Friday, October 14, 2016

Get Centered!

"Go in and in.  Be the space between two cells. The vast, resounding silence in which spirit dwells."
 This is an excerpt from a poem by Danna Faulds.  It is hard to explain what it means to be centered.  Yes, maybe it is about spirit.  Maybe it is about space.  The benefit for mental health is that it is certainly a way to be disconnected from the external world and reconnected with the internal.  It feels less chaotic, less splintered and more complete, whole.  It feels stable, controlled, while at the same time ethereal.  In the poem, she uses the words, ecstatic, infinite, essence.  Yes, all of those.  Want to experience it?  Here's how:

1) Breathe:  The breath is a great tool for centering.  It is necessary to begin the process of centering.  Begin at the tip of your nose.  Here you can feel the breath go in, cool and dry.  Follow the breath through the nasal passages, down the wind pipe to your center space.  Repeat as many times as necessary.  Let the breath travel deeper and deeper until you feel connected to your center.

2)  Meditate:  The meditation and the breath go together.  Once you get to center through the breathing, stay there.  Wherever you imagine your center to be, stay there after however many breaths it takes.  When your mind wanders away, and it will, bring it back by following the breath inward once again.  Then, stay centered, disconnected from the busy-ness of the brain, the noise and activity of the external world.

3)  Relax:  The relaxation exercise combines the breath and the meditation.  Lie down comfortably with arms at your sides - in savasana pose, as in the picture.  Now breathe in toward center as
described above and get settled in your center space.  Stay there.  As you keep your awareness on this spiritual center, let go of your physical awareness.  So, your extremities begin to fade from your awareness and the power of center grows and expands, like the core of a bright star.  Let that energy radiate outward.

4)  Cognitive Behavior Therapy:  We tend to connect strongly to our thoughts.  Every thought, no matter how silly it might be, no matter how lacking in reality, has power, just because it is in the mind.  We give credence to our thoughts rather than treating them as what they are - patterns, recordings that have been put there.  The mind is not a truth creator.  It is a pattern maker and follower.  If your thoughts are causing you pain, then you need to change the patterns of your thoughts.  Practicing the centering meditation, decreases the power of our thoughts.  We disconnect from them and place our focus and therefore our power in center.  If you practice this exercise regularly, you will gradually find that when a painful thought pops into mind, you can place it aside.  Our thoughts should not control us, but we control the thoughts.

5)  Power Pose:  The power of temple pose comes from center.  In this pose, you need to think of
internal muscles in the lower abdomen.  These muscles are neglected, but incredibly important to structural physical health.  Lift the pelvic floor - think of needing to urinate and stop it - that's the muscle.  Additionally, get the transversus abdominus involved by pushing the space between the hip bones and lower back toward your tail bone.  This strong center space is your strong physical center. Once it is engaged, move your arms - left and stretch, but keep the lower abdominal area strong. Use this strength from now on throughout the day.

6)  Affirmation:  Start your day with this affirmation.  Write it down and carry it with you as a reminder not to let the storm clouds take over.  "When I seek what I think I want and need outside myself, my days are fog and storminess; when I sit in my center, my days are clear and calm."

7) Chant:  The most centering chant is "Om"  Say the chant as "Ahhhhhh....ohhhhhhh....mmmmmm"  These sounds are very calming and make us feel connected to spirit - to center.

Practice the above 7 skills as often as possible to change the patterns of your mind, body, and spirit and support good mental health.  Contact me with comments or questions:  OR check out the services on my website for info. about individual sessions and group sessions offered.

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