoming – coming home to yourself.

The algorithm and the representation are two distinct chunks. You can integrate them together through metaphor. For instance, since you love Magic the Gathering, you can think of them as a Magic card. 

The algorithm is the text of the card, describing what it does.
The representation is the image of the card, making it more memorable.”

On Implementation 3

Whenever you start a practice, always spend a moment connecting with yourself. (Aadil Palkhivala)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I make this actionable?”

“Start with understanding. 

Clarify and simplify. 
Disambiguate – Identify and resolve ambiguities.
Paraphrase – Express with your own words.

The quote is a life-algorithm [<link; medium length] of the form:

When x, do y.

When you start a practice session, Connect with yourself.

Or, using a different metaphoric-model:

When you start a practice session, Center yourself.

The next step is asking yourself:

What is the practice?
What are the components of the practice?
What specifically will you do?

The practice might look like this:

Connect with your beautiful BodyMind with every Breath. We might call this Embodied-Breathing.

When you start a practice session, Pause, Breathe and think x.

x might be a word expressing your Center, however you conceive of it:

When you start a practice session, Pause, Breathe and think Love.

Pausing, Embodied-Breathing, and evoking your Center are the specific components of the practice.”

Resetting

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Resetting?”

“By Resetting I mean returning to a baseline, to a set reference-point. 

In practical terms, that can mean returning to a balanced, more resourceful / receptive state.

Resetting is a tool.”

“Can you give some examples of how you use the tool?”

“Here’s a few:

Centering (Proactive/Reactive)

This can mean reconnecting with your BodyMind.
It can mean reconnecting with your Center, however you define it for yourself.”

“How do you define it for yourself?”

“I think of my Heart as my Center, and through it I access my Meta-Values [<link; short read], Love, Gratitude, Beauty, and Play, which have a powerful priming effect.

Equanimity (Reactive)

Recovering mental balance once lost, ideally in the moment. This can be done in various ways, depending on the circumstances.

One way is by focusing on what you can control.
What happened a few moments ago is the past, hence outside your control. What you can control is what you do this moment.

I like to perform this reset with a mantra:

Every moment is a fresh beginning. (T. S. Eliot)

Or, with a slightly different nuance:

Every end is a new beginning.

Another way is by focusing on Dignity.
Remembering your inherent worthiness, and everyone else’s.

A powerful mantra I use is:

I am ENOUGH.
I am WHOLE / COMPLETE.
I am WORTHY.

Humility (Proactive/Reactive)

Bringing to mind the limits of your knowledge and understanding, and the limits of understanding itself.

For this, I use two beautiful mantras:

I know one thing: that I know nothing. (Socrates)

And:

I don’t know.

Emptying your cup (Proactive/Reactive)

Letting go…

Letting go of assumptions.
Letting go of evaluations / judgments.
Letting go of desires and expectations.