The Daily Prompt is “Center”. To me this means the point at which all things converge, and therefore, the place where we must deal with them all. When I studied meditation (not seriously) I was advised to find my “center” as the point where I had absolute control. I was to then either allow or reject all of the things that demanded to get into my “center”. In effect I was triaging the events and issues in my life and determining which ones had to be dealt with immediately as opposed to those that simply wanted attention that was better directed elsewhere.
The first step was to empty the “center” and become calm. This was a lot harder than it sounds and is the place where many give up on the practice of meditation. It takes time and patience and continuous practice to get to the “center” in a clear state of mind. Each step was a journey as I tried to learn to block out all of the things that demanded to go along for the ride with me.
Once there, the second step was to learn to embrace and enjoy the peace that the “center” offered. It is a spiritual experience once you have mastered the willpower to get there in the right frame of mind. It always helps to have a singular focus point. I would visualize a candle burning and try to think of nothing but the flame.
It was a living thing as I learned to watch it and see how the variations happened. I didn’t physically look at a candle, I simply imagined it in as much detail as possible. What at first was rather boring was in fact a way to focus myself. I had to learn to let the distractions go and simply keep my mind on the candle.
Step 3 was to learn how long I could maintain this “center” and the peace it provided me with. As time went on, I was able to stay there longer and longer. I then began to learn that the “center” is a place that we should only visit occasionally.
There is a scene in the Harry Potter movies where Harry sees his dead parents in a mirror. Obviously Harry doesn’t want to leave and constantly gazes into the mirror because it makes him feel complete. He has found the thing that he always knew he was lacking. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” is the advice that Dumbledore gives to Harry, and he is absolutely right.
The hardest thing about the “center” is letting go. When I broke away too quickly, I was overwhelmed by the onrushing issues and concerns that I had just recently escaped from. I had to learn to gradually put out the flame on the candle that I focused on. I would slowly extinguish the flame and then I would picture myself turning away from the candle and leaving the room and locking the door behind me. As I did this I was consciously allowing the real world to filter back into me. In this way, leaving the “center” was not as hard or painful.
The “center” is within each of us. We should all visit it regularly, but learn to never overstay our welcome. The temptation is great to never leave, but I refer to the quote listed above as to why we all must leave it. It will always be where we left it, the journey to find it is an exercise in self-discipline and is worth the effort because once we have found it, we can return as needed.