Centering

Lemur, Wildlife, Madagascar

My question of the month is about maintaining balance as a byway for sustaining happiness. Centering is a golden mean for establishing balance. This is widely recognized in athletics as well as in health and in the arts. “Holding your center” allows you to respond appropriately, even artfully, to any condition or situation. Meditation or active-imagination contemplation along with a regular practice of honing mastery skills can create a core condition of centeredness from which to act with deep awareness and with well-grounded intention.

My fencing friends—hi Ro and Michael!—know well where I am headed with this. As in most sports yet very explicitly for fencing, you must be centered in a balanced form to have the fluidity to advance or retreat, to defend as well as to establish and launch an attack, at will. As well, pulling an opponent “off center” is a paramount tactic for defeating their ‘game’ so you will control the pacing of the action yourself.

Agility, Ballet, Dancing, Athlete

Here is a contemplation seed that I have been reflecting on this month while considering the value of balance:

“Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

Is it true?”

(from Harold Klemp)

For those on the (and my) spiritual path of Eckankar, this is a standard practice, to consider these questions before expressing any thought, words, or action. If the answer to any of these questions is negative, it may be helpful to reconsider. I have succeeded and failed often enough depending on whether I have utilized these brakes, or not, in the moment. I find it brings patience and a higher viewpoint or greater wisdom, when I can pause enough to consider my actions with care.

I will add this week a record of a dream I had yesterday morning, as I see a balance theme hidden in it. I was being chased by a negative force, one main negative agent pursuing me and a friend along with several of the negative agent’s minions. This dream went through several scenarios, and I and my friend successfully evaded all attacks (including an attempted break-in, a violation of my personal space), until finally it had us cornered at a high cliff’s edge. As I looked back I could see several pairs of the negative force’s agents guarding any possible escape and closing in, with the central villain approaching to capture us once and for all!  I looked over the edge at the high drop, seeing that a leap into the void would likely mean instant death. But in the dreamscape this was preferable to me than being captured and killed by this vile force, so I leapt over the edge! The villain did not want me to escape his control that easily, so he lept after me with a ley-line to anchor him to the ground so he could pull us both back from the descent. As he came toward me and tried to hold onto me assuming I would want to be saved, I pushed him off from the ley-line and watched him cascade to hit the bottom, killing him. Somehow then I was poised against the cliff top, grasping a small knob perilously. I did not think I could climb back to the surface so I contemplated just letting go, thinking I might be able to aim to the wall of the cliff and roll down, possibly still dying but trying anyway to save myself. At this point instead of dropping, I realized I had another choice, which was to wake up. That’s what I did, grateful to realize this had been a dream yet also wondering if I might have died physically in my sleep from the night terror of falling.

So where does balance enter into the dream equation here? First, I was in a situation of needing to protect my boundaries from negative forces aiming to invade my consciousness and draw me off center. Second, at the cliff-hanger edge (literally!), I had choices to make while perched perilously at the edge. I chose to act, to be a cause rather than an effect of the negative agent, which allowed me to retain my own agency rather than relinquishing that to the negative force. When I released the hold on the villain allowing him to fall to his death, I felt no emotion—neither for nor against—as I watched him fall. I knew it was his own actions which had caused his demise so that I had no responsibility for his death. And I had a further choice either to take the descent myself and possibly perish of my own accord or to, ultimately, find an alternate path and “wake up,” which of course I am glad I chose! (Where that awareness of the choice to wake up came from I would have to attribute to my protective inner guidance, so I am grateful for that, always!)

Fantasy, Clouds, Woman, Castle, Sun, Sky

images are from pixabay.com

Being centered in the moment allows choice. It slows the action from a higher level of awareness, so your action or expression can flow from your Center rather than your being merely reactive to or the passive effect of external situations or forces.

