Calm and Center
When I first came across the above quote, it stopped me in my tracks. I was stunned by the profundity of its message. I’d never seen or heard calmness, cradle, and power used in the same sentence or in relation to one another. I’d always associated calmness with cradling, but to add ‘power’ in relation to them was something new. I’d always related power to force which created an edge for me and those I related to in this way. When I read David R. Hawkins book, Power vs. Force, everything changed. It helped me put new enlivened flesh on my weary bones.
It’s curious to me how we can all cruise along in our own little bubbles and believe that what we think we know is the absolute truth. What I began to understand is that only when we know we don’t know can we have any chance of truly knowing. Knowledge changes as we change and only in remaining calm in the midst of life’s mystery can we have any chance of knowing much of anything that can be called wisdom. How does this insight resonate with you?
I remember the first time I did any cross-country hitchhiking. I was twenty three years young traveling from East Lansing, Michigan to Aspen, Colorado. The first ride took me all the way to the Chicago on ramp of Interstate 80 West. My second ride was with another college student who knew one of my best friends from High School. I rode with him from Chicago through Denver into the mountains in his Mustang convertible. The moments were filled with wonder.
I was then able to hitch a ride on some freshly felled tree trunks on the back of a logging truck. All the while I was calm, centered, and in awe of how everything seamlessly came together. The third and final ride was with a van full of hippies who took me over Independence Pass and into Aspen where I easily found my friend’s house and further enjoyed the journey. As I reflect back on that adventure, I’m amazed at how calm and centered I was. I’m also amazed at the power of intention and attention that cradled me the entire way.
What I’m noticing in reflection on this journey and so many others, is the focus on the moment without anxiety, the childlike simply of being in the now moment. There was no depression about the past or anticipation and anxiety concerning the future. There was simply a focus on the present moment of being where I was in the stream of Life. I’m actually amazed at that because later in life I lost that sense of calmness, cradling, and power. I traded it for anxiety, struggle, and forcefulness. The enticement of ‘being somebody’ seduced me.
Over the following decades of trying to prove I was smart enough, strong enough, brave enough, caring enough, inventive and capable enough; I eventually woke up to how misguided I was. I finally experienced a deep ‘not knowing’ that allowed me to ‘Wake Up’ and begin again. The second journey then opened which helped me remember to remember who I was and was not. The scales that had grown over my mind and heart through my middle adult years began to melt. Calm and Center became my mantra and lived experience. Cradling became a practice.
Where are you in your season of soul? Has calmness become a cradle of power for you or are you still trying to “push the river?” Have you experienced enough love and loss to wake you up to the reality of what life is really about? Are you at a place where you can care for yourself in ways that allow you to be your best self with joy and contentment? Are you calm, centered, powerful? Herman Hesse wrote: “Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” In this stillness and sanctuary there’s no demanding, no anxiety, no force. There’s only this present moment, this open moment, this centering moment.
This practice is called prayer, meditation, and contemplation. The goal here is not to control your thoughts, feelings, and actions; it’s to stop letting them control you so you can become more of the Who that’s really you. Here you can discover a calmness that truly is the cradle of power and allow it to gently love you into a whole new way of being and belonging.
As we face the present day pandemic, social upheavals, fears, anxieties, frustrations, and sense of loss; it’s important to remember to remember that calmness is the center and cradle of power. Life is not about command and control, might makes right, craving, inflation, and aggression; but about a calmness that expresses the essence of who we are at the soulful level which is always rooted and centered in patience, love, and deep understanding. Breathe it in!
- Check your inner pulse and levels of anxiety. Is your breathing shallow and unconscious? Are you allowing yourself to be overly affected by outer circumstances? Are you still trying to prove yourself? Center within by feeling the pulse of your heart and slow way down . . . .
- While breathing with calmness and attention, ask yourself what you’re ultimately looking for. Focus on a greater spaciousness in the moment. Breathe deeply and begin the practice of attending to your breathing in a conscious way. Give attention to your attention . . . Shh. . .
- Ask your Inner Being for a ‘sacred’ word that will help you center in the moment. Repeat the word inwardly as you slowly and consciously walk through your day . . . .
- Notice when you’re out of alignment, anxious, uncentered. As you’re reacting and resisting to what’s going on, return to your breathing and your sacred word. Keep coming home to the Essence of who you are. Keep letting Calmness be the Cradle of your Power. Calm and Center. Calm and Center. Calm and Center. Calm and Center. Calm and Center . . . .Ahh. . . .