Where is the centre of your body? Do you think in terms of physical centres – like the centre of gravity, or the middle? Is the spiritual centre the same as the physical centre? I don’t think there are any ‘right’ answers here, but there’s much to be said for spending time contemplating the self, looking for where we might centre and how that might feel. ‘Centering’ is a popular term, but the centre may not necessarily be a safe place, depending on how we feel about that location in ourselves.
Being present in a body isn’t easy if that body hurts or has other problems. One useful thing I’ve found on this score is to keep moving; not resting contemplatively in one part of the body for too long, so as not to be overwhelmed by any discomfort there.
For much of the time, my head is my centre and I work out of my eyes and ears, and brain. I have no problem with this, because when I’m working with my head, I need to be in my head above all else. When I’m not working in my head it makes sense to stretch, flex and occupy the rest of me instead. When I’m doing things with the rest of my body, I need to be properly present in my body.
If I take my heart as my centre, then love, courage and other heart-centred feelings are likely to dominate my meditation. There’s a point under my ribs that sometimes makes sense. I may go for womb as centre, although I don’t find that easy, or I could think of my stomach as my centre. I don’t have a comfortable relationship with my midriff so this can bring up all kinds of challenges. If I’m really willing to take emotional risks I can think of my genitals as my centre.
I was recently prompted to consider my feet as my centre. This has fascinating repercussions, because if my feet are my centre then logically a good half of me exists outside of my body, and is of the earth. In terms of being ‘grounded’ this is perhaps the most effective centre, and it opens up questions about my sense of me, and my sense of body, and where the edges are. At some point when I’m feeling clever I will try meditating with head as centre and that same implication of being half body, half of the air and see what that does.