Neither For Nor Against

We live in a dualistic universe and, these days, I would say we in America and in several other societies have created a binary society.  I like to think in terms of the outer reality being a reflection of internal states of consciousness, so if my outer world is polarized, politically or otherwise, and if I align with one ‘side’ to the point of feeling negative about or toward people or points of view from an ‘other/opposite’ side, I may question my own internal state as being itself conflicted or in a state of emotional or attitudinal imbalance.

How to resolve this? It would be false of me to claim or to defend neutrality in terms of values or beliefs. I do accept some values that–necessarily in this dualistic world–are opposed in principle to other, opposite points of view. I am a citizeb and vote according to my best understanding of positive values and policies that are, I assume, for the good of the Who;le.

However, I am old enough to not want to create or perpetuate conflict. Like Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce who chose to migrate his tribe into Canada rather than face another bloody battle or to have them be herded onto a restrictive reservation:

“I Will Fight No More Forever.”

images are from pixabay.com

My goal, spiritually, is to be “neither for nor against,” while at the same time not sacrificing what I hold to be true and good. With this I recognize how my values come largely from what I have been exposed to and/or conditioned by, as do everyone else’s.

To be neither for nor against while maintaining integrity means, to me, not to be attached to outcomes and to be willing to listen and to allow viewpoints other than my own. There are ideas and facts I will stand up for, even march for or represent in open forums, But having expressed my sense of truth, I must allow that others have too theire own truths and the right to express those as well in a peaceful assembly.

Let justice and the laws and moral fiber of a just society handle the rest.

Inwardly, I aim to resolve internal conflicts as they may arise. Listening, not closing off or closing out competing ideas or interests, can help bring my archetypal sub-selves to the Roundtable in search of a dynamic, harmonious solution to any apparent quandary.

If only we could agree to do this outwardly: to listen with deep care to one another and to aim to incorporate each other’s best founded ideas and viewpoints to serve the higher interests of the Whole.

In the Balance: Building Bridges

In this eleventh month of my yearly quest to comprehend and achieve happiness, I realize how in many ways now, I am happy. Despite losses and coming to terms with leaving my friends to relocate/ semi-retire, and with two good friends having recently departed this earthly sphere, both from complications due to breast cancers, nevertheless I am happy to be where I am and to be living the “life of my dreams,” to date.

My November sub-quest is about Balance, another major necessity for achieving a lasting happiness, in my own life and I would say in the world at large too. There is so much polarization of values and beliefs today. It is easy to take a side and hold to a one-sided perspective even to the point of reviling other persons, opposite political parties or policies. Certainly we are not in a condition of societal or widely shared happiness these days, at least not in the U.S.. Avoiding communication with those with whom we expect to disagree becomes disengagement and expands the rifts between us that further divide the whole.

images are from pixabay.com

Where is the balance, how is it to be achieved? This week I am personally contemplating how to build bridges rather than perpetuating the Divide. I believe that approaching communications by looking for ways to bridge conflicting viewpoints or attitudes externally will bring healthful benefits internally as well.  Impersonal, unconditional love can be the foundation of such bridges.

Love unites, it does not seek to divide; it heals wounds and gives ground, even when it may be necessary for people or groups to separate or to agree to disagree for the sake of serving the higher interests of all concerned.

I am reminded of the well known passage from Corinthians (13:4-8), so let me start my own probe this month by putting forth this contemplation seed (from Gatescorer.com):

 

Music for Your Apotheosis

Dear readers, be Listeners! Here is a piece of music I found at the top of the search from looking up “Beautiful Music.” It is called “Everdream” by Epic Soul Factory.

May this music help you today to attain your apotheosis, that state of inner peace and balance that can inspire and uplift you to advance in the direction of fulfilling your highest Life Dream!

May the Balance of the Force Be With You

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When Star Wars first emerged in 1977, I was there. I crossed the city of Buffalo twelve times on my little yellow Puch moped to see that first installment. I could very much relate to the idea of the Force as Spirit then, and I still do. The continuing saga of Star Wars including Episode VII, which I saw in 3D at an IMAX theatre on the first day it came out last week, continues to develop the theme of the Force but they have emphasized the notion of “bringing balance to the Force” with the characters of Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) and now his dark, worrisome grandson, Kylo Ren. Thus the story continually pits the Light Side against the Dark Side of the Force, as if this dualistic jostling can ever bring true Balance or peace. No, they cancel each other out but they can never bring a genuine, lasting Balance. So, what does?

