Centering exercises can be as simple as a long, deliberate pause to reflect on the self, breathing, thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, sense of spiritual connection, etc. It may involve moving in intentional ways to harmonize with our physical sense of self in the world. It may include rituals from different cultural traditions, or archetypal images to call forth awareness from the many dimensions of life. There are countless centering exercises that can bring a person into heightened awareness.
Centering takes the person outside their routine day and world and creates a space beyond the experience of doing, and brings a person into relationship with their being. When employing archetypal images it taps simple yet powerful images, invoking essential elements of life within the self, community, world, and cosmos we cohabit.
Ken Wilber talks about everything in the universe as being a holon – a whole made up of many parts, and the whole of which is part of something larger. And each part that comprises who we are (our brain, heart, liver, kidney, legs, etc.) is whole unto itself and comprised of many parts, etc. Leaders are whole unto themselves and part of many things larger than themselves. Raising that awareness is humbling and facilitates a sense of the interdependent complexity and flow of life.
In his discussion on deep ecology, George Sessions speaks of openness to the myriad things of the universe, and something he calls “conversion.” He relates this example:
The forester ecologist Aldo Leopold underwent a dramatic conversion from the “stewardship” shallow ecology resource-management mentality of man-over- nature to announce that humans should see themselves realistically as “plain members” of the biotic community. After the conversion, Leopold saw steadily and with “shining clarity” as he broke through anthropocentric illusions of his time and began “thinking like a mountain.” (The Path of Compassion, Ed. Fred Eppstenier, p.88)
However large or small the awakening from attentiveness to stillness and flow, it is a dynamic communion. It encourages responsibility for now and for the unborn generations to come who will inherit the social relations and ecological systems we tend.
Everything connects with everything. Everything is interdependent. We often forget that. Centering presents openings for awareness to sense the web of life, our place in it, and our duties within it.
Centering in the Four Domains
This cultivated awareness of the four domains, of integrated and caring intelligence, is where authenticity and wholeness live. (download pdf article)