In her book, Centering, M.C. Richards writes, “…think of the genius of the human being, earth oriented by gravity, with feet on the ground, and in consciousness a weightless being whose head is full of dreams and visions. We do not have to decide which way we will be, practical or visionary, for we are both.”
In other words, our “centering” is neither in our heart or in the world soul navel, but rather centering is a constant process, a moving back and forth from one to the other, a continuous experiencing, not getting stuck in one or the other.
I’m often reminded of the Zen saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
In other words, the work is the same regardless of the spiritual journey. We must all live in this world, and this world requires, for most of us, financial stability, emotional stability, family, spiritual insights, entertainment of one kind or another, the list goes on and on.
A good way to encourage centering is to breathe. Yes, as long as we live in this world, we will automatically breathe. But centering breathing is becoming conscious of breath. And conscious breathing usually means our shoulders drop, our body loses its tense stance.
Today is a perfect day to begin practicing breathing. You might notice how chopping wood and carrying water requires both consciousness and breath.