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Note the resemblance to Jedi Master Yoda!

I want to say here that the Force as I know it, and as many of you do who practice active contemplation, prayer or deep meditation, is not inherently dualistic. We can understand It as trinary: embodying the Light, the Dark, and the NEUTRAL force emanations of Spirit. The Light and Dark are only energetic expressions of that Neutral force operating within the limited worlds of Duality.

To answer power with power,

the Jedi way this is not.

In this war, a danger there is,

of losing who we are. Yoda

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Note the difference between Jedi Knights and Jedi Masters.  Jedi Knights “fight for the Good;” they serve the Light Side of the Force as versus Siths, who serve the Dark Emperor and their own selfish desires. But true, tempered Jedi Masters generally exhibit Detachment and acceptance in the face of conflict. They might fight if they are called upon to defend some worthy cause in the worlds of duality, but they have their Home in Divine Love or in the Heart of Spirit Itself.

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To connect with Spirit you need only find Your Center and hold your awareness Here. Do not be pulled to the right or to the left, “right” or “wrong,” up or down, or in any Outer direction that is dependent on external pressures. Find your genuine, core spiritual nature within and operate from this Soul perspective. It will not steer you wrong if you Listen closely to what your Heart—which could take the form of an inner or an outer, tried and trusted spiritual Guide—advises, and act accordingly.

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The Jedi Masters represent an Elder Leader archetype form that I wish to celebrate and invite you to cultivate this month. What is your own ELDER LEADER nature? When does it emerge in you in its most balanced form?  Invite your ELDER LEADER to reveal Its WAY to you this month of January, as January is the astrological month associated with Capricorn and the Elder Leader Archetype Ally.

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images from pixabay.com

Remember, the FORCE IS with you, always! May it inform your Way!

Desiderata  

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I have contemplated an important truth this past week, for myself at least, about archetypal psychology—my own. The goal is always balance and integration, working collaboratively with pairings or with broader clusters or constellations (as I like to think of them) of persona archetype Allies. When I find myself out of balance, it may be that one of these personae is being too dominant, “sticking out like a sore thumb.” That is not who I am…For example, I am not “Elder Leader” or “Warrior” standing alone.  My Nourisher, Mystic, Idealist and even my Descender Ally facets can bring balance to my approach to an endeavor with which Elder Leader or Warrior might be tasked.

Whew!  I cannot be that which I am not; I am not within my holistic, integrated Self an overly rigid, “intransigent” person. Even in a situation that calls for me to exercise a disciplinary action I must find repose and come from a center of balance. Still, I must at the same time own and exercise authority in its rightful scope… :

 After writing all but the last sentence above, I dreamed a type of dream I thought I had transcended: a dream in which, once again, I run from a magnificently graceful, powerful Anima image: I run from owning my own Power and Grace. This time it is Mountain Lion. I am in a city scape with a same-aged, female friend. We approach and pass a female mountain lion, laying in repose along the sidewalk. I urge my friend to run once we pass Her, sensing she will pursue us, as that is Her nature.  Mountain Lioness leaps and knocks me to the pavement softly in one bound. I wait for further action but She hovers over me as if waiting for me to act. AWAKEN.

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Two weeks ago while I was already laden with this ongoing test of consciousness, I took a walk with Sophia to a St. Francis retreat center, where in a Garden of Peace I walked right up to the poem-prayer Desiderata, which I recognized immediately was a Healing form of waking dream or golden-tongued wisdom for me at this trying time.

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So, I/we all move on, always seeking Balance which must be won and re-won with every unfolding adventure. There is always another layer of life lessons to explore and integrate, as best we can in the Moment.

 

Better Endings to YOU!

I  welcome your insights and stories!