The Centring Process

The centring process is, in my experience, the never-to-be-surpassed climax of the whole development, and is characterized as such by the fact that it brings with it the greatest possible therapeutic effect.    

Self-knowledge reveals the fact that the soul’s natural movement is not in a straight line, unless indeed it have undergone some deviation. On the contrary, it circles around something interior, around a centre. Now the centre is that from which proceeds the circle, that is, the soul. The soul will therefore move around the centre, that is, around the principle from which she proceeds; and, trending towards it, she will attach herself to it, as indeed all souls should do. The souls of the divinities ever direct themselves towards it, and that is the secret of their divinity; for divinity consists in being attached to the centre …. Anyone who withdraws from it is a man who has remained un-unified, or who is a brute.”  ... Here the point is the centre of a circle that is created, so to speak, by the circumambulation of the soul. But this point is the “centre of all things,” a God-image. This is an idea that still underlies the mandala-symbols in modern dreams.

Indeed, God himself is simultaneously both the centre and the circumference.

... I mention, as the most salient characteristics, chaotic multiplicity and order; duality; the opposition of light and dark, upper and lower, right and left; the union of opposites in a third; the quaternity (square, cross); rotation (circle, sphere); and finally the centring process and a radial arrangement that usually followed some quaternary system.  Triadic ormations, apart from the complexio oppositorum in a third, were relatively rare and ormed notable exceptions which could be explained by special conditions.  The centring process is, in my experience, the never-to-be-surpassed climax of the whole development, and is characterized as such by the fact that it brings with it the greatest possible therapeutic effect.    page 75. 

There’s a place in your self of rest.  This I know a little bit about from athletics.  The athlete who is in championship form has a quiet place in himself.  It’s out of that - that his action comes.  If he’s all in the action field – he’s not performing properly.  There’s a centre out of which you act.  And Jean my wife a dancer tells me that in dance this is too true.  There’s the centre that has to be known and held.  There it is quite physically recognized by the person.  But unless this centre has been found – you’re torn apart – tension comes.  Now, the Buddha’s word is Nirvana.  Nirvana is a psychological state of mind.  It’s not a place like heaven, it’s not something that’s not here.  It is here, in the middle of the turmoil, what is called Samsara - the whirlpool of life conditions.  Nirvana is the condition that comes when you are not compelled by desire, or by fear, or by social commitments.  When you hold your centre, and act out of there."

“… man cannot measure the will of God, which derives from a centre beyond the range of human categories.

   Coming to the Center

Try watching a spider. A spider spins its web in any convenient niche and then sits in the center, staying still and silent. Later, a fly comes along and lands on the web. As soon as it touches and shakes the web, "boop!" -- the spider pounces and winds it up in thread. It stores the insect away and then returns again to collect itself silently in the center of the web.

Watching a spider like this can give rise to wisdom. Our six senses have mind at the center surrounded by eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. When one of the senses is stimulated, for instance, form contacting the eye, it shakes and reaches the mind. The mind is that which knows, that which knows form. Just this much is enough for wisdom to arise. It's that simple.

Like a spider in its web, we should live keeping to ourselves. As soon as the spider feels an insect contact the web, it quickly grabs it, ties it up and once again returns to the center. This is not at all different from our own minds. "Coming to the center" means living mindfully with clear comprehension, being always alert and doing everything with exactness and precision -- this is our center. There's really not a lot for us to do; we just carefully live in this way. But that doesn't mean that we live heedlessly thinking, "There is no need to do siting or walking meditation!" and so forget all about our practice. We can't be careless! We must remain alert just as the spider waits to snatch up insects for its food.

This is all that we have to know -- sitting and contemplating that spider. Just this much and wisdom can arise spontaneously. Our mind is comparable to the spider, our moods and mental impressions are comparable to the various insects. That's all there is to it! The senses envelop and constantly stimulate the mind; when any of them contact something, it immediately reaches the mind. The mind then investigates and examines it thoroughly, after which it returns to the center. This is how we abide -- alert, acting with precision and always mindfully comprehending with wisdom. Just this much and our practice is complete.

This point is very important! It isn't that we have to do sitting practice throughout the day and night, or that we have to do walking meditation all day and all night long. If this is our view of practice, then we really make it difficult for ourselves. We should do what we can according to our strength and energy, using our physical capabilities in the proper amount.

It's very important to know the mind and the other senses well. Know how they come and how they go, how they arise and how they pass away. Understand this thoroughly! In the language of Dhamma we can also say that, just as the spider traps the various insects, the mind binds up the senses with Anicca-Dukkha-Anatta (impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, not-self). Where can they go? We keep them for food, these things are stored away as our nourishment.5 That's enough; there's no more to do, just this much! This is the nourishment for our minds, nourishment for one who is aware and understanding.

If you know that these things are impermanent, bound up with suffering and that none of it is you, then you would be crazy to go after them! If you don't see clearly in this way, then you must suffer. When you take a good look and see these things as really impermanent, even though they may seem worth going after, really they are not. Why do you want them when their nature is pain and suffering? It's not ours, there is no self, there is nothing belonging to us. So why are you seeking after them? All problems are ended right here. Where else will you end them?

Just take a good look at the spider and turn it inwards, turn it back unto yourself. You will see that it's all the same. When the mind has seen Anicca-Dukkha Anatta, it lets go and releases itself. It no longer attaches to suffering or to happiness. This is the nourishment for the mind of one who practices and really trains himself. That's all, it's that simple! You don't have to go searching anywhere! So no matter what you are doing, you are there, no need for a lot of fuss and bother. In this way the momentum and energy of your practice will continuously grow and mature.

Ever since the Timaeus it has been repeatedly stated that the soul is a sphere. As the anima mundi, the soul revolves with the world wheel, whose hub is the Pole. That is why the “heart of Mercurius” is found there, for Mercurius is the anima mundi. The anima mundi is really the motor of the heavens.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."