Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Getting centred by getting outside yourself

It seems like a paradox. There are two ways to feel more centred, more balanced in your own experience. One is to focus on your own experience - to 'navel gaze' in one not-very-respectful metaphor. Breathing intentionally will do it - so will any effort to pay attention to all of your sensory experience. You might have heard this called 'being present.' It's not complicated: you can do it mechanically by noticing 3 things you are seeing, 3 things you are hearing, 3 things you are feeling, and cycling through. Essentially, you are filling the capacity of short-term attention with your physiological reality which blocks concerns about anything outside of you.

Now shift. Imagine yourself outside your body with your attention riveted on - you. You no longer have feelings (those are inside your body). You have ideas, but those ideas are now directed from you to the person who looks and sounds like you and who is inside your body. From this position, you can see the look on your face, the tilt of your shoulders, the way you walk. None of those is available to you when you look out through your own eyes. By getting outside yourself, you can put yourself in the centre of your field of vision.

When you are looking at you - the rest of the world disappears again. You have a centre and the centre is you.

It is strangely difficult to displace yourself. You are the centre of your world.

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