Do you find yourself feeling harried and rushed throughout the day? Are you desperate to rest, but can’t seem to sit still? Does it seem that there is a never ending stream of activity that you must respond to?
This is an uncomfortable way to exist, but once you get started it’s hard to leave it behind. How do you leave it behind? Come back to your “Center” regularly.
Your Center Is A Focal Point For Your Life
Your center is a place within you that is always accessible. You can find peace of mind here because it’s where your Self lives. This is not the self that is identified with a job, or a school or a relationship. It’s just you, stripped away of all unnecessary things. You may not be sure how to find this, but there is a way to get there.
Often, the roles that we carry with us in life start to become the source of our identity. But if you’ve ever been out of work, or just graduated from school, or have just ended a relationship (or maybe all three at the same time!) you know that these events can make you feel like the ground has fallen from under your feet. Or that your life no longer has anything to revolve around (a center), and you can start feeling aimless and without purpose.
Luckily, none of our external roles is really our true identity. If you can return again and again to your true central point, when you switch roles it won’t feel so traumatic because you know that no matter what you are doing, no matter what roles you have, you are always standing on solid ground.
Your Center Is Where Your Self Lives
Philosophers, psychologists and many others have tried to define what the Self is, only to come up with just as many definitions. I like to think of the Self as all of those qualities and characteristics that make you unique. Even though there are many similiarities in the human experience there is also something that makes each individual different from one another, and that’s your Self – the qualities that make you different. Even though these qualities can mature, change and grow over the years, there is also something about them that stays the same. Your Self is a dynamic core.
Finding Your Center Involves 3 Things
It doesn’t take much, but it does require time and attention, plus a few things that facilitate the process.
Silence – In order to go to your center you have to eliminate the noise around you. Silence cuts out the distraction and sets the tone. This may feel boring at first, or make you feel restless. But there are many things to learn in silence. Even though it lacks sound, it can be one of the loudest teachers in your life. You may be very interested in what you find.
Space – I’ve talked about finding a space for reflection before, but basically it’s a place where you feel comfortable and peaceful and has meaning to you. What space allows you to easily find yourself? (It’s not necessarily physical.)
Meditation – Meditation can help you practice leaving distraction behind in order to focus on a center. When you meditate your mind will wander. The process of continually bringing your attention back to your focal point (breath, body part, mantra, etc.) mirrors the process of bringing yourself back to center. There will always be distractions, but you can always bring yourself back to your focal point.
When you get to your center you should feel aware, clear, peaceful, optimistic and in touch with Life. One of the most important effects of coming back to center is perspective – namely, knowing what’s important and what’s not. It’s hard to have perspective when you are constantly distracted – that’s why it tends to be a reactive state of mind. If you can come back to your center regularly you’ll never get completely lost. Just temporarily distracted.