Internal practice - centering 1


I am very excited about going to Preston, to Sifu's annual instructors' retreat. I was able to practice a little this morning, but I thought I had a large job to do, which then fell through. So this bit of a discussion I wrote a year or so ago came to mind as I was having issues with my own centredness.

To cite Chen Tuan, also known as the sleeping sage,

The way can be pure and the way can be quiet
Through being pure and quiet
I work for my own centredness.

When we begin a lesson or a practice session, there is one thing that needs to be done before anything else: become centred. For many years I wondered what this meant when I read it or heard someone talking about it. It isn’t a part of our contemporary culture to teach people to be centred. The reason why we need to be centred does not become evident until we achieve a certain level of centredness. Some people have the capability naturally. These people are usually those whom we know or hear of who are very calm and patient, whose words are measured and whose actions are effective. They rarely become angered over small slights or normal incomprehension and difficulties. When faced with crises, these are the people who remain calm and take care of the situation rather than losing their poise and doing even more damage. When these people fail, they use that circumstance as a stepping-stone toward later success. I could name many, but this is neither the time nor the place for such a list.
Therefore, being centred has fundamental value for life. For martial arts or practice for health, it is even more important. Centredness enables our movement to be effective and flowing. It enables our mind to be free and unencumbered so that it can be the reflexive ruler of our actions when practicing or defending ourselves or teaching. Centredness gives our energy a clear collection point and maintains an island of calm even under the most trying of circumstances. When shooting the rapids of tumultuous emotions or circumstances, centredness enables us to get out of the rapids before tumbling over the precipice of the falls ahead, while still being present and effective.

to be continued